Consumption: Food and Choices Review

Consumption: Food and Choices is a game by Karen Knoblaugh, published by Kolossal Games. It is for 1-4 players. In this game, players will be trying to balance their food and health needs as they try to make the right choices for their bodies. Each round players will go shopping, cook meals, dine out and engaging in activities to manage their health and happiness. In the end, the player that can manage their bodies needs the best will be declared the winner.

To begin, the board is placed in the middle of the play area. The recipe cards are shuffled together. Two cards are then placed face up on the right 2 space of the Recipe Book on the board. The deck is then divided into 2 equal piles, with each pile placed on the 2 left spaces of the Recipe Book. The top 2 cards on each stack are flipped face up, making 4 recipes available. The activity cards are then shuffled together and then placed face down on the appropriate space on the Daily Planner. Three cards are then placed face up in the corresponding spaces, making 3 activities available. The 2 cravings dice and shopping tokens are placed next to the Shopping List in the top left corner of the board. The food tokens are placed near the board to create the supply. Ten of each type of food token is placed inside the food token bag. One fats and oils token is placed on the corresponding Pizza To Go space on the board from the supply. The remaining Pizza To Go spaces are filled with food tokens randomly taken from the food token bag. If an alcohol token is drawn, it is set aside and a new token is drawn to replace it. Drawn alcohol tokens are returned to the bag once the spaces are filled. The Chinese Buffet spaces are randomly filled with food tokens take from the food token bag. The 6 assistant cards are placed face up next to the board. The round marker is placed on the 1 space of the round tracker at the top of the board. The Farmer’s Market cards are sorted and separated based on their card backs. The cards in each of these decks is then arranged in descending order so that the lowest round number is on the top of the deck. The cards are then placed face down in the corresponding space of the Farmer’s Market. The top cards of each deck are then flipped face up and match the current round. Players will then choose whether to play with the standard or advanced diet boards and will place a diet board in front of themself. If players choose the advanced diet boards, these are randomly selected or may be chosen if all players agree. Each player chooses a color and is then given the corresponding 4 action markers, 1 scoring marker, 1 assistant reference card, 1 end of game scoring reference card, 1 water food token and 1 food token of their choice. Each player will then place their scoring marker on the 0 space of the scoring track. The first player is chosen and is given the first player marker. Play now begins.

The game is played over 6 rounds. Each round follows 3 steps. The first step is to select assistants. In this step, each player will select an assistant starting with the last player and continuing in reverse turn order. The player places the assistant face down in front of themself. In later rounds, players may select a face up assistant card from in front of one of their opponents instead of one of the face up cards next to the board. Players must then place their assistant from a previous round face up next to the board. There are 6 different assistants and each one provides 2 options that a player can benefit from. However the player is only able to use 1 option 1 time each turn. These options can be anything from add a water token to the player’s supply to swapping an incomplete recipe the player has for an available recipe from the Recipe Book. For more information on the specific assistants and the benefits each provides, please consult the rule book.

The second step is to take actions. In this step, players will take turns until each player has taken 4 actions. To take an action the player must place one of their action markers on an open action space on the board or on their own diet board. The player will then perform the action, following any instructions. There are 6 different actions that a player may choose from. Players can Dine Out as an action. The Dining Out action actually consists of 2 different action spaces; the Chinese Buffet and Pizza To Go. Both spaces allow the player to take a number of available food tokens from the space and place them into their body. The Pizza To Go space allows the player at the end of the round to place their action marker on any available action space thus providing them with another action that round.

Another action that can be taken is to Snack. The Snack action, on the player’s diet board, allows the player to place any 1 food token from their kitchen into their body.

