How to Play
The object of the game in Food Fight is to be the first player to receive 10 victory points.
The game comes with five different cards which are as follows:
- Battlefield Cards: These cards players compete for in order to earn victory points. Each battlefield card will have a victory point number in the bottom right corner and will indicate its’ meal (breakfast, lunch, diner) in the bottom left corner.
- Food Troops: These troops fight your battles for you. Each food troop has a yumminess rating in the top right corner which is their value in a fight. Each card will also have a meal type and most of the cards have a special ability.
- Instant Cards: These cards are played during battles and give bonuses to your troops.
- Mascot Cards: These are special cards that are played during battles and give bonuses to your troops.
- The Dog Cards: These cards are mostly used for tiebreakers and situations where only one person is fighting for a meal. More details on how they are used will be provided later.
Each round of the game follows these 9 steps:
- Reveal battlefield cards.
- Deal nine cards to each player.
- Players draft their hands.
- Each player creates their army.
- Each player uses their plates to pick the meal that they are competing for.
- Everyone reveals their plates.
- Battles are fought.
- All cards in players’ hand are discarded and a new round is started.
Reveal Battlefield Cards (#1)
To begin the round the battlefield cards for the current round are drawn. For two or three player games two battlefield cards are drawn. For four plus player games, three battlefield cards are drawn. Once revealed if two battlefields share the same meal, they are placed on top of one another.
Deal Cards and Draft Hands (#2 and 3)
All players receive nine cards. Before the game begins players need to choose whether they would like to draft cards or if they would like to just play with the cards dealt to them. If the players chose to draft their hands each player chooses one of their nine cards to keep. They then pass the other eight cards to the player on their left. Players then pick a card from their group of eight that they received from their neighbor. They pass the remaining cards to the player to their left. This continues until all players have nine cards in their hand. The direction that cards are handed rotates each round.
Building an Army (#4)
After getting their hand, players need to select the army they are going to fight their battle with. Players can choose an army of up to five troops. Players can choose less than five troops but they will end up forfeiting the servings that they don’t have a troop for. The troop’s meal does not have to match the meal you plan on doing battle in. For example a breakfast troop can fight in a lunch battle. Troops receive benefits for fighting in their own meal though. One benefit is that a troop fighting in their own meal will win all ties against a troop fighting in a meal that isn’t theirs. When picking troops to add to your army, you want to pick troops whose special abilities help one another.
No instants or mascot cards can be placed into your army. These cards are kept in you hand and are played during the battles.
Plating (#5 and #6)
Once a player selects their army they need to decide which meal they would like to compete for. Players pick the corresponding plate tile that matches the meal they would like to fight for. They place this tile face down over their army cards. Everyone reveals their plates to determine which battles will be fought by each player. If two or more people reveal the same plate they will fight one another for that meal. If only one player is fighting for one of the meals they end up fighting “The Dog”.
The Battles (#7)
The battles are fought in the following order: breakfast, lunch, dinner. If there are no battlefield cards for one of the meals, that meal is skipped. Before playing any cards, the players need to randomly shuffle the cards in their army. If only one player is fighting a meal, they will fight “The Dog” (see the “The Dog” section below).
When two or more players are fighting for a meal they all reveal their first card. Each troop’s yumminess is calculated by adding the number in the top right corner with any bonuses on the card itself or any bonus from previous cards played that apply to the current card. Previous cards’ base value and other special abilities that don’t apply to the current card are not added.
At this point the player with the smallest yumminess figure gets the opportunity to add an instant or mascot to their card. Play then passes to the left with the next player being able to play an instant or mascot card. This continues until all of the players decide to not play an additional instant card. If a player passes and one of the other players then play an instant card, the player that passed is able to add a new instant if they would like to.
Some special instant effects have the following rules:
- If a special ability allows you to discard cards to get a bonus, the bonus can only be used once so the player has to discard all of the cards that they want to at one time. A player cannot discard one card and then after another player has played an instant, discard another card.
- If a troop “joins” the fight, all of their yumminess and special abilities apply. Instants can also be applied to this troop in addition to the original troop.
