Don’t Look Up
Van Ryder’s 2021 mega hit Final Girl has taken the board game market by storm. A reimplementation of previous game Hostage Negotiator, designer AJ Porfirio changed the theme from police procedural to the high octane fear fest of classic horror films. The media phenomenon of the ‘final girl’ has been around since the days of Hitchcock, referring to the last girl standing against some sort of villain, but exploded in popularity in the 70s/80s with films like Alien and Halloween. What makes this game different is its solo nature. Thematically, being a solo game puts you in the place of the final girl herself as you run around trying to beat the big bad. Part of its success comes from the big move for many gamers to explore solo gaming during the pandemic but the series is truly exciting, and varied enough to target a really broad demographic. With sets so far giving homage to films like Poltergeist, Alien and The Thing and with season three on the way next year, there really is a set for everyone. There is even a Christmas themed box due this festive season, putting you against Krampus! As well as their main feature film sets, there have been a number of micro expansions available which offer a slightly different type of ‘bad guy’. One such expansion, coming from the world of Hitchcock is Terror From Above.
Fly My Pretties…
It is important to mention, for those unaware of this franchise, that in order to play you must have purchased the core set, and for this micro expansion you will also own one of the other feature film sets. Each feature film set will give you a location, two new final girls and a villain, and to play Terror From Above you will need to choose a location from one of these sets.
So what do you get in the box? First and foremost you will get a load of bird tokens. You see, Terror From Above is inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic horror The Birds. This is what I love about this series. You can one moment be fighting against killer puppets, then a ghost, or aliens or even a swarm of killer birds! So the first thing you will see are three punch boards of tokens, providing thirty-six birds which all have a ‘three’ multiplier on their back. For those of you playing along, that is A LOT of birds! This gives you a sense of how much this villain can spread around locations. You will also get their unique terror deck, revealing their actions turn by turn, their dark powers and their finale card. You will also get a set of rule cards that will tell you how to set-up and run this particular villain. As you have probably guessed, the main action of these winged horrors is to spread around and fast. They work really well on any location whether at Creech Manor or strangely even on the spaceship SS Conrad. When on their own, the birds are fairly harmless and will sit back and watch you as you move around trying to save passers by but if they are left unchecked then can grow into ferocious flocks and cause a lot of damage.
The Early Bird Catches The Girl…
You will also get a new Tippi Hedren inspired final girl to play as, Melanie. On her starting side, you will see that her health is a pretty average five and she needs to save six victims in order to flip the card and reveal her special power. Each victim offers a mix of the usual rewards, focusing on health and lowering the horror factor but one will offer her a free guard card for defense. Once flipped however, Melanie comes alive! You will be able to lose one health point in order to cause two damage at your location, deciding that damage how you want. This becomes so powerful with birds only needed one hit to kill them, but getting this power unlocked might be more difficult than it first may seem.
Terror From Above, is a great addition to the collection for any Final Girl fan as it offers a really unique and interesting challenge. If you can move fast enough then you can save a lot of victims early on but risk the flocks growing in size and power but spend too long trying to keep on top of the birds you will never get a chance to do anything else.