Continuing my foray into solo gaming, there’s one game that’s recently been coming up a lot in forums and Facebook Groups – Friday – and it always receives recommendations.
Friday: A Solo Adventure, is the one game I own which is exclusively for solo players. There’s no multiplayer option. Of course, this means there’s no-one available to assist you or pick up the slack when your characters actions don’t quite hit the mark.
In this post we’ll have a brief look at Friday without going in to too much detail…. I haven’t played enough games yet to provide any strategic tips or in depth thoughts.
- Players: 1
- Age: 13+
- Play time: 25 minutes
- Designer: Friedemann Friese
- Publisher: Rio Grande Games
The small box contains 3 small card boards, 22 life tokens, a deck of cards, a rule book and a book to record your games. Quality of the contents is pretty good for a small game, with the boards being sturdy, the cards glossy, and the tokens made of wood. The quality of the printing is bright and clear, and the drawings comical and clean.
The premise of the game is you are Friday, and your role is to help Robinson Crusoe who has washed up on your beach. You need to teach him to survive, help him overcome hazards on the island and eventually have Robinson defeat some pirates and escape.
The game mechanics are fairly straightforward and clearly laid out in the rule book. The core of the game is deck building to give Robinson the best chance of overcoming the hazards presented to him. There are 3 decks – the island hazards, Robinson’s fight deck and an ageing deck. Robinson is presented with 2 hazards each turn and you choose one to overcome. You then draw cards from the fight deck as directed by the hazard, and then you can boost those cards by buying additional cards at the cost of 1 life token for each card. The aim is to match or better the hazard value, with the total value of your fight cards. Overcome the hazard and you get to add the card to to your fight deck – the cards have are double ended.
During play some fight cards will include special abilities to help you; gaining life tokens, swapping cards, re-organising your fight deck and others. Using life tokens at certain points allow you to discard fight cards that may have negative effects, which means you further tailor your fight deck for later turns.
The game starts off reasonably gently, and within a single game there are 3 levels of difficulty, each level triggered by exhausting the hazard deck. In addition to the in-game difficulty you can also crank up the difficulty a further 3 levels by tweaking the card decks. So there’s certainly plenty challenge to keep you interested…. should you find it too easy!
One Tough Island
Friday has a reputation for being particularly difficult. Not in terms of rules or mechanics, but in your ability to succeed. There are numerous posts on gaming groups of people having played the game a huge number of times before successfully escaping the island. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just something to bear in mind if you’re looking to purchase. If you enjoy winning… Friday may be too much of a challenge for you. For me, I’ve found it like a puzzle, something to be mastered in order to succeed.
I’ve now played 6 games and lost every one. Only once managing to get half way through the 2nd level of hazards on the island. Has this put me off? No. As I mentioned earlier, the best way to approach the game is as a puzzle or brain teaser.
There is an element of randomness from the card draws of the hazards and the fight cards, but you always have a way to tweak the result you’re dealt by trading life tokens or choosing to fail the hazard, pay the consequence, and move on. So you always have some level of control. Eliminating the negative fight cards early on and keeping an eye on the number of life tokens you have left, will put you in a better position for future rounds. Also remember that you can review the cards in the discard piles for your fight deck and the island hazards. This allows you to know whether you can take on a more challenging hazard knowing your fight deck has a good number of higher value cards left.
I’m looking forward to continuing my time on the island and helping Robinson escape. I don’t think that’ll be any time soon… but at least thinking about beaches and palm trees beats looking out the window at snow, gales and freezing rain!