Review: 'Last Friday' Board Game Is Fun Trip Back To A Certain Franchise

Last year's announcement of the new board game Last Friday made waves in the online community as the promise of a slasher board game with a certain familiarity to the franchise we write about on this website was exciting to say the least. Thanks to Ares Games, we were able to give the game a test run and now here are our thoughts.

Last Friday, a Friday The 13th themed board game (which is not titled Friday The 13th, wink), designed by Antonio Ferrara and Sebastiano Fiorillo and published by Ares Games, is a hidden movement deduction game. One player moves in secret and works against the rest of the players, who move in full sight of everyone at table.

Last Friday is not a Friday the 13th game in name as it is not a licensed adaptation or an official product, but it is completely a Friday the 13th game, borrowing from concepts and characters seen in the films. The game's board depicts Camp Apache, a quiet summer camp in the middle of the forest where nothing could possibly go wrong. Except for the deranged maniac who has come back from the dead and plans to murder all of the camp counselors who have gathered this fateful night!

At first glance, the board itself is a bit intimidating with so many icons and image depictions, however, it is fairly simple to navigate after a brief explanation by the rule book. Playing through one round and learning as you go was the best way to become acclimated to the game play.

Game Play
One player takes on the role of the killer and they track their movement on a piece of paper behind a large screen, far from the eyes of his opponents/victims. Everyone else plays camp counselors, whose pawns actually sit on the board and move in full view of everyone at the table. The camp counselor players can move on small circles that form various paths around the board while the maniac player moves from one numbered space to another. Learning which routes are faster for each kind of player is key.

Last Friday is played over four chapters, with each being played as it's own mini-game. In the first chapter, the camp counselor players need to find the keys to their cabins while the maniac stalks them, killing each one by one. In chapter two, the counselors reverse course and go after the killer in an attempt to hunt him down and kill him for the events of the first chapter. In chapter three, the killer is once again in stalking mode, this time looking for the Final Girl of sorts that he must kill in order to win the game. In the final chapter, the final player must end things once and for all and slay the killer that has butchered their friends.

There are some pretty cool ways that the counselors can slow down or reveal the whereabouts of the killer. Each counselor has "special abilities" and they can either plant lanterns to expose a stealthy maniac, leave bear traps lying around to slow his progress, and put on running shoes to move a little faster. The killer can use an axe to break down the counselor’s cabin door, play a plot twist to take an extra turn, or use an invisible token to mysteriously vanish from sight. Perhaps the best function of the game is that at different points within the game the killer must either reveal his current position or his position from a few turns ago, every three moves. This creates a number of tense moments that are genuine as you realize the maniac is quite possibly right behind you.

Our Thoughts
I played the game with my family and although it was a little slow in the beginning to grasp all of the rules, it ended up being a lot of fun to play. The character cards were very reminiscent of people we have seen in the Friday The 13th films and the setup of the game, wherein counselors are set to escape the killer, was enjoying.

Pros of the game most definitely is the cat and mouse game between trying to escape from the killer and finding out how close he may actually be. Going after the killer in the second chapter was lots of fun, and I liked the overall experience of playing as the killer.

The big Con of the game is the fact that players who are killed early on in a chapter have to sit and wait for a considerable amount of time before they get to continue into a new chapter. Switching chapters also means new rules, which can alter the mood of the game and brought some confusion when first learning how to play.

Overall, Last Friday is a fun way to spend a rainy night with friends or family in a unique interactive experience that does an admirable job of trying to recreate the 1980's era slasher film vibe. It's hard to say if the game will have infinite replay ability as I could see avid gamers becoming bored with the game after only a few plays due to the long waits for the next chapter. With that being said, it's definitely worth a play and it is recommended to add to your collection of other board games to revisit, especially of you like slasher films and stalking games.
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