- Printed yumminess is the number printed in the top right corner and does not include any bonuses applied to the troop.
Once everyone is done playing instants, the winner of the current serving is determined. If a troop has multiple bonuses applied to it, they are applied in the order that will provide for the largest overall number. Whoever has the highest yumminess number wins the current serving and receives a scoring chip. If two troops are tied and one is using a troop fighting in their own meal while the other troop is not, the troop fighting in their own meal wins the tie. If the players are still tied, all tied players receive a scoring chip.
The next four servings are played in the same manner. Once the fifth serving is completed, whoever has the most scoring chips wins the meal and gets to keep the battlefield card(s) to be used as victory points. If there is a tie, “The Dog” will end the tie (see “The Dog” section below). All scoring tokens are then returned to the bank.
“The Dog” is used in three scenarios.
- If there is a tie at the end of a battle, all of the tied players take a card from “The Dog” deck. The player whose card has the highest number wins the tie.
- If there is a meal where only one player is competing, they must face “The Dog” in order to win the card. The battle is played similar to other battles with the top card from “The Dog” deck taking the place of other players’ troops. The player or “The Dog” receive scoring chips based on whose number is higher. The player has the ability to apply instants and mascot cards to their troops in order to beat “The Dog’s” cards. If two cards end up tied, the player will win the tie. After all of the servings have been fought, whoever has more scoring chips wins. If the player and “The Dog” have the same number of chips, the player wins the tie and takes the battlefield card(s). If “The Dog” wins the battlefield cards are placed at the bottom of the battlefield deck.
- “The Dog” may be summoned to a battle due to a card that was played. “The Dog” joins the battle and competes like he does in battles where there is only one competitor. If a player and “The Dog” have the same number of scoring chips at the end of a meal, “The Dog” will lose the tie.
After every time “The Dog” deck is used, it is reshuffled.
Start New Round (#8)
To start a new round all cards are discarded and play returns to step #1.
Winning the Game
Whoever reaches 10 victory points first wins the game. The game ends immediately whenever a player reaches 10 victory points even if a player scores their 10th point during a battle.
Recently I came upon the game Food Fight in an online clearance sale. I had never heard of the game before but it looked interesting. How could you not at least look at a game that features various food items brandishing weapons, attacking one another. After researching the game I ended up picking up the game since it seemed like it had solid game mechanics backed up with a good theme. After playing the game I have to agree that is a good game that could have been great if it wasn’t for one rule in particular.
A Tasty Take on the Game of War
If I had to compare Food Fight to another game, I would have to consider the game War. Like the game War, the game consists of players comparing cards and whichever card is larger ends up winning. The biggest problem with the game of War is that players had no real impact on the game. In War the players flip over the cards, compare their values, and whoever’s card was the highest ended up winning. There was no chance for strategy and the winner was decided solely by luck.
The good thing about Food Fight is that it takes the basis of War and adds a lot to the game which makes it a lot deeper and more strategic. Players make a lot of decisions in the game and most of them have an impact on who wins the game. Players need to pick their hand, pick their armies, pick their battles, and even pick when they choose to play instant and mascot cards. These choices give players a feeling that their decisions really matter and they help reduce a lot of luck that is usually present in card games. While the game does have some luck to it like all card games, for the most part you don’t really feel it impacting the game (except for one rule that I will discuss later).
While the game does add a lot of extra features to War, for the most part the game is easy to play. The rulebook is not short (not too long either) and the game takes a while to explain how to play but once players know how to play the game it becomes pretty easy to play. In the game I played it took a couple hands to fully understand the game.
While the game is pretty easy to learn, it will not be for everyone. People that don’t like card games where you have to read the text on the cards to know what they do most likely won’t like the game. In Food Fight you need to read or know the special abilities for every card in order to know how you should play the card. The good thing is that the text on the cards are well written and are easy to understand which some card games fail to do.
