Get Your Machete Ready for ‘Friday the 13th: Horror at Camp Crystal Lake’

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Jason Voorhees stalks Camp Crystal Lake. Can you gather the supplies you need to stay alive?

What Is Friday the 13th: Horror at Camp Crystal Lake?

Friday the 13th: Horror at Camp Crystal Lake is a competitive bag-building game for 3-6 players. As with most games of this type, a larger player count is better. It takes 60 minutes to play, and is for ages 17+. However, despite the fact that the game is based on an R-rated horror series, there is nothing particularly frightening or gory in the contents (cartoon blood splatters notwithstanding). No one even actually dies in the game; they just lose their supplies as they flee Jason’s attack. As long as you don’t mind the theme, you could easily play this with teenagers. It retails for $29.99, and is available in stores and online now.

Friday the 13th: Horror at Camp Crystal Lake is designed by Sergio Halaban and Andre Zatz, and is published by The Op. It is a reimplementation of Quartz.

Friday the 13th components. Image by Paul Benson.

Friday the 13th: Horror at Camp Crystal Lake Components

Here’s what comes in the box:

  • 6 Player Boards
  • 1 Cabin Board
  • 10 Critical Supply Cards
  • 6 Backpack Cards
  • 64 Fear Cards
  • 88 Blood Splatter Points Tokens
  • 6 Escape Tokens
  • 6 Player Tokens
  • 1 Night Tracker
  • 67 Supply Tokens
  • 1 Camp Bag
  • 1 Rulebook

My favorite component of the game is the Player Boards. They are shaped like Jason’s hockey mask, and even have that famous image on one side. The other side has each character’s name and illustration, but more importantly, a scoring guide and reminder of a couple of the more important rules. Unfortunately, the Player Boards as well as the Camp Board are made of card rather than cardboard. My Camp Board in particular was slightly warped, and didn’t want to lay completely flat. But with the inexpensive price point for the game, it’s not a surprise that the lighter card was used.

One of the Player Boards. Image by Paul Benson.

Interestingly, the graphic design for the cards and boards shares a style that I associate more with 70’s horror like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre than with a movie series iconic to the 1980’s. Regardless, the art does have a nice retro feel to it, and includes images that will bring to mind the various movies in the Friday the 13th series.

Some of the Fear Cards. Image by Paul Benson.

As this is a bag building game, the designers have included a cloth bag that could belong to no other game but this one:

The Camp Bag. Image by Paul Benson.

The 67 Supply Tokens are all identically shaped plastic, but with different colors and illustrations. This makes it impossible to game the game and pull out a specific token from the Camp Bag by feel.

The various Supply Tokens. Image by Paul Benson.

How to Play Friday the 13th: Horror at Camp Crystal Lake

You can download a copy of the rulebook here.

The Goal

To have the most Blood Splatter Points at the end of five nights of surviving Jason.

Setup for a 3-player game. Image by Paul Benson.

Setup

Place the Cabin Board in the middle of the table. The Night Marker should be on the Night 1 space, and one Jason Supply Token should be placed on every other Night space.

place the Blood Splatter Point Tokens and Escape Tokens near the Cabin Board. Place all Supply Tokens (including remaining Jason Tokens) into the Camp Bag.

Each player gets a Player Board with matching Player Token, and a Backpack Card. After shuffling the Fear Deck, each player receives a hand of 5 Fear Cards.

Shuffle the Critical Supply Cards and place on face up on the Cabin Board. Place card decks near the Camp Board.

The Camp Board ready for the start of a game. Image by Paul Benson.

Gameplay

Whoever most recently watched a horror film goes first. Play proceeds in a clockwise fashion. You are attempting to get as many supplies as you can before returning to the cabin for the night.

On a player’s turn, they may do just one of three possible actions: Search for supplies, play a fear card, or return to the cabin:

Search for Supplies

Reach into the Camp Bag and pull out just one Supply Token, placing it on your Player Board. If you already have one Jason Token, pulling out a second will cause you to drop all your supplies and return to the cabin immediately, though you will receive an Escape Token, which may be discarded on a future round to remove a Jason Token from your Player Board.

