Published on November 12th, 2014 | by Nicole Jekich0
Stick ‘Em In a Stew!
Another $20 quick pick this week?! If you didn’t already guess this, I love cheap and casual games and lately there have been an ever-growing number of them on Kickstarter. I enjoy having the ability to play a large variety of games without breaking the bank.
Burgoo is one such micro game and it was designed by Dan Manfredini and published through Tasty Minstrel Games: one of the main companies producing and supporting the rise of the micro game. A micro game is usually an indie title that fits in your pocket and it aims to bring intricate gameplay in small pieces. Burgoo is a fast-paced cooking game where 2-4 players are trying to be the first to add all their ingredients to the pot of stew in the center of the table.
The entire game of Burgoo can easily fit into a sandwich bag. The game comes with 96 cardboard chits and a small one page rulebook. Those cardboard pieces are divided into 6 different types of ingredients as indicated by the icons and distinct colored background: 16 Beef, 16 Celery, 16 Carrots, 16 Potatoes, 16 Onions and 16 Herbs and Spices are all ingredients used in created this communal stew.
The iconography is bright and distinct, making it easy to reference your own batch of ingredients and your opponents’ batches quickly and without difficulty. Burgoo was a great success on Kickstarter by letting backers pay what they wanted (though they encouraged $5 to cover cost of materials) to receive this game. All of these components fit into a stiff cardboard envelope and while it may not look as pretty next to all your game boxes, it is definitely the most affordable on your shelf.
As an added bonus for those of us who enjoy cooking or want to enjoy some Burgoo while we play the game, there is a printed recipe for making the Burgoo stew in the rulebook. Those pictures and recipe are great additions (and look just like all the ingredients featured in the game!).
Each participating player gathers up two of each of the ingredients and randomly arranges them in a single-file column in front of them. This column is your batch. There are slightly different rules for a 2 player game where the 2 players begin the game with two batches instead of one. The remaining ingredients will go into a pile known as the pot in front of all the players.
Each player also grabs one of each of the ingredients to compose their hand kept hidden from other players. Players are trying to be the first to add all of their ingredients to the pot. On a turn a player will add ingredients into the pot, sample the Burgoo and then split their batch into a smaller, more manageable columns.
The main strategy is to add your ingredients to the pot without helping out your opponents too much. This is your guarded, secret recipe after all. For example, when a player chooses to add all their meat to the Burgoo from the top of their batch(es), each player who also has meat on the top of their batch columns gets to add their meat ingredient too.
Helping your opponents is sometimes unavoidable but in order to win it’s best to limit assistance if possible or else another player may add all their ingredients to the Burgooo first! Players will also try to split their batch up to mirror ingredient arrangements of their opponents. Following someone else’s strategy is another good way to have ingredients added even when it isn’t your turn!
Many of our games came down to the last tile or came to a tie breaker. Because the pattern and options in Burgoo are simple and easy to predict this is a great game for beginners who are new to tile games. I didn’t really find Burgoo very challenging, however playing it left me very satisfied. As someone who grew up playing Rummikub and I enjoy the trance-like state when playing set collection and tile matching games like Burgoo.
It’s that state of mind when gamers are building their machine and everything is going according to plan: pick a tile, place a tile. Move this here, discard this there. It is that sense of order and being able organize, plan and successfully carry out my plan that gives me the personal feeling of accomplishment like when you place the final card in solitaire or when I cleared my board in Rummikub. I felt my $5 for this game were well spent and look forward to playing more micro games in the future.
To check out more games by Tasty Minstrel Games, visit their website.