Welcome to Table Top Terrors! In this monthly series we’ll help you recreate some of the terror, tension, and fun of scary stories by examining what the world of tabletop gaming has to offer horror fans. We’ll look at boardgames, card games, pen and paper RPGs, and miniature war games. We’ll offer reviews, insights, and tips on how to create an immersive and awesome game night
Hello, and welcome to the inaugural installment of Tabletop Terrors, Nightmare on Film Street’s monthly column on tabletop gaming. The year, and decade is almost over, but before it ends horror fans have a chance to honor a sacred day that comes once, maybe twice, and if we’re extremely lucky, three times a year.
That day is, of course, Friday the 13th an on it we honor the exploits of America’s favorite summer camp opponent, Mr. Jason Voorhees. You could celebrate it the way you usually do by watching one of the films in the classic Friday the 13th franchise, but why stop there? What if I told you there was a way to further immerse yourself in all the thrills, chills, and fun of the Friday the 13th movies by gathering some friends around your kitchen table to play a fun and engaging board game? Excited? Well, read on then for some tips on how to turn this and future Friday the 13th’s into the ultimate game night.
The first thing you’ll want to get is the board game, Last Friday. It’s an Italian designed board game that’s available in English through most board game retailers and online outfits like Amazon. It’s not an official Friday the 13th board game, but the designers clearly understand what makes those movies and the slasher sub-genre so much fun.
Last Friday is set in the summer of 1980. Several players take the roles of young camp counselors who have arrived at the sprawling, Camp Apache, to help its new owners fix the place up. When they arrive though their bosses are nowhere to be found. That’s because, unbeknownst to the counselors, Camp Apache has another inhabitant; a “maniac” who went on a murderous rampage at the old camp. It’s the job of the maniac player to insure that this indeed is the counselors last Friday on Earth!
The best part? That’s just the first round! Last Friday is a hidden movement game in the vein of titles like Fury of Dracula and Letters From Whitechapel where one player is secretly slinking around a game board and the other trying to find them. What separates it from those titles though and keeps it fresh is the game is played over four chapters, and each chapter the role of hunter and hunted switches.
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“What if I told you there was a way to further immerse yourself in all the thrills, chills, and fun of the Friday the 13th movies by gathering some friends around your kitchen table to play a fun and engaging board game?”
In Chapter One, “Arriving at the Camp,” the counselors explore the perimeter of the camp’s lake while they look for tools to survive and several keys to unlock nearby cabins that will give them temporary refuge from the murderous maniac. The maniac player secretly moves around the board trying to pick off the counselors. If a counselor collides with the Maniac on his turn or their turn . . . they die. And every three turns, the maniac puts a token on the board to indicate where they were three turns ago. If the maniac kills all the counselors in the first chapter the game comes to a quick end. If any of the counselors escape they make it to the next chapter. No need to worry if you die early on! The five counselor players all have a color token, and each color has several characters associated with it. So if you die in a chapter you start the following one with a new character who arrives via bus at the camp’s front entrance.
In Chapter Two, “The Chase,” the counselors go on the offensive and hunt the maniac. So the maniac player must avoid running into any of them. Making things even more challenging is the fact that the maniac has to reveal his exact location every three turns. If the maniac runs into a counselor the chapter immediately ends. If they survive the chapter, they get special bonus power to aid them later in the game.
Chapter Three, “The Massacre,” finds the maniac hot on the heels of the “Predestined”- the counselor that killed them the previous round, or the one who ended the previous chapter closest to them. The maniac once again can kill campers, and every three turns they reveal where they were three turns ago.
If the maniac does not kill the predestined by the chapter’s end, the game moves to the “The Final Chapter,” where the counselors once again stalk the maniac who has to reveal their exact location every three turns. The counselors goal is to corner the maniac so the Predestined can finish them off. The maniac’s goal is to run and hide.
The counselors and maniac each have special tokens that can aid them in their quests. For the counselors it’s “clues” that come in the form of things like bear traps and lanterns that force the maniac to reveal where they’re hiding, and shoes that allow them to move additional spaces. The maniac has tokens that let them do things like double their movement and hide when they’re supposed to reveal their location. New clue tokens are dropped every time the maniac reveals their location, and the maniac can earn his tokens back at the beginning of a chapter by killing a certain number of counselors.
There are several other rules that aid both the counselors and the maniac. All of them are very easy to grasp though, and the cooperative nature of the game for the counselors makes it especially easy and engaging. They’ll love problem solving together, and the best part of playing the maniac is the fear your opponents feel when you pop out of the shadows to execute a counselor, or when one of them meets a fatal end by unexpectedly crossing your path.
I got Last Friday as a gift over two years ago and it still gets a lot of plays in my monthly board game night. It’s especially good for large groups of up to 6 players, but can play as few as 2. A complete game can take between 60-90 minutes, but if you’re short on time each chapter can be played as a standalone mini-game. There’s also a fun expansion called, “Return to Camp Apache” which adds a number of cool elements. The best is the game becomes an homage to Freddy Vs Jason by adding a second maniac player, a “dream demon.”
The right game is an important element of the perfect game night, but it’s not the only one. Refreshments are also vital, and there are quite a few Jason and Friday the 13th themed cocktail recipes on the internet. We found one, via Mashable.com that might be a little sweet for some people, but is easy to put together.
The Camp Crystal Lake Mimosa
Ingredients: 1 oz Campari, 2 oz Sparkling wine, Honey, Red food coloring
Pour Campari and sparkling wine into glass. In separate container, combine honey and red food coloring. Rim the Campari-filled glass with the bloody honey to add to the slasher affect.
You can work up an appetite while on a murderous rampage, and a growling stomach can be fatal when you’re hiding from a stalker. So how about some snacks to keep your maniac and counselors happy?
We suggest the most thematic of camp snacks, the s’more. They’re a classic and easy to make treat, but if you’re looking for a twist on them, and have the time and desire to bake some sweets we have a few ideas for your courtesy of Delish; Chocolate Chipped Cookie s’mores , s’more cheesecake, and s’more tacos.
“You can work up an appetite while on a murderous rampage, and a growling stomach can be fatal when you’re hiding from a stalker. So how about some snacks to keep your maniac and counselors happy?”
Now you’ve got a great game, some drinks, and some snacks. All that’s missing is a little ambiance to take your game night to the next level. The first thing you’ll need is some music to set the mood. For that you’ll want to turn to the man who created Jason Voorhees‘ signature “kill kill ma ma” sound, composer Harry Manfredini. His scores for Friday the 13th Parts 2-6, Jason X, and Friday the 13th: The Video Game are available via Amazon Music. Spotify has his scores for parts 1-6, and the video game. Both streaming services also have Friday the 13th: The Ultimate Compilation which features Manfredini’s tracks from several of the films, so there’s plenty of music to build your own perfect Last Friday playlist.
The final bit of ambiance you’ll need is something to get your players fired up before a game, to keep them going in between chapters, or to celebrate a victory. We suggest some Friday the 13th video highlights including Jason’s most iconic murders, a Tommy Jarvis Highlight Reel (to keep camp counselor spirits up) including his fist foray in Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter, and later as an adult in Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. If you bring all these elements together, you and you’re friends are sure to have a “killer” game night. So gather your ingredients, call your pals, and prepare to celebrate the last Friday the 13th of the decade in style.
How will you be celebrating the final Friday The 13th of the decade? Will you be going out in style, with a killer food and drink inspired board game night with friends, or will you be keeping it real low key, hiding in the bushes, spying on those pesky counselors that keep trespassing on your abandoned campground? Let us know over on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club!