Overall the length is pretty good. If you are looking for a short card game, Food Fight is not for you since you can expect at least 45 minutes to an hour for each game. Even though it takes close to an hour to play, it never really seems that long since you are engaged most of the time. Even if you aren’t in a battle, the battles are pretty fun to watch.
Simply put Food Fight is a fun game. I enjoyed playing the game and I would gladly play it again.
One of the driving factors for me ultimately deciding to buy the game was due to the theme. Food Fight has a unique theme and the game does a good job enforcing it throughout the game. From the diner sign that serves absolutely no purpose in the actual game, to the artwork on the cards, to the cheesy puns scattered throughout the game; the theme is ever present in the game.
The theme really shines in the card artwork. I think all of the artwork is really well done in its’ cartoony fashion. The artwork is very stylized and very well done but at the same time is not overdone to become distracting. The cards are well designed so it is really easy to find the information that you need on the cards. I have to say some of the puns on the cards are pretty groan worthy though.
Overall I thought the cards in Food Fight are well done and are pretty well balanced.
As far as the troop cards are concerned some of the cards are stronger fighters while others are better support troops. Generally every troop either has a strong beginning yumminess rating or it has a special ability that could be very valuable if played right. The only troop card that is not very balanced in my opinion is “First Sergeant Fish Stick”. First Sergeant Fish Stick has a low yumminness rating of 3 and it has no special ability so it is kind of pointless. The other three troops that are kind of weak are the cinnamon roll, the dinner roll, and the wiener since they are totally pointless unless you are fighting in their meal.
Next are the instant cards. The instant cards are nice since they are a good way to modify a troops yumminness. Unfortunately I think more variety could have been added to the instant cards. As it turns out, there are only four different types of instants. There is one instant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that provides three additional yumminess to troops of their corresponding meal. There is also a instant that gives six yumminess if you have less than four victory points. After you get four victory points this card becomes pointless though so then there is only three types of instants that you can use. With such little variety, instants don’t do as much as they could have. Instant cards are still important in the game though since they could be the determining factor between winning a losing a meal. Since there are many more troops than instants in the deck you also should probably pick up any instant that you can use while drafting your hand.
By far the most valuable cards in the game are the mascot cards. Some of the mascot cards are better than others but all of them are quite valuable in the right situations. If during drafting a mascot card is available, you should almost always pick it up unless it does not work at all with your current strategy.
The value of mascot and instant cards is that they have value when not played to your army. Since you can’t play all of your cards to your army, you need to keep some cards in your hand. The only real value of troops in your hand is the couple of special abilities that allow you to discard cards to gain yumminness. If you don’t have any cards with this ability, the troop cards in your hand are pretty pointless. Generally speaking mascot cards are better than instants since they have greater impact on the game and have more uses than the instants.
Before I finish up talking about the cards I have to talk about Grilled Cheesus. In my opinion Grilled Cheesus is by far the best card in the entire game. The order of your army cards are very important to your strategy. Since your army cards are randomly shuffled before a battle, you don’t have any control over the eventual order of your cards. You can either get lucky and the cards will fall in the right order but you could just as easily have them fall in the wrong order. Grilled Cheesus allows you to order your cards however you like and not have to shuffle them bypassing the worst part of the game (in my opinion). This gives a player a huge advantage over the other players since this player will be able to maximize the value of every single one of their cards. The player who gets Grilled Cheesus is very likely to win the battle they are fighting.
To Draft or Not to Draft
Before playing the game, players are given the choice of whether they would like to use the drafting mechanic to choose their final hand or if they would like to just keep the cards that are dealt to them. The game’s instructions recommend playing your first game without drafting but my group decided to play our first game with the drafting.
The drafting mechanic does add time to the game since players need to spend time deciding which cards they would like to keep. If you have a player who generally has some initial trouble understanding what each card does in a card game, it might be best to start by not using the drafting mechanic.
Even though it adds time to the game, I think you should use the drafting mechanic since it does a great job eliminating the luck generally associated with getting good/bad cards dealt to you. With drafting one player will not get all of the good cards and another player will not get all of the bad cards. Some players will get more good cards than other players but the distribution is a lot better than just randomly dealing out cards. With the draft system every player should get at least one good card and one bad card.
