The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Feierabend (Finishing Time aka Quitting Time)

I don’t always like Friedemann Friese’s games …. sometimes they infuriate me, but they rarely earn the dreaded “Just Another Soul-less Euro.” So I tried Feierabend tonight. First of all, the theme is a credit to Friedemann’s creativity. Anyone could have had the thought “Are the workers in the worker placement game happy and well treated? What if they weren’t?” and made a game of it; only Friedemann did. Thematically, you are planning your weekend ….workers are ‘recovered’ when they trudge back to the factory on Monday to go through their (70 hour) work week to earn tons of stress for little money. So I guess this is a “Relaxer Placement” game.

Mechanically, you take a turn and then choose whether to recover (return to work), which you must do if you have no workers left.

If you are incredibly stressed, the only relaxation you can stand is drinking (which costs money) or zoning out in front of the TV (which doesn’t, but isn’t as fun as the bar scene). You can also increase your stress on a side hustle (bartending) if you are desperate for cash. These three spots are unlimited and you can also mix and match between the three (and place up to three relaxers in front of the TV). The rest of the spaces follow the traditional rule that each meeple blocks a space until recovered.

Going to the carnival chills you out and can also find you a romantic partner (nice pink meeples). Once you have that, you can spend some coin for a date and a trip to the motel, which will definitely take the edge off (a local said that his 13 year olds blushing reaction this this rule was worth the price of the game). Some spaces require a romantic partner to open.

And you can also organize …. this gives you strike markers (which you naturally earn each time you go back to work). Those can be spent (instead of placing a relaxer) to improve working conditions by:

  • Increasing salary
  • Reducing the working hours (and therefore, stress) of a work week
  • Get the opportunity for paid vacations (you’ll still have to spend to take that trip to Ibeza … but if you spend twice as much to bring your date, it will be much better!)
  • Reducing the pay gap
  • And more community organizing (to increase the amount you earn each week)

Thematically, this is one of the most European games I’ve got …. Friedemann has designed the game for r/antiwork. Over the course of the game you’ll go from a 70 hour work week for a $5/week and go up to something like $10/week for 20 hours of work (or so). With vacations!

As a game, I think it works. Like many of the newer worker placement games, there’s a fluid place-retrieve cycle and this has several things that let people “get out of sync” with the crowd. The fact that you can place 2 or 3 workers at the bar/TV/side hustle, or zero workers when spending you strike tokens to improve working conditions gives you control. (You can also end the weekend early, at the cost of taking another week’s stress).

Game end is triggered when one player has gotten to enough of a chill state … then each player finishes their weekend (players who have nothing left to do just get an extra chill each turn they pass) and then go back to work one last time (and pay the associated stress).

Now — as far as I can tell, there is no randomness in the setup apart from start player and player order (later players do get some extra goodies to balance their start), so that means that its possible that there is a one true path to victory. And at its heart this is a “build $$ engine early, VP later” (where $$ means money/organization, etc). But even if there is a dominant strategy, then tactically the game should hold a fair amount of interest.

Could this get to fifty plays? I suppose so, although it would take some time. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a nickel or dime in the next few years.


PS — For Funny Friends, see also my follow-up to the above link.

Written by taogaming

November 29, 2021 at 9:17 pm

One Response

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  1. Friedemann is, to me, one of the more interesting designers out there. I don’t always like his games, but they are almost always interesting design departures from his other work. Unlike many other designers there is not a signature design profile that tells you that this is a game of his, unless you count the color green. This means that his designs are always on my buy-and-try list. I know I won’t be getting the same old, same old.

    Thanks for the article, now I just need to play the copy that has been sitting on my shelves for too long.


    November 30, 2021 at 9:07 am

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