Ryan reviews Bon Appetit! a blind bidding game from Strawberry Studio.
Bon Appetit! is a 2-4 player, (blind) bidding game that came out in 2019 from Strawberry Studio (by designer, Gilad Yarnitzky). In the game, players are bidding with gems to win fancy food dishes that will earn them points at the end of the game, the player at the end of the game with the highest points wins.
Quick Overview of the Gameplay
The rules are very simple for the most part to understand. There are 4 gem colors in the game. There is a gem card that is used in the game to tell you what each color is currently worth. Each of four gem colors fluctuate in what they are worth depending on the last winning bid. You use your colored gems to try and have the highest score and win a food dish cards that are worth victory points at the end of the game. Colors that were used to win a food dish decrease in price on the following round. The gem colors not used to win a dish increase in value on the following round. Everyone starts with a number of gems pulled from a black cloth bag, and they are to keep those gems a secret. When bidding you take 0-3 gems into your right hand and at the same time open your hand, to see who bid the highest. There are rules of course if there is a tie (the is a second bid between those players). If you bid 0 gems, you will be able to take a gem out of the bag. The winner puts his winning bid of gems back in the game and takes the food card she just one.
Now, about those fancy food dish cards that require gems instead of cash to buy. There are some that are lower in victory points but to compensate for that they give you an extra bidding power when bidding either on a specific food or food category or when bidding with a certain color gem. For example, add 2 to your bid when you bid with at least one green gem. There are a few cards that give you nothing but have higher victory points for the end of the game. There are a total of 13 cards in the game, though one is taken out at random – so only 12 are used during gameplay. You set up the cards out so you can see the current and the next two cards coming up for bid.
It’s that simple. After 12 rounds, players add up their victory points. With that what are my thoughts on Bon Appetit!
Thoughts on the Game
First, let me say I do have two negatives. The first is the yellow gem in the game (which has a yellow space on the gem board) is actually orange. That is a pet peeve of mine with games – which they say it’s yellow but then represented by something orange. Not a huge deal, but enough to mention it in passing. The other negative is I am still not sure if when lowering a gem color – if you lower it a maximum of once or if you used multiple of the same colors you lower it the same number of gem count. So if I played 2 reds, do I lower the red one or two spaces on the gem track? We have chosen to play you lower it once, no matter how many gems were used.
With that out of the way, this is a great family game to introduce to non-gamers to the blind bidding. (While the box says ages 8+ – we have some success with our Kindergarten with this one. She has beaten us twice in some 4-player games, with her chaotic bids). The twist of the cards not just being points, but also you may want a lower VP point one that could give you an advantage later is what makes the game. The fluctuating gem price is also a nice touch. The cards themselves are oversized, the art on each card is unique and cartoonish in depicting the dishes and each food item looks different from each other.
Overall, Bon Appetit! is a very pleasant light game, worth a look especially if you are looking to introduce blind-bidding style games to your family.
Bon Appetit! is out now. It can be found on Amazon.com by clicking here.
Note: Strawberry Studio sent me a copy of Bon Appetit! for review for an honest opinion.