A third action that a player may take is to go Grocery Shopping. This action allows the player to purchase up to $6 worth of food from the space. To go shopping, the player rolls the cravings dice and then places them on the matching spaces on the top and side of the Shopping List. The player may purchase a food token by placing a shopping marker on the space that matches the food token that they would like to take on the Shopping List. The player then places the matching food token into the Shopping Basket space that matches the food token. Food tokens can cost $1, $3 or $5. Food tokens in the same column or row as a cravings die only cost $1. Food tokens outside the column or row cost $3. An unavailable food token is taken directly from the food supply and costs $5. Once the player has finished shopping, all the food tokens in the player’s Shopping Basket are then placed in their kitchen on their diet board.

Yet another action available to players is the Farmer’s Market. This action allows the player to select 1 of the available market stands and then take food tokens from the supply that match the food tokens on the chosen card. These tokens are added to the player’s body or their kitchen, as directed by the specific card. These spaces are always available but can only be used two times a round by a specific player.

Recipes and Cook is another available action for players to take. This action allows the player to take a new recipe from the board, cook a recipe with the food tokens in their kitchen or both. This action may be taken as many times as the player would like. To take a recipe, the player may select up to 3 of the face up recipe cards from the Recipe Book and place them to the left of their diet board face up. At the end of the player’s turn, if there are any empty spaces in the Recipe Book, they are refilled from the deck until there are 4 available recipes. To cook, the player may move up to 3 food tokens from their kitchen onto the corresponding food spaces on any incomplete recipe. These tokens do not have to be placed on just one recipe. They may be spread between any recipes the player chooses. Once all the food spaces on a recipe have been filled, that recipe has been completed. The player immediately scores the VP points in the bottom corner of the recipe and then places the food tokens from the card into their body. The completed recipe is then moved to the completed recipes area beside their diet board. The ability of the completed recipe is then available for the player to use. Once a recipe’s ability has been used, it is flipped face down in the completed recipes area.

The sixth action that a player may take is to do Activities and Work Out. This action allows the player to take new activities from the board, work out to remove energy from their body or both. This action may be taken as many times as the player would like, just like the Recipes and Cook action. To take an activity, the player chooses up to 2 activities from the Daily Planner and places them to the right of their diet board. At the end of the player’s turn, if there are any empty spaces in the Daily Planner, they are refilled from the deck until there are 3 available activities. To work out, the player may move up to 3 food tokens from their body onto the corresponding food spaces on any incomplete activities. These tokens do not have to be placed on just one activity. They may be spread between any activities that the player chooses. Once all the food spaces on an activity have been filled, that activity has been completed. The player flips the completed activity face down and immediately scores the VP points in the bottom corner of the recipe. They will then place the food tokens from the card to the supply. The completed activity is then moved to the completed activities area beside their diet board. It should be noted that some activity cards have wild food spaces that may be filled with any other food token that does not match one of the other food tokens already present on the activity card. Some activities call for 1 or 2 wild food icons or a double wild food icon. The 1 or 2 icons require the food tokens to be the same type and placed at the same time. If only 1 token is used, then the space is considered filled and may not be added to at a later time. The double icons require 2 food tokens of the same type be placed at the same time. One final note, activity cards have special icons that are used to score bonus points at the end of the game. Players earn more points for the more completed activities they have with unique icons on them.

There is one final action that a player may take, that is to place and pass. To do this, the player simply places their action marker on any action space and does nothing. By doing this, they simply pass their turn. If a player passes, they must set aside all of their remaining action markers and are not allowed to take any further actions during the round.

