The Game: The Last Friday
The Publisher: Ares Games
Time: About 2-3 hours, though I'm sure it would go faster now that we know how it works
Players: Me, +Michelle, +John, +Dirty Heart, Al, Kathy
Game Play: The Last Friday is a hidden movement game, much like Fury of Dracula or Letters from Whitechapel. As such, it's already a winner in my book. In it, one player (me, in this case) is the "maniac," unnamed but a pretty obvious Jason Vorhees homage. Everyone else is a camper. Five campers need to be represented, whether or not you have six players, so if you have fewer than that someone's controlling a few extras.
|"I'll be right back."|
In Chapter Two, the campers are trying to find the slasher and kill him, while the slasher is trying to get away. Once the camper kills the maniac, that camper becomes the "Predestined".
In Chapter Three, the killer tries to find and kill the Predestined (which, again, wins the game for the maniac).
In Chapter Four, the campers try to surround and block the maniac so the Predestined can kill him. The maniac can win by just staying ahead of the campers and waiting it out.
Both sides also have tokens that can be used for various effects. The campers' tokens let them light up an area (forcing the maniac to reveal himself if he comes into that area), run a bit further, listen for the maniac, and so on. The maniac's let him smash into unlocked cabins, trick the campers into thinking he's somewhere else, or extend the chapter a bit longer. During the first chapter, the maniac has almost all of his powers, but during subsequent chapters, it's based on how many people he killed in the previous chapter vs. how many surviving campers there are.
The maniac moves every round, but reveals his previous position (first and third chapters) or current position (second and fourth chapters) every third turn. It's therefore hard for the maniac to get truly lost.
I generally like the game. I love this genre of movie, and there are a bunch of things that work to evoke the feel of a slasher movie. Unfortunately, one is that the campers are not the most diverse group of people. There is exactly one POC in 15 camper cards, and one of the others is wearing a faux Native American thing (headdress, paint, etc. I killed her first, with her player's help). With that said, it's not like the campers' names or personalities impact the game much.
The tokens were kind of a sticking point. Players get clue tokens (which then get revealed to be one of the several types of useful thing) by following the trail that the maniac leaves, which is fine, but there aren't many of them and when you die, you lose any you've accumulated. Likewise, the slasher begins with four of his powers, but then getting more is difficult. The game is weighted to favor the slasher having powers in chapters 2 and 4, when he really needs them because he can't kill, and so I suppose that's good.
All in all, I like it. I enjoy this style of game anyway, but this is nicely uncomplicated in comparison to, say, Fury of Dracula.
|A camper is about to meet the business end of a machete.|