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A fantastic fable:
Fearlessly you searched for the 3 fetishes from the Finnish fjord, using fast and faceted feints to take them away and hurry with them to Prince Fiesto of France to free the fascinating Fee and Freelady Fabula. But Fieso seems freakishly unfriendly, what a fiasco! Your freedom is infringed in a freezing and frightful fortress with dark corridors. Now you must flee from Fieso's trap. Furunkulus, the castle monster (a ferocious freak) is waiting. Now you must avoid Furunkulus and fly to freedom.
Finstere Flure is a racing game in which you must not only be fast but also avoid Furunkulus who follows.
By sophisticated means, the players try to steer the monster in such a way that the other players are gotten.
In the basic version, you can hide behind stones and extend your movement by sliding through pools of blood. In the advanced game, transparent crystals, immovable stones and teleporters are added.
Plot your course prudently in order to escape from the monster!
Wow! Great cartoon artwork (Addam's family thrown in with Uncle Fester!), very sturdy playing pieces, a customizable monster (awesome fun just designing IT!), simple rules, fast play, challenging for kids and adults, theme that works, ... what else do you need?
Strategy? Well, I wont consider this a game won/lost with luck, but rather clever use of your team members to lure the monster away from your other members and into your opponents!
A really cleverly designed game! Challenging enough, but you can always make it tougher by using more than 1 monster! Hehe...
A true rarity. An fun smart and high-quality game that the whole family can play: quick, with just enough randomness that anyone can win, and just enough strategy that it's worth paying close attention. The campy horror theme is very well done and adds to the fun. Even young kids who aren't old enough to participate as a player can operate (and design) the monster (its moves are not under player control, but kids can have lots of fun executing them and acting them out).
This game compares favorable with 2F's 'Fische Fluppen Frikadellen': what it sacrifices in range of options and depth of thinking it easily regains in ease and speed of play. The ideal game for the serious gamer who is looking for something to involve the whole family, or simply for something that plays quickly. The game brings to mind Ricochet Robot and Robo Rally, though it is less of a puzzle game than the former and less work than the latter.
Note: You'll need to open it and assemble the game before little kids get their hands on it: the monster might get damaged if punched out carelessly, and the stickers need to be applied to the wooden pieces by a dexterous adult.
Translating roughly to 'Sinister Corridors', the story is as follows: Lost within an unlit, dilapidated building, finally the team of people find the exit -- which guarded by a grotesque monster lurching around trying to eat them. Players are trying to get their team out of the building without being devoured!
The components of Finstere Flure are very nice looking. The board is depicts a dimly lit dungeon-like room with stone pillars and bloodslicks distributed randomly on the board. Players have 3 (or 4 with fewer players) round wooden tokens that represent escapees. Lastly, there is a modular cardboard monster piece (more on that in a moment). If this artwork sounds disgusting and macabre, fear not, it is very cartoony and is obviously a spoof. Having said that, the artwork does depict a dismembered arm or two, so maybe not the kind of game you want to play with a 7 year old. The components are sturdy and well drawn and work nicely together. Big points here.
Gameplay is actually very simple. Each player has several tokens (3 or 4 depending on the number of players) that they are trying to guide out of the dungeon while trying to avoid being eaten by the monster. These tokens have two sides, with a picture of the character and a number depicting how far they can move on each side. Both sides will add up to 7. So a player will have a token with a 6-1 combo, a 5-2 combo, and a 4-3 combo. One side of the token has a black background, the other side had a colored background matching the color of the players' pieces. The board is a grid of squares, and players may not share spaces. However, they may 'pass thru' a space with another token on it. Once a token has been moved, it is flipped over to reveal the other side. This not only changes the movement points for the next turn (eg. 3 becomes 4), but because one side is color and the other black, it makes it easy to keep track of which token you have moved so far.