The third and final step of a round is to prepare for the next round. In this step, the player that has an action marker on the Pizza To Go action space will now be able to place their action marker on any remaining available space and take the corresponding action. Once that’s done, beginning with the first player, each player will now be able to use any of their end of round abilities that they choose to activate. Once this has been completed, players will move the food tokens in their kitchen one space to the right, beginning with their right most space. Those tokens in the rightmost kitchen space are moved to the player’s trash and remain there until the end of the game. If this is the end of the sixth round, play proceeds to end of game scoring. As long as this is not the sixth round, the round marker is advanced one space on the round track. All action markers are returned to their players and all the shopping tokens are removed from the Shopping List. Any food tokens on the Chinese Buffet and Pizza To Go spaces are returned to the supply. A fats and oils food token is taken from the supply and placed on the corresponding Pizza To Go space. Each space is then filled with new food tokens from the food token bag. If there are any alcohol food tokens drawn from the bag for the Pizza To Go space, it is set aside and a new token is drawn to replace it. Any drawn alcohol food tokens are returned to the food token bag once the spaces are filled. All the faceup Farmer’s Market cards are removed fromg
the game and new cards are flipped face up that match the current round. All the faceup recipe cards are placed on the bottom of the recipe deck, then all the empty spaces are refilled with new recipe cards from the top of the recipe deck. All the faceup activity cards are returned to the bottom of the activity deck, then all the empty spaces are refilled with new activity cards from the top of the activity deck. The first player marker is then passed to the next player in turn order and a new round begins.

The game continues until the end of the sixth round. At this point, end of game scoring occurs. Players score VP for food groups with 0 food tokens, for food groups with food tokens based on the furthest food token on a yellow or green space, for completed recipe cards and for sets of completed activity cards. Players lose VP for food groups with food tokens based on the furthest food token on a red space, for each food token in their trash and for incomplete recipe and activity cards. Players add up their points and the one with the most VP is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game has a bunch of components packed inside the box. First off there’s a whole bunch of cardboard tokens. These include the large first player marker, the food tokens and the shopping tokens. The first player marker looks like a round plate with a fork and knife criss crossed on it. The food tokens are smaller squares and are brightly colored. Each one has a small picture of what it represents, for instance: the water looks like a plastic water bottle while the dairy looks like a gallon of milk and a hunk of cheese. The shopping tokens are grey and have the outline of a shopping cart on them. Each one of these tokens has a nice textured feel to them and they all look great. I especially like the colors of the food tokens. It makes it very easy to pick out which tokens are which. The game also comes with some wooden scoring and action markers, as well as a round marker to keep track of the rounds. Each of these are round discs and are great quality. Unfortunately the colors aren’t my favorite. The player colors are white, yellow, green and red. No blue, orange or purple sadly. I think I may have changed out the white for blue, at the very least. Don’t know many players that would choose to play white. The round marker is black, which could have been changed to white and then black could have been an available player color. Oh well, that’s just a minor gripe. The cravings dice are bright red and blue and have a fairly good heft to them. The game also comes with a nice draw string cloth bag with the game’s name printed on it, to hold the food tokens in. The board looks amazing and is vibrant and full of color. It’s very easy to read and determine what each space represents. I really love the artwork on this one. The player boards are some kind of flexible cardboard with a textured feel to it, just like the tokens. Each of these are double sided with a standard diet on one side and a specialty diet on the other. Each one of these is very easy to understand as well. Needless to say, I like the design and how everything comes together on these as well.

