There have been quite a few board games created that have utilized a food theme. It makes sense as people love food and in quite a few cases it actually makes sense from a gameplay perspective. While there has to have been other board games that have utilized a pie theme, I can’t remember ever playing one before. I don’t mind the occasional piece of pie even though I wouldn’t consider it to be my favorite dessert. I was intrigued by Piece of Pie though as it looked like it was going to use the pie theme and actually build some interesting gameplay around it. Developed by Trevor Benjamin (War Chest, Undaunted Normandy, Mandala) and Brett J. Gilbert (Elysium, Mandala) the game also had some good designers behind it. Piece of Pie is a quick, easy, and fun family game that features a surprising amount of strategy even if turn order seems to play too big of a role at times.
How to Play Piece of Pie
- Place the decorations card (purple) in the middle of the table so all of the players can see it.
- Sort the rest of the cards by their color and shuffle each group of cards.
- Randomly choose a flavor recipe card (blue) and a pattern recipe card (green). Place both cards where all of the players can see them.
- Each player will randomly draw a perfect piece card (orange). Players can look at their own cards, but they shouldn’t show their card to the other players.
- Any unused cards are returned to the box.
- Place the starting tile in the middle of the table. The side corresponding to the number of players should be placed face up. In three player games the side with three arrows should be showing. Two and four player games will use the side that has four arrows.
- Mix up the pie pieces. If you are playing the three player game remove the eight pie pieces with a darker crust and return them to the box. Starting where one of the arrows point randomly choose one of the pie pieces and place it next to the arrow. Continue to draw pie pieces and place them next to the previous pie piece in a clockwise fashion. Once a pie has all eight pieces you will move onto the next pie.
- The oldest player will start the game.
Playing the Game
On a player’s turn they will choose a piece of pie from the pies in the middle of the table and add it to their own pie.
Choosing A Piece of Pie
When choosing a piece of pie from a complete pie you must take the piece that the arrow points to.
If you want to pick a piece from a pie that is already missing pieces you can choose one of the two pieces bordering the section of the pie that has gone missing.
Making A Pie
When a player takes their first piece of pie they will just place the piece in front of themselves.
Each additional piece you take has to be placed next to a piece that you have already added to your pie. You may not leave open spaces in your pie and you may not rearrange pieces after you have placed them.
In the two player game each player will make two pies. The player will only take one piece each turn. They can add the piece to either of their pies. The player does not have to finish one of their pies before they work on their other pie.
Once a player has added their piece to their pie play will pass to the next player clockwise. The game will continue until each player’s pie has eight pieces in it. The two player game will end when each player has finished both of their pies.
Once the players have assembled their pies they will determine how many points they scored. Players can score points for their pie based on four different factors.
The decorations card features three different types of decorations. Players can score points from all three types of decorations.
Each piece of pie that features chocolate shavings will score one point.
When a player places two pieces of pie with frosting next to one another those two pieces will score three points. If players have multiple groupings of frosting they will score three points for each pair. If a player has three pieces in a row with frosting it will only count as one pair worth three points.
Finally players can score points for having shapes on their pie. For each set of a heart, flower, and star the player will score five points. These shapes can appear in any position in the pie. If a player doesn’t have all three shapes they will score zero points for the shapes that they do have.
At the beginning of the game you will choose one flavor recipe card which will apply to all of the players. Players will score points based on what card was chosen. Players can only use each piece of pie once to score for the flavor recipe.
Kiwi: Players will score three points for each kiwi piece that is surrounded by two other pieces of pie of the same type. These other two pieces can also be kiwi.
Four Seasons: For each set of the four different types of pie you will score four points. These pieces do not have to be next to one another.
Apricot and Strawberry: If you are able to place a piece of apricot and strawberry on opposite sides of the pie you will score three points. You will score three points for each pair you create.
Blueberry Delight: Players will score three points if they can place a piece of blueberry between two pieces of pie of the same type. The blueberry piece must be exactly two spaces away from both pieces of pie of the same type. These matching types of pie can also be blueberry.
