Tag Archives: Horror

Camp Grizzly – A Written Review




Camp Grizzly is a game as edgy as the wicked implements its antagonist will use to disfigure your soft gushy canvas. A 70’s campsite slasher flick with a touch of crass humor, excellent art and a very interesting game churning beneath the maelstrom of violence is right in my wheelhouse. It’s certainly a subject matter that instinctively gets pushed to the fringe of the industry, and it pulls at my consciousness like a noose dragging my limp body through the mud and leaves of the wild.

Let’s not piddle around the bush Otis just decorated like a Christmas pine with CJ’s tattered remnants – this is a simple and direct title that proudly bears the standard of its publisher’s creed. This is old school Ameritrash that could be thrown up there with Thunder Road and Nexus Ops. It’s direct, colorful, and violently interesting. This is the type of game the industry needs more of.

The nature of the design is most similar to something such as Last Night On Earth where you’re scooting around the board trying to pick up objectives that are seeded on the map in order to trigger an end game. Players each receive a unique character with a special ability and a bit of flavor. Starting cards from the Survival deck add a bit of additional identity and division between capabilities.

What works a bit differently here is that the game controlled protagonist is a twisted brute in a bear mask named Otis. Frighteningly stereotypical, his demeanor and varied depictions are only matched in pure awesome by his uneven and jilted stalking around the camp grounds. Typically he’ll just move a couple spaces in the direction of the nearest camper, but cards and events will trigger erratic attacks and difficult-to-predict ambushes. You’ll be searching the tool shed and looking for some type of object to most efficiently pierce human flesh, when a hairy bastard with a baling hook will sneak up on you like a sinister tooth fairy coming for its pound of flesh. At best you can hope to fight Otis off and delay that cruel conundrum known as death.




The board is particularly interesting because movement is point to point between cabins as opposed to a free ranging board with spaces. Some cabins are only connected via nature trails that require you roll to avoid being lost in the woods; a juicy and thematic touch. This movement system works exceptionally well overall to force bottlenecks and promote risk. The level of fear and tension is commensurate to the claustrophobia enforced by the playing surface.

While you’re gathering these objective tokens that consist of items like a crank, rope or battery, other characters of unscrupulous nature will begin to surface and muck up the plot like the most discriminate of B-horror flicks. Dubbed “Cameos”, individuals like the local Sheriff will come to seemingly save the day but will be devoured like fish hand-fed to a starved great white. The rub is that these fools will harm your characters and generally create dysfunction that you will have to either deal with or avoid. It’s interesting and unique and I totally dig it.

There’s also this slick little game of danger where your character will be chosen to partake in skinny dippin’ or getting it on with another camper. This results in drawing a handful of cards with a strong possibility of Otis busting in on your jam and shoving a bloody hook in your groove. This can result in you losing items as you high tail it nude out of the cold depths or even discarding your virginity card you drew earlier in the game that’s more beneficial than you’d think. Life is a chaotic ball of nerves that Otis is ready to untangle with a quick slice of the shears.



I see Karen and think, “wow, a disturbed artist who is painting her future terrorizer.” Otis sees Karen and thinks, “wow, a disturbed artist who is painting her future terrorizer and who will serve as a tasty snack.”


In the midst of the bloodiest scavenger hunt in cardboard etched history, you will be referring to a selection of cards that detail the end game phase known as finales. Each finale requires a specific set of three objectives be found which is particularly interesting because it means the climax of our story is stuck in this Schrodinger’s cat-like state of multiple path existence. It has that excellent and satisfying feel of discovering that exploration mechanisms grant, and it’s one of my favorite elements of the design. The synthesis of a Left 4 Dead style final stage with a touch of Resident Evil quirky item procurement fills my belly like a massive Thanksgiving feast.

What really drew me to this release was the bold position of Camp Grizzly shooting for somewhere between Nate Hayden and Flying Frog Productions. It has a little of the gruesome and evocative dare of the former and also a bit of the mainstream polish of the latter. The result is a more smooth experience than Psycho Raiders but perhaps with a bit less personality. I think overall this is a rousing success and really hammers home its core focus with thematic mechanics that bolster the atmosphere. It works well at a variety of player counts and its only fault is that the particularly random event deck may sometimes result in wild swings and the occasional lack of satisfaction. I’m willing to pay that price over and over again if it means I’ll have experiences where Otis shoves a chisel into my skull, guts my good friend Ben, and then swims ferociously after Colin only to fall inches short before disappearing in the dark abyss of the night.

