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Board Game Review: ‘Sandwich City’

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Resource-management games are a great way to test one’s abilities at seeing opportunities and maximizing profit. Sandwich City from Championland Games won the Game Crafter’s competition for resource games, making it among the best indie resource-management games out there.

sandwichcityimageSandwich City is designed specifically for two players, unlike most resource-management games that require larger groups. Systems often become too balanced when reduced to two players, creating a tit-for-tat trade that is not as fun as having more people. Fortunately for those smaller game nights, innovative off-turn play makes Sandwich City stand out.

The resources in question in Sandwich City come as little wooden tokens representing sandwich ingredients like bread, chicken, and carrots. These populate the board, descending from the outer farm squares to less and less expensive squares, keeping a rotation of what is available at what price, a solid element for calculating actions. Players each have a reserve of food on their kitchen boards with countertops (where food goes bad immediately), refrigerators (where food can last up to three turns counted by green Mold chips), and freezers, where food never goes bad. An additional trio of face-up cards may give bonuses as the game goes on.

Players take turns with three phases, beginning with cleaning up the kitchen and tossing out the old food. Many resource games leave the clean-up to the final phase of a turn, but the more randomized two-player system works well with stuffing the fridge at the end of a turn in hopes of drawing useful cards.

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Players then may purchase ingredients using the recipe cards from their hands marked with a value. Using the same cards for recipes as Victory Points means players must balance rewards with earning money to pay for ingredients to get those points, adding another level of strategy to simply collecting resources.

Finally, the active player makes sandwiches, turning in the ingredients tokens and laying out the sandwich he or she accomplishes. Sandwich City takes an interesting turn as the non-active player then gains the chance to make a sandwich from the bonus cards laid out next to the board, potentially doing better in a round than the active player. In addition, the new cards being laid out could all match in color, making bonuses of stealing cards, cheaper food, or sabotaging an opponent’s freezer.

The sandwich-making motif of Sandwich City is great fun. The watercolor-style art for the board goes well with the clever wooden pieces, especially those shaped like chicken drumsticks. The sandwiches have hilarious names such as “The Great Gonzo” using a huge pile of chicken, “The Fluff” with a single sheep, and “The Big Salad” with carrots and a Seinfeld reference. A red “brick” cube is thrown into the mix, making for peculiar but oddly tough-sounding sandwiches.

Sandwich City is a game for two players ages twelve and up, though strategy-minded youngsters will like the game as well. Games take thirty or so minutes to play, depending on the draw as the game goes until one player reaches twenty-five Victory Points. Of course, players may keep going to fifty with the fun of serving up delicious Cluckinators, Porkers, and White Elephants.

Four out of Five Stars

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.