Published on January 28th, 2015 | by Nicole Jekich1
Learn to Play with Your Food
A Review of DiceHateMe’s Food Card Games
These card games were a long time in the making. DiceHateMe Games put out a card design contest in November 2013 challenging designers around the United States to create a card game. The card game had to be 54 cards and feature a family-friendly theme. In less than two months, designers created and sent in their prototypes to compete for the chance to gain a publishing contract with DiceHateMe Games. This contest was an opportunity for budding game designers to partner with a well-respected and popular game publisher to have their game idea made into an marketable product.
More than 100 submissions were played and narrowed down to a set of 15 finalists. These finalists were demoed at the UnPub 4 convention on January 18, 2014. Multiple game testers at the convention along with the DiceHateMe team voted and selected on a group of 4 winners.
These 4 winners and 2 DiceHateMe card games were featured on a Kickstarter campaign in Spring 2014 which introduced a new line of games called Rabbits- pocket-sized card games intended for casual players and families.
We received all six card games from our pledge at the end of December 2014 which is a great turn around time (from reading the Kickstarter updates DiceHateMe only experienced minimal delays). Today I wanted to give my attention to the three food-related winning card games. The “Dinner, Drinks and Desserts” set included Pie Factory, Diner and Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game.
Pie Factory – Designed by Bryan Fischer
Players have just two days in a pie factory to gather and box pies in this assembly line competitive set collection card game. Players are competing for a promotion and are proving their worth by boxing pieces efficiently and for boxing the most pies. Points are also awarded to players who pandered to a certain factory employee for additional approval. For example you can go the route of building pies tied to your boss’ preferences for additional points.
Beginning the game is simple. Between all participating players, there is an Assembly Line of pie crusts, fillings and toppings coming down the line in a face-up random order. The front of the line (the card furthest from the Ingredients Deck) are free to take on a a player’s turn. The newest pie ingredients cost money depending on far down the production line it is.
The test of a good food-centric card game, to me, is if the food pictures and illustrations featured in the game look good enough to eat. Pie Factory features some of the sweetest art I’ve seen and is very visually rewarding. Pie layers stack on top of each other and literally build a cross section of a pie.
I definitely felt that Pie Factory was true to its name. At the end of our two player games, I sorted through a large stack of cards and totaled nearly 20 completed pies and crusts. I felt very accomplished after playing such a light card game.
Diner-Designed by Matthew O’Malley
In college I found that I have a sickening obsession with solo, casual, cooking video games. Fulfilling food orders and assigning my digital works to complete tasks fills me with a sense of accomplishment that finishing normal desk work and emails just doesn’t provide.
In Diner I felt like I was playing a solitaire App Store game. All the pieces were there: a limited action pool, an ever-rotating list of potential customers and orders were filling into my diner section and I had to take care of them. I had opponents during this game and they would occasionally take the thing I wanted, but it never disrupted my plans very much.
I usually chat a lot during games because other people are playing out their turn. It is how I get caught up with friends and talk about new ideas or the latest Marvel movie trailer, etc; but Diner doesn’t give you that opportunity. There are no turns or order. Players take actions and spend their action token by giving it to the next player to their left.
This constant interaction removed the laid-back quality of casual card games that I’ve come to expect. The game was always in play and there wasn’t time to really take a sip of water, make small talk or even trash talk for that matter. It was a very lonely experience in a group game and it felt very odd.
Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game – Designed by Ben Rosset
I was one of the unlucky people who didn’t get to back the Brew Crafters big, Euro game; but luckily, the speed run card game version was available. In the Brew Crafters card game players are building up their brewery and producing beer to bolster their reputation. This game gives me the essence of putting together a successful machine in a short amount of time.
Cards double as Ingredients to make beer or as Brewery Cards to build up your personal brewery. These Brewery cards give additional actions, more reputation points and allow for certain brewery specializations to occur.
I enjoyed creating a brewery that was stronger the more workers and specialists I had in my brewery. Other players put together a machine that would reward them for just brewing beer. Even using those different methods no one player had an advantage. All the different ways to build a brewery were fun and successful.
As far as a set collection game, Brew Crafters is easy to teach and pairs well with another hobby shared by many game designers: the enjoyment of a finely-crafted microbrew.
This 54-card challenge was an exercise in connecting the game publishers with designers and showed what a great community we are part of. It also showed many of us just how many people out there are passionate for designing games. DiceHateMe said, “We figured we might get 30 or 40 entries…We got 108!“.