Blueberry and Kiwi: You will score two points for each pair of blueberry and kiwi that you have in your pie. These pieces can be placed anywhere in your pie. Each piece can only be used as part of one pair.
Strawberry Sandwich: For each strawberry piece that is placed between two different flavors you will score two points. One of the two different flavors can be strawberry.
Apricot Delight: Players will score two points for each apricot piece placed between two different flavors of pie with one piece separating each of the three pieces. One of the two different flavors of pie can be apricot.
At the beginning of the game a pattern recipe card will be chosen for all of the players. All of the players can score points from this card. How you score points is determined by which card is chosen. You may not use the same pie piece to score multiple times from the pattern recipe.
Opposite: Score two points for each flavor of pie that has a matching piece on the opposite side of the pie.
Side by Side: You will score two points for each type of pie that is placed next to a piece of the same type.
Mirror Image: Players will score two points for each matching pair of pie pieces that are mirror images of each other.
Alternate: Players will score five points if they alternate two flavors of pie over a total of four pieces of pie.
Triangle: For each group of three pieces of pie of the same type that are separated by exactly one piece will score four points.
Triplet: If you place three pieces of the same type next to each other you will score four points.
Split Pair: Each pair of the same flavor of pie that are separated by exactly two spaces will score two points.
At the beginning of the game each player will be given a perfect piece card. This card will show one of the flavors of pie. Each player will score one point for each piece of the corresponding flavor that they have in their pie.
Determining the Winner
Each player will determine their total score based on the previous four ways of scoring points. The player that scores the most points wins the game. If there is a tie the tied player who took their turn later will win.
My Thoughts on Piece of Pie
Heading into Piece of Pie I didn’t know exactly what to expect. Outside of the premise of each player building their own pie I didn’t really know what the game would be like. As Blue Orange Games rarely makes highly complicated games, I was pretty confident that the game was going to be pretty easy to play as the company generally likes to make games that the whole family can enjoy. Despite this I have to say that I was actually a little surprised by how easy it is to play Piece of Pie.
The premise behind Piece of Pie is pretty simple. In the game a number of pies are assembled in the middle of the table. Players then take turns taking one piece from the middle of the table and adding it to their own pie. There are rules for both of these actions. When taking a slice you can only take the piece pointed to by one of the arrows or one of the pieces that have been exposed due to a previous piece being taken. When placing pieces you have to add it to one of the ends of your pie next to a piece that you have already placed. After a piece is placed you can’t move it. The ultimate goal of the game is to acquire and place pieces of pie in a certain way in order to score points.
I thought Piece of Pie was going to be easy to play and yet it was even easier than I expected. I am honestly quite surprised by this. The gameplay is just so simple and straightforward. I think you could easily teach the game to new players within just a couple minutes. This even applies to people who don’t play a lot of board games. The most challenging aspect of the game is the different ways of scoring points which can be streamlined by only describing the cards that are chosen for the game. The game has a recommended age of 8+, but I honestly think kids a little younger shouldn’t have any trouble with the game. They may have some issues with the strategy, but they shouldn’t have any problems with the actual gameplay.
With how simple Piece of Pie is to play I was a little worried about the strategy. Piece of Pie is probably not going to appeal to people that like highly strategic games, but I thought the level of strategy was fine for the most part. The strategy in Piece of Pie is kind of interesting. This is because most of the information in the game is actually public that everyone can see. You assemble your pie where everyone can see it so you can see what your opponents are trying to do. Most of your goals are even the same as three of the four ways that players can score are shared between all of the players. The only thing that differentiates each player’s strategy is their perfect piece card which basically just gives players a flavor to focus on. Therefore all of the players could actually implement a very similar strategy which can make things pretty interesting as players fight for the same pieces of pie.
