Food Fight. A game where food has a face, dogs eat your dinner, and nobody seems to be happy about winning.
Food Fight was one of the first games I ever purchased. After having a fantastic evening gaming with a couple of friends, playing Munchkin and Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards at a friend’s house I went home to do my research. It was after that day I went on to purchase Munchkin, however, unable to find Epic Spell Wars, I bought another game the company, Cryptozoic, made. That game was Food Fight.
Please note that for this review we did play it a few times as a two player game. The three, four, five, and six player games may be radically different.
THE PREMISE OF FOOD FIGHT
Food Fight is a card game, designed by Matt Hyra, that takes the premise that food is fighting to be the most delicious meal possible.
Each turn the players are dealt nine cards. From these they have two types of cards available to them – troops and instant cards. Troops are the main food which will be fighting each turn (of which up to five will be picked per ‘meal’). Instants are ways of augmenting those troops to give them more “Yumminess Points” (the combat mechanism for the game).
The player may choose up to five troops to have in their army out of their hand.
A selection of battlefields are chosen each round, usually three but in a two player game, there are two chosen instead. These battlefields are worth victory points and can be breakfast, lunch or dinner related. Once the players have chosen their five troops, they are then shuffled and placed in a face-down pile. The player then chooses a battlefield to play on, using a plate token, and places this face-down on the pile of cards. The player can only choose from the battlefields that are available, for instance, if dinner and breakfast are available, the player can’t choose lunch.
All players reveal their battlefields. If two or more players choose the same battlefield they face off against each other. If no-one chooses the same battlefield then they face off against the “Dog” instead.
As players face off against each other they take it in turns revealing cards (in order). The player who has the highest “Yumminess” factor at the end of the round wins. The cards can augment each other and, as mentioned before, instant cards can also be played to augment cards. Other cards may have effects allowing players to draw additional cards or play additional cards. There are three types of troop – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A troop card of a specific type wins draws on its native battleground.
The goal is for one player to beat another. As I’ve already alluded to, if no other player fights on the same battlefield, then that player must fight the dog instead.
The dog is a deck with characters that have numbers that go up to 20 in strength. This is equivalent to the “Yumminess” factor. You draw one dog card, and that gives you the strength you’ll be trying to play against during your battle. Each card you then draw needs to be equal to or more than that card.
Cards are judged on a card by card basis. Most rounds are of five cards, however, they can be more than that.
At the end of each round, all players discard all their cards (played and unplayed) and start over.
QUALITY AND COMPONENTS OF FOOD FIGHT
Before I get onto talking about what playing the game is actually like, let’s talk about the components themselves. The cards are of a medium quality; however, they still feel nice to the touch. The tokens are fairly decent quality as well.
What makes Food Fight though is the humour and the artwork. Amongst the instant cards are special characters including names like Candy Warhol, Vlad the Clampire, and Grilled Chesus. These are comedic cards, with brilliant artwork.
These comedy cards really make the game – not just in how they play but also how they look.
The rest of the art is also really nice, which means each hand remains visually interesting.
WHAT IS IT LIKE PLAYING FOOD FIGHT?
I wanted to love Food Fight so much. It was one of the first games that I bought, however, I didn’t play it until a couple of nights ago. The reason for this is the rules are not the clearest in the world and we always had other games we wanted to play. We always held Food Fight up on a pedestal for the artwork but never seemed to get around playing it. It eventually became the game we never played – the game that got away.
Having now finally played it, if I was to find one word to describe Food Fight, it would be: Random.
There are so many random aspects in the game – the hand you are dealt, the order at which your cards come out, the order in which your opponents’ cards come out, and which version of the dog you are fighting against. It means there is very little room for strategy. What this meant was that the game turned into a game where it felt we were playing a game of snap.
Due to the fact that after each round you need to discard your entire hand, it means you can’t keep cards for your next round. Unfought on battlefields also don’t stay, meaning there is no reason to keep cards even if you could. This made it a really disappointing game to play, where you couldn’t even really be happy if you won. It was a game of chance.
In a two player game, we found we managed to go a whole game choosing opposing battlefields, meaning all we did was fight the dog. Since the dog can go up to Strength 20, a strength which is more or less unbeatable in the game, it meant the whole game was pure randomness. The dog also has the ability to make some of the stronger cards null and void, meaning there is even less of a chance of beating him.
There are some redeeming factors. The game is a short one, meaning we could play a couple of games just to make sure we didn’t just have a rubbish game.
Another redeeming factor is that, beneath all the randomness, it can have fairly fun moments. If you both, as players, get dealt a lot of instant cards then you can play off against each other “Munchkin Style”, constantly playing cards that boost your abilities. This can be quite fun.
VERDICT FOR FOOD FIGHT
Food Fight is not a bad game, however, it is a fair way off being a game I would actively recommend. There can be entire games without player interaction (in a two player game probably more than a three, four, five, or six player game) and there is just too much randomness.
There are a few potential fixes, like having a card draughting mechanic at the start of each round to let you build your army, or like forcing players to interact. It is also worth getting rid of the dog cards that are too high or too low. The dog needs to be a challenge, but not impossible.
So yeah, not a game that I would recommend, but rather one that has potential to be something much better than itself.
So, what about you? Is Food Fight something that could interest you? Have you actually played it? Let me know in the comments below.