I’m playing a board game every day this month and blogging about it (I did a similar challenge last year). Feel free to join me during my Every Night Is Game Night: My Daily Play & Blog Challenge. And tweet me with what you’re playing these days!
Today, of course, is the perfect day to play Friday, a superb solo deck building game. Friedemann Friese, best known for Power Grid, published Friday in 2011 and it’s frequently found on best solo games lists. I got my copy last October and I’ve played it 20 times, including tonight, and I still find it challenging.
In Friday, you’re helping Robinson Crusoe survive on the island, gathering knowledge and resources to fight incoming pirates. The game is played in three main rounds with two final rounds of pirates if Crusoe survives (a big if). There are two main decks of cards: hazard cards and fighting cards. You first draw two hazard cards and decide which one to fight, then draw the amount of fighting cards indicated on the hazard card. If your total fighting points are equal to or greater than the hazard card’s fighting card, then you win the fight and turn the hazard card around and add it to your fighting cards (each hazard card has fighting abilities that are “unlocked” if you win a fight). Many fighting cards include special abilities to help you in your battles.
Losing fights, though, is the key to optimizing your deck. For every point that you lose in a fight you may spend a life point (Crusoe starts with 20 life points) and destroy (“trash” for you Dominion fans) a card. This is where Friday is tough; you need to preserve your life points while also destroying the weaker cards in your deck.
Every time you go through your fighting card deck, you’ll shuffle in an “aging” card which is always negative fighting points. For such a small game, Friday definitely packs in a lot of obstacles to your success. Even if you survive the first three main rounds (which get progressively harder, of course), your deck must be lean and mean to defeat both rounds of pirates.
Friday isn’t easy, but it is immensely satisfying when you finally break through for that first win, and every win after that; just don’t get use to doing it.