Final Girl - Carnage at the Carnival villain.

Final Girl – Carnage at the Carnival

Final Girl is a game system created for solo board gamers, themed around classic and modern-day horror movie tropes.  In order to play, you must own the Core Box as well as at least one Feature Film.  Each Feature Film comes with one Villain, one Location, and two Final Girl Cards that players can mix-and-match to add variety to future gaming sessions.  Click here for more information on what exactly you get with the Core Box.

For these Feature Film reviews, I will be looking at a handful of elements for each film and rating each element from 1 to 5, culminating in an overall rating at the end of the review.  These ratings will be highly dependent on how I feel about the specific film being covered when compared to the other films I’ve played at the time so take the ratings with a grain of salt.  But hopefully, the review will provide you more context on each film so you can choose which ones are right for you.

Killer – Geppetto the Puppet Master

Final Girl - Carnage at the Carnival villain.

Being a carnival themed installment of Final Girl, it would have probably been easy fodder to cash in on the It revival popularity and created a Killer based on the creepy clown Pennywise.  Instead, creators looked to the cult-classic The Puppet Master for inspiration.  While the Killer himself doesn’t seem to be modeled on any character specifically, his Minions, the three Puppets, sure do.  In Final Girl, Minions are tokens that operate on a separate set of rules than the Killer but typically take their own turn during the Killer Phase.

Early on in Carnage at the Carnival, Geppetto will make almost no movements of his own, but instead will spawn Puppets at his location and send them out to do his evil bidding.  The Puppets, by default, only target the Victims and will move towards them but will not attack during the Action phase.  It is solely up to the cards in the Terror Deck to instruct the Puppets to start doing damage throughout the early game.  Another twist with the Puppets is that they must end their turn within two spaces of Geppetto, simulating the puppet strings that are attached to them.  If a Terror Card ever causes them to move outside this window, then they will target Geppetto until they move back within the required boundary.  I think that is a really neat and thematic way to keep the Puppets in check, as this edition could be very difficult since you’re (potentially) facing off against four bad guys at once.

Speaking of the deck, I really like how creative all three decks (the Terror Deck, the Dark Power Deck, and the Finale Deck) are in this edition of Final Girl.  Not only are there fun ways for the Puppets to get stronger or even cut their strings, some cards can even start turning Victims into Puppets, causing a whole lot of chaos around the board.  All around, Geppetto is a force to be reckoned with but never feels so punishing that the game loses its appeal.

Killer Rating – 4/5

Final Girl - Carnage at the Carnival cards on a table.

Location – Carnival of Blood

Geppetto has set up shop at The Carnival of Blood, luring unsuspecting Victims into his sideshow of horror.  The carnival itself comes packed with a multitude of Trap Tokens, that will be sprung on the Final Girl and her friends via the Terror Deck.  I don’t dislike the Traps, but I do wish they were more in line with the carnival theme.  They feel like they could have been used at any Final Girl location, thus failing to make The Carnival of Blood stand out on its own.  I also feel like they aren’t all that hard to avoid once they’ve been placed, but instead just act as an annoyance but I can understand how other players might really enjoy them.

Location Rating – 2.5/5

Final Girl Carnage at the Carnival board game map.

Events / Item Cards

While the location-specific Traps are a bit lackluster, I enjoy a multitude of the Event Cards in this deck.  The Employee Transport event lets you drive a Golf Cart around the outside of the map, enabling you to quickly dispatch Victims to the exits as well as allowing you to do some extra damage to the Killer.  I also enjoy what this edition does with the Special Victims as well as how it treats some of the areas on the map (such as The Big Top and the Animal Cages.)

The Item Cards also span a wide gamut of abilities for your Final Girl.  There’s a Throwing Axe that enables you to use it at close range as well as further away (though you do lose the axe after you throw it) and a useful Bull Whip, that not only does damage but pushes enemies away from the Final Girl or her fellow carnival goers.  Elsewhere, there are cards (such as The Crystal Ball) that enable players to look at future Terror Cards to decide how they want to re-arrange the deck.

Lastly, the Item Deck is spiked with Item Traps.  These are three cards that get randomly mixed into the piles during setup and if drawn, causes a negative affect to be applied to the player.  Thankfully, there are ways of mitigating these traps, including a helpful monkey named Zappo, that players can utilize.

Event / Item Rating – 4/5

Final Girl Carnage at the Carnival event and item cards.

Final Girl Cards

Each Feature Film comes with two different girls to play as.  Carnage at the Carnival comes with Asami and Charlie.  These two Final Girls are almost polar opposites of each other.  Where Asami only starts with five health, Charlie starts with a whopping seven.  On the flip-side, Asami only has to save a measly four Victims in order to trigger her special ability whereas Charlie needs to rescue a full six Victims.  In my experience, even with the extra two hearts at the start of the game, Charlie can have a very hard time overcoming the six Victims before getting her special ability.

Asami’s special ability isn’t overly powerful but will definitely help if players are still searching the Item Decks for that must-have weapon.  Charlie’s ability can put the finishing touches on a win pretty early in the game but she does have to sacrifice quite a bit to use this ability so the player will have to position her just right to use it.  Both girls have been fun to play with and both strike a nice balance between “too easy to win” and “the Killer is railroading me in every game I play.”

Final Girl Card Rating – 4/5

Final Girl Carnage at the Carnival Final Girl cards.


It might be because Carnage at the Carnival was the first Feature Film I purchased in the Final Girl series, but it really seems to check all the boxes for me.  While I do wish the location itself had more going for it, the rest of the edition is as fun as visiting a Three Ring Circus, barring there are no murderous puppets running loose.

Carnage at the Carnival Rating – 3.75 / 5


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Amazon: Final Girl: Carnage at The Carnival – Board Game by Van Ryder Games – Core Box Required to Play – 1 Player – Board Games for Solo Play – 20-60 Minutes of Gameplay – Teens and Adults Ages 14+ : Toys & Games

Kristofer Solomon

Hey, everyone! I’m Kristofer Solomon and the creator of Board Game Breakdown. I’ve been playing board games since I was little, typically spending days on top of days playing Risk with kids from my neighborhood. As I moved into college, I started playing Magic: the Gathering with a group of guys and my love for board games slid to the wayside as I progressed into gulp adulthood (not to mention a long obsession with World of Warcraft.) Eventually, I fell back into the hobby in its current state when my wife (then girlfriend) bought me a copy of Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition for my birthday in 2008. This simple to grasp, but strategic train game blew me away. I didn’t realize at the time that board games could be much more than your average game of Sorry or Trouble. We eventually got Catan, Small World, and other well-known titles and the rest is history.

I’m hopeful that the content of this website and its associated YouTube and Instagram channels can be informative to those who are either on the fence about getting a game, or maybe just looking for something new. About 50% of my gaming time is spent solo gaming so I enjoy touching on that subject when I discuss games as this is an area that is typically not focused on.

Thanks to all who spent even a minute perusing this site, it means a lot to me. Happy gaming!

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