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Horizon Zero Dawn - Rage against the Machines

Updated: Dec 17, 2022

The Horizon Zero Dawn board game box stood up on end


Players: 1-4

Ages: 14+

​Game Time: 60 - 90 minutes

The friendly guys at Steamforged Games ( sent us a copy of #HorizonZeroDawn the board game for a review and we are very excited to honour that request.

Horizon Zero Dawn, developed by Guerrilla Games (, was released on PlayStation 4 in 2017 to critical and popular acclaim, selling over 20 million copies following its launch. The open world RPG campaign follows protagonist Aloy, one of few human hunters left standing in a world of machines, who sets out to discover the meaning of her past. SFG released the board game in 2020, accompanied by a selection of expansions that bring iconic machines like the Fireclaw, Thunderjaw, Stormbird, and Rockbreaker to life.

What's in the core box then?

4x Hunters (Nora Marksman, Carja Warrior, Banuk Survivor, Oseram Forgesmith)

4x Watchers

4x Striders

4x Grazers

4x Scrappers

2x Shell-Walkers

2x Sawtooths

All the cards, tokens, dice, tiles and rules you'll need to play.


In the game you are fighting across three maps, from level 1 up to level 3, and the final space is where your main battle occurs with boss monster. As you play across the levels you can gain income, materials to upgrade with and new abilities for your characters. The final battle can be tricky if you do not get enough materials or upgrades, so make sure you utilise your loot and special abilities. So, fight fight fight those meanies. DO NOT LET THEM ESCAPE OFF THE BOARD. (They do not come back). The gameplay is quite simple, you have two main actions with your hero and then the machines activate. If you attack you get to roll black, blue or orange dice, dependent on the weapon or arrow being used, and these feel great and work really well.

If you stay hidden on the map in long grass (just like the game) then the machines won't activate their abilities, but if they detect you then you flip their action card over and follow the rules outlined. There are also some other types of terrain with different effects to add more to the strategy as you play.

As in the video games, the animals follow a set path that is a purple arrowed line but if a beast runs off the map it is gone forever, and you need to kill enough beasts per level to achieve the level's requirement for passing to the next stage. So, do not let them escape, as you need to achieve the levels to have enough to beat the final monster for that level.

The gameplay incorporates both cooperative and competitive play. While I haven't played the competitive rules, I love the cooperative play (it feels like a TTRPG monster hunt).

There are loads of expansions for this game and they each have wonderful minis and new things to add to the game. No two games are really the same, and of course if you buy some expansions then this will be increased further.


Components in the game are great, I love the way the characters

are set up with arcs reminiscent of the PlayStation control scheme, and the miniatures. Wow, the miniatures!!!

The robots and the hero minis are all amazing, as expected from the guys at Steamforged Games. They have a proven record for just doing minis right and they do not let you down!


​So, let's break it down for you in our key areas:


​This is highly replayable. There are multiple scenarios and if you add other minis, you are for sure going to have hours of play!

Production Value

​EXCELLLENT, can't fault it - the miniatures are phenomenal! Theme

​Need I say any more, if you're a fan of the computer game and like board games, you will LOVE this. Complexity

​A small learning curve but once you're up and running you'll be destroying the monsters and gathering resources ready to defeat the boss monster.


​A little wordy in places. It can be a little confusing at times but mostly pretty easy to follow.


​The gameplay isn't ground-breaking but the incorporation of co-operative play (got an RPG feel) makes the combination of the IP fun in tabletop environment.


​A little on the pricey side, BUT like I always say if you enjoy it do it, but the STUNNING models make it worth it for sure!

A die face showing six pips (each pip is the head of Ink the imp)

A great game when played in cooperative mode. It can be tough at times but if you focus and you upgrade your characters properly then you should be able to come out on top and defeat the boss monster. If you love HZD already then you will love this game and its miniatures. I just wish there were characters from the game in the base box so everyone could enjoy them (the Kickstarter box has them in, but it is near impossible to find now). Give it a shot, it is a load of fun to go hunting mechanical animals with your friends.

I urge SFG to make the characters, I am certain they will sell... I would buy them for sure!

Your Founder & Talent

Mr Chris

Well worth the hype

Hello my lovely Geeks and Geekettes, Dino-Girl here to add my comments in the Horizon Zero Dawn review. Mr Chris has made some amazing points on this game, and whilst trying to sound too harsh I don’t think he really captured how perfect a job the creators did with this game.

The layout of the tiles, the stunning (I repeat, STUNNING!) miniatures, right down to the art of the game mechanics have really pulled game station to game board.

Weapon and armour upgrades are controlled exactly as they are on screen, coil slots are filled with retrieved items that you can scavenge from the machines you take down.

Tribal ties are important, and each unit have their own capabilities, as mirrored from the game.

Hunting machines, the way they move around the board and how they do, or do not detect you, follow closely with their on-screen counterparts.

If you are familiar with the console version of this game then it will not take long for you to pull the rules together and run your hunts, and the nervousness of the console hunts (you know the moment, when you realise, you’re nearly out of arrows and you’ve bitten off more than you can chew) is deeply reflected in the machine attacks and fights.

I am obsessed with how this game turned out; this is the closest representation of a console game to board that I have ever come across. They spared no effort on detail. Do I think it’s pricey? Of course. Do I think it’s worth the hype? 100%

The expansion packs are equally stunning, though to me are the only part that lets the whole game down. They don’t add a huge amount extra to the gameplay. The expansions are very much for the fans who love the miniatures, though the size of some you couldn’t really call them miniatures at all . . .

I give this a six on the dice rating. Anything less to me would be a disservice to the pure artistry of the game. Whilst a Forbidden West follow up has not yet been announced I am sitting here with fingers (and toes) crossed that they’ll be permitted to release one.

That’s it from me my lovelies, hope you’re all well and much love

Dino-Girl xxx

Why not check out the unboxing video that Mr Chris filmed?

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