Before I begin, I was sent a copy of the core game, and two stories in exchange for an honest review. This is not a paid review. You can check out the video review below, and get your own copy here.
You know what I love? Dice rolling and solo games. You know what I very much dislike? Horror movies. To my surprise when Final Girl hit KS for the first time it was my dislike of the horror genre that won out. I had heard some rumblings that it was super fun, but just couldn’t get into it. Well, then it delivered and I got a ton of messages asking me my thoughts, and if it was good or not, and mostly “why are you so stupid that you do not have a copy?”
As it turned out, I attended PAXU this year, and the fine folks at Van Ryder were kind enough to send me home with some of the content from the first campaign. This, amazingly, coincides perfectly with their second campaign which features all the old stuff, plus a whole new season of stories you can play.
In Final Girl you will take on the part of the last surviving girl from a horror movie. It falls to you to kill the killer, before he kills you. Along the way you just might save some other potential victims…or not…after all no one really likes Chad anyhow. To do this you will use a series of cards, and dice rolls to move around the map as you make your way to the killer, to store rooms to attempt to collect gear, and to save victims and deal with events.
Each round you have a set amount of time that will be used when you play your cards, how much time is used is dependent on your dice rolls. Once you have completed all of your actions you will be able to purchase new cards from the market based on how much time you have left. The cards you buy will go right into your hand, along with all the cards you played two turns ago. All the previously purchased cards that you play this turn will go back to the market, and the starter cards will go into a pile ready to come back to you after the next turn.
After you have finished this the killer will get to flip a terror card that will move it about the board and let it slaughter as wantonly as it can. The more victims they kill, the more powerful they will become, slowly unlocking powers to make them even more unbeatable. Your goal is to kill them before they kill you, and if you can save some people along the way…bully for you.
So what do I think?
I love how compact everything is. The footprint on this game is very small. I also, personally, really like the way the game is built. The core is simply the tools you need to play the game, then you get to mix and match the particular heroines and villains that you like. I love that.
However, it is the game system that shines the most here. There is an awesome balance of managing your resources so you are not crippling yourself in the next round, while still doing as much as you can in the current round. I really really enjoy that; especially when you combine that with the highs and lows of chucking dice.
I think the game does a pretty good job of realizing its theme. You certainly get that sense of desperation as you play through the game, and victims are being slaughtered left and right. You also really feel like there is no way that you will ever be able to take out the villain, but slowly, you become ready to face them. I would put this up in the delectable section, but to really get the full effect you probably want the minis (the complete unnecessary but awesome minis-I will note that I do not have them myself.)
The game is very swingy, as you can imagine with a dice based game. While this is something that I enjoy, I know plenty of people who have absolutely no interest in that kind of game. The only other quibble I have is that the game is that as cool as the player boards are, they are the top and bottom of the boxes, the side flaps that should stay flat, do not do so. Is it a big deal? No, but just something to be aware of.
Bringing it all together
Final Girl is a solo game that does a good job of making you feel like you are the Final Girl in the horror film trying to kill the killer before you are taken out. The production is super cool, and I love the mix and match nature of the game and expansions. The card and dice mechanics are a total blast, though they may be swingier than you might like. For a game that plays in about half an hour, there is a delightful amount of depth to the game. If you like solo games, dice, and horror then this is a must own.
Yeah…killer on the loose. Get to the point.
* Dice and card play is very fun, but can feel swingy if you are not a fan of dice
* Strong production value, and a small footprint on the shelf
* Well realized theme
* For a game that plays quickly, there are a lot of very hard choices to be made
* A must own for horror, and solo game fans