Play a Fear Card

Play a Fear Card from your hand. Follow the actions listed on the card. If you’re playing in an advanced game, a person whom you play a Fear Card on may have a Defense Fear Card, which could allow them to block your action.

Defense Cards. Image by Paul Benson.

Return to the Cabin

Flip over your Player Board, and place your player token on the first available slot on the Camp Board. The longer you stay out searching for supplies, the higher the “bravery bonus” will be. Also, if you are the first player to return with the supplies listed on the Critical Supply Card, you will receive that bonus. In the example below, The Jock was not only the first one back to the cabin, but he also had found both a cleaver and a flashlight. He therefore is the only player to receive a bonus 6 Blood Splatter Points for that.

The Jock returns to the cabin first. Image by Paul Benson.

Scoring

Once the final player has returned to the cabin, each player may first choose to save up to two Supply Tokens on their Backpack card for a future turn.

Then, each player counts up their points, referring to their Player Board for values of each supply. Additionally, there are 4 different types of bonuses available, for turning in sets of Supply Tokens. However, you may take only 1 of those bonuses each round. All supply tokens (except for the ones locked on the players’ backpacks) are returned to the Camp Bag.

Beginning the Next Night

Each player receives one new Fear Card, and a new Critical Supply Card is drawn and placed on the Cabin Board.

The Night Marker advances by one, and the Jason Supply Token it replaces is placed in the Camp Bag.

The player who returned to the cabin last in the previous night will go first.

Game End

At the end of the 5th night, whoever has the most Blood Splatter Points wins. Unused Escape Tokens count as 3 points.

Friday the 13th: Horror at Camp Crystal Lake: The Verdict

It’s that time of year again, with Halloween almost upon as. Horror fans are on the lookout for those games that will recapture the feel of their favorite horror films and ghost stories. So does Friday the 13th: Horror at Camp Crystal Lake fit the bill?

If you’re judging it purely as a horror game, I’d have to say no. Sure, the artwork reminds you of the theme of the game, and there’s some suspense as you’re never sure when you might draw that second Jason Token and be attacked. But that doesn’t translate into the same type of suspense as Jason stalking his victims in the Friday the 13th series. And for a game based on one of the bloodier of the slasher movies, Friday the 13th: Horror at Camp Crystal Lake is practically PG-rated, despite its recommended 17+ age. I’ve never played Quartz, the game on which this is based, but I’d hazard a guess that the mechanics are the same in that as Friday the 13th, but with a different theme.

However, if you’re looking for a game that combines bag building with a healthy does of push your luck and “take that,” and also enjoy the setting, then you’ll likely enjoy Friday the 13th. Playing Fear Cards on your turn will often net you better results then doing a basic search in the Camp Bag, and you can even shift Jason Tokens from your Player Board onto another player’s. There’s definitely some strategizing player will be doing as to when to play their Fear Cards. You start with a hand of 5, and only draw one new one each night. However, you also receive bonus Fear Cards depending on when you return to Camp at the end of the night. The longer you push your luck, the more cards you will draw, increasing your abilities on subsequent nights.

That certainly gives the potential thanks for a runaway leader, who just keeps getting stronger and stronger as the nights go on. It will be up to the other players to halt that, as there are no mechanisms baked into the game to prevent it.

Stealing from another player. Image by Paul Benson.

This is also the type of game where a player can get ganged up on by other players, much like in Cosmic Encounter. If you’re going to play Friday the 13th: Horror at Camp Crystal Lake, you’ve got to play it in the spirit of many of those camp counselors from the Friday the 13th movies: you’re out for yourself, and will do anything you have to survive. If that sounds like a fun time to you, then add Friday the 13th: Horror at Camp Crystal Lake into your Halloween gaming library.

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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.

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