Game Night – Food Chain Magnate

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Alright, I’ve finally got a chance to play Food Chain Magnate. Let me just say this to start, it is every bit as good as it is hyped up to be. Game Night is a segment where I’ll be writing about my experience during that game night, and not meant to be a full comprehensive review of the game.

Set up

I got my wife to come with me to this game night, and when we arrived the game has already been set up for 4.  We spent about 45 minutes learning the game from Aaron. I have to say, the amount of information to take in even for an experienced gamer is overwhelming. My wife, who doesn’t play nearly as many games as I do, was totally lost by the end. There are just so many things going on. What each of the characters do, all the milestones, the tile placement, marketing, getting drinks, and calculating who gets to sell. The first two rounds where pretty much played for us by Aaron, who suggested we go with a trainer to Guru start. Which is exactly what we did.

Gameplay

Once we got a few employees under our management and started marketing to our neighbourhood, everything just clicked. Aaron and Chad had a great little corner where they got permanent marketing of burgers to many homes, but were competing with each other every round. I had my own little dead end area supplying my burgers to a couple homes. Annie also had a little corner of the map where she was relatively undisturbed. Each of us went with a slightly different strategy as well. Aaron and Chad went with a slower start, selling a few burgers and pizzas each turn with their permanent billboards while making barely enough to cover their management salaries. They plan to build up their management quickly and sweep in in the end. With her location, Annie specialized in drinks, and quickly became the go to place for beer. I had a fast expansion strategy and was making a decent amount of money each round with my exclusive access to my upgraded homes with gardens. All was going well until Aaron executed his master plan…

No one had acquired lemonade for the game, as no one bothered with the marketing for a brand new product whose sources are in this cut off road that none of the original shops could get to. At the same time, no one paid attention to the amount of beefed up errand boys that Aaron has slowly acquired. Each of his errand boy can obtain 2 drinks due to a milestone achieved early on in the game. In the second to last turn, Aaron quickly constructed a Radio tower and suddenly almost all homes started wanting lemonade. As Annie and I quickly scramble to get lemonade with our blimps, Aaron began the second portion of his plan, the “Price Cut”. He undercut all our prices with his discount manager and waitress, and during the last round, was able to nag every sale except a couple of Annie’s in the corner.

We broke the bank for the second time, and its finally time for final scoring. Aaron started from less than 20 dollars to 300 in one turn. I only made about 50 dollars the last round thanks to my quick expansion strategy into that dead end road with the lemonade. Chad was less fortunate. He had a similar strategy as Aaron, but never got to execute his plan. He ended the game robbed of all profits and 35 dollars in his pocket. The surprising winner is Annie, who despite claiming she is terrible at games, made about 450 dollars at the end. I guess slow and steady wins the race?

Final thoughts

I had a great time playing Food Chain Magnate for the first time. It is a little tricky to learn mainly because of the huge amount of choices and strategies available. Once you get it though, the game has a nearly perfect mix of strategy, sabotage, and diplomacy. Combine it with a great theme that everyone can relate to, you’ve got a winner of a game.