24 September 2021
Twists and delicious dishes
More games should come with recipes. In fact, designers of any future abstract games should strive to paste on a vaguely food related theme specifically for this purpose. In the case of Fiesta Mexicana we get instructions to create baked burritos – oh, and there’s a decent game in here too.
Fiesta Mexicana is a bidding game that brings some interesting twists (and delicious dishes) to the table. Players will be acquiring cards and placing them in order to complete dips and meet the requirements of personal ‘Order’ cards. With no tangible currency in the game, bids will be made using the ascending numbers on their player boards, with dishes being placed on that exact number when won.
Failure to win a bid gives players the option to rotate their boards, with this new orientation shifting the numbers of each space and potentially raising the likelihood of winning a dish in exactly the space you need. It’s a great design touch and an innovative approach to auction mechanics, allowing for some strategic thinking between turns.
Throughout our plays, there was an overarching question of who, what, and where this game is for. Its low price point and the general feel seems at odds with its relatively large box. More compact components would’ve arguably enhanced the warm and cosy feel of the game’s theme, making it the perfect box to crack out before or after dinner – perhaps even at a pub or restaurant – as well as making the game less intimidating for newcomers.
As for who the game is for, families and foodies would be the obvious answer, albeit ones who can look past its clumsy Mexican tropes. The game’s title as well as the iconic dishes within should have been enough of a thematic indicator to allow the publishers to avoid plastering the box with sombreros, maracas, and slightly sultry señoritas, but perhaps due to a lack of Mexican involvement, this unfortunately isn’t the case.
PLAY IT? MAYBE
Designer: Christian Fiore & Knut Happel
Time: 30 minutes
This article originally appeared in issue 59 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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