So players move one token at a time, in clockwise order until all their tokens have moved. Once all the tokens have moved, the dreaded monster (who begins at the exit door) gets to move. How far he moves is dictated by a 'deck' of cardboard tombstones that is shuffl;ed and placed by the board. It contains two of each number (5, 7, 8, 10), a single cross, and a double cross. If a number is drawn, then the monster will move that number of spaces. If a cross is drawn, the monster moves until he eats someone; if the two-crosses is drawn, he moves until he has eaten TWO tokens. What puts some spice into this game is how the monster moves. Everytime he moves a space he pauses to look forward, left, and right to look for the closest character to eat. I'll give an example:
The monster draws a 5, meaning he must move a full 5 spaces. From the spot he is standing on and the direction he is facing, he looks forward, left, and right to see which token he is closest to. He sees someone 7 spaces ahead of him and another token 8 spaces to the right of him, so he begins moving forward toward the victim 7 spaces from him. However, he moves 2 SPACES then spots a different token that is 3 spaces away to his right, this second token is closer by 2 spaces, so the monster turns right, and moves 1 SPACE. There is a token on the monster's left immediately beside him, so now he turns left, moves 1 SPACE to eat the victim, then moves 1 SPACE to end his turn with a total of 5 movement points. If there had been no on to the left or right of him, and he had gone straight from his start space, he would have stopped 2 spaces away from the first target he saw.
By this example you can see where the strategy comes in. Players are racing from one corner to the other, avoiding the monster, but also MANIPULATING his movement. I may be able to have a token move to space where I will divert the monster down a path where he will suddenly find you and eat you! Much fun indeed! =)
A couple other things make this game click: Bloodslicks are kind of like ladders in 'Chutes and Ladders' -- for the players AND the monster. Stones are played randomly around the board. If a player is behind a stone (relative to the vision of the monster) then the monster can not 'see' the token as he is moving. Players, when moving a token, may push single stones to empty squares, but the moster may push any number of stones, and if a player is caught between two stones, and the monster pushes on one, the token is 'crushed' and must begin again. One other thing. The walls of the sinister corridors have letters on them, each letter being used twice. When the monster moves, if he comes to a wall and want to move straight into it, whatever letter he touches, he 'moves thru' and re-enters the board on the letter's other position. Only the monster gets this kind of movement, and it can make for some nasty surprises if player aren't keeping track of it.
Whew! First person to get 2 of 3 (or 3 of 4) tokens across wins the game!
This game tends to be very quick with only a little analysis and a good amount of puzzle-ishness and tactical movement. And it is loads of fun. It has a rare distinction, able to be played from 2-7 players, which is very flexible and a welcome range, especially for my game collection. But that brings me to my one beef with this game. It can be a fun 30-minute gamer filler, but the weight of the game and decisions involved seem PERFECT for families, even younger families. But the artwork, cartoony as it is, has dismembered limbs on it, which may keep a parent of a 6 year old from buying it. Herr Friese has created a delightful and original race game that could easily be the type of game that every family would want to have. Little extras like the modular monster (a cardboard monster that consists of 6 parts that players can customize for each playing, Mr. Potato-head-like) make this game campy and funny. But the little extras like dismembered limbs may alienate some parents. Which is a shame. This is the type of game, elegant and easy to learn with lots of fun decisions, that would go over extremely well with non-gamers and their families. If you do not have young children, then I recommend this game as one of the best race games around. It isn't the best game I've ever played, but it is one of the best 30-minute board games I've ever played (up there with Emerald and Clans), a category of game that does not have enough entrants. And, to boot, it is the most fun I have a had with a race game in a long time!
The pre-Essen buzz suggested that the latest game from The Guy with the Green Hair, was something special, and thanks to the pre-view on Mik Svellov's most excellent website this was one of my few definite ``must-buys''. Post Essen, some folks have described Finstere Flure - ``Creepy Corridors'' - as the best of this year's new releases. Although I wouldn't go that far, I do think the game is very nice indeed. What you get is a relatively simple race game set in a dungeon. Players have the straightforward objective of being the first to escape with three of their four characters (or two out of three with five or more players) before the roof falls in. The entertainment is provided by the resident monster: ``Furunkulus''. His sole aim in life (or possibly un-death) is to rip the heads off trespassing characters before they can escape.