In addition to reducing the luck of the draw, drafting allows players to form a strategy while they are assembling their hand. Players will want to try and draft cards that work well with one another. For example if in an early pick you get a general that gives an advantage to every troop of the same meal type, you will obviously want to keep drafting troops of that meal type.
Food Fight’s Fatal Flaw
I have been quite complimentary of Food Fight so far and it is well deserved. Food Fight is a good card game. Unfortunately Food Fight has a huge problem that would have destroyed lesser games in my opinion. That problem is the rule where you have to shuffle your army before the battle begins.
I am guessing that the rule was added in order to add some variety to the game but it almost ruins the game in my opinion. The game does such a good job eliminating a lot of the luck that accompanies most card games. This rule ends up putting quite a bit of that luck back into the game.
What I like about Food Fight is that you can put quite a bit of strategy into the game. Many of the cards work well together and you can put together a lot of different strategies based on the cards you eventually end up with. When drafting you need to put a lot of thought into the cards you have already selected in order to pick cards that will work well together.
Unfortunately the success of your strategy relies heavily on the shuffle of your troops. No matter how much strategy you put in, if you are not lucky with the order that your troops are played you will not win a battle. If you need a card to come up first in order to maximize your strategy you better hope that you get lucky and it comes up first. This luck of the draw can really impact the game and ultimately decide who wins. It is disappointing when you put in so much thought into your strategy and it all goes away just because you were unlucky with the order of your army.
I may be a little bitter against this rule though since it was very likely the reason I lost the first game I played. Throughout the game I believe I formed some good strategies with my choice of troops and the armies I eventually formed. Then came the shuffling of the troops. In the game I played there was probably five or six rounds and I honestly believe that pretty much every single shuffle went in almost the worst possible way that it could. When I needed a troop to show up early for bonuses it almost always ended up as the last or second to last card. When I needed a card to be last to maximize its’ power it always came up first. What is so frustrating about the rule was that I only lost by one or two victory points so if one of the shuffles wouldn’t have gone against me there is a good chance I would have won the game.
Now that I have complained about the rule, what do I think should have been done? Honestly I am not entirely sure. You could just let everyone just order the cards how they liked. The problem with this alternative though is that it really eliminates any spontaneity and the game essentially becomes a game of who drafted the best army every round.
Maybe the game could have had some way of letting you control some of the cards in exchange for some type of penalty. I thought maybe the game could have let you control the positioning of some of your troops in exchange for some kind of payment. Two ideas I came up with would have either been discarding some cards to affect the order or limiting how many troops a player could place in their army forcing that team to have to forfeit some servings. These payments would have given players choice over the order of their cards but made them have to pay for that privilege.
I don’t know exactly how to fix the problem but I wish a suitable solution would be found since this is easily the biggest problem with Food Fight.
Overall the components are solid.
Let’s begin with the stand up sign. It is kind of cool looking but it is totally pointless. It serve absolutely no purpose in the game and is purely there for decoration. I actually don’t know why it was included in the game in the first place. The only purpose I could see for it would be to advertise for the game if you were playing the game out in public and someone walked by and wanted to know what game you were playing.
As I have already mentioned the artwork for the components are very nice. The cardboard pieces are made of a thick cardboard and are sturdy. I felt the cardstock for the cards could have been a little better. The cards felt kind of thin and I think they will be prone to getting bent pretty easily.
Overall Food Fight is a good card game. It does a good job taking a simple card game like War and adds quite a bit of strategy and depth to it. The game is pretty easy to play once you play it for a while as long as you are willing to take the time to read the special abilities on the cards. The theme is great and I had a lot of fun playing the game. If it wasn’t for the rule requiring you to shuffle your army before every battle, I think Food Fight would have been a great game.
If you don’t like card games that require you to form a strategy based on the special abilities of the cards or the theme doesn’t appeal to you; Food Fight is probably not the game for you. If you like the theme and don’t mind a card game that you need to put a little thought into your strategy, I think you will enjoy Food Fight.