last friday board game

The best board games tell dynamic stories, plunging gamers into narratives of their own creation as they race to outwit, outthink, and out-dice roll their opponents. Tabletop gaming can often make for a cinematic experience when designers aren’t trying to evoke a specific film or genre, which makes a game like Last Friday look all the more intriguing. Here is a board game that is specifically trying to recreate an old school slasher movie in the Friday the 13th mold and for those of us who occupy a specific sliver on a diagram measuring horror movie fans and tabletop fans, it looks like a potentially amazing experience.

The creation of Italian game designers Antonio Ferrara and Sebastiano Fiorillo, Last Friday leans heavily on the iconography of a certain flavor of horror movie. The game board is an isolated summer camp. Some players step into the shoes of various archetypes (Nerds! Jocks! Stereotypical “Final Girl”!). One player takes on the role of a deadly killer, who stalks around the board attempting to claim victims on a mission of bloody revenge.

Although I can’t speak for the gameplay, I’m a huge fan of “hidden movement” games, where one player secretly moves around a map while everyone else works together in full view. This style of game works exceptionally well for the horror genre, with board game masterpieces like Fury of Dracula and Letters From Whitechapel using the lack of available information to ratchet up tension around the table to unbearable levels. Last Friday‘s board bears a strong resemblance to Letters From Whitechapel (with dozens of potential locations/hiding spots marked by numbers), but the actual design seems to reverse its dynamic. While that game is about a team of cops hunting down a hidden serial killer, Last Friday appears to be about a team of campers being hunted by a hidden serial killer. That’s a refreshing twist on a gaming genre I already love. I can already hear my friends and family scream and shout as they watch their buddies get picked off one-by-one around the table.

Although an exact North American release date has not been specified, it looks like the publisher is targeting an August release date for the English language version of the game (the game’s Facebook page is full of images from an Italian printing).

Here’s an official description of the game:

Designed by Antonio Ferrara and Sebastiano Fiorillo (authors of the horror-themed card game “Stay Away!”), Last Friday is a game for two to six players, divided into four chapters full of horror and suspense (Arrival at the Camp, The Chase, The Massacre and The Final Chapter). Each chapter plays out very differently, as the hunter becomes the prey, then comes back from the dead looking for revenge.

If lore is your thing, here is the game’s thematic description, which borrows more than its fare share of horror tropes:

Five friends were contacted by the counselors at Camp Apache, a summer camp nestled deep in the woods. In exchange for a weekend getaway at the camp, the friends agreed to make some repairs and get the place ready for the coming season. What they don’t know, is that they are about to experience the most terrifying weekend of their lives. Locals believe the camp is cursed due to unexplainable misfortunes over the years.

Campfire legend tells of a murderer who died at Camp Apache and is determined to seek revenge from the grave. Several days before their arrival, a decomposed body was fished out of the lake by some divers. The authorities weren’t able to identify the body and had the corpse buried in the cemetery several miles from the infamous camp.

Some believe the body from the lake belongs to the legendary murderer who refuses to stay dead. The unprepared group will soon discover the horrifying truth. Is the body resting peacefully in the cemetery or has the maniac returned to carry out his brutal revenge?

You can find more information and images at the game’s Facebook page, but you can check out pictures of the box art and the game board below. In any case, Last Friday looks like a nice way to bide your time while the producers of the next Friday the 13th movie figure out what the hell they’re doing with the series.

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