Review: Friday


Friday is a board game for the solo player in mind. It’s a deck-building game where you create a fighting deck to overcome island obstacles. Eventually you’ll fight two pirates to escape the island. Besides the usual obstacles you’ll encounter, you’ll have an opportunity to build your deck with special abilities and weapons. However, aging is simulated, which adds negative aspects to your fighting deck.

SETUP
The game sets up rather quickly, no matter what level you decide to choose. In two to three minutes, you’re ready to play! There are three decks to separate (fighting, obstacles, and aging) and two pirates to randomly select. The markings on the fighting and aging deck make them easily discernible. It’s not difficult to learn where you place the components, but after a few plays, you may alter how you set them up depending on your play area. For example, I typically keep the Life Meeples I’m spending in the box.

Typical Setup

GAMEPLAY
Gameplay involves drawing two obstacles and deciding which one of them you’ll fight while keeping some things in mind: what could be left in your fighting deck, the cost of the obstacle card, what ability is listed (if any), and if the card score adds to the potency of your fighting deck. Once you choose a card, you draw up to the number of cards you’re allowed (indicated by the white number). If you don’t match the cost (the red, yellow, and green numbers) from your fighting cards in the maximum number you’re allowed, then you’ve failed. You do have the option to spend Life Points to continue to draw cards, but it’s a slippery slope between really wanting a card and letting it go.

Game in Session

You start with the green numbers, and when the obstacle deck runs out, you up the cost. Then again for the third round. Hopefully by then, you’ve built up your deck enough to start getting some of the more powerful cards.

Of course, to hinder you even more, when you go through fighting deck, you add an Aging card on your next shuffle. There are some brutal Aging cards that lower your fighting cards’ scores, make you subtract from your total card score, and remove life.

If you go through the obstacle deck three times, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for! Battle pirates and get off that island!  Thought you managed your fighting deck and Life Points well? You’ll find out during the Pirates phase. They also have a score you must meet to defeat them as well as the maximum number of cards you can draw from your fighting deck.

Pirate Cards

During this phase, if you need to draw more cards when you hit the maximum, it costs two Life Points instead of one!

FINAL THOUGHTS
Friday is a tough game. But if it was easy, then you’d get bored. There are several strategies you can undertake, so it depends on your play style. Do you focus on saving Life Points? Do you get the good cards in the first round while they’re cheap? What about getting rid of the bad cards in the first round? Should you think short-term or long-term? On my last ten play sessions, I made it to the Pirate round four times, beat one of the pirates three times, and never beat both pirates once.

Obstacle Cards
With four difficulty levels, you can progressively make the game even harder as you succeed. Setup is quick and the instructions are understandable. Total footprint of the game is nice: it’s a good coffee table or small table game. The card art is fun and campy, and game sessions are short, which makes it a great game to waste away your lunch break with or to take on vacation.

I recommend Friday for gamer who loves solo games. It’s challenging enough and has great replay value. You will get frustrated, but be honest with yourself: how hard are you really trying to get off the island?

SCORE
4 out of 5 We Roll Solos

PROS
  • Strictly solo
  • Fast game sessions
  • Highly portable
  • Small table footprint
CONS
  • Steep learning curve
  • Can get frustrating

Fighting Cards and Life Meeples


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Gregory Gregory Author