Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

Get in touch by emailing thegameshelfblog@gmail.com

Thursday 1 March 2018

Thoughts from The Yellow Meeple:- Pie Town

Game: Pie Town

Publisher: Renegade Game Studios

Designer: Daniel Fremgen

Year: 2017

For people in the UK, the popularity of baking has boomed in the last few years thanks to the TV show 'The Great British Bake Off'. Over the course of many rounds, a group of amateur bakers bakes cakes under pressure in a giant tent, to be judged by some celebrity baking experts. This is exactly why the game of Pie Town is so appealing to us.

Pie Town is the greatest place to go if you enjoy pie, but competition is fierce and bakers guard their secret recipes carefully to stay ahead of the competition. It's your choice how you grow your bakery to fulfill demand, hiring more staff, getting a second oven or upgrading your kitchen, but the person who generates the most money for their pies will come out no top.

In Pie Town, each player takes a bakery boards and starts the game with two dice workers at a value of 2 and 3. The value of your dice indicates how effective they are at their job eg. if you send a 3 dice to the orchard they will gather 3 ingredients. Actions include collecting ingredients, baking pies, selling pies at the market and upgrading your bakery. Once you have placed all your dice and completed actions they return to your break room and based on the action they took will either increase or decrease in value. Some points are available simply for baking pies, but most points are available for selling them, at which point rarer pies are worth more points. Over the course of 9 rounds you need to try and ensure that your pies are sold and not just baked.

The most valuable type of pie you can bake is your secret recipe. You pick two common and one rare ingredient at the start of the game and hide them in your secret recipe box. You can bake this combination and it will be worth 7 points, compared to just 3 points for any other combination of 2 commons and a rare. However, you need to make sure that it is not easy for your opponents to guess the secret recipe because points are available for guessing other secret recipes at the end of the game. This means you probably want to cook secret recipe ies in a batch of three or more so that you show a big pile of ingredients to the other players.

Pie Town combines a lot of things I really enjoy in games. It's core mechanic is dice worker placement and with different spots increasing or decreasing the value of your dice, it's more than just a question of where you want to play in the moment. It also has some of the order fulfillment aspects I enjoy from pick up deliver games, as well as some deduction, which can be hit-and-miss for me, but is sometimes a very satisfying mechanism.

For me, the weakest element at 2-players is the deduction. There are not quite enough points riding on whether or not you give away your secret recipe or whether you manage to deduce your opponent's. The worst that can happen is a 6 point swing in end game scoring, which I can see would multiply in a 3 or 4 player game, but with 2, it's not a big factor for a game that ends up with a winning score of 100+. There is another aspect to the deduction where you can bake your opponents secret recipe which could be an advantage if you weren't able

to gather your own ingredients from the tree. Perhaps I'm not making the most of the deduction element though. Amy always figures mine out and she always wins the game!

Otherwise, I think Pie Town is a really good, shorter length dice worker placement game. It actually has quite a lot going on, especially in terms of timing your upgrades and recruitment of new dice, as well as deciding which pies you should focus on baking to make the most of opportunities to sell as row or column. I think I might find that over time it might be possible that you end up playing the same sequence of actions every game, but so far I'm yet to identify the best route.

Pie Town is a very well produced game. It has the highest quality token bag I've ever seen! It also has really lovely, chunky custom dice. I do however wonder it it is overproduced and that might contribute to a pretty high price point for a smaller box game. If you enjoy the theme or are looking for a dice worker placement game with some new twists and mechanisms, then Pie Town is definitely worth a try. For the Yellow Meeple it's a 6.5/10.

Pie Town was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available for an RRP of £44.99 at your friendly local game store or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk/.

No comments:

Post a Comment