We are stacking our plates high with delicious food in BUFFET BOSS, the next tasty tabletop treat from Origame
Designer: Daryl Chow
Release date: Kickstarter Launch 4 October 2022
* Open Drafting * Dexterity * Stacking * Variable Player Powers * Scoring Objectives *
I know the food meeples in this game look good enough to eat, but before we gobble down this game, I just need to make clear that Buffet Boss is a Kickstarter project. And Kickstarter is no guarantee that Buffet Boss is going to look or play exactly like it does right now. It isn’t even a guarantee that it will get to tables at all. So what I can do right now is to give you my thoughts on the prototype version I have played. But please do just bear in mind that the final game might be a little (or a lot!) different.
Food glorious food!
Right then, who’s ready to hit the buffet??? Well, we certainly did and it tasted good!
Buffet Boss is a lovely, light dexterity, stacking game mixed with some card drafting. The idea is to fill your plate with delicious looking treats in order to get the most points by end game.
Each round, as player one, you can take a food card from the row of Food Deck cards – there will always be 1 more than the number of players when picking begins! You then take the food token that matches the card you took and try to balance it on your plate using just one hand. And the pieces must be stacked parallel to the plate – no hanging off or sideways packing!
Each food has a different value, and the more awkward the shape is to stack, the more points it’s worth at end game!
From the cards that are left in the row, your opponents then get to choose which ones they want. The last player can take one or both of the remaining Food Deck cards before the row gets refreshed ready for the next round and for a new first player to get picking.
As well as general points per food stacked on your plate, you’ll also have a unique character who really likes the taste of certain things. And if you can add these to your dish of deliciousness, you’ll get bonus points at end game. For example, Pescatarian likes fish and broccoli, so if you have her as your diner, you’ll get extra points per token of those types on your dish.
If any food items drop off your plate, there is a 3 second rule in operation. BUT you have to pick it up, blow on it, and place it all within those 3 seconds! And if more than one piece drops, you can’t save the others! They go back to the pile and the corresponding Food Deck cards are discarded.
The game ends when the Food Deck runs out and the winner is the player who hit the buffet like a boss! ?
As a family, we really enjoy stacking games – Animal upon Animal, Suspend, Rhino Hero……and so this fits right in with us. The card drafting and variable player bonus powers adds a subtle strategic element to the physical gameplay which we really like. Knowing what to pick seems straightforward because, on the one hand, our individual characters focus our minds on what we want to stack for bonus points. But the sheer variety of shapes means that sometimes we need to take other pieces to lay a better, more solid foundation in our bowls. Not knowing other player’s character preferences until the end also turns out to be a sweet or sour surprise depending on how well they have picked and stacked!
My disability does make dexterity games trickier for me. And sometimes I shy away from the challenge. But as players can only use one hand in Buffet Boss anyway, and the pieces are so gorgeous, it’s good practice for my left handed pinch grip!
As I have come to know of Origame, their laser focus on easy rules, fun game play, and adaptability shine through yet again in Buffet Boss. With variations to suit younger players as well as those who have hit up more buffets than they care to admit, Buffet Boss is a game that can be played in a way to suit your own group. We played the standard 3P and co-operative version with our 7 year old as well as a more competitive, 2 player game where we sacrificed the 3 second rule between just us grown-ups. The co-operative mode basically has everybody working together to fill up plates. But if one fails, everybody loses.
Right now, the cooperative mode is our son’s favourite (probably because he can blame me if the food hits the table! Haha). Luck of the draw can mean your special character’s preferred foods (or the tokens with just the right shape for stacking) don’t come up when you want them to, but for us that’s all part of the challenge! The game with my husband was far more intense than I was expecting. We were each determined to stack like a boss, and nothing was going to stop us! I won’t accuse my husband of any table wobbling but……… haha
Meal for one!
As a big solo gamer now, I am always delighted to see “1-“ or “1+” on a game box. And I am the gamer around the table who stacks up their tokens whilst waiting for my turn. So a 1 player variant in Buffet Boss was a welcome surprise! The solo mode is the co-operative variant, just without any other players. I can see me bringing this to the table before our son spies it in the vain hope that I get to indulge in some salty, sweet stacking before I have to share!
The components in this game are simple but gorgeous. Each wooden fruit token has such a tempting, tactile shape that I almost don’t want to let go in order to stack them. The avocado is a particular favourite of mine, but honestly I have to stop myself from eating them all! The finish on the final pieces has been designed to give a little grip but ultimately let gravity take its course if your stacking skills aren’t up to muster. As such, what might look simple can leave you wishing a 20 second rule applied here!
The artwork is sweet and colourful, and the icons identifying which cards are to be used at different player counts are easy to spot. There are also handy reference cards which tell you what each menu item is worth in terms of points, and what the special character cards mean if the icons aren’t clear. We didn’t have any problems working them out from the symbols, but it’s a helpful reference to have.
We have really enjoyed previewing Buffet Boss. I have come to know Origame as a publisher that delivers fun, easy to learn, light but satisfying, high quality, family games. And Buffet Boss looks to be a perfect addition to their titles. The style gives it a light Asian vibe, and it feels fresh to the table. I really like the little thematic touch of the 3 second rule – blowing on the food tokens as if the were real made us all giggle! It’s an ideal family game that can be played in ways to suit all ages, and it is most definitely one that we all enjoyed tasting! I am looking forward to seeing their campaign launch and hopefully fund as we definitely want to hit this buffet in our house again!
I am grateful to Origame for the opportunity to preview a prototype of Buffet Boss prior to its kickstarter launch. If you think Buffet Boss might be a game that satisfies the hungry appetites around your table, Origame will be previewing copies at Essen Spiele next month (located in Hall 4, 4F103) as well as launching their Kickstarter Campaign on 4 October! Head over to Origame on Instagram and Facebook and their website for more details coming soon!