Game Spotlights

Published: December 28, 2022


Final Girl —A Solo Slasher

“She was the Final Girl. Laurie crouched among the brittle branches of an old spruce tree, gasping for breath and pushing her sweaty blonde hair out of her eyes. She peered back down the way she had come. Her heart hammered so loudly in her chest she feared it would give her away. Nothing moved in the moonlight.Then she saw it. A tall dark shadow lumbered slowly down the path. The moonlight glinted off the dull metal mask. Laurie fought down a rising wave of panic. As the monstrous figure drew closer, the events of that horrific night flashed through her mind.

She saw the crumpled bodies of her friends by the glow of the dying campfire, heard the pleading of her boyfriend cut short with a thud. A week at camp had seemed like such a fun idea!

Laurie took a deep, shuddering breath as she felt the heavy footsteps drawing closer. She pulled her hair into a tight ponytail and gripped her axe with sweaty hands.

It was time to stop running.”

Final Girl — A Solo Slasher

From Van Ryder Games, Final Girl is a solo game for fans of slasher flicks.

The Final Girl game core box
Final Girl, from Van Ryder Games

This is not a cooperative game with a one-player mode; this is a game designed for one player and one player only. You truly are the last girl standing—the Final Girl—and only you can save yourself from the homicidal maniac terrorizing the night.

The game pays homage to classic horror films and one of the most enduring horror film tropes. The reluctant female protagonist, along with her friends, is tormented and hunted by the film’s villain. As her companions are eliminated one by one in gruesome fashion, the heroine is transformed from a helpless victim in full flight to a determined combatant prepared to fight back and put an end to this murderous rampage.

The movie climaxes with a battle to the death between the Killer and the Final Girl. Who wins? In Final Girl, that’s up to you.

Assemble your Cast

To play Final Girl, you will need the Core Box and at least one Feature Film Box. Each Feature Film Box contains one Killer, one Location, and two unique Final Girls. As you add more Feature Film Boxes to your collection, you can mix and match Killers, Locations, and Final Girls to create a different game experience every time you play.

All components for Final Girl tabletop game laid out including from the 5 Feature Film packs of Series 1
Final Girl Core Box and Series 1 Feature Film boxes

Tonight, you are battling Hans the Butcher in Camp Happy Trails. Tomorrow night you can face off against Dr. Fright on Maple Lane—unless he’s in the mood to slash some tents at Camp Happy Trails. Or maybe it’s Hans making house calls on Maple Lane?

Series 1 Feature Film Boxes

Series 1 has five Feature Film Boxes available now:

  • Slaughter in the Groves: A trip to Africa turns deadly when the gods demand sacrifice. I can’t believe I let you talk me out of buying trip insurance.
  • The Haunting of Creech Manor: Save a little girl from a malevolent poltergeist and get out of this creepy house. Babysitting is hard! I am SO asking for a raise.
  • Carnage at the Carnival: As if carnivals weren’t creepy enough. The Puppet Master is looking to add to his “family.” Blood is thicker than water….
  • Frightmare on Maple Lane: Dr. Fright is not the man of your dreams. He’s the man of your nightmares. Stay awake if you can.
  • The Happy Trails Horror: A pig-faced killer turns summer camp into a bloodbath. This Swiss Army Knife is NOT going to be enough.

With five Locations, five Killers, and ten Final Girls, that’s 250 unique scenarios in Series 1 alone!

Terror From Above vignette expansion for Final Girl
Final Girl: Terror From Above

As if that were not enough, you can also get a “vignette expansion.” Final Girl: Terror From Above requires both the Core Box and one of the Feature Film Boxes. The Vignette provides a unique Killer and one Final Girl. The Feature Film Box gives you the Location. So Terror From Above—an homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film The Birds—can be played and replayed with each of the five locations.

Survival Guide

That IS a lot of boxes, but how do I actually play?

