Board games, party games, and card games, many people are re-finding good old-fashioned board games lately. Is it because we have become so disconnected from each other through all of our forms of electronic communication and video gaming that we are trying to reconnect with actual people? I don’t know, but as a gamer myself, I’m pleased about this resurgence of uniting for a bit of fun.

I own many board games with varying themes, but one of my favorite themes is food! Shocking, I know, but I thought I would share a few of these games as I’m guessing many of you have never even heard of them before. They are all very different from the types we all grew up with, especially if you grew up in the U.S., so I say it’s time to explore a new genre of board games!

The games I am going to tell you about range in complexity from easy to very challenging, and most rely on some sort of strategy, versus luck, to win the game. I want to share a few of these with you in an effort to spread my love of board games – and food!

Wasabi!

This is a fun and fairly easy game in which you compete against others to build unique sushi recipes. You collect ingredients and place them on your sushi mat based on your recipe, and as you build more sushi, the space to build additional sushi recipes decreases. Completing each sushi roll gives you points, depending on how many ingredients are involved, and if you build it in the same order as in the recipe, extra points! Of course, there are also ways to disrupt your opponent’s efforts to complete their sushi rolls, so getting the ingredients you need to win may not be as easy as it sounds. Lots of fun, colorful, easy to learn – and it makes you hungry for sushi!

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Foodie Fight

This is a trivia game, where you answer various questions from the following six categories:  “Foodiesphere” (food people, world cuisines, food places); “Food Stars” (food on film and in print); “Company’s Coming” (party planning, table etiquette, wine and food pairing); “Lab and Field” (cooking science, nutrition and food production); “Dining Out” (eateries, chefs, menu matters, restaurant service); and “What’s Cooking?” (cooking techniques, tools and ingredients). Not only is it a lot of fun to test your food knowledge, you also get to mark your correct answers on these very cute plates. The first person to complete all of their plates wins! Plays up to six people.

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There is also a second addition, Foodie Fight Rematch, which adds even more foodie trivia, and in the same vein, Wine Wars is a trivia game with five categories to test yourself and your friends.

Morels

Morels is a two-player card game in which you forage and collect up to ten different kinds of mushrooms with the goal of cooking the most sets, and the most expensive mushrooms, to win the game. Once you collect at least three of the same kind of mushroom, you place the cards in front of you on a frying pan, and if you collect a large enough set, you can earn extra points by adding either butter or cider to your pan. Yum! The player with the most sets of cooked mushrooms wins the game. With limited numbers of each type of mushroom (the most expensive mushrooms have the fewest cards of that type) and a limited number of cards you can hold in your hand, it makes for some very tough decisions. This is a great game to play in a coffee shop as it is a small box and game play doesn’t need a lot of room on the table. The artwork on the cards is beautiful too!

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These next two games I would consider to be “heavier” strategy games, meaning that there are a lot of different things going on in the game simultaneously that you need to keep track of in order to do well. These two games also happen to be a few of my favorites, so I will give you a brief overview of each one to whet your whistle.

Viva Java

This is a semi-cooperative game in which you try to buy the best coffee beans and blend the best coffees. You select the region of the world where you want to collect beans, and you may be forced to team up and work with different opponents throughout the game to create the best blends, depending on the region you select. You can either play nice together or make a few enemies along the way (that’s the semi-cooperative part!), or you can try to go solo, but you might not be able to buy the best beans or make the best blends. You may also spend time doing research to improve your buying and blending abilities. A medium-heavy game as far as rules and strategy go, but a great game that you can work up to. Another great thing is this game plays up to eight people, so it’s great for large groups. You can almost smell the coffee roasting!

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Vinhos

This is my “heaviest” foodie game, and a big favorite. You are a wine maker in Portugal, and the game play spans six years. Your goal is to make the best wine each year, and in order to do this you will try to: buy more vineyards, buy wine cellars for aging your wines, establish vineyards in other parts of Portugal where different types of grapes are grown, hire an enologist, sell to local businesses as well as export to other parts of the world. Obviously all of these things involve money, so balancing your finances is key. Additionally, there are wine fairs where you can put up your best wines for awards and try to get the judges to give you favors.  This game is fantastic, but as you can see, it’s complex and not for one who is just getting started in this genre of board games. Plays up to four people. Love it.

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Well, that should be enough to possibly spark your interest in checking out some of these great games. More information on each of these games can be found at http://www.boardgamegeek.com. Make some time to get together with friends or family and play a few of these “foodie” games. You will be happy that you did! Bon appetit!