The game pieces are standard coloured wooden disks with DIY stick-on faces which have been nicely themed to reflect the sorts of characters that one would expect to find trying to escape from a B-movie monster-infested dungeon. The green characters, for example, are all members of the Addams Family, and I particularly like the bearded Trekkie on the ``Fans'' team who is clearly modelled on Stuart Dagger. The character disks are double sided showing a movement allowance in the range 1-6 with a total 7 for the sum of both sides - thus 1 and 6, 2 and 5, 3 and 4. Furunkulus comes as a self-assembly 3-D cardboard construct, and one nice touch is that he has a variety of interchangeable body-parts, which gives the young-at-heart the added pleasure of creating a bespoke monster for every occasion.
The game board is a relatively plain dungeon plan showing a 12 by 10 grid of squares rendered in tasteful shades of dirt and bloodstain. The dungeon is essentially one big empty room apart from a number of stone blocks, which are scattered about, and serve to break up lines of sight. An extra yuck-factor is supplied by a couple of pools of blood, complete with tastefully discarded body-parts, which act as ``slides'' to facilitate faster movement.
The characters enter at one corner, and can escape only through a single exit that is diagonally opposite. In each round the players take it in turn to move their pieces orthogonally within the grid, seeking positions where Furunkulus won't see them. Once a character has moved, it is flipped to its opposite side so a character that moved 5 in turn one will move only 2 in turn two, then 5 again in turn three, and so on. A simple light and dark colour scheme on the different faces helps make it relatively easy to keep track of who has moved. Once all the characters have been moved, a tile is turned for Furunkulus, which determines how far he moves himself. Sometimes this will be a fixed number of squares, but sometimes, when he's really mad, he will just keep going until he kills someone.
The heart of the game is that Furunkulus moves according to strict rules. Whenever he enters a square he will look ahead, right, and left, and if any character is in sight he will turn towards them and continue to move in their direction. If more than one character is visible he will move towards the closest. If two characters are equidistant his tiny brain can't cope, and he will just keep going straight ahead. Any stone blocks that happen to be in the way will get shoved ahead of him together with any unfortunates cowering on the far side who may well end up squished unpleasantly against the outside walls. This system, with its echoes of Roborally, provides plenty of scope for positioning your characters in such a way as to lure Furunkulus to a square where he will helpfully dismember the characters of your opponents. There is thus considerable benefit in moving last as you may well be able to dictate exactly where Furunkulus goes. If Furunkulus reaches an outside wall he smashes right through and instantaneously re-enters on the other side of the board, much to the discomfort of any unwary souls who may have thought they were safe behind him.
And that, is pretty much all there is to it. There are some ``Advanced Rules'' with teleporters, crystals, and such, which add some additional complexity to the movement of Furunkulus, but whether you want to complicate a good thing is going to be a matter of taste. The action is fast, fun, and seriously bloody. So bloody in fact that characters killed in the first seven turns get a reprieve and must simply re-enter the game from the starting corner. Those dismembered by Furunkulus in the later stages are permanently dead, so if you lose two of your characters at this stage you are out of the race. However this is not really a problem as the game should be nearly over by the time this is possible, and any players who are eliminated can use their surviving character(s) to try and ensure no-one else wins either. This can happen because after fourteen turns the roof is deemed to have collapsed - or something - killing everybody.
The only thing that could spoil the game would be playing with someone who insists on trying to work out all the angles and is unreasonably slow to make their moves. If you know you have someone like that in your group, I would recommend playing with a timer giving perhaps 15 seconds per character move - or they don't move at all. The game is after all a race and pressure of time and the ensuing mistakes will only add to the fun. And that, really, is the key word. If taken in the right spirit the game offers plenty of laughs and everyone with whom I have played it has enjoyed the experience - with one notable exception. The esteemed Mr. Clifford was less than impressed, claiming it to be very similar to an old game called ``Alien'' from the film of the same name. I can't comment on that as I have not seen the earlier game, but for me Finstere Flure is an original, entertaining, race game that accommodates a larger number of players than most, plays in well under an hour, and still offers some scope for cunning plans and devious behaviour. I regard it as a welcome addition to my collection.