In Final Girl, your objective is to survive the night. And defeat the Killer. Try to save some of your friends if you can, but this is a horror game. Most of them are going to die. You can’t be the Final Girl until they do.

action phase options

Your turn begins with the Action Phase. Play cards from your hand to take actions such as moving, searching for helpful items and weapons, and attacking. But these actions are not guaranteed; you will have to throw the dice and roll successes. The number of dice you can throw will depend on the Horror Level. Keep that level low to increase your chances.

Time as a Resource

Taking actions will cost you Time and there may be penalties for failed rolls. Once you choose to end your Action Phase, you can spend any Time you have remaining to buy new Action Cards to play on your next turn. You could spend all your Time on this turn and do a lot, but that means you won’t have many cards to play on your next turn.

After this Planning Phase, the Killer gets a turn. Its actions are determined by drawing a Terror Card. This will determine where it moves and whom it attacks. As the Killer claims victims, its Blood Lust increases and it becomes more powerful. Terror Cards may also trigger Event Cards, which could help or hinder you.

depictions of the time resource and killer phase

In the fourth phase, victims may panic and run amok. But you are the Final Girl. You do not panic. After the Panic Phase, the turn ends and you begin a new turn with a new Action Phase. Play continues until you have whittled the Killer down to zero health or you are dead. Not every movie has a happy ending.

Dare I play Final Girl?

Is Final Girl the game for you? It’s a big decision; once you go down this dark, mist-shrouded road there may be no coming back. Consider committing if (a) you enjoy solo games and/or (b) you are a fan of horror films.

If you don’t like solo games, you won’t like Final Girl. It’s a solo game. Enough said. But if you do enjoy a highly thematic solitaire puzzle with a lot of replayability and collectibility, then Final Girl is one of the best and most highly rated solo games on the market.

Final Girl core box and Feature Film expansions
Final Girl Core Box and Series 1 Feature Film Expansions

If you are a fan of horror movies, you will enjoy the pop-culture references to famous films of the genre. You feel the tension when your health is low, the masked cultist is closing in, and your survival depends on a throw of the dice.

That said, there is a lot of dice rolling in this game. If you hate trusting your fate to random chance, you will probably have moments when you absolutely hate this game. But the harder the game, the more satisfying it is when you finally turn the tables on a serial killer—with a bit of Girl Power and a double-bladed felling axe.

Time to Upgrade

If you fall in love with Final Girl, Van Ryder Games offers options for upgrading your gameplay. You can add the Final Girl Game Mat Set, a set of neoprene game mats to make organizing your game a little easier. If you believe every game is improved by the addition of miniatures, nab yourself the Final Girl Miniatures Box Series 1, a set of 20 miniatures, one for each Final Girl and Killer in Series 1.

character and killer miniatures for Final Girl
Final Girl Series 1 Miniatures Set

When you need to take a break from playing Final Girl, take a moment to read about Final Girl. The Final Girl Lore & Scenario Book provides backstories for the Final Girls and Killers as well as new scenarios to use for the Locations and Killers in Series 1. And if your imagination isn’t gruesome enough, the Series 1 Gruesome Death Books offer narrative depictions of each victim death. Gross.

And finally, when you just need to have EVERYTHING, the Final Girl Franchise Box is a massive box stuffed with just about everything you could want. Including a really big box to put it in.

Final Girl Series 2 Coming Soon!

Series 2 of Final Girl is set to release in the first quarter of 2023 and will offer five new Feature Film Boxes:

  • A Knock at the Door
  • Once Upon a Full Moon
  • Terror at Station 2891
  • Into the Void
  • Madness in the Dark

Not a Horror Fan? Try Hostage Negotiator

hostage negotiator from van ryder games
Hostage Negotiator, from Van Ryder Games

If Final Girl sounds like a fun solo game but you don’t like the horror movie theme, check out Hostage Negotiator, also from Van Ryder Games. The gameplay is similar. Final Girl is actually a reimplementation of 2015’s Hostage Negotiator, a game in which you play as a—you guessed it—hostage negotiator negotiating the release of hostages. The title really says it all.

Written by John David Thacker

John David is a freelance writer specializing in board games and the board game industry.

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