We’ve been looking at some unusual cooperative games lately, so Last Friday looked quite appealing to us. A game for two to six players, Last Friday can be played as a single chapter or multi-chapter game. Despite an incredibly ‘busy’ board, the game isn’t too complex, and you can be up and running in under 15 minutes first time out.
Last Friday is a hidden movement, hunting and deduction board game, inspired by the popular “slasher” horror movie genre. In the role of young campers, the players are challenged to survive a long weekend of terror – while one of them takes the role of the undying psychopath hiding in the shadows of the forest. In general, the murderer’s goal is to remain hidden and to kill off each of the campers, while the campers are trying to fight back and kill the murderer before they are all killed.
The most exciting thing about Last Friday is the game mechanics. Whilst the majority of players work cooperatively, one player is always the ‘murderer’, working against the rest of the group. For the player who controls the murderer, it’s a very different game to the usual cooperative, and you view play almost as an outsider.
The murderer has their own little gameplay area, consisting of a miniature board map and movement tracking sheet. This is all hidden from the other players, and allows the murderer to plot their movements in secret. You see, in Last Friday, the players don’t know where exactly the murderer is. They can set traps to try and highlight his position, and every three turns get a glimpse of where the murderer was earlier in the game, but his exact location is mostly hidden.
This means that the other players must work together to try and figure out where the murderer might be, and to also ensure they don’t accidentally bump into him, or get caught! The most interesting dynamic in Last Friday is that when players discuss what they’re going to do, and where they’re going to go, it’s very easy to forget that the player controlling the murderer is sat at the very same table, and listening to everything you say!
Tactically, it’s very difficult for both sides to plan strategically, but rather than risk over complicating the game, it just makes it more interesting.
The second thing I love about Last Friday is that when playing a multi-chapter game, the dynamics totally change.
The game is played over four chapters — Arrival at the Camp, The Chase, The Massacre, and The Final Chapter — and each chapter plays out differently as the hunter becomes the prey, then comes back from the dead looking for revenge.
Before playing the first game, the murderer has the opportunity to place items the campers need in locations of his choice. This can be used to hinder or manipulate the movements of the survivors, and a clever murderer can use good placement to his advantage. On the other hand, survivors can pick up items to help them flush out the murderer, and must work together to ensure everyone survives!
What we appear to have ended up with is a board game version of hide and seek. Mechanics are relatively straightforward, and rules don’t change drastically between chapters. Although, actions taken in earlier chapters have consequences for later in the game, so make decisions wisely! The hidden movement mechanic adds great suspense to the game. If you play the murderer and have a great poker face, your camp survivors will be on edge for the whole game…
We really enjoyed Last Friday, it was a welcome change to the usual cooperative games we play, and it turns out that stalking your friends is rather fun! On another positive note, recently we’ve felt that a few games we have looked at have been a little overpriced, but this one feels much more like value for money.
The RRP for Last Friday is £49.99, and it can be found at independent game stores, which can be found using this store locator.