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Final Girl: Series 2 Game Review

Freddy’s Revenge

Just when we thought we’d finally killed the terrors in the dark, Final Girl comes back for more in Series 2 of the solo smash.

Doing another series for Final Girl was a no-brainer. The first set of modules in this endlessly customizable survival horror game was a massive success, taking the world of solo board gaming by storm. Our own Justin Bell had nothing but glowing praise when he reviewed the Final Girl base set, and I’m no different.

But a second series brings with it risks. There’s the dreaded sophomore slump, buckling under the pressures of expectations. Could Final Girl add extensions to the house without creating cracks in the foundations?

One of the scenario boards, a series of interconnected, irregularly shaped spaces depicting a house and the rural area around it. There are a number of meeples in different colors.

The Root of All Evil

If you’re looking for a more exhaustive description of Final Girl, I’ll direct you to Justin’s review, but here’s the quick pitch: the entire series is premised around the horror trope of the Final Girl, a female protagonist who manages to survive everything and lead the baddie to their ultimate demise. The roots of the Final Girl can be traced at least as far back as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), but the trope wasn’t identified until the late 1980’s.

Final Girl the game puts you in the position of that woman. You spend your time desperately trying to save innocent bystanders while hatching a plot to beat the baddie(s). There’s a lot of running around, a lot of digging through dumpsters and attics for possible weapons, and a healthy amount of dice-throwing.

The brilliance of the design is the emphasis that Evan Derrick and A. J. Porfirio place on narrative. Final Girl isn’t a system for people who are precious about their outcomes. You have to be okay with your plans falling to pieces, no matter how careful you’ve been. The joy here is in finding excuses to laugh. Heck, the manual even encourages you to break rule ambiguities in favor of whichever outcome is funnier.

The action cards on the table, pre-selection. There are a number of action cards available.

The Sophomore Bump

I have not had a chance to sit down with every module of Series 2, but I have spent a good amount of time with The Intruders and The Ratchet Lady. Based on those, Final Girl: Series 2 does exactly what you’d want a modular expansion system to do. It adds more flavors to the pot that weren’t already there, without fundamentally changing the things that make Final Girl what it is.

The Intruders has you take on a trio of masked assailants. Normally, the monster in a game of Final Girl takes a turn at the end of each round, but in The Intruders, you never quite know which one is going to move next. It creates a fantastic tension, especially as they start to spread out over the board. I found myself doing a lot more sneaking around than normal, at least until I got my hands on the items to fashion myself a good weapon.

The main board, which shows your health, the horror level, and any innocent bystanders you've managed to rescue.

The Ratchet Lady is hard. Most sessions of Final Girl start with a board full of innocent bystanders who slowly get picked off. In The Ratchet Lady, they can turn into minions that follow you from room to room and swarm you. Additionally, the hospital is packed full of old medications, which you can slam back for a variety of bonuses. The trick, of course, is that you have to get to the dispensaries first.

Each time I play Final Girl, I am enamored by its commitment, by the degree to which it loves its subject. Not only are the Final Girl modules entertaining, they are deeply clever, and well-observed. Derrick and Porfirio aren’t afraid to stretch the boundaries of what this system can do from module to module, and the results continue to be spectacular. The Ratchet Lady’s minions made me desperately curious to play the Series 2 module based on The Thing, I’ll tell you what. I can only imagine the fun they had with that.

If you love Final Girl, you’ll love Series 2. If you’ve never played it, there’s no significant increase in overhead to any one module from either series, so you’ll find yourself with even more options. You should absolutely pick whichever setting appeals most to you. With Series 3 already announced, your favorite horror film has to be in there somewhere.

  • Excellent - Always want to play.

Disclosure: Meeple Mountain received a free copy of this product in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. This review is not intended to be an endorsement.

About the author

Andrew Lynch

Andrew Lynch was a very poor loser as a child. He’s working on it.

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