09 October 2023
Simple and sweet, Bake it Happen sees you trading ingredients to bake the best treats, in this 3-6 player family game, with all the charm of The Great British Bake Off.
Bake It Happen managed to pass the ultimate test for a younger family board game: my niece loves it after originally refusing to play. She was obstinate that nothing was better than her tablet, sternly frowning at videos of toy unboxings, whilst I sat next to her looking at the deck of recipe cards. Her head peeked over the screen at the sight of beautifully illustrated pink donuts. Then she asked if she could look through the deck. Then when I asked her if she wanted to play and brought out the chef’s hat the game came with, the tablet was immediately left on the sofa as she beamed under the brow of her new white floppy headwear.
What is Bake it Happen?
Bake it Happen is not a hardcore set collection game. If the soft visuals, oven-shaped box and age rating of “6+” did not tip you off, the children’s chef hat and bright ingredient cards should have made it incredibly clear. Despite skewing to a younger audience, the game is still blast to play, especially with how it cleverly weaves in layered strategies to suit replays as your younger players become more experienced with board games.
How do you play Bake It Happen?
Players are racing to bake the most delicious array of sweet treats, from cookies and cupcakes to croissants and crumbles. Five unique recipe cards are laid out on the table and everyone is dealt a hand of ingredients. Recipes require either three or five different ingredients to complete, with more complicated recipes scoring more points.
You can complete up to one recipe a turn, passing play by drawing two new ingredient cards. Where things heat up is how many ingredients will also have an action printed on them. You can discard them to activate these actions, which range from understandable options like drawing more cards or letting you complete two recipes in a turn, to more outlandish effects like everyone passing their hand clockwise or stealing another player’s completed recipes. In that first game with my niece, her dad managed to not only swap my prized macarons for some subpar profiteroles, but proceeded to steal my eggs to complete a cake, THEN take the rest of my hand, leaving me with a single banana. I’m convinced most family games are outright evil, because that competition keeps children constantly engaged. My niece copied her dad’s move by then nicking said banana to complete a banoffee pie, smirking as she did so.
The explosive nature of actions would be soul crushing in a heavier game, but Bake It Happen consistently keeps its light tone that you can’t help but smile as you quietly swear vengeance against the cooking crimes committed. The game ends once an ‘oven’s off’ card is revealed, which starts the game shuffled near the bottom, but a few action cards will let you shuffle the recipe deck, ensuring the game could end at any moment.
I intentionally did this thinking I had the lead (recipes are kept face down once completed) and the end sprung upon us swiftly afterwards. After tallying up our points (making sure to add our bonus for that game’s special ingredient, another clever way of keeping players focused on what they’re choosing), there was a tie: me and my niece. However, as she had just used her last three cards to bake the final doughnut, she became The Greatest Baker, already proudly wearing her cookery crown.
What do we think of Bake It Happen?
I heartily recommend Bake It Happen for any budding bakers or board game players.
Review by Matthew Vernall
Should You Play Bake it Happen?
Bake It Happen is a charming game for bakers big and small. Whilst definitely targeted for younger children, there’s enough charm and flavour to keep things fresh for most players.
You should try Bake It Happen if you liked..?
Both of these games revolve around completing orders whilst riding the waves of randomness to a degree. Weirdly enough, either game seems like a brilliant stepping stone to the other.
On the Box
Designer: Matt Fantastic and Andrea Pincumbe
Publisher: Lucky Egg
Time: 30 minutes
What’s in the box?
- 166 Game Cards
- Greatest Baker Hat
Gaming In Your Hands
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