Finished! is a solitaire card game designed by Friedmann Friese and published by Stronghold Games in the United States.
If you are a hobby gamer who likes solitaire card games, you are almost certainly familiar with Onirim by Shadi Torbey and Friday by Friedmann Friese. You can get MANY other excellent solitaire card games, but these two have deservedly risen above the pack. Yet, while Shadi Torbey has continued to design in the solitaire space via his Oniverse series, Friedmann Friese has unleashed his mad design genius in all sorts of different directions…
Until now! Finished! represents Friedmann Friese’s first dedicated solo design since Friday. In Finished!, you will help a poor worker stay awake and get one last task done before she can leave the office. Along the way, you will feed her sweets and coffee to keep her awake. Mechanically, you will try to put 48 cards in order over a number of rounds, using various special powers on the cards as well as your own (hopefully sharply honed) powers of short-term memory.
How related are Friday and Finished!? Does Finished! stand on its own and deliver an equally satisfying solitaire experience?
How to play Finished!
Finished! consists of a deck of 48 cards that you shuffle exactly once, before the start of the game. You will remove card 48 before shuffling and place it back in the bottom of the deck before you begin play. Aside from the deck, you also get a pile of “sweets” – tokens that you use to activate card powers – as well as coffee cup markers that represent the number of rounds you have to complete the game. You can adjust the difficulty of Finished! by changing how many sweets you start with and/ or your number of coffee cups.
On any given turn, you will draw three cards and place them in a row called the “Present Area”. After you resolve your turn, you can reorder them and put them in your “Past Area”. Once cards enter your Past Area, you can no longer use their powers or reorder them. The Past Area is only a staging area for cards that will eventually disappear into the bottom of your deck.
Some cards will give you sweets when they hit the Present Area. Most of the cards, though, have powers that give you extra draws, or let you manipulate the order of the cards. You can, for example, remove cards from the Past Area to play them again, or preemptively end a turn to move certain cards ahead of other ones. Also, if you want to keep certain cards in play, you can bump cards into a “Future Area” for use in a later turn.
As you play, you will eventually find card 1. When card 1 hits the Present Area, you immediately remove it from the deck and begin a separate score pile with it. The same will happen with cards 2, 3, etc. If you manage to put all 48 cards in the score pile, you win!
The core of Finished! consists of juggling your three play areas, as well as the deck itself, so that you construct as many sequential sets of cards as possible. Sequential sets make it easier to put cards in the score piles. Also, if you move a full sequential set into your Past Area at the end of your turn, you get more sweets! In Finished! (as, it can be argued, in life itself), effectively managing your sweets is critical to your personal success.
Card 48 represents a round tracker, of sorts. Once card 48 hits the Past Area, you have to remove a coffee cup from your stock. If you run out of coffee cups before you put the 48 cards in order, you lose the game. You get 7 coffee cups in the easier modes, while only getting 5 in the hard mode.
What I liked about Finished!
I’d like to talk about Onirim for a second, but only to give context to how I experienced Finished! The pleasure of Onirim, or a lot of more luck-based solitaire games, is that they generate a sense of flow. You can play through multiple games of Onirim and make decisions about how to build the colored sets very quickly. It’s almost too easy to get sucked into the flow of Onirim. If you lose track of, say, how many suns you’ve discarded, you might end up screwing yourself over without realizing it.
Finished!, like Friday, feels very different. Both Friday and Finished! challenge you to put your logical thinking cap on and think through your turns, both in terms of economy of present actions and how they impact future turns. You will spend a minimum of 20 minutes playing a full game of Finished!, and those will be games where the deck just kind of works out for you. Most of the time (unless you play so often that you get awesome at this game), you will be there around 30 minutes or more. For contrast, you can finish an Onirim game in about 5 minutes or so, excluding shuffle time.
The ‘thinkiness’ comes from all sorts of areas. For example, you have to actively manage your sweets. Each turn presents a decision – do you hold off and simply pass the turn, or do you jump in and trigger card actions to put nice, long strings of sequential sets together? If you decide to use the powers, which ones should you use? Lots of great decision making opportunities available here.
I thought the card powers were implemented very well. I learned every power after one playthrough and didn’t need to refer back to the rulebook after that. The icons are clear and tell you exactly what each power does. Also, the actions themselves made perfect sense. All of the action card interactions, especially when there were tons of cards in all three areas, were very smooth and fun.