The final pieces are the various cards. There are 2 sizes of cards euro and regular sized ones. The Farmer’s Market cards are all euro sized and have the name of the particular stand on the back with a selection of food tokens on the front side. The regular sized cards consist of all the other cards in the game. There are the activity cards which have some really beautiful looking artwork of the various activities that they represent. There are the recipe cards which also look beautiful. These have a large piece of artwork on one side and the other side has a smaller picture of the same image, along with food tokens and special abilities. The assistant cards have a specific icon design on the back and two options for players to be able to use on the front. These are each a single specific color but still look really nice and fit in well with the game. There are also assistant reference cards, which explain the various assistants and then the end of game scoring reference cards, which explain how scoring works. The final set of cards is the out of stock cards, which are used only in a 2 player or a solo game. These show where to place shopping markers on the shopping list to remove a few options during play. Let me just say, these components look amazing. I’m completely blown away by the quality, designs and artwork of each piece. The board, recipe and activity cards are especially beautiful. I just really feel drawn into the game when I look at these. It makes me feel as if I’m actually planning out what I’m going to eat and do for that day. Needless to say, the theme really comes through for this one. If that weren’t enough, inside the box is a really remarkable looking insert to keep all the components from jostling around too much or having to be bagged up. Overall I love the look and feel of this game. It’s truly a wonder to behold.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is really well designed. There are a ton of great looking pictures and examples throughout the book. Each step of the game is laid out in a very simple to read format. Each section of the board and each action is explained in great detail. Everything looks amazing for this rulebook. There is also an extra sheet of rules included in the game with some variants, including playing with just 2 players and for playing solo. I’m especially happy to have the solo rules as I love anytime a game includes solo rules. The book also includes a section highlighting some of the key concepts and icons of the game. This is a really great rulebook that makes learning the game very very easy. It didn’t take a very long time for me to read through it all. Once I read it, I had very few questions on how to play the game. With the reference cards and everything pretty much spelled out on the board and diet boards, there’s not much else you need. That’s one thing I do really appreciate about this one; it is fairly self explanatory. Overall, the designer did a great job with the rulebook. I’m very pleased with the overall look and feel of it.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a great game. It’s a really unique worker placement style game that I really enjoy. I’ll be honest, when I first looked at this game I thought it was going to be pretty difficult to learn. After reading through the rulebook, I realized that’s not the case at all. This is actually a pretty straight forward and easy game to learn, granted there are a lot of decisions and strategies to be had with it. That is to say that on your turn, you pretty much have carte blanche to do whatever you want to do, just like you have in real life. I mean if you actually look at this game, it kind of feels like real life. You go to the grocery store. You get some food to make something to eat or you grab some takeout. You eat what you cooked or picked up, then you choose what you want to do. Do you go running to work off that double cheeseburger or do you just sit around and play video games. These are decisions that you’ll be making. Of course what you’re trying to do is make sure that you’re putting the right stuff in your body based on your particular diet and then grabbing as many points from recipes and activities that you can. You just have to make sure that you don’t wind up grabbing too much of the wrong stuff, or you might wind up losing points at the end of the game. I have to say, that I love how that each diet feels different, just like in real life. A vegetarian diet isn’t going to feel the same as a junk food diet. What one needs, the other may turn their nose up at. For such an easy to play game, it’s actually quite deep. If you think about it, the game not only is fun to play, but it actually helps inform as well. There are things about some of these diets that I didn’t know or understand, that now I get a little better. For instance, I’d always thought that a vegetarian could only eat vegetables. I mean it’s pretty much in the name itself. However I now realize that they can actually have dairy and eggs. The Paleo diet can have no dairy, sugar or grains. Honestly I’d always wondered about how that worked. Needless to say, this is a game that I truly have enjoyed in so many ways. It’s as much informative and educational as it is enjoyable. This is a game that fans of worker placement would really enjoy, especially if they love food. It is one that I would highly recommend. It’s a true joy.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Consumption: Food and Choices is a medium weight worker placement game about food and health. The game isn’t overly long. Most game sessions are around an hour and a half long. The components look amazing. The artwork is phenomenal, especially on the board and cards. The theme of the game really comes through in a big way. The rulebook is well designed and easy to read. It also includes rules for playing solo and with just 2 players, which is a huge plus for me. The game itself is a ton of fun. It really makes you question each decision and it feels like you’re actually living this particular lifestyle from your diet board. There’s really a lot to like with this one. It’s education and informative, as well as being fun. This is one that fans of worker placement games will absolutely enjoy. It’s definitely one that I look forward to playing a lot more. I highly recommend this game. It’s mango-nificent and sure to make you hap-pea! I guess I butter stop with the puns before I get beet. Ok, I’m done. Enjoy!
9 out of 10

 

For more information about this and other great games, please check out Kolossal Games at their site.

 

https://kolossalgames.com/

 

 

About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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