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Psycho Raiders – A Written Review



Designers:          Mat Brinkman, Jochen Hartmann, Nate Hayden

Publisher:           Blast City Games/Emperors of Eternal Evil


Plastic tubs come with warning labels making sure you don’t place a baby inside and seal it. I had a hot water heater that had several warning images which read like a hilarious comic strip with the protagonist ending in fiery death.  Likewise, the Emperors of Eternal Evil did their due diligence with the following caution:

“Psycho Raiders is a very visceral experience and we have rated it X. Anyone under the age of 18 is NOT permitted to play. Pregnant or players with a fragile or nervous disposition are strongly encouraged NOT TO PLAY THIS GAME!”

I’m afflicted with hyper-tension and have an innocuous heart murmur but I live life on the edge and toughed this one out for you guys; thank god I wasn’t pregnant.



Kill! Kill! Kill!


So up front, this thing is as crazy as that tongue in cheek warning label. It’s a hex and counter wargame simulation of a slasher horror flick and it’s physically packaged in a magazine format that screams low-fi and underground.  It’s reminiscent of an early 90’s Metal Zine and it feels like you’ve come across something your parents have forbidden and you shouldn’t own.  It has that special unique feeling like you’ve just discovered a band no one’s heard of and that sense of ownership and rebellion that’s deeply associated.

The magazine is chocked full of obscene, evocative, and hilarious artwork. There’s little comic strips that make you chuckle, large drawings featuring gore and nudity, and a constant sense of the perverse that has you wondering what’s going through these guys minds?  That’s ultimately why we love this team as their designs come from so far out of left field that it can’t help but be a home run.  The whole thing just reeks of care and passion that it rips through your chest and pulls viciously on all of your heartstrings.

Components here are even cruder than its predecessor Cave Evil. You get one counter sheet with plain but effective artwork, a paper map which is pretty solid and evocative, and several sheets of cards that you must cut out.  You need to supply your own 6-siders and will need to photocopy small character sheets.  The rules make up the bulk of the magazine, interspersed with a couple of drawings and a nice centerfold with a scantily clad woman in a gas mask.  The rules themselves are simple and easy enough to grasp so you will be able to get playing this one pretty quickly.  There’s also a generous amount of optional rules found near the back that add some depth and additional bite.

If Psycho Raiders was released as a traditional game without the phenomenal package it would likely be uninspiring and a bit sub-par. The game is purposely unbalanced and seeks to simulate the horrific events that occurred in its 1978 story featuring a group of campers fleeing the Psycho Raiders.  If the campers are caught early they will be cut down mercilessly by the hunters as death comes swift and without prejudice.  Players can get eliminated right away and the game does not coddle you, grinding your broken skull into the mud as a reward for committing mistake or tactical error.  However, it needs this overarching sense of punishment and execution to deliver upon its promise of intensity and terror – which it succeeds at admirably.



As the wall of fire cuts Randy off, he finds himself surrounded and ready to fight like a cornered rat.


The tension and horrific nature of the game is the main selling point. This constant sense of danger and being up against the odds makes playing the campers a tense and harrowing experience.  Your main weapon is hiding which features a neat and simple mechanic of allowing you to place down duplicate counters of your character and you write down the number corresponding to your actual position.  From the perspective of playing a Psycho Raider you feel like this terrible god, hunting these filthy animals down so that you can hack them apart and feast on their remains.

In addition to the atmosphere the game is just packed with small clever touches. This is the same quality that endeared me to Cave Evil and it’s what these guys do exceptionally well.  You have stuff like a blow torch which is relatively weak unless your target is being grappled by another player.  The damage system is stellar in that each point of damage causes you to drop a stat by 1.  The tough choice between reducing your fighting Strength or your Speed is painful.  If a blow would reduce your stats to 0, you draw a KILL card.  If the type of weapon used against you is present on the card (Fist, Melee, Gun, or Fire), you die instantly.  The cards have a great illustration of a particularly gruesome death and work to elevate the experience in their own right.  There’s also a great townsfolk mechanic with NPCs being present on the map that can be alerted in order to help the campers.  The problem is that some of them may be sinister and under the control of the Psycho Raiders.  Alert the Sheriff seeking help and you will be crying into your pillow when you find out he’s an evil bastard and he’s here to eat your soul.



From horny teen to headless carcass in a blink of an eye.


If you can appreciate the theme and atmosphere and are in it for the experience – then the game just works and works well. At its heart it’s a fantastic story generator as you will run into games where Dawn is ripped apart by a Machete and Randy almost makes it off the map before being obliterated against the wall of the chapel by the Raiders black van.  You can hotwire cars, break into buildings, scrounge up magnificent weapons like sticks and rocks or shotguns.  You can even have your face caved in by an inbred hillbilly named Spud or your flaming remains ran over by a tractor.  If none of that excites you then you’re dead to me.

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Psycho Raiders

(from EEE)

In 1978 four friends experience a nightmarish ordeal. Steve, Randy, Ginger, and Dawn innocently set out to camp and enjoy the countryside near a small town on Halloween. Unfortunately their car breaks down and they meet with pure darkness, the Psycho Raiders, once they are on your trail, they hunt to the death…

This horrifying halloween night may not be survived. The true story of what happened on this fateful evening comes alive in the pages and gameplay of Halloween Nightmares.

