At this point in time I have played close to 500 different board games. Of all of the games I have ever played I think today’s game, These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs, has to win the award for the strangest name given to a board/card game that I have ever played. While the name actually does a decent job explaining how the game is played, I am curious how the name came to be. Maybe the name was devised to stand out on Kickstarter which is where the game was originally launched. The name must have somewhat worked because the game got funded but the game doesn’t appear to have been widely released outside of the Kickstarter campaign. While the name is really strange what really matters is how the game plays. In that regard These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs is a completely solid but unspectacular party word game.
How to Play These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs
Shuffle the cards and deal out cards based on how long of a game you want to play (the more cards dealt out the longer the game). The rest of the cards are placed face down to create the draw pile. Players choose which player will be the first judge.
Playing the Game
The judge takes the top card from the draw pile and places it face up on the table. This card is the target card/word for the current round.
The rest of the players will choose one of the cards from their hand for the round and places it face down. Once everyone has chosen their card, each player has to describe the word on their card (without showing it) in a way that makes it sound like it is the target card/word. When making their pitch there are a couple restrictions. Players are not allowed to use the word on the target card or their own card. The players can also choose to use the “taboo rules” which means that the players can also not use any of the taboo words written on the bottom of the target card. If a player uses any of these forbidden words, they automatically lose the round and will draw a new card at the end of the round.
Once everyone has made their pitch, the judge chooses the player who made the best pitch. The target card and all cards played in the round are discarded. All players except for the judge and the player who won the round will draw a new card from the draw pile. The player to the left of the judge from the previous round becomes the next judge.
Winning the Game
The game continues until one player has no cards remaining. That player has won the game.
My Thoughts These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs
Basically there were two reasons that I decided to pick up These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs. First the name somewhat did its’ job since how could you not be curious about a game with such a strange name. The main reason though was that I found the game for less than $2 at a thrift store. I really didn’t know what to think of the game when I picked it up since I generally like these type of games but the Board Game Geek ratings were quite low. After reading the rules I was even less enthused because I really didn’t see the game’s main mechanic being very fun. While I am usually pretty good at judging a game after reading the rules, in the case of These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs I was pleasantly surprised.
These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs is not a fantastic game but I thought it was a very solid party game. Being a fan of the genre I had fun with the game. It is more of a middle of the pack party game but it does something new which makes it stand out a little in an otherwise crowded genre. If you don’t like party games though, I can’t see you enjoying These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs.
These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs feels like a party game was combined with a word game. The party game influences are pretty obvious as the game seems to take a lot of inspiration from games like Apples to Apples. The game has the judge player with the other players submitting cards that they hope the judge picks. Each round of the game has a target card/word which the players need to take into consideration when they play their cards.
The one unique mechanic in These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs though is its’ main mechanic. Basically a card is put in the middle of the table and all of the players need to choose a card that shares something in common with the target word. Each player then has to come up with a way to describe their own word that also applies to the target word without using any of the prohibited words. As far as I can remember I have never played a game that has used a similar mechanic. This mechanic kind of feels like something you would find in a word game rather than a party game but it works surprisingly well. While there is a decent amount of luck involved due to the cards you have available to you, there is actually a surprising amount of skill involved in the game. Creative players that can come up with clever definitions can actually make a compelling case for a word that has very little to do with the target word. At times it kind of feels like a bluffing mechanic as you try to figure out how to creatively stretch the definition to fit both words. It is pretty amusing to see a player use a word that has nothing to do with the target word and yet the definition was still really compelling. If this mechanic sounds interesting to you I think you should have fun with the game.
I ended up playing These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs with four players. The game requires at least three players but recommends 4-7. While the game plays fine with four players, I think it is a game that will work better with more players. Being a party game I just think it would be more enjoyable with more people since you will get more definitions and the game would just work better in a party atmosphere. While you could actually play the game with as many players as there are cards in the game, I would probably cap the game at around seven or eight players or the game could get out of hand pretty quickly.
Speaking on the number of players I should address the game’s length. Being a party game the game’s length is extremely flexible. You can easily adjust the length of the game by choosing how many cards to deal to each player at the beginning of the game. The game recommends three cards for a quick game and five for a longer game. If you are playing with three or four players using five cards still makes for a short game. I can’t imagine how short the three card game would be. If you play with more players five cards should be fine but with three or four players you should probably use seven or eight cards or the game could end in 15-30 minutes.
Like with most party games These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs is a game that you can’t take too seriously. This is a game that you play for fun and don’t really care who ends up winning. Otherwise there can be a serious end game problem. Since the judge chooses which definition is the best, a player could end up refusing to pick the definition of a player that is one card away from winning the game just to prolong the game and improve their chances of winning. If no one takes the game too seriously there shouldn’t be a problem but if players aren’t able to turn off their competitive nature it will probably cause problems for the game.
Another problem These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs shares with most other party games is that you are going to have rounds where none of your cards work. While you can try to bluff your way out of some bad cards if you get creative, there will be rounds that you have no chance of winning since you have no cards that match the target card. If you are creative you can get yourself out of more of these situations than you can in most party games but it is still a problem with the game.
The final problem I had with These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs is that while fun, there is nothing amazing about the game. The game is the definition of solid but unspectacular. I had fun with the game but it is not a game that I will be clamoring to play again soon. I don’t really see playing the game for more than 30-45 minutes at a time either. I would have no problems playing the game but there are quite a few other games that I would suggest playing before These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs.
Finally to wrap things up the game’s components are solid. The game only includes cards and the card quality is pretty good. The card artwork is pretty simplistic and to the point. The cards are basically what you would expect out of this type of game.
Should You Buy These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs?
These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs is a good but not great party word game. While the game shares a lot in common with most party games, the game’s main mechanic is something I really haven’t seen in any other game that I have played. The “definition” mechanic is actually pretty interesting and it is fun to see how the other players stretch their definitions in order to fit both the target card and their own card. This is not a game for highly competitive people though since there is a big end game problem if the players are more concerned with winning the game than having fun. The game is also fun in short doses but isn’t a game that I would regularly play.
If you don’t really like party games and don’t care for the game’s premise These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs doesn’t do anything that will probably change your mind. If the game sounds interesting to you though I think you will enjoy it. With the game never being widely released though it might be a little hard to find.
If you want to purchase These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs, you can find it online: eBay