Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tiffin (Rio Grande Games)

There are a ton of overused board game themes in the hobby today - Vikings, Zombies, Cthulhu, and even recently the planet Mars. It seems like finding a unique theme grows harder by the day. Therefore, when I heard about the game Tiffin, I was intrigued. a tiffin is a meal in India that is home-cooked, sold, and transported at a rate of nearly a quarter of a million per day. Tiffin is a game for 2-4 players, age 14+. It takes 30-60 minutes to play and retails for $40.

1. Have each player pick a color and their 20 cubes (Tiffins) of the corresponding color.
2. Give each player a Player Reference card, a Shortcut card, and a Flat Tire card.
3. Place the Score Track in the center and have each player place a cube next to it.
4. Place the Competitor Track card face up next to the Score Track and a Competitor cube on space 0.
5. Sort the Tiffin Tracking cards in ascending order in a face-up pile with the 0 card on top.
6. Shuffle the ten Route cards, flipping them as you shuffle. Then, deal three of the cards under the Score Track and put the other seven next to the three to form a draw deck.
7. Lastly, shuffle the 45 Delivery cards. Deal four to each player. Then, turn six face up in a line under the Route cards, placing the remaining cards next to this line of cards to form a draw deck.
Game Play - On your turn, you take one of three actions:
1. Place a Tiffin on the leftmost open tiffin square of an un-started Route card.
2. Draft two Delivery cards from the draft pool, draw deck, or one from each.
3. Play a Delivery card from your hand to an active Route card, which will add cubes to the route progress. (Note: Delivery card color must match Route card color, except for grey, which is wild.) When you complete a Route card, you get a Delivery Fee, and the player who contributed the most to the route receives a Route Fee. (Note: Both fees are victory points.)

The Competitor also has a turn. Some Delivery cards have a Competitor symbol on, which will move his cube one space on the card. Once it reaches the space, which equals the number of players will perform a series of actions for the Competitor, which will cause him to add cubes to different Routes.

The game ends when there are no more Route cards left in the draw deck to replace a second Route. Most points wins!

At its core, Tiffin is a game of area control. You want route cards to be completed, but you want to have the majority of cubes on that card so that you score the route fee. (Ideally, you want to be the one who receives both the delivery and route fee.) What I really like about this game is that delivery cards don't just let you place cubes to the route, they also have powers depending on their rank. The component quality is of high quality, i.e., thick cardboard, good feel of cards and cubes. The game is also easy to grasp and teach, with the biggest thing to explain being the special ability cards, which can help you claim a route and/or prevent your opponent from claiming it. The game's biggest strength can also be considered its greatest weakness. Since the boards are double-sided, you don't know what color routes are going to show up. This creates variability from game to game, but also can really penalize someone who collected a lot of one color, only for it to not show up near as much as other colors. I applaud the theme for being original, but unfortunately, it wasn't one I could sink my teeth into. That's not to say it's not a good game with solid game play value, it just wasn't for me.

This game was provided to me for free by Rio Grande Games in exchange for an honest review.