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Subject: Friday - A Great Solo Experience rss

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Colin Degnan
United States
Maplewood
Minnesota
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Overview:

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be stranded on an island? Well you should probably look at the game Robinson Crusoe – Adventure on the Cursed Island for that! Instead, this game depicts the difficult task Friday took on when he decided to assist Robinson Crusoe in surviving on a deserted island.

If you would like to see a playthrough of this solo game, please visit my YouTube channel The One Stop Co-op Shop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=671PndMeabs

Friday is a solo deckbuilding game that takes about 45 minutes to complete (if you survive that long!). You will begin with a deck full of terrible fighting cards (Weak, Distracted etc.) and use these cards to fight against the Hazard deck. Any Hazard you defeat will be flipped upside down and turn into a card you can include in your deck going forward. If you are able to survive three trips through the Hazard deck with increased difficulty, you then must face off against two sets of Pirates! If you defeat the pirates, you win the game.

Art & Design:
6/10

As many others have said, the design and art of the game is not great, and it is not terrible. It just is what it is. I do not mind the cartoony nature of the cards; I find that it makes the game more appealing to a younger audience. It also keeps the game light even though one could portray being stranded on an island a traumatic experience.
The life point tokens do not really make sense to me. . . I am not sure what they are supposed to be representing, but they are functional.

Theme: 6/10

The theme in this game is helping Robinson Crusoe to survive on an Island. You do this through deckbuilding his skills, and destroying his poor qualities. Now if only we could do this in real life. . . Not sure how the use of giving up lifepoints let you destroy your poor qualities, but there you go! A cool mechanic but the game does not make much thematic sense to me.

Gameplay Mechanics: 9.5/10

To me, the enjoyment in this game is all about the mechanics implemented by the game designers:

Deck Optimization
This is probably the best mechanic in the game. How you can optimize your deck is to lose to a Hazard. You must then give life points equal to the difference between your fight value and the amount of fight value needed to pass the Hazard. For each life point given this way, you can kill a single card you played this turn. However, aging cards cost 2 life points for one card (think of it as you had to work harder on the treadmill to work off the effects of aging!). Since you start the game with many Weak and Distracted cards, you will be using this mechanic early and often in the game.

Aging Cards
One of the great mechanics in the game is the aging cards. Whenever you empty your deck of cards and need to re-shuffle, you must take one of the aging cards and place it in your deck. You do not get to look at it (because in real life, would you know exactly what aging does to you??) but you know it is there in your deck ready to mess up all of your nicely laid plans.
The aging cards also have an escalation to them because after the top 7 normal aging cards, you have 3 more serious aging cards. This mechanic forces the player to think strategically on how quickly they want to thin their deck. The smaller your deck is, the quicker you will be shuffling your deck and adding those aging cards.

Free vs. Paid Card Plays
Each Hazard you face will have a number in the middle left hand side of the card which will depict the amount of “free” card draws you have to defeat the Hazard. After you have drawn the amount of “free” cards the Hazard allows, you can then pay additional life points (1 point per card) to draw additional cards from your deck. This mechanic is so simple, yet it provides so many strategic decisions in the game as you weigh the benefit of drawing one more cards (which could be an aging card, or a bad starter card) for the cost of your life points. This mechanic also helps with bad luck draws. If the “free” cards just happen to include your two bad cards in your deck, you still have a chance of defeating the Hazard with paid cards.

Hazard Cards
I am not sure why, but I love the Hazard cards and how when you defeat the Hazard you flip the card upside down to the Robinson Crusoe fighting side of the card and gain the card into your deck. But the flipside, if you defeated a Hazard card but played one of your weak or aging cards you are not able to get rid of it! You can only get rid of cards if you lose the Hazard and lost life points. IMO this makes for a great game full of simple decisions that are tough to make.

