To kick off this new solo gaming blog, I couldn’t think of a better game than the classic solo game, Friday. A favorite amongst many solo gamers, Friday is one of the first genuinely solitaire board games. Released in 2011 by designer Friedemann Friese, this deck-building, one-player-only game has consistently ranked highly in the top solo games since its inception.
Inspired by Robinson Crusoe
Friday draws inspiration from the timeless novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, which tells the tale of the fictional character Robinson Crusoe and his experience being shipwrecked on a deserted island. He thinks he is alone on the island until he meets Friday, a solo native inhabitant. Likewise, in Friday the game, you play as Friday and assist Robinson in his quest for survival against the island’s perils.
Hazard cards – Should I take the safer route and explore the island or face the wild animals, hoping for a stronger card?
Robinson needs help learning to safely explore the island and face wild animals like the ferocious jaguar and territorial chicken, as shown above. As Friday, you’ll be his companion and patiently teach him the ways of the island – how to fight, find food, and gain valuable experience.
Friday – Component List
The game comes in a small square box whose size is perfect for its contents. Components include:
- 72 playing cards
- 3 phase cards of green, yellow and red
- 59 Fighting cards
- 18 Robinson cards
- 11 Aging cards (8 normal, 3 difficult)
- 30 Hazard cards
- 10 Pirate cards
- 22 life points – green meeples
- 3 storage boards
- For the Hazard deck
- For Robinson Fighting cards accumulated
- For Aging cards
The Hazard cards are multi-use; the top half is the actual Hazard you’ll be trying to beat, with the reward of a more powerful Robinson Fighting card on the bottom half that you can add to your deck.
As a diehard card sleever, I wanted to sleeve the cards, as there’s quite a bit of shuffling for the Fighting deck, three times per game for the Hazard deck and once for the Pirate deck. However, the cards are a strange size, so I had to buy a new brand – Swan Panasia Standard (56x100mm). They’re a thin sleeve but work great and are a perfect fit.
The green meeples to track your health are cute, though I can’t tell if they represent people or a leaf… If you know, please share in the comments!
The artwork is colorful and amusing. Robinson is depicted in various positions depending on his Fighting action, shown by his facial expressions and body language. You know he’s feeling triumphant when he’s doing the dab dance. You never see his whole body as he’s standing behind a wooden fence. At first, I thought it was because he was naked, haha.
Initially, the 3 phase cards start with a dark, mysterious jungle with a pair of spooked eyes for the first phase, which won’t be much of a threat. The yellow phase has two sets of wary eyes, and the third and final Red phase has a trio of menacing eyes!
Friedemann Friese is well known for his love of the color green and words starting with the letter “F”. Friday, the solo game is no exception – the box is green, the cards are full of jungle green, and the meeples are green. Like his name, sometimes his games have two words starting with “F”, but Friday is just the one word.
First Solo Games of Friday
I played Friday for the first time recently, so this post describes my first impressions. So many excruciating choices must be made to survive the island’s perils! Should I focus on getting rid of the useless and lousy fighting cards? How about better fighting skills? I could push my luck and keep fighting at the risk to my health. Several crucial decisions must be made in each fight. It is challenging starting.
So far, I have 16 plays with a 46% win rate and a best score of 77. This is on level 1, where the game suggests you start. There are a total of 5 levels, with Level 4 being what is the “real game.” Oddly, my rulebook only lists four levels, as does the online rulebook, but people talk about five levels, so maybe there’s an additional fan challenge that I’m not aware of yet.
I finally joined the “Friday on Friday” group; it is mostly more experienced Friday players, some of whom are playing at Level 5 and winning. I’ll need a lot more experience to reach that level!
The rulebook was easy to follow, and I thoroughly enjoyed my plays. I love that it is challenging, and as you get better, there are more complex levels to conquer.
As for the footprint, I’d say a Medium size. From the small square box, it looks like it would only take up a little space, but in the pirate phases, at the end, you lay down a ton of cards.
Friday Solo Game Theme
For such a small game, the theme does come through quite well! It’s a solo game about a solitaire man on an island. Eventually, he finds Friday, who will patiently teach Robinson Crusoe how to survive against island hostilities. At first, the obstacles are minor, but then again, Robinson is young and naïve. Slowly, you’ll learn valuable survival skills to fight against the increasing threats. Meanwhile, as time passes, you start to age!
Old age comes with its own problems – like getting tired or even losing hope and becoming suicidal! If you survive the island, you’ll have two epic battles with pirates. Only if you win these last two battles will you succeed in winning the game.
Final Friday Thoughts
In conclusion, Friday is a classic solo game to have in your collection! The gameplay is challenging and fun; the setup is just a minute or two. Replayability is excellent as there are different strategies to win, and you might lose in any of the 4 phases. In the final phase, you’ll fight against two randomly selected pirates with different victory challenges. I see this becoming one of the most played games in my collection.
Fun fact: At the time of this writing, my most played game is another game by Friedmann Friese! I’ll let you know more about that in a later post.
How about you, have you played Friday? What level do you play at? Share your comments below!