The strategy in the game comes from which pieces you decide to take and where you decide to place them. Of the two what piece you decide to take seems to play a bigger role in the game. There are two things to consider when taking a piece. First if there is a piece that really helps you it is usually your best option. When looking for pieces for yourself you are looking for pieces of your own perfect piece type, pieces that you need for the patterns you are making, and pieces that have decorations that you need. When there is a piece that will really help you it is pretty obvious. The other thing you need to keep in mind though is what pieces you are leaving for your opponents. Obviously the piece you take can’t also be taken by your opponent. If there is a piece that will score another player a lot of points you may be better off taking it yourself. There is also the fact that the piece you take exposes one or two other pieces that the next player can choose to take. You need to consider what pieces you will open up for the next player before you decide to take a piece.
Once you take a piece you have to decide how you are going to place it into your own pie. This decision is usually pretty obvious as most of the time you took your piece for a specific reason. When placing pieces though you need to think ahead since once it is placed it can’t ever be moved. Most of the strategy in this area comes from trying to place pieces in a way to meet the flavor and pattern recipes. These recipes are pretty basic but they require some planning so you acquire the right pieces at the right times.
This illustrates one of the things that I like the most about Piece of Pie. The game ultimately gives you six different ways to score points in the game. I like when games give you options as it allows you to craft your own strategy. The variety of ways to score points allows players to pursue the strategies that they like the best or work the best with the pieces of pie that they are able to collect. I like the decorations as their scoring is simple and can easily be implemented along with some of the other ways of scoring points. The perfect piece cards are also simple as they just guide you towards picking pieces of your type. The two recipes are more complicated, but they add most of the strategy to deciding how to place your pieces of pie. With so many different ways of scoring points the scoring process is still pretty easy. The number of different ways of scoring points do a good job adding some strategy to the game without adding too much complexity.
While Piece of Pie has a decent amount of strategy, it still relies on quite a bit of luck as well. Luck in Piece of Pie comes from a couple different areas. First there is some luck in how the pie is laid out. As there are limits on what pieces you can take the combination of how the pie is laid out in addition to the turn order can play a pretty big role in the game. The first player is only given a choice from three or four different pieces of pie. Players eventually get more choices for a few rounds and then their choices get limited once again. How the pieces are laid out will determine what pieces you will get access to. In addition to some pieces being more valuable to you than others, there are some pieces that are just more valuable than others. A piece that features a decoration is always going to be more valuable than a piece that doesn’t have one. A player that has the opportunity to draw more pieces with decorations will have a built-in advantage in the game.
This is why turn order is so important to the game. The decisions you make in the game are likely to have a pretty big impact on how well you do. At times though the decisions your opponents make seem to have just as big of an impact. This is because the other players decisions can impact you in two ways. First they can take a piece of pie that you really want/need. This will obviously reduce the number of points that you can score. At the same time the piece that the player before you chooses determines which other pieces you can choose from. They could either leave you with a bunch of bad options or gift you a great option. This is the main reason that the player that plays before you can have a big impact on how well you do. If the player before you makes some mistakes it will increase the odds that you will win.
The final area where some luck comes into play is due to the correlation between the perfect piece and the flavor recipe cards. In the game everyone will use the same flavor recipe, but each player will have their own perfect piece cards. As the flavor recipe cards correspond to specific flavors they can directly relate to a players perfect piece card. For example if the player’s perfect piece card is blueberry and the flavor recipe also features blueberry this will potentially create a problem in the game. I haven’t played the game enough to know if this puts the player in an advantageous or disadvantageous position. On the advantageous side the player that has the corresponding perfect piece card can use it to double dip and thus score twice for the same piece. This will also likely make other players want to take your flavor though meaning it might be harder to get your perfect piece. Ultimately I wish the game handled the flavor recipes a little differently. Instead of referring to specific flavors I wish they would either just correspond to the players perfect piece or ditched specific flavors entirely.
