Stranding on an uninhabited island and doing everything possible to survive, that is what you will be doing in the solo board game Vendredi. You are trying to defend your self from wild animals and natives and keep yourself from starving. And even if you have been able to do all that, it's possible that you get kidnapped by pirates!
Vendredi is a card game in which you take the place of the stranded "Robinson". You have to survive the dangers of the island three times and even after that, you have to take on pirates or other dangerous ships that sail around the island. But every time you face the dangers again they become harder and more vicious. Also being on the island for too long makes you become hungry and tired, which makes it harder to complete your goal to escape the island. So leaving the island swiftly is the way to go!
The game Vendredi exists out of various decks of cards and wooden leaves that represent your life points.
The first deck of cards is the action deck. This deck contains all possible actions you can take to conquer the dangers on the island. The cards depict how many damage you will deal to the current danger but also possibly an advantage or disadvantage on this turn. As the game progresses, you will be able to expand your deck of cards with even stronger cards and you will get the opportunity to destroy negative cards from your deck.
The second deck contains all the danger cards. These are the cards that Robinson will have to overcome if he wants to survive on the island. Every card that has been conquered turns in to an action card and can be added to your own deck to help overcome other dangers.
These cards have good indications of how hard they are to beat and how many actions you can use to overcome this card. The cards also contain nice artwork that corresponds to the danger you are facing.
The last items in the box are the wooden shapes that count as life points. These are made of good quality wood, but it's not clear to me what exactly these shapes represent. My first thought would be palm leaves, but this would not really make sense as life points to me.
Every round in the game, you are facing a new danger on the island. To do so, you take two cards from the danger deck and choose which one of these two you will conquer this round. The other card goes back to the dangers discard pile and might come back later in the game. depending on the life points you have left, it might sometimes be a good choice to choose for a more dangerous obstacle because when you are victorious this card becomes a very powerful action card for you. Place the danger card you have chosen in the middle of your playing area.
Now is your chance to defeat this danger. This is done by taking action cards from your deck one by one. How many cards you play is entirely up to you, but you can only take so many cards as the number that is depicted on the danger card that corresponds with the difficulty level you are playing on. When the sum of attack values on your action cards is equal or higher than the value on the danger card, you have overcome this danger and you can add the card to your discard pile. When you were not able to overcome the danger after playing the possible amount of cards, you lose life tokens equal to the number of action points you are missing to defeat the danger.
Action cards can also have special effects that help you such as "Receive a life point" or "Take an extra card". These actions can be executed at any point in this phase of the round, but they can only be used once.
When your action deck no longer holds cards, you add an aging card to your discard pile and shuffle these cards, this is now your new action deck. Aging cards are cards that have very negative effects. These can make you lose life points instantly or have a big amount of negative attack points. You really want to avoid having many of these cards!
If you run out of danger cards, you shuffle the dangers discard pile and use this as your new danger deck. However, every time this happens, the difficulty level of the game raises a level and you will need more action points to overcome the dangers.
The end of the game
When you get through the danger deck for a third time, it is not possible to raise the level higher and you have to overcome two special challenges. These are two cards that come from a special deck, this deck contains pirates of other attacking ships that have a lot of danger points. Can you beat these two cards before you either run out of cards or life points? If you do, you can use these ships to leave the island and win the game!
Vendredi is not an easy game to win from. I have already played the game countless times, sometimes multiple times after one another to try to survive, but I have yet to win the game. Even getting to the last boss cards has only happened very few times.
that being said, Vendredi is one of the better, simple, solo games I have played so far! There is no big learning curve to the game and you can start playing in five minutes. This is most certainly a recommended game for players who enjoy a solo game or do not always find other players to play another game.