Two modes of tabletop gaming continue to pull players in different directions. Euro-style games focus on the strategy, often using abstract concepts like resource-management and maximizing returns. American-style games, meanwhile, have play linked more toward theme with winning moves often reflecting luck. Some games are able to bring the two worlds together with a strong subject while still giving avenues for strategic logic. The new card game Burger Builder, currently launching on Kickstarter by X-Axis Production, gives players the chance to create culinary delights while striving to be the most profitable cook in the kitchen.
Like a great Euro game, the table is set up with several different stacks of cards to give players options of play with only their own logical deduction to show the best course of action. Fifty-six ingredient cards of different values are stacked up in a “Supply Depot” market where players may shop for lettuce and tomato at negligible cost, bacon, cheese, and mushrooms for a little more, and the pricey fish fillets and burger patties. Another field gives the “Line Up” for orders with four types of burgers drawn from the deck. Players unable to make a burger from the ingredients in hand may set aside “Advertised” burgers, which will unlock the next time the deck is shuffled, allowing players to plan long-term. Strategies include going for more expensive burgers to rack up points, shooting for combo bonuses, or cashing in points early to buy powerful “Exclusive Vendor” cards to receive ingredients at a discount.
While Burger Builder has a core of great deductive play, the game is much easier than many Euro-style games where players could take ten minutes to calculate a chess-like move. Since the Line Up is always changing, players must depend a little on luck and, thanks to the “Asking for Help” phase of each round, may swap cards with other players to get what they need, adding a social element to the game.
The game ends when the draw deck is completely exhausted as players collect their completed burgers. It is a novel technique that shows when the game will end in play without making it an abstract cut-off. The end goal is to collect the most value for bonuses, made burgers, and leftover ingredients. Skills in quick math will help, making Burger Builder a great game for students.
Burger Builder is a card game for two to four players that takes a medium amount of time to play, twenty to thirty minutes depending on the players. It is a great blend of Euro and American gaming. With fewer players, it is all about the logic. With more players, it can become a party game of jumping on good deals when they come up. Production value is excellent with eye-catching art, and, as the kickstart progresses, special bonuses such as stainless steel Exclusive cards will become available.
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