There was a quote from an episode of Dinosaurs that involved a refrigerator full of rebellious critters (because they were civilized dinosaurs who kept their prey in the fridge) that immediately came to mind when we started playing Foodfighters – from designers Helaina and Josh Cappel, and publisher Kids Table Board Gaming.
“Old food never dies; it just goes bad!”
It’s actually pretty clever when you think about it. Although I don’t mean to give the impression that I think Foodfighters is bad. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s just that the war-like, somewhat personified food items got me thinking about random sitcom trivia because my brain is weird like that.
Rob: The artwork suggests that this is a kids game, which is true in the technical sense because it’s kid friendly, but even jaded board gamers like us can have lots of fun with it.
Diana: So much fun! I was honestly shocked by how much I enjoyed this game.
Both players are in control of opposing food armies: one for meat and one for vegetables. The various “soldiers” are all functionally the same, but both armies have three different special abilities that set them ever so slightly apart. Nothing that will completely change strategies from one team to the other, but there is a little variety.
The overall goal is to eliminate the other team’s forces, and the first to remove three of a kind (i.e. three pieces of bacon, three onions, etc) wins. Sounds simple, right? Well it is, but it’s also a little tricky when you factor in things like army abilities and equipment.
Yep, that’s right, you can equip your troops. Frying pans/skillets grant more combat versatility, spoons act as spears for ranged attacks, and crackers are functionally shields that block a single hit before shattering. It’s kind of thematically brilliant, truth be told. Here you have a bunch of food items wielding spoons and crackers, battling over supremacy.
Diana: It’s so adorable! And I love how you’re actually supposed to put items in the foods’ hands. It looks so cute!
Rob: I also think it’s pretty great how each food item is posed in such a way that it visually works to put a spoon in their hand or a cracker on their arm. The thick cards – more like cardboard tiles, really – are also great.
Diana: It definitely makes moving armed food around much easier than it would’ve been on regular card stock.
Rob: And yes, it’s totally adorable.
With the exception of moving troops around, most primary actions require rolling dice. Players can either “roll for beans” to collect the currency they need to buy equipment or activate army abilities, or they can attack. It’s a quick process either way.
The great thing about rolling these dice is how there’s virtually no penalty for failing or rolling poorly. When rolling for beans it’s possible to roll low, but we tended to average a respectable 3 beans at a time. If any “splats” are rolled, just re-roll the splats until they’re beans. When attacking, a splat is needed to hit. The thing is, if no splats are rolled the player gets to at least hang on to the beans that came up instead. So even a failed attack results in at least getting more beans.
Rob: I like how important positioning is, too. It makes this feel even more like a “proper” war game. Or at least a proper skirmish/battle.
Diana: It does do a pretty good job of distilling things like range and placement down to something very easy to understand and keep track of, doesn’t it?
Rob: Arguably as though it were, in fact, a game made for kids.
Foodfighters is one of those games that’s just simply loads of fun. It’s simple enough to be enjoyed by younger players, tactical enough to amuse older players, accessible enough to work as filler between longer games, and cute enough to please just about anyone.
(This review was written using a copy of the game provided for that purpose. Gameosity was not otherwise compensated for this review.)