Psycho Raiders is a horror simulation experience. Unlike games that tend to aim for perfect balance, Psycho Raiders’ main focus is delivering the terrifying experience that occurred on this Halloween night. Characters and situations are not balanced to equal one another but created to simulate the actual experience. The game begins very slanted to the raiders, they will assuredly destroy if fighting just ill prepared campers. Through the use of finding weapons or alerting the nearby town folk of Crucible, the campers can possibly turn the tables on the raiders. But there may also be a horrid realization that certain town folk are raiders themselves. The campers may not be able to trust anyone! It might be best to run! RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN!

Psycho Raiders is a tactical hex and counter game with each token representing an individual character. Characters have sheets with some individual stats related to speed, strength and will to live. In the short game, the campers can win if any of them escape the north end of the map while hidden.

Psycho Raiders is a very visceral experience and we have rated it X. Anyone one under the age of 18 is NOT permitted to play. Pregnant or players with a fragile or nervous disposition are strongly encouraged NOT TO PLAY THIS GAME!


Note: Psycho Raiders is the first game featured in our “Halloween Nightmares Horrorgame Magazine”, a game magazine dedicated to Halloween and the Horrorgame genre. Players will need to xerox elements and provide two D6 and pencils to play this game







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Kingsport Festival Review


That flaming column was spouting volcanically. The combustion does not lay warmth, but only the clamminess of death and corruption. – The Festival, H.P. Lovecraft, 1923

In the unimaginable darkness of Kingsport, silent wanderers are called to a profane celebration. Their goal: to invoke unthinkable horrors! A dread terror that is not of this world or any other — but rather from the spaces between the stars — demands your submission. Meanwhile, unwary investigators vainly attempt to halt this appalling chapter in the dark history of Arkham.

As the high priest of one of these shadowy cults, you must dominate the city. You will invoke cosmic creatures and unholy gods to receive their “gifts”, but you must take care to preserve your sanity and thwart the investigators who seek to stop you. This time, you are the bad guys. Why settle for the lesser evil?

Kingsport Festival, a game of bizarre cults set in the terrifying world of Howard Philips Lovecraft, lasts 12 rounds, each divided into six phases. All Cultists roll their dice and the one that rolled the lowest sum will play first and so on, then (in turn order) each one may invoke an Elder
God by using one or more of his dice, where the sum of their values is exactly equal to the number of the Elder God, or pass. Once all the dice are placed or players have passed, in ascending order, the Elder Gods give their gifts to the Cultists who invoked them: the Cultists may have to
lose Sanity points to receive the rewards. After Cultists have taken their dice back, in turn order each one may place his disk on one Building that is connected to another one he has already marked (starting from the House). To do so, he must pay the Domain resources required.

In turns marked with a blue marker on the Calendar, a Raid takes place: first the Event card and then
the Investigator card is revealed. Each Cultist calculates his Strength by adding up any modifiers he has due to Spells, Buildings, and other game effects (such as Events, Scenarios, etc.). If his strength is greater, the Cultist receives rewards; if is less, he suffers the penalty.

The game ends after the twelfth round is played. If the Scenario has a Festival card, it is revealed and its effects resolved at this time.
The Cultist who has the most Cult points is the winner.

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Camp Grizzly Review


Camp Grizzly is a semi-cooperative survival horror board game for 1-6 players.

The year is 1979, players take the roles of Camp Counselors who are being stalked through a maze of cabins and camp trails by ‘Otis’, a homicidal killer with an unhealthy bear fetish.

Working together, the Counselors explore the camp grounds while searching for a combination of objectives that can trigger one of four different game endings. Those who survive the finale win the game!

It won’t be easy. After every round of player turns, the NPC killer, Otis, stalks the closest targets around the board, attacking whenever he gets the chance. Unarmed players PANIC, are injured and forced to run away. Those lucky enough to have found protection are able to fight Otis with a dice roll. Better weapons mean higher value dice and a greater chance of success. Beat Otis and he disappears form the board until re-emerging from the woods on his next turn.

Be warned, as the body count rises, Otis gains strength, moves faster and becomes more deadly. Just when you think you’re safe, you may find him waiting right in front of you!

If that’s not bad enough, players must draw Cabin Cards which have a wide variety of game changing effects, both positive and negative. They contain Plot Twists, Cameos, weather changes, special Otis cards, clever Campers, helpful Weapons and Items, and fate tempting “foolin’ around” cards.

The Counselors won’t give up so easily. In addition to their own inherent talents, Survival Cards grant the players unique abilities and tactics to help elude or confront the killer.

Who, if anyone, will survive?

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