This might be the Final Girl feature film that has the most recognisable characters. Even if you’re not a horror fan, as is the case for me, you’ll probably know these characters from other media, such as bedtime stories or Shrek. If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise. Better pack your running shoes, it’s going to get scary in the Storybook Woods, Once Upon a Full Moon.
The Cast And Crew
All the Final Girl feature films use the same basic rules from the core set. However, they all have their own quirks and special rules, which makes them unique. Here's Once Upon a Full Moons:
The Final Girls: Red & Gretel
Little Red Riding Hood, or Red to you, is an evasive character, making her way to Grandmas. With just five health, she needs to move fast to collect her six Victims. Her special ability is, once per Action phase, Red can move one space for free if an Enemy is within 2 spaces of her. Especially helpful is her ability to regain two health when extra victims are saved.
Gretel has left her brother behind, presumably in the Gingerbread House, and is instead getting more resourceful. With six health and five Victim slots, her unique ability allows you to change a 2 on the dice to a Success by discarding 3 Action Cards. This can be very useful when needing that critical success. She also is apparently not as afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, with extra Victims saved reducing the Terror level.
The Killer: The Big Bad Wolf
Speaking of being afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, there are some interesting effects going on with this Killer in Once Upon a Full Moon. You see, as a predator, Old Big Teeth has two modes of being, one being Track, the other being Slay. The Terror cards for the Wolf has effects for both Slay or Track mode, and depending on the mode he starts the turn in, that’s the effect you’ll follow through with. There is one exception – the dreaded Killing Machine Epic Dark Power. This card causes you to apply both effects whilst it is in play.
Starting the game in Track mode, the Wolf may have some effects which change the mode during the turn, but even if you do, you only apply the effects on the mode you started the Killer phase in.
The Location: Storybook Woods
Storybook Woods is home to some of the locations we’re very familiar with for our two Final Girls: The Gingerbread House and Grandma’s house, with other named locations such as Meadow, Glen, Dell and Clearing. However, despite the familiarity, Storybook Woods is a smaller map than most, with some unique features. A trio of bridges span the river running through the middle of the woods, but each are somewhat rickety, and can only support you and a single victim. These are very good for getting around from the middle but the restriction of moving Victims is a challenge. A fourth bridge might appear, with the Toll Bridge event, with a similar restriction.
Events are a frequent possibility in this location, what with half the terror cards inviting along extra events including new characters and some other special surprises. One of the cool items you can find out in the woods is a Raft, which instructs you to place four tokens along the river on the indicated raft space. This lets you meander along the river, using one movement to hop between each Raft token on the board, costing one Time for each token you pass through, including the starting and finishing spots.
Once Upon a Full Moon is a really interesting one. It makes a lot of sense thematically because it draws on familiar characters and locations, whilst giving a tough challenge for the player. The Big Bad Wolf is brutal, with great speed and ferocity, frequent chances to recover his own health and starting the players at a Terror level of 5. A lot of his Terror cards have extra attacks on them, dealing out massive damage to you or to your helpless Victims. I’ve found you really need to take the Wolf down fast. If he gets a chance to build up momentum, you’ll find yourself short on Victims to save and rapidly targeted by the Wolf. On such a small map, the Wolf can get around a lot easier and really get in your face whilst you scramble to save as many people as you can. The Raft is very useful when you need a quick getaway, but it wont always come up on the Item deck. The weight restrictions on the bridges is also an interesting take, because you have to often choose between a speedy exit with one victim, leaving the others to a massacre, or find a way around the outside to double the rescues.
I’m a big fan of using myths, legends and folk stories in games. Just look at Unmatched as an example. They offer such a wealth of combined story telling that we can all instantly draw upon. I’d like to see a future set based on mythology but that’s not relevant for right now. The use of two of the most famous characters from the Brother’s Grimm tales is an inspired choice in my view. And I think the combination in this feature film is really quite excellent. The Wolf fits in wherever you might like to put him, giving a Werewolf twist to any of the other settings, whereas the Storybook Wood could easily host any of the other Killers. Geppetto from Carnage at the Carnival is an easy example, what with his Disney connection. All things considered, this is a really great option if you’re looking for a set to get stuck into. I think of the Season Two films, Once Upon a Full Moon is the easiest to begin with, so if you want to start your journey somewhere, to Grandma’s house we go.