Final Girl: the girl against the bad guy of horror movies, the latest cry of solo games


The fight for focus in the board games sector is increasingly tougher. The launches accumulate in a market saturated with new developments. But in this tremendously competitive ecosystem, news has prevailed in the highlights of specialized stores and in the prescribing channels for ‘gamers’ in recent weeks: the long-awaited Spanish edition of Final Girl It’s here… The tribe of solo gaming devotees in our country screams with terror and trembles with pleasure.

«We signed the game almost two years ago; “We loved it, but we didn’t suspect the incredible reception it is having from the public,” he emphasizes. Servando Carballarpublishing director Gen X Games -licensee of the Spanish edition of Final Girl-. «We have practically sold out the game in pre-sales and we are already working on the reissue. “We did a fairly large run but, even so, we fell short,” the founder of the stores also explains to EL MUNDO. Generation -franchise specialized in pop culture products-.

Indeed, the promotional editions of the game – which not only had a special price but (and above all) included exclusive material – flew as soon as they went on sale. A phenomenon, however, quite predictable given the previous trajectory of the game. Final Girl was born in April 2020 through a campaign crowdfunding on the platform Kickstarter: It achieved its financing goal in less than two hours and, two years later, the so-called ‘second season’ (in a nod to its cinematographic theme) achieved contributions from more than 12,000 patrons and a collection that exceeded two million dollars.

Preview of the 'third season'.
Preview of the ‘third season’.VAN RYDER GAMES

“We took a lot of risks, but luckily they paid off,” he recalls about the origins of the project. AJ Porfirioco-creator of Final Girl (next to Evan Derrick) and president of Van Ryder Games -publisher responsible for the original edition of the game-. “We could never have imagined the great success it has become,” he confesses to EL MUNDO. “It has had a great impact on our company and on the lives of all of us who make it up,” he explains. “We were already on a growth trajectory before, but its success has launched us exponentially,” he adds: “Thanks to Final Girl “We have expanded staff, resources, capabilities and improved an already successful business.”

The mechanics are phenomenal and the gaming experience is exceptional

Servando Carballar

In the BGG -the most important information website in the sector-, Final Girl It is among the 26 best themed games in history and has the highest rating among solo mode titles. In addition to the original in English and now in Spanish, the game has also been published in French, Polish, Chinese… and new editions in other languages ​​are underway. «New locations take time, especially in a game whose production has so many different components; many boxes, accessories…», explains Porfirio.

solo players

For quite some time now, the board game sector has been experiencing a period of splendor. But within this general wave, the solo gaming niche is experiencing a dynamic of special expansion. A trend that both publishers and creators are addressing. “There are many fans who do not have a gaming group and this situation has been promoting the rise of solitary board games,” emphasizes Carballar, who confirms that “the designs of this type of game today are much better than what “It was presented 10 or 15 years ago.”

“There has never been a better time to dedicate yourself to board games and things are only getting better,” explains Porfirio, who highlights the special potential of the solitaire niche. “The only thing I would ask of my fellow editors is that they do not include a solo mode in their games as a mere invitation, because not everyone needs that option,” points out the designer in light of the fact that most of the new board games of ‘cooperative’ style – in which players collaborate in search of victory (unlike those classified as ‘competitive’) – define themselves as suitable for a single player.

Box from the 'Massacre at the Fair-Gepetto' scenario.
Box from the ‘Massacre at the Fair-Gepetto’ scenario.GEN X GAMES

Final Girl, on the other hand, belongs to the segment of games that could be described as ‘native solitaire’: those created strictly to be played alone. In this specific case, the player takes the role of the ‘final girl’ from horror movies slasher…that teenager who is left as the only survivor after all her friends have been massacred, having to face the Freddy Krueger shift. Luck (dice rolls), strategy (selection of cards with different actions) and time management (time trial component) determine the fate of the game.

The game system Final Girl is a derivative of Hostage Negotiator -another great solitaire board game from AJ Porfirio-, but with more advanced developments, including the movement of the characters along a board. “The mechanics are phenomenal and the gaming experience is exceptional,” says Servando Carballar: “It has a system that is easy to learn, intuitive, and fits like a glove to the narrative aspect of the films.” slasher». Nightmare in Elm street, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre each of the scenarios Final Girl pays tribute to these creepiest horror film classics. They are not expressly cited for reasons of property rights, but they are perfectly recognizable.

Combinable modules

The game is made up of a basic box – with the essential generic elements – and different scenarios, independent, but combinable with each other. In Carballar’s opinion, precisely “the great success of the system Final Girl is that you can play different movies with any of the protagonists from other boxes and thus the replayability increases exponentially. Each of the ‘final girls’ cards has different powers and differentiated personal abilities. “This model certainly doesn’t look like any other board game,” Porfirio emphasizes.

The author of the game remembers for THE WORLD the creative process from which it emerged Final Girl and the curious twist that occurred in the middle of it: «My partner Evan Derrick and I wanted to develop a solo board game where the player took the role of the horror movie killer, but we quickly moved away from this concept to evolve towards the trope of the ‘final girl’ as protagonist. A radical change of script – “the retail segment allows the possibility of trying different things,” comments the author – that possibly turned out to be the great success of the project.

'Nightmare on Maple Lane'.
‘Nightmare on Maple Lane’.VAN RYDER GAMES

Another distinctive feature of Final Girl It’s your care visual aspect. The artistic work – with reminiscences vintage– both the ‘final girls’ and the villains, as well as the cards, the boards and the rest of the components is a true hallmark of the game. In addition, the design of the boxes – simulating in size, shape and even opening system that of old movies VHS– aims to extend the owner’s satisfaction: from the table (where he enjoys it as a game) to the shelf (where it is displayed with collector’s pride).

I don’t like it when someone belittles something out of ignorance and that often happens with solo board games.

AJ Porfirio

However, solo players often encounter incomprehension from those who believe that the greatest (or only) attraction of board games is sharing time with friends. “Playing alone is incredible,” claims Porfirio. “I don’t like it when something is belittled as inferior, and that often happens with solo board games, usually out of ignorance,” he laments. And he says: “It is possible that someone has never considered that a board game can be enjoyed alone and scoffs at the idea, or they may think that someone who does it is not ‘cool’… To all those who think That way, I challenge you: Play Final Girl Let’s see what you think later!

If board games have long ceased to be things (only) for children, products like Final Girl They are the best proof of this. Due to its theme, this game seems more suitable for those nostalgic for the 80s and 90s than for current teenagers. Furthermore, to keep up with all the new developments, a certain purchasing power more typical of ‘nostalgic parents’ what of ‘saving kids’. The complete experience of Final Girl It involves acquiring miniatures carved in resin, premium rugs, setting books…

Final Girl It begins like this and now a new game in Spain, which also opens doors of access to millions of Spanish speakers around the world. “Our idea is to publish the second season of the game before the summer of 2024 and of course we will also join the third season which is now in the development phase in the US,” explains the head of Gen X Games, a Spanish company whose distribution reaches countries like Mexico or Argentina… and who proclaims: “There is Final Girl for a while!”.

All the components of the 'first season' of 'Final Girl' and its expansions.
All the components of the ‘first season’ of ‘Final Girl’ and its expansions.GEN X GAMES

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