Escalation
During the game, you will go through the Hazard deck 3 times. Each time you go through the deck, the difficulty level increases. So a Hazard that only needed a 1 attack to defeat the first time around will need a 3 attack the second time.
Also, your deck will escalate from being pathetic to being all powerful (with the exception of those nasty aging cards). You will find that you can easily get 4-5 attack for one Hazard card etc. I like games where both the obstacles and the players level up during the course of the game.

Final Showdown
The designers could have had the game end when you finished going through the Hazard deck 3 times. That would have made an OK game. It would have been fun, but would get stale pretty quickly since you see the same Hazard cards 3 times in one game. Instead, they added the Pirates! This additional game end final showdown is what makes all the grueling deckbuilding worth it! Although the mechanics for the Final Showdown are no different, it does feel like a much more epic battle! I have had times where I played my entire deck to defeat just one Pirate. Also there are 10 or so different Pirates so this adds variety to the game.

If Only. . .

More Variety of Hazards
I wish that there was more variety in the types of Hazards. Since you are going through the Hazard deck 3 times each game, I wish they had thought up some more different titles so I wasn’t (ADD A TITLE HERE) a bazzilion times during the game. Mind you, this has no impact on the game itself, just would provide more of a narrative to the game.

More Manipulation Cards

There is one card that lowers the phase of the Hazard card by 1 level. This means if I am going through the Hazard deck a second time, I would only have to defeat the Hazards level 1 amount, instead of the level 2 amount. I wish there were more cards with manipulation abilities. Just a quick thought would be to have a card where if you defeat the Hazard card, you can choose a different Hazard card from the discard pile with the same attack value but a different ability to place in your deck.

Replayability: 6.25/10

As mentioned above, you will go through the entire Hazard deck 3 times a game. This means there is no variability in the Hazards cards you will face. The order in which they come at you will be different etc. But the Hazards never change.
There are difficulty levels described in the rulebook that can help with replayability. Also there are 10 or so pirates you can choose from for your end game (you will always choose 2 pirates).
I have to say, I played this game over and over until I won the game 4-5 times. Then I just stopped playing for 6 months because the game lost its luster for me. But now six months later I am enjoying it again!

Difficulty: 7.75/10

The game is difficult to begin with. I think it took me 5 plays to win my first game. Once you win the game there are 4 or 5 ways you can increase the difficulty.

Player Type:

Player type here is simple, this is for a gamer. Who else would play a solo game? I will say, one of my favorite ways to play this game is with my wife. We love Co-op’s and so we just discuss what we think is the best idea. She is not a gamer, and loves this game but she would never play without me. So I put this in a gamer category purely due to the solo nature of the game.

Final Thoughts: 7/10

If you are looking for a strategic solo game that is difficult to win at first and provides you with quick entertainment, this game is for you. You will need to be OK with losing a few times to figure out the mechanics and the best strategy. This game is not breaking any records, but I find it a solid solo game that provides the right amount of strategy and luck. Plus the game mechanics are a real plus to me as I think they are intuitive and somewhat unique for a solo game.
Good luck helping Robinson survive on the island!
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kos blaat
Netherlands
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More variety would be welcome, but some duplicates would have to be removed, or else the game would take ages. Alternatively it would be better to have a varied pile of, say, 60 hazard cards, of which you randomly select 30 and then play. This would make it more exciting.

As it is there seems to be only one strategy. It's always, and only, deck optimization. And the manual is hell.
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Colin Degnan
United States
Maplewood
Minnesota
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kosterix wrote:
More variety would be welcome, but some duplicates would have to be removed, or else the game would take ages. Alternatively it would be better to have a varied pile of, say, 60 hazard cards, of which you randomly select 30 and then play. This would make it more exciting.

As it is there seems to be only one strategy. It's always, and only, deck optimization. And the manual is hell.


Very good point! I would really appreciate having more hazards, but you still only choose a random 30 in total. This would ensure the game does not drag on and on!

Rulebook == disaster. But with that being said once you learn the game, I never really look at it. If this was a game that needed many rules references, I would have cared more about how the rulebook was setup.
 
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