Ok, so let me get back to the point about “thinkiness”. Friday is also a thinkier game than perhaps we are used to in a small card game. That’s what makes it fun, and that’s what makes Finished! fun as well. However, Friday is more of a resource management puzzle rather than a direct challenge to your short term memory. To achieve victory in Friday, you don’t necessarily have to know the order of the cards. If you are fighting a pirate in Friday, you only really need a general sense of, say, whether an aging card might come up, or whether you’re likely to pull that “+2 life” card you were waiting for.
However, Finished! presents a very different experience in that it directly and consistently challenges your short term memory. Two aspects of Finished! create the challenge: 1) it has 48 unique cards, and 2) the order that you return them to the deck really, really matters. If you are on your 3rd round and you are working with 11, 12, and 14 in the Present Area, you better remember where that 13 was. If you do, you’ll know whether it’s worth it to, say, activate a draw power to fish it out, or to boot non-sequence cards out of the way into the future to try to make room for it. That was really, really challenging, but in a way that was very satisfying when I got it right!
Finally, while I am sad to report that Finished! has no “theme” to speak of, I still enjoyed the artistic style and vibe created by the game’s motif. At no point did I feel transported into the headspace of an office worker trying to finish a job. This could have been any theme. Finished! still created an aesthetic experience that made me happy to play. Bonus points for the cards all making a cute flipbook! For a small, mechanical card game, I probably can’t ask for more.
What I’m not sure about in Finished!
At this point, I usually put my “what I didn’t like about xxxx” in this section. However, most of my negatives about the game come from my own subjective experience, rather than any objective flaws that I might perceive in the game itself.
I am a highly tactical gamer who likes to play with game elements directly in front of me. I suck at chess or any other abstract strategy game that requires planning 2-3 (or more) moves ahead. In addition, my short term memory for numbers is terrible. I mean, horrific. I can remember faces, people, and events just fine. But for numbers, I don’t stand a chance.
Therefore, I am terrible at this game. I’ve only beaten it at the easiest level and doubt I will ever do much better than that (unless I start writing some of my card sequences down, which feels like cheating but which I’ve been tempted to do, regardless). I have had a couple of occasions where I’ll lose the thread during play. Once that happens, I may as well just quit and reshuffle.
I’ve kept this game in rotation since I got it, though. I want to get better at it! I love how smoothly it plays, and I am trying my best to develop memory tricks to help me handle the load (clumping cards in mental groups, or pre-programming a move in my head for the next time I see a certain card).
I’ve encountered gamers who really, really hate games that challenge their short term memory in such a direct way. Those gamers should flee from this game as fast as their appendages allow. If you like this kind of challenge, though, then this doesn’t apply.
Another personal playstyle issue I encountered is that, especially for small card games, I like to play them a few times in a row. However, I have a really hard time doing that with Finished! For one thing, it’s fairly long, especially in relation to any other solitaire game I could fit into this slot. In addition, If I fill my head with card sequences for one game, I have a hard time doing a “data dump” and emptying my brain to prepare for the next game’s data. I don’t know another card game where I have to be this careful from game to game.
Again, I am sharing my highly subjective play experiences here, rather than objective criticisms. If you can easily “data dump” – that is, not let the knowledge from previous games bleed over into into future ones – then you’ll have a great time!
Final Verdict/ Who is Finished! for?
Not every solitaire card game lover will like Finished! Even among gamers who like thinkier card games, someone with middling to poor short term memory capacity will not do well. At the end of the day, I think Friday will always have a wider appeal than Finished!
However, if your short term memory for numbers is at least adequate, or if you want to challenge your self in this area, then I think you will be very happy with Finished! The card powers here are fun and clear. Opportunities for good, meaningful decisions present themselves on almost every turn. And there’s a really great payoff to playing well; if you string together large amounts of sequential cards, you get lots of sweets and lots of chances to do more on further turns.
Finished! is certainly a worthy successor to Friday. It’s different enough to where, if you liked Friday, you should definitely give it a try.
SUMMARY & RESULTS
Finished! is a solitaire card game that will fit perfectly for anyone who enjoys smooth mechanisms and fun memory puzzles.