Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Foodfighters (Kids Table Board Gaming)

If your mother was anything like my mother, then I'm sure you were always told not to play with your food. Perhaps it was because she didn't want us to be wasteful, or perhaps she just didn't want to clean up the potential mess. Today, I would like to introduce you to a game that does encourage you to play with your food - FoodfightersFoodfighters is a game for 2 players, ages 8+. It takes approximately 20 minutes to play and retails for approximately $21.
Setup
1. Decide who will play which team (Veggies or Meat). Give that play their nine Fighter tiles and shuffle them. Then, randomly lay out your tiles in a 3 x 3 grid.
2. Assemble the Pantry as follows - The Price Card, Dice, and Beans go in the middle. A player's three Power Cards, three Crackers, two Spoons, and one Pan are placed on their own side of the Pantry.
3. The start player is determined by who most recently ate one of the foods on their own team.
Game Play - The game goes turn-for-turn until one player loses all of their Fighter tiles. On your turn, you perform the following three actions in order:
1a. Roll for Beans - Roll the two white dice until both faces show beans on the face. Take that many Beans from the supply. OR
1b. Swap - Swap the position of two of your Fighter tiles or a Fighter tile with an empty space on the same row and take one Bean. OR
1c. Attack - Indicate which one of your Fighters is attacking which one of your opponent's Fighters. Note: The tiles must be within reach (either straight ahead or diagonally touching) and your Fighter must be have a matching thought bubble of the Fighter it is attacking. Roll the two white dice. If you get one Splat icon, you have knocked their fighter out. If you completely miss, you get the amount of Beans shown on the dice face.
2. After performing one of the actions above, you may buy one thing from your side of the Pantry. You can only buy the Bonus Die if it is available in the middle. The other items you cannot buy if you just used them your previous turn or if equipping them would put two of the same items on one Fighter tile.
3. Your opponent fills any gaps - If you knocked out any of your opponent's tiles, they must pick a Fighter from the farthest back row and fill in the gap that was created.
Review
I'm usually not a fan of two-player only games, because there's three people in my household. Now, granted my son is fairly young, so for the time being a game that plays two players is okay. However, he does love games and he can pick them up fairly quickly, so when he saw this game laid out with the dice and all the amazing wooden components, he instantly wanted to play this game! This may be Kids Table Board Gaming's first game, but Josh Cappel and his wife Helaina are no strangers to the board gaming industry. He has co-designed many successful games and his beautiful and distinct art style can be found in a personal favorite game of mine - Scoville! His art made this theme a very tasty prospect, and I think I would buy this game for my son for the art alone. However, there is a little bit of meat in the mechanics too! You have to decide when to go for the attack and when to accumulate some currency for offense, defense, and special abilities on the cards. There is also a key moment where switching your fighters will pay dividends and make your opponent reevaluate their strategy.

The game sets up and plays very quickly too, which is something you need in a kid's game. Children don't want to sit around and wait for 30 minutes while you set up a game, nor do they want to have to sit through another 30 minutes worth of rules, and an hour of game play. They will get bored and leave if you submit them to that. Instead, Foodfighters is a quick skirmish with just enough strategy and luck of the dice that your children (and you) will want to immediately play again. Where the game shines for me is in the variability of the play. The base game comes with two factions (Meat and Veggies), to play with. You and your opponent can take turns playing each faction or draft Fighters from each faction to have a mixed faction army. (There are reusable stickers in the game that allow you to alter the thought bubbles for this game play.) There are also four expansion factions which you can add to the game for even more variability - Grains, S'mores, PB&J, and Problem Picnic (the last of which is inspired on their second game with the same name). The Cappels have produced a winner with this game, and I look forward to see what they have coming out next!