Burger Joint is a game by Joseph Huber published by Rio Grande Games. It is for 2 players. In this game, players compete to build up their fast food empire quicker than the other player. First one to 12 points wins. However, it’s not quite that simple. Let me explain.
To start, the 2 development boards are placed on the table, with 1 person taking burgers and the other taking pizza. The resource board is placed between the 2 boards with the burger side on the burger players side and pizza on the pizza players side. The burger player places a token on the first basic restaurant at the top of their board and then places a token on the black and yellow cube specialty diners in the next row. Likewise the pizza player places a token on their first basic restaurant but instead of black and yellow, they place tokens on the green and red specialty diners. Both players place their scoring markers on 2 and the game begins with the burger player.
During a player’s turn there are 5 actions: production, trading/special abilities, building, scoring and discarding. During the production phase, the player will draw one cube from the bag for each specialty diner and bistro up to a max of 4 per player. Cubes that match the players colors go into their play area while those that don’t match are in the general area in the middle. Players will go back and forth taking cubes with one restriction. For a player’s first choice they may not take a cube from the other player’s play area. This gives each player a bit of a help in constructing their own restaurants.
The next phase is trading/special abilities. During this phase, players may trade cubes they don’t need for one they do at a rate of 3 to 1. There must be 3 of the same color though. Players may also activate the special abilities of their upscale bistros, if they have any. Special abilities usually consist of pulling cubes from the bag either randomly or to get a particular color.
After the second phase, the building phase begins. During this phase, any of the 4 columns on the players development board may be built upon. Building is done by paying the required color and amount of cubes from the players storage area. To build a basic restaurant, cubes are paid and a token added to the row going from the top to the bottom. Specialty diners require not only cubes, but also the lowest basic restaurant token. This token is then placed on the diner of choice, giving access to more colored cubes. Bistros are similar in that they take cubes. However they also require the player to take a token from one of the diners, chosen by the player and placed on the bistro of choice. Some bistros give special abilities and points, while others give only points or only an ability. Once again, the choice is up to the player. The last thing that can be built is publicity. Publicity is built with cubes and when built allow a player to steal a cube from the other player.
The next phase is the scoring phase. To score, players need only add up the numbers on their development board from publicity, basic restaurants, specialty diners and upscale bistros. The player will then mark their progress with the scoring marker on the resource board.
The final phase is the discard phase. During this phase, players will discard any excess cubes over 7 that they have in their play area. Winning the game is simple. The first person to score 12 points during their scoring phase is declared the winner.
There aren’t that many pieces in this game, which make it very simplistic. The cubes are really nice. They are bright and colorful and made of wood. My son and I, while playing began referring to the different colors as ingredients; Red being tomatoes, white being onions and so on. The 2 development boards and resource board are very thick and nice. They have a slightly comical type artwork on them which is also present on the tokens as well as the inside of the box. The boards seem to have a slight bit of warping to them though. However, this didn’t really affect gameplay. The tokens are thick cardboard and like I stated earlier, have that same type of artwork. There’s a really nice bag to pull the cubes from and it works really well. It’s big enough to get your hand in and provide plenty of room to mix things up. I really like that they incorporated the artwork from the game onto the insert inside the box as well. It was a pleasant surprise when I opened it up. Very well done.
9 out of 10
The rulebook is put together really well. Everything is in color and easily read and understood. There are lots of pictures to help explain things, especially the special abilities of the bistros. The book is 8 pages but only 4 of those pages are English. The other 4 are devoted to the German rules. Simply put, I can’t find anything bad about the book.
9 out of 10
First off, let me state that the box and rules both claim that this game is only a 30 minute game. Maybe we over thought things but it took us between an hour to an hour and a half to finish. This was rather disappointing, as it took more time than I’d planned for. In any case, I wouldn’t plan on playing less than an hour at least. Other than that, I don’t really have a gripe. The game was fun and felt like I was building my fast food empire. The cubes were off putting. However once we began giving them ingredient names, that made the difference. I will say though that it was funny hearing my son say that I had the browns. Insert comedic poo reference here. I know, horrible right? In any case, we both seemed to really enjoy playing the game.
8 out of 10
Burger Joint is a light weight game of fast food domination. The building and set collection theme is prevalent throughout. It’s definitely engaging in the fight for cubes. In the end, our game came down to one point being the deciding factor. That said, it’s not a hard game to play. It’s simple enough for anyone to understand the rules. The only caveat being that it takes longer than it should. It’s engaging enough though that it’s not going to burn you out on playing or burn your brain with complex choices to make. I do recommend giving it a try, as it is quite fun. Just don’t plan for a quick game. Overall, it’s still a fun game.
9 out of 10