WBG Score: 6.5/10
Player Count: 2-4
Published by: Big Punch Studios
Designed by: Nich Angell
Coming from first time designer Nich Angell, Sandwich Masters is a delightful little card game that takes two large slices of hand management and set collection and fills it with a large spreading of humour and some juicy slithers of take-that. This is all served up on a large plate of family-friendly fun. Sandwich Masters is simple to learn and play and can be adapted easily for any ages from four up. If you are looking for a straightforward card game to enjoy with your loved ones, then this could be for you! But watch out for the Special Sauce!
In the vicious and overly competitive world of the lunch time sandwich market, there is only one way to outlast the competition. Make Sandwiches the quickest! Although, if you get some rotten ingredients like a defaced chicken breast into your products and someone calls the health inspector on you, it might be time to find a new job! Fulfil your orders whilst those around you fall to the law, and maybe you will stand victorious.
The game works very simply. Each player is given seven ingredients cards. These could be things you actually want, such as some tasty bacon, juicy tomatoes or freshly made eggs. Or things that are somewhat less desirable, perhaps destined for your competitors.
There are order cards in the game which will show specific sandwiches with certain ingredients. These are the Sandwiches currently required by the customers and the sarnies you need to make to win the game. Players must then make these sarnies to collect the points in the game, ‘Nosh bucks’.
‘Evil ingredients’ can be played into your opponent’s sandwiches, which may not be the worst thing, but if a health inspector card is later played and someone is caught with a hairy egg in their sandwich then its curtains! Event cards can cause chaos too, such as the fridge fuse blowing, forcing all players to discard their dairy products from their hand.
You can make up to four sandwiches at a time, and the first to certain amount of money, or most money in a certain amount of time wins. You can play however you like. We like having a time limit. But the game rules officially are based on either a time or money goal of your choice, it’s up to you!
The game plays very quickly and turns will fly round at a frantic pace. You will make grand plans and have them dashed multiple times. Perhaps by fate, maybe from your opponent’s fulfilling orders that you are desperately working on, before you get the chance to add the final ingredient. Or it could be all ruined by the multiple take-that attacks from the other players in the kitchen.
The orders you could be working on vary a great deal. Some are simple one or two ingredient sandwiches which offer simple £5 rewards. Others, like the ‘Chefs Special’ offer £5 per filling and could be a towering pile of ingredients and ‘Nosh bucks’! Although of course, the bigger orders take longer to make and so will be open to more attacks. Due to their time on the kitchen preparation table and their juicy points that are on offer to you, other players will find it hard not to want to destroy it all!
On your turn, you may either play one type of ingredient from your hand, move a top ingredient already laid on one of your sandwiches to another, or discard as many cards as you like from your hand and replace them with new cards from the draw deck. You will always refill your hand back to seven at the end of your turn, so you can cycle through the deck and get the ingredients you want quite quickly.
The health inspector cards come in three main varieties. There is the ‘Lazy’ inspector who just focuses on the top ingredients of the target player, forcing them to discard any sandwich with a bad top layer. The ‘Jobsworth’ inspector forces the targeted player to discard all sandwiches with bad fillings anywhere in them, not just the top layer. And then the rare but feared ‘Strict” inspector forces the targeted player to discard all open sandwiches if just one of them has one single bad ingredient within it!
But fear not! Like all good government employees, all inspectors can be bribed for a small sum of £5, £10 or £20 ‘Nosh dosh’ depending on which one it is. Players do have the option to keep particularly profitable sandwiches on the go if they chose to follow a life of crime! But this money sacrifice, in what can sometimes be a low scoring game can be tough to take. Especially if you are playing to time or a low money target. It can be tough to make this money back sometimes.
Having one of these Health Inspector cards in your hand at the same time as an ‘Attack Condiment’ which can only be played on your opponent’s sandwiches is a joyful thing to behold in a game like this. Seeing the grin on my children’s faces when this is the case and I know I am about to be attacked is quite hilarious!
The game comes with two mini expansions, offering extra cards to keep the game fresh. The ‘Attack Pack’ adds new attack condiments and extra Health inspectors to increase the likelihood of these cards coming up and being used, for a more aggressive style game. And ‘Order Up!’ includes new orders and blank order cards so that players can create their own perfect, or horror Sandwich. All expansion cards are clearly labelled with their own symbol, so they can be added or removed with ease.
Taking these out also of course opens the opportunity to remove all the health inspector and bad ingredient cards, if you don’t want any take that in the game, If you don’t enjoy this mechanic, then it is easy to remove these from the game if you so choose.
The art in this game is bright, vibrant and easily recognisable for young players. There is a bit of frivolity too with a personal favourite being the ‘Defaced Chicken’ card, which has a chicken breast covered in graffiti including an angry stick man saying “poop” in a speech bubble, a mobile number, and the word “Arse!” Sadly, the mobile number is a digit short and doesn’t call through to an angry restaurant owner wondering why they keep getting prank calls from people playing a card game. But it’s a great card none-the-less.
My only minor gripes are that the stock isn’t the best and it makes it hard to shuffle the deck without damaging the cards, and I do feel a few extra things could have been added to make this game more unique. But a recent Kickstarter expansion has just fulfilled. I have backed this and I am excited to see what this brings to the kitchen table. Oh, and the cards don’t quite fit in the box. I assume because of the expansions. But they slide about on the top as there are around 10 too many cards for the box.
But these are small things, and I only mention them for transparency. It doesn’t affect the enjoyment of the game, and I think we will enjoy many more games of this. Although it does tend to make me hungry for rotten eggs for some reason?