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Picky Eaters Board Game Preview

Player Count: 2 - 6

Published by: Le Fou

Designed by: Tanya Basu, Avi Setton

Artist: Alex Hoskins

This is a prototype copy sent to us for preview. Since this is a prototype please bear in mind that some elements of art, design or rules may change. See our preview policy here

By Steve Godfrey

It’s probably fair to say that picky eaters aren’t necessarily the most popular people to have at a dinner party. As you spend your time lovingly preparing a beautiful meal, only to then have to find space in the oven for some chicken nuggets and chips. I’d also go so far to say that the person on the opposite end of the scale, the one who eats everything can be just as bad as the aforementioned meal is then mixed together with all of the side dishes to form a concoction that even the giants from the BFG would turn their noses up at. I live with both types…….send help!

Picky Eaters Board Game Preview

How to be a picky eater.

Place the guest cards and the food deck in the middle of the table. Give the first player token to the person who last went grocery shopping and you're basically set up.

At the start of each round reveal the top card of the guest deck and fill up the market with twice the number of cards as players. In a two player game place out six. Give everyone five cards from the food deck or six in a two or three player game. If anyone has more than ten cards in their hand at this point then they discard down to ten.

On your turn you can take one of the following actions. You can take a card from the market into your hand. This market doesn’t get refilled when you take a card.

You can prepare a recipe in your hand by paying the ingredient cards on it and playing it in front of you. Once per recipe you can substitute one ingredient by spending three cards in its place.

You can have a maximum of five recipes in front of you but you can always replace a recipe with a different one regardless of how many you have in front of you.

Play an item card by following the rules on the card. Some will be played on yourself and others can be played on other players.

You can discard two cards to draw one from the deck or you can pass. The round will end once all players have passed.

Picky Eaters Board Game Preview

After five rounds count up everyone’s points. Every recipe in front of you is worth two points. Then take into account any modifiers from item cards on the recipes. Some will add points and some will subtract points.

Each guest has a list of recipes on them that are broken down into, favourites, likes, dislikes and restrictions. You’ll get 4 extra points if a recipe you’ve made is a guest’s favourite, 2 for a like, -1 for a dislike and -3 for a restriction. Total everything up and most points wins.

Can I have some ketchup with that?

Each round of Picky Eaters will potentially throw the food equivalent of a spanner in the works of your best laid plans (I’m thinking a carrot would work as a good spanner replacement?) Each round you’ll be taking cards from the market or the deck all in the hope that you can play down the perfect recipe for the array of guests that are already out in front of you, and once it’s down you can’t help but feel that you’ve got this all under control. It’s a nice feeling knowing you’ve got a high scoring recipe in front of you. The problem is that the next guest could be anyone with all manner of food requirements. It’s like Schrödingers patron. They could either have likes that suit your recipes perfectly, or despise everything you’ve played so far. It’s because of this constant change that you can’t rest on your laurels. Luckily the game lets you change out an existing recipe with another (when you complete it and play it down of course). It’s a great way to stop yourself from getting caught out by bad luck.

Take That…..and eat your vegetables.

Just because you’ve been lucky enough with the recipes, it doesn’t mean that your opponents have to take it lying down. FYI don’t lay down during a dinner party, it’s rude and you’ll get food in your hair. The game incorporates a few “take that” cards into the mix. Cards like Extra Seasoning (which over seasons a recipe) and Hot Plate (which stops you from replacing a recipe) are there just to mess with your opponents, but equally there are some item cards that are used to enhance your recipes and even swap out guests. Use that last one with caution though, it could end up being more useful for others than yourself. I know that “take that” style cards aren’t always to everyone’s taste, but replacing that recipe will get rid of any cards that are placed on it and you never know, this may actually end up being an advantage depending on the guests that come out. The only one that will truly mess with you is the hot plate.

Picky Eaters Board Game Preview

Picky eater or picky chef?

Making recipes is the name of the game here and ideally you want to try and make at least one per round to feel like you're being productive, or, at the very least have a couple ready to go as a reaction to a future guest. However the market is limited so you have to hope that the deck is your friend. Discarding two cards from your hand to draw from the deck can be a blessing or a curse, just like any blind draw. However, being able to discard three cards in place of one ingredient has been the difference between me playing a recipe or not on many occasions. A little behind the scenes here, the three card rule was added after I received my copy due to feedback from others who had received prototypes and got them played before I got a chance to. It’s nice to hear that the designers are listening to feedback and willing to create and implement changes so quickly if they feel it’s needed.

About the chefs.

I really like the amount of diverse foods included. That alongside Alex Hoskins' great art has made me go and look up a few that I’ve not heard of in the hope of giving them a try in the future. The guests included are just as diverse, I mean you can’t get more diverse than a sentient robot vacuum with its own tastes. At this point I’m not sure if it should be classed as being picky or just a huge step forward in vacuum based AI. It’s also nice to have little food facts on the bottom of the cards.

If Picky Eaters sounds like it could be a game for you be sure to check out their Kickstarter page here and sign up to be notified when they launch on the 11th July 2023.

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