Time: ~30 minutes
Times Played: 1
Rachel is a huge fan of anthropomorphism, especially when it involves food. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and commercials where food talk might be the greatest pleasures she’s ever experienced in this world. With that in mind, she practically broke my arm dragging me to demo Picky Eater from Happy Harpy Games.
As with other First Looks, the images below are prototypes and not reflective of the finished pieces and artwork that the game hopes to provide. This is strictly about mechanics and whether or not the game is fun. Also, I have no ties to Picky Eater or Happy Harpy Games. I was just lucky enough to demo the game at Unpub 8.
Picky Eater is a set collection game that might have experienced players immediately thinking that this is a knock-off Go Nuts for Donuts or Sushi Go but I think it belongs in the same food-game category as those two as opposed to being labeled a parody.
The game revolves around players filling their lunch trays with various foods and toppings that are worth points. Certain foods and toppings provide combos and there are scenarios where you can daisy chain combos together to score a ton of points. The game is played over three rounds (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) but the cards are the same through all rounds. There’s no law that says you have to eat a breakfast food for breakfast. If you want a pizza with chocolate syrup on it, go for it! But you will gain more points for typical pairings like fried chicken and waffles.
There are also action cards, such as Food Fight, which allows players to swap a pile of food and topping cards on their tray to the player to their left. Players always have a hand of six cards and cards can be taken from a communal pile available to all players. Once all but one players trays have been filled with foods and/or toppings, the round ends and scores are recorded.
This is definitely a family-friendly game that would also serve as a nice palette cleanser/filler game for more strategic groups. It almost felt to us like an evolution of Go Nuts For Donuts as that game had indirect player interaction via blind bidding and set collection and Picky Eater involves direct interaction, which allows players to get as involved with one another as they want to. The take-that feature is light at best so if you’re worried about spoiling someone’s mood like an expired milk, fear not. The cards that featured take-that interactions also featured the ability to discard them for points if aggression isn’t that players style.
As the trays need to be filled for the round to end, players rushing to complete their tray’s might find themselves at a disadvantage as other players spend more time looking for deliberate combos. I mention this for the reason that this could be a great game for parents and guardians to play with children as parents can dictate the pace of the game, prolonging the experience if everyone is having a blast or ending it quickly if it’s just to waste some time.
Picky Eater was a relatively quick game and the daisy chaining of combos was fun. There were a few fun puns to be discovered and we had a hearty laugh over “tempe tamper”. This game is a must-watch for us, mostly due to Rachel being obsessed with food that has faces, but don’t let her love of anatomically correct food dissuade you that this is an incredibly solid game.
The run time for our first game was probably a little over thirty minutes but a second play through at three players would probably be closer to fifteen or twenty. Honestly, it takes longer to tabulate your score than to perform a round. I believe this game tops out at four players and any more than that might make the experience unnecessarily long.
The prototypes of the finished artwork are fun and incorporate kawaii-style faces for the different food stuffs, as seen an the image below.
There was mention of the game being available on Kickstarter this summer so I would keep an eye out if something like this interests you. We had a lot of fun playing this game but are obviously biased due to our strong affection for food with faces.