Most of the time when boardgame apps are done on mobile, there is an announcement that it’s coming.
Recently, Friday dropped onto the App Store with no warning whatsoever (and a couple of key bugs too, which have now been fixed). This Friedmann Friese classic has you in the role of Robinson Crusoe, stranded on a tropical island and trying to get off (or at least survive your stay on the island). You must also survive two attacks by pirates at the end of the game. If you do all that, you win!
Friday is a solo deck-building game where you are trying to simultaneously defeat hazards to gain new cards as well as fail at defeating them so that you can get rid of really bad cards.
This tug-of-war is actually quite fun, though it can be frustrating at times.
You begin each turn by choosing which of two hazards you want to try and defeat. The card underneath the hazard is the card that you’re trying to add to your deck.
The first round, you only have to meet the green condition, but in subsequent rounds, you’ll have to meet the yellow and then the red conditions instead. So if you chose “With the raft to the wreck,” you’d only need zero power in the first round, but to defeat the wild animals, you’d need 4.
You then turn over cards, one at a time, trying to get enough strength to defeat the hazard (strength is in the top left corner of the card)
The number in the bottom left of the hazard (just above the strength of the card you’re trying to get) is the number of “free” cards you get to turn over. Once it’s down to zero, you can pay one life point to turn over another card. You can do this as long as you have the life to do it.
Cards also sometimes have special abilities that will let you do various things. For example, in the above picture, you can double the strength of one card (not the same card, unfortunately) while the “strategy” card will let you exchange cards up to two times. So you can get rid of that nasty “distracted” card, but you may get something worse!
In fact, every time you go through your deck of cards, an “aging” card will be added to it which will have effects everywhere from -2 strength to “no more free cards”.
You either succeed or fail against the hazard. Success means you get the card.
Failure means you lose life (the difference between the goal and what you actually got), but you also get to delete up to that many cards from play as well.
You do this until you’ve gone through the hazard deck once. The deck then reshuffles and you go through the remaining cards, using the yellow difficulty. Then, do it again with any remaining hazards, using the red difficulty.
If you survive that, you have pirates to face! I’ve never defeated a pirate (let alone two), so unfortunately I can’t tell you what happens next.
Yes, this game is quite hard to beat. I still don’t know how to do it.
But I’m having a whale of a time trying.
The app is really good, though it does have some UI issues that keep it from being great (not from being played, because it’s being played quite a lot, thank you very much). Some of the taps are not intuitive or easily determined. Now that I know what I’m doing, it’s second nature, but it took me a little while to get there.
Secondly, there is no tutorial at all. I had to look up the rules to the card game online to figure out what some of the abilities were, or what exactly I needed to do (it took me a few games to even figure out why I was winning a card or losing one, and I had to consult the rules to find out how many life you lose when you fail a hazard).
It is a great game and the app is otherwise pretty nice, so it’s worth looking up the rules. I would highly suggest that, though, as I’m not sure you can figure it out otherwise. Maybe you can and are just superior to me, though.
The game is fun, but like most solitaire card games it’s very random, so keep that in mind as well.
Between Friday and Onirim, the App Store has had a good year with solo card game time-wasters that let you play a game in just a few minutes while you’re standing in line at the DMV.
This one is staying installed for a long time.
And I will defeat you, Captain Hook!
One of these days…far in the future, probably.
Friday is available on iOS or Android, both for $4