As a card-carrying member of the Cult of the New, I need to report on Final Girl
as the KS was just delivered (to me) earlier this week. For those unaware, this is a re-implementation of Hostage Negotiator
, a game that seems to have a love/hate relationship with people that play.
Right out of the gate, I'll say, they're similar - you get cards to play and then roll dice to earn successes, possibly mitigating your bad die rolling with items or discards. If you hate that mechanic, it's front and center in Final Girl. However - and this is the big difference - the addition of the tiny game board adds an entirely new dimension (har, har) to the game play. I know that one of the complaints about Hostage Negotiator is that it's quite abstract - it's a telephone call simulation, so not really a lot of action. But for Final Girl, you're moving around a thematic horror map and that changes the card and dice play enough that I think if you hated Hostage Negotiator, you might actually like this. The reason is that you're moving around the map and helping victims escape, searching for gear and avoiding the killer as they also move around and terrorize everyone.
The other thing that's rather impressive is all the elements that randomize game play. Even if you just purchased the core set and one of the themed boxes ("film reels") you get quite a bit of variety. Yes, you're always going to be playing at a specific location with one of two girls fighting the same horror monster, however, every game you randomize:
(1) Setup (location of killer, player and victims)
(3) Killer characteristics (revealed as things escalate, change game play mechanics)
(4) Final health status (last health point for killer and player is a hidden random token - might be zero, might be more health)
On top of that, all the sets are capable of being intermixed. So you can play Final girls from Set (A) against Boss (B) in location (C) (instead of playing Final Girl (A) against Boss (A) in location (A)) -- assuming you have multiple sets.
Here's starting setup:
It looks a bit busy, and there is a lot going on, but if you've played Hostage Negotiator, this is only a little more complicated as you need to account for the boss and victims moving around the map every turn. The goal is to power yourself up and take on the killer before they get too powerful from moving around the map and killing victims.
Anyway, my first play is still in progress, but I'm really liking what I'm seeing so far - believe the hype you might be hearing elsewhere. I believe it's coming to retail (via VanRyder online store, maybe in random retail locations) and I would highly, highly recommend it based on the limited amount of time I've spent with it so far. Replay value is high and the addition of the board gaming elements make it less abstract and much more thematic (imho). They're selling the core box for $20 and each feature film (girl/killer/venue) for $20, which feels reasonable now that I have the game in hand. I don't know if one set is more difficult than the other so I can't really say which one to get if you're looking at one - other than recommending you go with a theme you're into.
As a purely solo game with a relatively small footprint, it's hitting all the notes I typically look for. Would recommend.