Boardgame Review: Final Girl

I don’t play a lot of solo boardgames: I’ve owned B17: Queen of the Skies for decades but rarely break it out, and many games I own can be played solo but I don’t bother. Boardgames for me are a social experience.

You need Final Girl AND an expansion to play!

It’s therefore taken me a while to get to Van Ryder Games Final Girl, a game which obviously takes its inspiration from Carol J Clover’s Final Girl model of horror movies. I’m not a fan of horror movies and definitely not the 70s/80s slasher genre this game emulates, but if you love Friday 13th/Nightmare on Elm Street/Halloween or even Scream this is a game for you. The Rev. Peter Laws should order it all now; this game was made for people like him.

Final Girl boxes are in the style of vhs video boxes of the 1980s

So what’s it like? Surprisingly complex, and a lot of fun! Age 14+ it says on the box and takes 20 minutes to an hour. The first thing to note is fairly uniquely the core Final Girl game is unplayable without an expansion. To be fair it does say this in the advertising, but it does mean you are going to have to shell out twice, £15 for the core box and around £18 for a “movie”.  I own Frightmare on Maple Lane a fairly obvious take on A Nightmare on Elm Street and it seems a good expansion to start with?

I found the rules fairly complex but as with any boardgame it is all pretty incomprehensible until you play. In this case some rules like when you refresh your Time marker to 6 appear printed on the board but I could not find it in the rulebook. I suggest watching a “how to play this game video” – there are quite a few out there. I’m too impatient but if you have time watch this or this one.

Adding to the complexity are special rules that differ by each expansion, different Final Girls (I played Nancy) and lots of cards which make the game massively repayable. Maple Lane seems a good one to start with – there are special rules about confronting Dr. Fright in the boiler room and being asleep or awake, and new Action cards to allow you to persuade the neighbours to let you in to their house (so you can ransack it and nick their stuff with a Search card).

You play a few cards from your hand, then buy more cards you hope will be handy next turn;  the Dr. Fright comes after you and kills people around you – he can’t attack you unless asleep – the survivors panic and flee in all directions and maybe an event occurs or something awful.

So in my first game the set up had 6 kids hanging out in the centre of Maple Lane; I zoomed over, picked up two and managed to get them off the map- and that made Nancy a bit better. Of course Dr. Fright had meanwhile arrived and killed one — the three survivors panicked and fled in different directions.

Next turn a victim was run over and killed by a car, and another murdered by Dr Fright. Another perished soon after at the hands of the malevolent doctor, and then he killed a house full. As the horror level rose I had less dice and time seemed to run out quickly. Almost everyone was dead before I managed to get one more potential victim away, but I ran out of time and falling asleep found myself confronting Dr Fright in the boiler room. I had a couple of crucifixes but nothing useful and Nancy died horribly so I lost.

Worse even than Freddy Fright: the terrifying Loki-Kratos Cat!!

Final Girl is based on my single playthrough a lot of fun and I’m keen to play again. It’s worth persevering with the rules until it clicks and then it is a fun and interesting solo boardgame. Recommended!


About Chris Jensen Romer

I am a profoundly dull, tedious and irritable individual. I have no friends apart from two equally ill mannered cats, and a lunatic kitten. I am a ghosthunter by profession, and professional cat herder. I write stuff and do TV things and play games. It's better than being real I find.
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