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Halls of Horror Kickstarter Preview


Quick Look:

Designer: Krzysztof Zięba
Publisher: Draw Distance
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 1-4
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 60-90 Minutes


Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

"I love horror movies. I mean, who doesn't like a good horror movie every once in a while? It's fun to get scared"
-Tara Reid
I love horror movies. I mean, who doesn't like a good horror movie every once in a while? It's fun to get scared. Tara Reid
Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/horror

From the publisher:
Trapped inside a house built by the insane Master of the Ceremony, you are challenged to a deadly game in which the prize is your survival. Your goal is to find the Exit which are hidden among the various rooms of this labyrinth, and the two Keys you need to open it. Keys can be found by exploring the Halls, but if all else fails, there’s always the option to take one out of… other participants! Each of you has a Key sewn into your body while you were sleeping courtesy of the Master of the Ceremony, who watches your struggles using his cameras, and mixes up the playing field from afar… Only one of you can escape, the others will stay in the Halls – forever! Well not forever because you will be killed.

All Players declare their actions for the turn in secret and then reveal them simultaneously. Players explore, search rooms to find weapons and other items that will increase their chances of survival, and fight one another for the ultimate prize - their life! Other participants are not their only concern, however, as the host of this bloody spectacle also directs a twisted Killer, more monster than man, who moves around the board in search of victims. At the end of each turn, the First Player momentarily takes on the role of the Master of the Ceremony, and, in addition to executing other effects that influence the game’s board, needs to direct the Killer. Will you avoid him, or try to face him for the chance to grasp one of the Keys you need from his cold, dead hands? Just be warned, as the Killer might still take revenge from beyond the grave!


And if you perish? Well, you won’t get to escape, but you can still play AS the Master of the Ceremony and make sure nobody else escapes, either. Choose cards from a wider selection and customize your approach. Will you close off rooms to make the board more cramped, forcing players to fight, or will you incentivize players with strategically placed Gifts? Who will the Killer target now that you have sole control of him? The weakest or the strongest participants? Explore, search, fight or flee, find the Exit, gain the Keys and escape… or remain in the Halls of Horror forever! 2-4 players can go head-to-head in their bid for survival, and you can also face the challenge alone in the game’s solo mode!




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I loved horror movies growing up. One that stuck with me is the original Children of the Corn, mainly because my best friend Jimmy was terrified. We were like 11 or 12 years old maybe, and he was so scared he hid under my bunk bed. It's been over thirty years later and I still give him a hard time about it. Good times.

Review:

Rules and Setup:
Each player takes a character health card & markers and a set of cards. Make a 4x5 grid on the table with the location cards and place them face down. Put the killer in the middle between the cards and place each character on any corner card and place it face up.


Theme:
Horror games often contain themes and imagery depicting morbid and supernatural elements.
 
Mechanics:
The main mechanic is dice rolling, but there are two others almost equally as important.

The simultaneous action-selection mechanic lets players secretly choose their actions. After they are revealed, the actions resolve following the ruleset of the game.

Variable Player Powers is a mechanic that grants different abilities and/or paths to victory to the players. To illustrate, here are some notable examples. In Ogre, one player controls a single powerful piece, and the other plays many weaker units. The net effect is a balanced game. In Cosmic Encounter, each player is assigned a random special ability at the beginning of the game. Although each player has the same victory goal (establish colonies on five planets in other players' systems), their abilities enable differing means to the end. In Here I Stand, each player controls a political power with unique ways to score victory points. Some focus on military conquest, some on religious influence, etc.

Game Play:
On each player’s turn, they will select their action in secret and reveal simultaneously with the other players. It’s up to the players to explore the rooms to find weapons and items which will be essential for survival. Exploring is key because the main item players are looking for are 2 Keys which will unlock the Exit. However, if you’re not the searching type, you can also go the hunting route, since every participant has a key sewn into their body, thanks to the Master of Ceremony, the deadly game master who controls the labyrinth from afar.

On each player’s turn, they will select their action in secret and reveal simultaneously with the other players. It’s up to the players to explore the rooms to find weapons and items which will be essential for survival. Exploring is key because the main item players are looking for are 2 Keys which will unlock the Exit. However, if you’re not the searching type, you can also go the hunting route, since every participant has a key sewn into their body, thanks to the Master of Ceremony, the deadly game master who controls the labyrinth from afar.

So here is the breakdown. On each turn players will secretly select an action and then simultaneously reveal it. Players are searching the rooms for keys and/or weapons, obviously the key is... the key to the game (Stop, you know you love that pun). So you can find a key.. or you can go into hunting mode and kill another player and take the key that has been sewn inside their body. At the end of each turn the person with the first player token becomes the master. The can close off rooms, drop gifts to entice certain players to certain parts of the board, oh and control the killer who is heel bent on killing all of you (Did you think he was just going to hand you a key and tell you to have a nice day?) When a player dies they take over the role of master of ceremony and make it their mission to kill the other players. So get two keys, don't die.
At the end of each turn, the First Player temporarily takes controls of the Master. In this phase, they gain the ability to directly influence the game board, such as closing off rooms or strategically dropping enticing gifts. They also can direct The Killer, a deadly beast of a man who is ruthless in his hunt of the hapless participants.
Artwork and Components:
The art for the rooms is dark and creepy, and it fits perfectly. This is minor, but I love the fact that the killer miniature is red. It's such an obvious choice I know, but it's perfect.

The Good:
This game can be tense, as it should be. You feel stressed out that you have a killer stalking you.

The Bad:
The horror theme might be too intense for some people.

Final Thoughts:
I feel that in a lot of games you are just fighting to fight, but that is not the case here. This guy is 100% trying to kill you. That is motivation to fight another player and take their key...which is sewn into their body. Don't be squeamish now; if you're willing to kill you're willing to cut a key outta someone. Now's not the time to split hairs.


Players Who Like:
Horror movies, Hidden Action, Trying Not To Die.


Check out Halls of Horror on:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/271633/halls-horror   http://ifun4all.com/hohboardgame/   https://www.facebook.com/groups/606487219777885/     https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/ifun4all/

Coming to KICKSTARTER May 16, 2019. Join the Facebook Group to stay up-to-date on all the latest news and Kickstarter information leading up to the launch.



James Freeman - Reviewer

James is a child of the 80's he grew playing D&D and Stratego. He currently owns more games than his understanding wife of 20+ years thinks he should. James lives in Buffalo, New York with his previously mentioned wife, 2 teenage kids and one Havanese dog. Also, if someone outside of Buffalo says they serve buffalo wings, they are lying.

See James's reviews HERE.
Halls of Horror Kickstarter Preview Halls of Horror Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by James Freeman on April 16, 2019 Rating: 5

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