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Pick-up and Delivery in Board Games: Strategy and Mechanics Explained

The phrase pick-up and deliver brings to mind something in the realm of UPS or FedEx. This thought is pretty accurate when we dive into the mechanic pick-up and deliver. This time we are going to dive into Horrified as our case study on pick-up and deliver. Investigators will not be using UPS to defeat the Mummy they will have to pick-up and deliver the win themselves.

Horrified Game Setup
Horrified Game Setup

What is Pick-Up and Deliver?

 The basic concept of pick-up and deliver is to pick something up in one place and bring it to another. There are a lot of games that use this concept (over 2,000 when I checked BGG). A lot of the games that implement this mechanic use it as the main mechanic. Games like Star Wars Outer Rim, Firefly: the Game and Age of Steam all use this mechanic heavily. Some games have players building the routes that the deliveries will be made with and others use existing routes. There are also games that do not have players using a physical route on the board but use pick up and deliver more figuratively.

Horrified: Case Study

Horrified came out in 2019 and was a fairly big hit staring 7 of the classic universal monsters. The game has players working together to try and defeat the monsters. Each monster has a different set of criteria to defeat them, but they all use pick-up and deliver to do it. There are 21 named locations on the board that are connected to each other creating a winding village that the monsters terrorize. In Horrified players must move around the board and pickup items and bring them to the monsters space and use the defeat action. The items come in 3 different kinds physical, intellectual, and spiritual. It depends on what combination of monsters the players choose, there can be 2-4 in play at anytime.

There is second level of pickup and deliver that occurs in Horrified. Players must usher the villagers out of harms way. The villagers are scattered throughout the board and so are the monsters. Players must keep the monsters away from the villagers. Each villager can be taken to their destination to be rescued. With both the villagers and the items players will be criss-crossing the board to accomplish both tasks. Players need to maximize their routes so that the villagers get rescued all while they gather the items they need to defeat each monster.

As with most pick-up and deliver games players need to determine the most efficient routes through the environments. Arriving a turn late to pick-up or deliver in a game can be the difference between winning and losing. Maximizing the route and determining order of pick-up is the key strategy.



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