Game Bites: Lord of the Fries

In Game Bites we talk about fun food themed games and accessibility in gaming. My co-author is my son, Jacob, a non-nuerotypical aspiring chef. Every week we try a new game, he cooks a delicious related dish and shares the recipe, and we talk about the pros and cons of what we’ve played. So sit back, tuck your napkin in, and have a bite with us!

“Po-ta-toes! Boil them, mash them, stick them in a stew. Lovely big golden chips with a nice piece of fried fish.” – Samwise Gamgee, LOTR

When Jacob was small we had a lot of potato days. Between food allergies and texture issues, it was a nutritious, inexpensive staple we could count on. I can go on for days a la Bubba in Forest Gump about the type of potato recipes I’ve tried (boiled, roasted, baked, casseroled, whipped, shredded, caked…) the humble fry reigned supreme (both as something that was interesting for a toddler to pick up and put in his mouth, and easy for mom to prep.) While his palate has expanded and most of his food allergies have diminished, he’ll still request for a sack full of warm, greasy Five Guys fries if you ask what he wants for dinner. Or walk around the corner for a takeout box of wedges for lunch. Lord of the Fries? More like Supreme Overlord of the fries.

Could Cheapass Games’ Lord of the Fries be the perfect game for a kid that likes to cook AND can’t get enough of this yummy solanaceous vegetable? And what other condiments pair perfectly with that starchy, hot tuber?

Lord of the Fries (Super Deluxe, which contains both Friedey’s Fast Food and McFrye’s Coffee Shop) is a hand management, set collection game for 2- 8 players. To start, choose a deck (or shuffle together both) and a menu board. Each player will receive a hand of cards, and the object is to empty your hand by completing menu items.

To begin, the first player will roll the dice to have a menu item chosen randomly. The next player will attempt to fill the order by laying down cards with symbols corresponding to that recipe (for example, playing the coffee and whipped cream cards to complete the Whippuccino.) Players pass if they cannot complete the menu item. Play continues until the recipe is completed (with the number of ingredients dropped each time it goes round the table). The next starting player can then choose a menu item or roll the dice again. Play continues until one player is out of cards. This completes a ‘day’.

Days are scored by tallying the number of cards you’ve played and subtracting those still in your hand. Cards are reshuffled and distributed, and play begins again. After four days, the player with the most points wins!

Garlic Aioli & Sriracha Mayo

Two simple recipes this week. Fries are almost perfect, but they can be even better with a good sauce. Mom is a fan of mayo with her fries, so I whipped up some variations.

Garlic Aioli

1 egg
1 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Fresh lemon juice
Black Pepper

In a blender or food processor, put the yolk of your egg, the clove of garlic, and salt. Start blending, and slowly add olive oil while its going. You’re looking for a consistency just somewhat thinner than mayonnaise. Once you’ve reached this, add the cayenne pepper. Turn off the blender and add pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Sriracha Mayo

1 egg
1 tbsp vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
¾ cup vegetable oil
Lemon juice
3 tbsp. Sriracha (more to taste)

In a blender or food processor, put your egg, mustard, vinegar, and salt. Start blending, and slowly add oil. Again, you’re looking for thin store bought mayo consistency. Once blended, add sriracha. Turn off the blender and add lemon juice and more sriracha to taste.

*In a pinch you can simply add mashed garlic and lemon or sriracha to regular mayo for either recipe.
*For infants or those that would like to avoid the raw egg, try a pasteurized one instead.
*Going slow with the oil is key – simply adding all the ingredients to the blender is not going to give you a good result.

Jacob’s game thoughts

Lord of the Fries is a simple game that’s relatively fast to pick up and very fun to play. The cards illustrate the ingredients well, with humorous pictures to help understand them.The instructions were easy to understand and rather straight forward, though the rules for the Zone 4-5 coffees were hard to were hard to understand at first with the number of different combinations.

The rolling system in general is better for players who might not be good at planning or strategy. For those that do enjoy strategy, rolling doesn’t seem very useful since choosing allows you to plan out and have more chance of throwing out your cards or points. Either way, its an interesting way to tailor the game to the strength of your players. The different menus are helpful in the same way – you can choose a more straight forward deck and menu for some, and a more challenging one for others.

This would be a great game to play with a party of people. Between the ways to play, the different cards and menus, and the chance to change the length of the game (play one day or 7) its a good game for tailoring to the strength and wishes of your game group. This one is a keeper for me (and not just because it says fries.)

AMJP’s game thoughts

Jacob read through the rules and taught this one. Generally it was really straightforward – pick a recipe, see who can complete it. The only thing we struggled with was the section in Just Desserts and Coffees that requires ‘mixing’ coffees – there are multiple rolls and multipliers involved, so it took some puzzling to work through what exactly the combinations meant. Once we sort of worked out that we needed to have cards equal to the size number, it was smooth sailing)

The art is just ridiculously fun – why are these zombies managing coffee shops and flipping burgers?! No idea! But they’re hysterical! Ultimately, the pictures are a great visual for folks that don’t read. And the symbology (used on both the menu and and the cards) is clear, making it easy to simply match symbols to complete orders.

The ability to chose menus offers some variability to play: the coffee menu may be too complex for some, but the Ren-Fare (see what they did there?) menu is just a mix of both decks and uses all the symbols. I would have liked a separate menu card opposed to them being part of the paper rules – any rereading meant the menu wasn’t available for folks to continue to look at. Additionally, the fold caused some readability issues (either glare on one side or inability to see because it was bent the wrong way.) Cheapass does have PDFs of the menus online so if you want a menu separate from the rules, to make a larger one, or ones for all your players, its a great option.

Other things I noticed – while the hand size is somewhat large, it still fits easily in a card holder or stand. Additionally, communication doesn’t have to be verbal – with the PDF printed menu its really easy to just point to choices and lay your cards.

Overall, not only did we enjoy the theme but I think Lord of the Fries is very easily adaptable to groups of all different types. For us, its a winner!