Anyone who knows me knows my love for the classic horror movie monsters. There’s something special about the classic monsters that struck fear into the viewer without the need of gore. Creature Feature from Trick or Treat Studios peaked my interest back in 2022 when it was announced. Can you get your stable of monster actors cast in the hottest horror movie roles?
Players start each of the 3 rounds of Creature Feature with 10 cards. Cards are classified as actors or helpers. Monster actors are numbered 1 through 11 based on the star power they bring to a movie role. Some of these actors have additional actions available at the bottom of the card. Helpers are played during the phase listed on their card and are immediately replaced by a new card from the draw pile.
Helper cards help to mitigate a hand of bad cards or help you to hide your intentions when selecting actors for the movie roles. In a 3-4 player game, there’s a feature film and a short film that players are trying to win. In a 5-6 player game, an additional short film tile is added.
During the Team Up phase, players add actors to the star and co-star spots on their player board. These cards are played facedown, hidden from your opponents. Commonly, the co-star should have a smaller number than your star. You can chose to play the better actor in the co-star spot which is known as a “twist”.
Players reveal their co-star cards simultaneously, giving just a little info about their card choices to the other players.
During the Audition phase, players will choose which film they will compete for. Players get the option to drop to a lower-tier movie if the competition seems too fierce. If a player feels really unsure about their actor choices, the option to fold will at least give them 1 point per actor card in the last phase.
The Showdown phase has players revealing their star and giving a total for their star and co-star cards. The player with the highest combined total that didn’t play a “twist” wins that film role. If all players played a “twist”, then the player with the highest combined total wins.
In Creature Feature, playing a “twist” is a big scoring opportunity but puts you at risk of losing film rolls to other players. Winning a film role while playing a “twist” allows the player to score their cards face up which is always a higher point value. Players who win without playing a “twist” score cards facedown which is only a single point per card.
Winning a film role during the Showdown phase also lets you score your opponents actor cards. At the end of each of the 3 rounds, players add the cards they scored along with film roles they won. The player with the highest score after 3 rounds wins the game.
It’s a Monster Mash
Creature Feature is a clever bluffing game that can be picked up pretty quickly. The mechanic of playing a “twist” is risky and so satisfying when it pays off. Making sure players are familiar with the actors abilities is a big part of the game. The Ghost actor card can turn the tables when your team was clearly playing a “twist”.
The Puny Human actor has a star value of 1. But, winning a Showdown with this card allows you to score the card face up for 5 points. The Witch actor gives you additional points when in a Showdown against players with the Devil actor.
Players have to anticipate the actors their opponents will play during the round. Using a Helper card at the right time can give you an edge on the other players. Anytime there’s a tie during the Showdown phase, ties are broken by their place on the Priority Track. This will be adjusted anytime a tie is broken during the game.
One of the biggest draws of Creature Feature is the fantastic monster illustrations on each card. Artist Terry Wolfinger really captures each monster in a unique pose with great lighting. The illustrations on the Helper cards are smaller and less impactful but still fun.
While the monster theme is what initially drew me into the game, it’s actually a theme that feels detached from the gameplay. You never really feel like you’re a talent agent helping these monsters get movie roles. When you breakdown the gameplay, you start to realize that player boards and the central film board are purely aesthetic.
Creature Feature feels like a monster theme tagged onto a solid bluffing card game. For gamers who don’t enjoy the monster movie theme, Creature Feature may be a tough sell. While I never felt like an agent managing a stable of monster actors, I still enjoyed the monster theme overall.
While the game plays 3 to 6 players, we definitely enjoyed Creature Feature at higher player counts. At just 3 players, the game lacks tension and usually ends up with 2 players in a Showdown and 1 player winning a film role uncontested.
Our love of horror and Halloween games makes Creature Feature a perfect fit for our family game shelf. Fans of movie monsters are going to find a solid bluffing card game beneath the great illustrations. With support up to 6 players, this will be a staple of our Halloween game nights.
You can find Creature Feature at your local game store, Barnes & Noble stores nationwide or on the Trick or Treat Studios webstore today.
This game was provided to us by the publisher for review. Read more about our review policies at One Board Family.
- Playing a “twist” is high risk, high reward
- Great monster illustrations throughout the game
- Easy to teach new players
- Helper cards mitigate a bad hand
- Game feels dull at 3 players
- Movie agent premise feels disconnected