Tuesday, June 02, 2009

#11: Dish It Up

Dish It Up!
  • designer: Ann & Monty Stambler
  • publisher: Gamewright
  • date: 2000
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/5.20
  • age: 6+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: OOP?
  • cost: $29.99 (eBay)
There are lots of memory games out there... but there aren't nearly as many who use memory in a thematic way to create a great kids game experience. Dish It Up! is one of the proud, the few... the thematically rich memory games.

Players are waiters & waitresses in a greasy spoon diner (what folks in the South would call a "meat & three" I have fond memories of an old Waco, TX institution called Leslie's Chicken Shack (this sign is all that's left) where the waitresses looked like Flo's cousin & worried that we poor Baylor students weren't eating enough. Hot biscuits & honey plus lots of excellent fried chicken... sigh. It's gone now. But I'm supposed to be telling you about a game, not salivating about Sunday dinners long past.

Ahem... well, on his turn, a player turns up two tiles from the tableau. Instead of trying to have the tiles match, though, each player is working to match the items on his order cards. Each one of those cards has a main dish, a side, a drink & a dessert. As long as you match both items with your card, you can pick them up & go again. When you complete your card, you get a tip ($1 - these are NOT generous patrons).

There are a couple of flies in the ointment (or soup!):
  • Matt has lost his mitt... if you can turn over Matt's tile & the Mitt tile in the same turn, you get a dollar.
  • There are also cranky customer & crying baby tiles in the tableau... turn one of them over & your turn ends immediately.

The round ends when one player finishes their orders... and unfinished orders don't get tips. The game is played over several (usually 3) rounds, with players shooting for a dollar amount in tips based on the number of players.

Because the game uses pictures on the order cards as well as the tiles, this game works with some kids as young as 3 years old. (However, they usually can only play one round before getting antsy.) As well, since you've got multiple matches early in the game (each player has at least 2 order cards with 4 items each), the frustration level for younger players is low as well.

We've had a great time with this game at the Jackson house - of course, neither of the boys have had to wait tables yet, which will probably take some shine off the theme when that happens.

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