The Last Friday and other hidden movement games.

This is a one versus the rest game of hidden movement based around the old horror slasher films. I knew nothing of the game and I have had mixed experiences of the ‘one player versus all while hidden’ games. Some good, some not so. How does this compare?

Well the theme first. The game is made up of four acts. Each one different from the last. There is a slasher going around some woods hunting the rest of the party trying to kill them off while the party are trying to find keys to huts to hide from the slasher. The keys are hidden around the board as upside down tokens along with other objects that can be used to aid the party evade (and later hunt) the slasher. The second act the party go hunting for the slasher, the third act one of the party becomes a target for the slasher and needs to be protected by the rest while the slasher goes on the hunt again and the fourth act is the party have to find the slasher again.

The slasher and members of the party have different movement patterns. The routes on the board have two different types of symbols printed along the routes, one applicable to the party and the other the slasher, which makes it more interesting, but it also makes large chunks of the board unusable to the party as the slasher moves too quickly through that area. The reverse is also applicable to other parts of the board where the slasher moves too slowly.

The storyline is as ridiculous like from one of the classic films, so it fits, however the gameplay is dreadful. The result of each act has an outcome on the following act, but the results of act two and three are pretty much inconsequential, the results of the first slightly more relevant, but not much. I found that certain parts of the board favoured each side, so whenever the acts ended and the hunted became the hunters, everyone would scurry for a certain area of the board, where they could move about easier with less risk of discovery.

The publisher states that the game length is 30 mins to 2 hours. I only played this with 4 or more players, so can’t comment on 2 or 3 player games, but I didn’t play a game that was less than 4 hours to complete the four acts. That is a serious time investment in a game. I know you want to know was it worth it, right? Well it wasn’t! It was garbage. I wish I could get my time playing this game back. I wouldn’t describe this as broken, but it was certainly flawed. It felt like we were just doing the same thing over and over for 4 hours with a few role switches in-between. There are far better ‘one player versus all while hidden’ games out there in the board game ether. You know what, I’ll tell you a bit about the ones I have played, but in the meantime, if you really want to buy this, you can do at Gameslore as well as other places.

https://www.gameslore.co.uk/acatalog/PR_The_Last_Friday_Board_Game.html

Right the others….

Not Recommended:

Letters from Whitechapel

I have played this a few times and each time I found that it took about 3 hours to play and had the same outcome. You are a group of detectives who are trying to find Jack the Ripper while he is off on a murdering spree, this is made up into various acts, but I found that the ripper won every time and the game too way too long and it was a bit ‘rinse and repeat’. It is better than Last Friday, but that is not a compliment.

Not for me, but I can see the appeal

Fury of Dracula

I have not played the newly released third version of this, I am referring to the previous edition. My main gripe with this was the length, around the 3 hour mark. However there was a lot more going on here and had a nice amount of depth and theme to the game and felt more balanced, just 3 hours though, it just dragged on too much.

Good but there are better out there (also depends on player count)

Nuns on the Run

This plays up to 8 players and is a lot of fun. Takes about an hour, which is the sweet spot as far as I am concerned with hidden movement games. However, in this game there are two nuns on the prowl hunting down up to six naughty novices who have to retrieve objects and stay hidden. It is fun and is ideal for 7 or 8 players. It falls down with its not-so-straightforward line of sight rules or the fact that the 2 nuns don’t stand a chance of keeping all the novices under control and stopping them from hitting their goals, there is always one that slips through the net. It is fun though.

Recommended

Scotland Yard

What? A mainstream game available in Toys R Us? What is this heresy you spew? Indeed. Agent X is being hunted around London by detectives and tries to evade capture until the detectives run out of moves. There are various versions of this with little tweaks, like NY chase and Mister X, but this is nicely balanced with some tiny variations that can make a world of difference to the difficulty. Plays in about an hour and is a lot of fun.

Not Alone

You have crash landed on an alien planet and you need to survive until the rescue ship gets to your crash site and rescues you. But….. there is a creature hunting you, trying to assimilate you into the planet. This sort of falls into this category, but I am pushing the boundaries a little. I think it is super hard for the hunted to escape the creature. This is great fun and only takes about 30 mins. I have been trying to work on slight tweaks to the game to balance it a bit better in favour of the hunted over the creature as I have found that only if the creature makes a couple of mistakes early on in the game, the hunted don’t stand a chance. This was an Essen 2016 release and probably one of my top 3 games of last year.

The Daddy

Garibaldi

The artwork is drab, the theme is not that interesting. Why is this the Daddy? It’s all about the gameplay baby! The onus is on the hidden Garibaldi player to escape from the hunting Austrian players as Garibaldi has to reach one of the target spaces on the other side of the board in a limited amount of turns. There is a bit of luck here with cards dictating which of the different types of route you can use, but you bear these in mind. It is nicely balanced for it to be tense on both sides and the game lasts about an hour, unless it has gone horribly wrong for Garibaldi then it will be shorter!

Outside the scope

They Come Unseen

I reviewed this about a year ago and it is a team game where one team are moving hidden submarines and the other team are trying to find them and blow them out of the water. You can find the full review via the link

http://www.lizardlounge.net/2016/01/28/they-come-unseen-review-by-osprey-games/

Captain Sonar

Another Essen 2016 release, similar theme to They Come Unseen above, but both teams are in submarines and try to hunt each other down as they are both hidden from the others. Very good fun, but the game has 2 modes, turn by turn and real time. Don’t do turn by turn, way too slow! Embrace the chaos of real time. Works best with 8 players this one.

Escape from the Aliens from Outer Space

Another team hidden movement game where one team are humans trying to escape from Aliens on a spaceship, there is a lot of luck with this game as you usually have to draw a card when you move and the type of card you draw dictates what information you pass on to the other players. We found it very hard for the humans and played it about a dozen times on different maps before a human eventually got away. Good fun and very quick, but very luck dependant.

Specter Ops

I have only had one play of this and it went very wrong very quickly for the hidden player as he made a very early error so was soon caught. Need to play again to form a better opinion about this. Promising first opinions though.

Stewart Pilling
Stewart Pilling

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