While I wish the game relied on a little less luck, this never becomes a big issue due to Piece of Pie playing really quickly. I have to say that I was honestly surprised by how fast the game plays. The game ultimately lasts only eight rounds (16 in the two player game). As you are only picking a piece of pie and then placing it into your own pie each player’s turn moves really quickly. Some players may take a little time to decide, but the decisions are usually pretty obvious. If they aren’t your choices are limited to the point that you can’t spend too much time deciding. Unless players take way too long deciding you can easily finish a game in 10-15 minutes. This makes Piece of Pie a great filler game. It also leads to players wanting to play a couple games back to back.
On the negative side the game feels a little too short in my opinion. I honestly think the game may have been improved with a few more rounds. At times it just feels like you can’t implement too much of a strategy as you only have eight rounds to do it. More rounds would have given you more strategic opportunities which would have reduced some of the luck. In fact I think the game may have been improved by players being able to make two or more pies. Based on the components you would have to play a couple games in a row and combine your scores from all of them. I think this would add an interesting twist to the game. This is a house rule that I want to check out sometime.
This was also what intrigued me about the two player game. Basically the two player game has both players build two pies at the same time. I thought this would be interesting as it would give you more options when building your pies as you could pursue a different strategy with both of your pies. You could either focus on one pie at a time or build up both pies at the same time giving you more placement options. After playing the two player game I have some mixed feelings about it. I have to say that the two player game actually plays quite a bit differently than the three/four player game. The two player game has much higher scores which is pretty obvious as you have twice the opportunities to score. Having the two pies to build gives you more strategic options as well.
I think the two player game’s biggest change though is that it puts a much higher emphasis on playing defensively. As it is just you and the other player you have direct control over what options the other player has to choose from. Therefore it becomes just as important to determine what pieces the other player can take versus what pieces you take. When there is a piece that both players want/need there is sort of a game of chicken as the two players make moves trying to force the other player to expose the piece that both players want. This makes Piece of Pie feel like a very different game. The two player game has more strategy. It also seems to rely more on luck/turn order though. I don’t know if I would consider the two player game to be better or worse than the normal game. I think some people will prefer it while others won’t like it as much as the normal game.
As for the components I think Piece of Pie does a good job for the most part. The game basically comes with the pie pieces, the center tile, and the cards. The pie pieces and the center tile are made of surprisingly thick cardboard. With how thick they are they should last a long time unless you are really rough with them. The artwork looks nice as well. Assembling your pie kind of feels like assembling a pie even though I don’t know why you would form a pie with different flavors. The cards are of a typical thickness. The artwork on the cards are good especially since they rely on symbols that are easy to understand instead of utilizing text. The only minor complaint I have with the components is that the box is a little larger than it needed to be. The box is not overly large as I would say that it is only a medium sized box. I really like how the pie is laid out in the box as you can see it through the windows in the box. If the components were packed closer together though I think the box probably could have been cut in half. This isn’t a big issue though unless you are really space conscious.
Should You Buy Piece of Pie?
Piece of Pie is an interesting game. Heading into the game I didn’t know how difficult the game would be or how much strategy it would entail. I was pleasantly surprised that the game was considerably easier to play than I was expecting. The game can be taught in minutes. This leads to games playing quickly which makes it a great filler game even if I would have preferred for the game to be a little longer. Despite being easy to play there is a decent amount of strategy in Piece of Pie as well. The game gives players quite a few different ways to score points and there is some strategy in determining which pieces to take and where to place them. There is a decent amount of luck to the game though as turn order and the pieces the other players choose to take will have a big impact on how well you do in the game.
My recommendation for Piece of Pie comes down to your thoughts on the premise and whether you like simpler quick games that rely on a decent amount of strategy and luck. If the premise doesn’t sound all that interesting or you usually prefer more complex games, I don’t think Piece of Pie will be for you. People who think the game’s premise sounds interesting though should really enjoy the game as it is a fun little game. For this reason I would recommend picking up Piece of Pie.
Buy Piece of Pie online: Blue Orange Games