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This is the Eurogamers version of a kickstarter minis hype game. But instead of paying buckets of dollars for loads of plastic, you play buckets of dollars for a very poor looking game because it's a "hipster boutique" board game. Long, prone to runaway leaders, and not a lot of fun. This game seems to get by on hipster cred more than value for money.
First Impression (3.21.17) I had a knee-jerk distaste for the theme and art in FCM. But it being a Splotter and at the top of so many people's list, I decided to acquiesce to Chris's desire to play it. General Thoughts: -Overall, I'm not sold on as taken with it as so many are but I will try it again. -The component quality is really good, much better than I expected. I kind of came around to the art but I still find the theme really off-putting. -The rule set isn't terribly complicated but I need to read the rules to better understand some things about distance, marketing, and a few other edge cases. The player interaction is really mean, which is great, but it can also see it making for games where a couple good turns midway or later in the game could put someone so far ahead that it forces you to just call it. Out-standing Negatives: -Adding the reserve money for the "2nd" round at the beginning of the game seems really off to me in that it's supposed to have strategic value but, as everyone starts off the same, it really doesn't. I'd prefer to just say at the beginning this will be a short, medium, or long game, or figure out some other way to add reserve money. -Downtime during the 9-5 phase gets exponentially longer. The game really starts to drag. -Although the planning and decisions are difficult, I don't find their is much in the way of tense moments. It's like, "Oh, you stole that soda and pizza from me. Okay." I guess there's a bit of it in the poker-style bluffing of "what am I going to play this turn" but the way people reveal their employees for the round doesn't let players experience tense moments. -Starting with no money and the ability to hire just one person makes the game a very slow burn. This added to the feeling that there weren't really tense moments. -The training tree, with the majority of cards only being able to be trained via Managers gets old and further inhibits the speed of the game.
Some day, when the price makes sense or the component quality is MUCH higher........... I thought I would buy this. Not so much now. Too complicated and too long for the people I game with. I will just play with those I know who already own it. Fun, but no need for me to own it.
If Cosmic Encounter birthed me into modern gaming in general, then Food Chain Magnate was my baptism. Acted as a marked step up in complexity and engagement compared to many other things I had been playing. An incredibly tense, cutthroat game that demands a lot from its players in every stage of the game, including the set up phases. Nothing in my library stands next to FCM, even other Splotters, and nothing digs itself into my brain the way this does. An economic and logistics wonder, I fear I will be chasing a successor forever.
Enjoyed our first game of FCM. I really like the first two rounds when Milestones are being bought up. Looking forward to trying it again now that I have an idea of some of the different paths you can take.
Splotter's take on the Euro engine builder. Predictably ingenious and brutal with a metagame built right in as to which employees your opponents will play each turn. The game drags at higher player counts, 4p is kind of the edge of tolerance. It becomes a grind at 5p (this really doesn't need to be a 4-hour game), but 2p is zippy and brutal and fun.
I really, really want a Splotter game in my collection and I don't think I can wait on Antiquity or Indonesia to have reprints. I'm not a huge fan of the theme, but I'm not against it either. Decisions decisions...
Theme/Art: The theme is great, running a fast food chain is pretty unique and fun. The art is not the best I have ever seen (the map looks pretty bland and boring), but the card designs fit the theme well. Production quality: Very solid. The game consists of a lot of cards (which feel nice), cardboard tiles and tokens, and wooden resources. Replayability: The map is set up randomly, which makes every game different. The secret bank cards determine the length of the game, and you can go for quite a few strategies with the amount of different employees and milestones. Depth/Difficulty: It's not a difficult game, it's actually quite easy and straight forward, but you have to know what you are doing and keep track of your components and adapt to their plays. I weight it 4/5 Strategy: You need to know what you are doing, what you are going for, and how you will prevent your opponents from interfering with your plans. I also strongly advise that you play with people of equal skill, because this game is VERY unforgiving. If nobody knows what they are doing it should be fine, if everybody knows the game, it should also be fine, but if one knows if and the others don't there is no way they can win, because at first you don't realise how important milestones are and how quickly you can change where all the people on the map eat. Luck: Basically none, aside from the randomly generated map. Food Chain Magnate takes about 1 hour per player and is an absolutely fantastic game. I love how you have to create your own market by advertising goods, only to find out another player sells the same for a lower price and you are unable to sell your burgers.
(12/16) 8. Wonderful but brutal, punishing game. Seems to be many different avenues for winning, but if you're behind in the endgame, you're done. Very heavy but easy to understand and intuitive (mostly) For what it is, it moves pretty quickly. I don't think the production is as poor as some have complained. (10/17) 8. My first of now 3 played Splotters. There's charm to have scaled back and pure and unique and brutal their games often are.