I am at heart a nerd, and someone who would consider themselves to be a board game hobbyist – although on quite a small scale. While I am not one to keep up with the latest releases or participate in crowdfunding, I grew up playing both mass-marketed and niche tabletop games – and am someone whose family has an excessive amount of monopoly boards. Every so often I’ll organise board game nights with my sister, her fiancée and some of our wider friend group – although as most boardgame fans will know, this often ends with very few games being played as you get sucked into an hours-long campaign.
I honestly couldn’t tell you what my favourite genre of board game is because I find most genres enjoyable – to me, it all depends on the atmosphere and the company you’re playing with.
One of my new favourites: Horrified
Hands down, my favourite game of the last month definitely has to be Horrified. Keely (who also did this amazing blog on her experiences) and I wanted to play a game with a more immersive backstory and playstyle and decided that the games high-fantasy premise and range of simulacra was the way to go . From the get-go, I was intrigued by the idea that the game can also be played by a single player because while I always play tabletop games with groups of friends or family, I am mainly a solo player when it comes to other types of gaming so the idea of a board game that could be both sounded really interesting.
One thing that stood out to me was the fact that the entire game was based on cooperative gameplay. And while it was very based on Ameritrash-Esque conflict, the conflict was against a range of ‘monsters’ whose actions were fairly random and were controlled by a combination of cards the players flipped and specialty dice.
I think one important thing I learned from this whole experience is the relationship between time/money spent and the expected quality of the game. While this relationship seems pretty obvious, it isn’t something that I ever put much thought into. People generally expect to pay more for hobby games with a more fleshed-out storyline, and more possibilities for gameplay – and at the same time they are willing to sacrifice more of their time learning the rules as these games tend to have a much longer runtime than casual party games. However, as someone who can lose interest quite quickly, and who prefers playing ‘test’ rounds of games – playing a practice round that could last hours does not sound enjoyable.
One reason I really enjoyed the game mechanics in Horrified was that it is very customisable – both the player characters and adversaries can be changed with every experience. The combination of 2 monsters (Dracula and Creature from the Black Lagoon) was recommended for new players, allowing us to immerse ourselves in a world whose rules we did not fully grasp. This customisability also means that in the future we could avoid playing against monsters whose mechanics we don’t enjoy – I for one hated the mechanics behind Creature from the Black Lagoon with a burning passion as every time we thought we were advancing in the game we would get knocked back.
In the future, I’d love to play this game on harder difficulties (against more monsters) and look into the solo-player experience. I haven’t had the chance to play any solo board games before and I think that its something increasingly important, especially considering the impact of Covid related lockdowns and quarantine periods where it’s difficult to get the full value out of a game because you can’t get together with other people to play it often.