Gameday First Play – Food Chain Magnate

Posted on by Jesta

Based on my previous experience of Splotter games I would expect a brain burner with fantastic art.

What does this Fast Food based game give us?

Lemonade? They want lemonade? What is the world coming to? I want commercials for burgers on all channels, every 15 minutes. We are the Home of the Original Burger, not a hippie health haven. And place a billboard next to that new house on the corner. I want them craving beer every second they sit in their posh new garden.”

The new management trainee trembles in front of the CEO and tries to politely point out that… “How do you mean, we don’t have enough staff? The HR director reports to you. Hire more people! Train them! But whatever you do, don’t pay them any real wages. I did not go into business to become poor. And fire that discount manager, she is only costing me money.

From now on, we’ll sell gourmet burgers. Same crap, double the price. Get my marketing director in here!

This isn’t going to be in depth, but at the bottom I’ll link to a deeper video if you want to know more.

For me, every good game, especially a Euro game, needs a good player aid. The ones for this are good, but the originals are folded like a Menu which while fun is impractical I guess.

So the owners of this copy printed out some flatter ones…

Food Chain Magnate Player Aid

Handy, but in the pic you may notice it’s hanging off the table. This is due to the amount of table space the game takes up.

So what are you doing? You’re creating a chain of Fast Food restaurants in 50’s America trying to make the most money.

There is $X in the bank and when they run out a further $X is added, when that runs out it’s game over.

The game is card driven with you creating your structure for the turn using staff cards you have.

Food Chain Magnate Company Structure

Then everyone takes a turn taking an action but using (tapping, turning face down or whatever) a staff member and doing what they do.

You can recruit new employees, train (upgrade) existing ones that aren’t in your current structure… You can make food, get drinks delivered build new homes, gardens (making the attached house spend more money) and restaurants or move your existing restaurant.

Training and Recruiting mean you take cards from a bunch of piles laid out…

Food Chain Magnate Staff

They are laid out in sensible order… So that bottom row means you can recruit a Kitchen Trainee, train them into a Pizza/Burger cook then into a Pizza/Burger chef. They can make 1, 3 or 8 at a time respectively so it’s worth doing.

The training structure and abilities is on the cheat sheet.

Food Chain Magnate Employee Structure

Food made is placed on your restaurant (or in your fridge, more on that later) so you know which restaurant is supplying what. Drinks are done in a way I don’t want to get into but how many you get and what you get can depend on the level of Errand Boy and your location.

Food Chain Magnate Board

The other thing you can do is to use your Marketing guys to start a Marketing campaign.

This means placing billboards etc to make the houses buy what you’re selling. You put the food meeple things on the houses to remind you which advertising campaign(s) they are affected by. You also put a number on the campaign itself to act as a timer for the length of the campaign.

A campaign doesn’t take effect to the next turn so planning is required here.

If you’re the first person to do a ‘thing in a round, you and everyone else that does that ‘thing’ gets a milestone card and an extra ability.

Food Chain Magnate Milestones

Some of these abilities are good, some not. One gives you a fridge that lets you store food. One lets all your Marketing campaigns last an infinite number of turns… Sounds good, but we figured out if your strategy is ‘set’ then your opponents can work on taking your business from you, you need to switch it up a bit over the course of the game.

Then you sell to houses, pay staff and do a bit of clean up.

Most  money wins.

I compared this immediately with The Great Zimbabwe, the other Splotter game I have played. Joel Eddy at Drive Thru Review even called this “The Great Zimburger” in his video review.

The art is 50’s and nice, it’s plain which is quite nice too but that board… Wow, it’s sooo dull. I understand that as the board is random you can’t put cars or anything on the roads otherwise you’d have cars driving towards each other.

But those blank white spaces could have had ‘Plot for sale’ or a building site or something… anything.

Anyway, the game is good, very Great Zimbabwe but it’s one of these that needs multiple plays with people who have played multiple times. You have to market correctly to steal from each other, build right, hire correctly and set out your structure correctly.

My proudest moment was hoarding Coke then flying an advertising hoarding down the middle of town, capturing 4 houses from one of my opponents to me. THAT’s what this game is about.

Also, that player went through the trouble of building gardens on those houses for me meaning they had more money to spend… my way. 🙂

Although, I lost by $1, oh well!

You need to constantly be in fear of losing sales each round and always have on your mind your experienced opponents will take them from you. THAT’S what will make this game a good experience.

So overall it’s not bad, it’s no The Great Zimbabwe (that’s more on a brain burning puzzle but with great art) but it’s OK, needs more plays.

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