TTG'S Top 10: food game
Loosen those belts as you prepare to feast your eyes and feed your brain in these delectable games about cooking, serving and eating
Picked by Matt Jarvis
1. Food Chain Magnate
Not just a tasty game for foodies, Food Chain Magnate is widely proclaimed as one of the best board games around. The restaurants you control might serve fast food, but this is a long, complex feast of economic strategy and competitive business-building. Prepare to juggle the hiring and firing of staff, purchasing, marketing your menu and spreading your franchise across the city, aggressively pricing your food to undercut rivals and bring customers your way. Its acclaim makes copies often hard to find, but once it’s in your collection it’s unlikely to ever leave.
2. Sushi Go!
A snack-sized burst of cardplay and cuteness, Sushi Go! wraps its filling set-collection scoring around a card-drafting centre to form a delicious combination like the smiling maki rolls on its box. Players grab sushi from the hands of cards that travel around the group like dishes on a conveyor belt, collecting matching sets that earn points each round in a variety of different ways. Don’t forget about dessert, which adds even more points at the very end of the meal and can swing the victory your way. The original is the perfect size to break out while waiting a meal, while Sushi Go! Party offers a buffet of different cards and abilities to mix and match each game, so you’ll never go hungry.
3. New York Slice
This pizza-themed game is a savoury spiritual successor to the sweet Piece o’ Cake, using a similar way of dividing up slices via the ‘I split, you choose’ method. One player cuts a pizza into slices, dividing the tempting triangles into potions that they politely offer first to their rivals. Each player decides if they want to scoff some of the pizza for points right away or keep it to add to their collection of slices, scoring big if they have the most of one topping at the end – but nothing if they draw with another player. For some strange reason, yummy anchovies will lose you points. That must be an error in the rules…
4. Wok Star
Rather than competing against each other to make the best food, Wok Star throws the players together in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant and sets the clock ticking. As the timer ticks away, the players will need to prepare ingredients by spending dice, racing to complete the dishes ordered by customers. As the rounds progress, players can gain new recipes and attract more customers to reach the required profit needed to keep their restaurant open. Will your group turn out to be the perfect pairing, or will too many cooks spoil the chicken broth?
5. Kitchen Rush
Is there much more satisfying in life than a well-constructed burger? Burger Up doesn’t think so. In this card game, players buy ingredients to stack up in their sandwiches, working to match orders and earn coins. It’s a straightforward pleasure – much like chowing down into a tower of bread, lettuce and patty.
7. Go Nuts For Donuts
A ‘hole’ lot of fun, Go Nuts for Donuts is a sweet alternative to the whimsical look and easy-going cardplay of Sushi Go! Here, a row of freshly baked doughnuts are laid out on the table each round. Players secretly choose which ring they’re going to grab and reveal their choices together. The trick is that if two players go for the same card, nobody gets it. Successfully grab a baked good and you can add it to your collection, gathering points and using special abilities to make sure you’re left with the fullest stomach at the end.
8. A La Carte
You know that feeling of satisfaction when you flip a pancake and catch it back in the pan? A La Carte is that satisfaction miniaturised into a diddly toy frying pan and hob that puts your kitchen dexterity to the test. Players cook a variety of dishes in their pan, needing to carefully add the required seasoning and turn up the heat required to serve up a perfect plate. But it’s easy to overseason or burn your dish, especially as you tip the tiny bottles of spices into your pan! Maybe you’ll fare better with cooking a crepe, though it might drive you flipping mad – literally…
9. Cockroach Salad
Easily the least appetising meal on this list, Cockroach Salad nevertheless is a fun snack of bluffing and reaction. Players simply reveal the top card of their deck to the middle of the table. If it matches the card underneath, they have to lie – but if their card matches the lie of the player before them, they also need to lie. Screw up and you end up having to add all the cards to your deck, making victory harder. Watch out for cockroach cards that add to the number of vegetables you might match, though! If its creepy-crawly antics are to your taste, it can be combined with the similarly unpalatable Cockroach Soup, where you might find yourself sipping from a carrot and bug broth. Mmm.
After so many courses, there’s always room for tea and cakes! Set in the tearooms of respectable 1920s socialites, this card game sees players trying to put on the best spread – from biscuits and sandwiches to tea served in fine china (of course) – in order to earn sugar cubes (naturally). Straightforward but surprisingly filling given its simple gameplay and deck of cards, it’s the perfect gaming snack to enjoy in-between second breakfast and luncheon – whether you’re a hobbit or not.