A perfectly balanced two-player game that pits burgers against pizza for an epic face-off. Gather resources and build up your restaurant empire faster than the other player to win.
|Burger Joint||Rio Grande Games||Board Game|
In The Box
For a relatively small box there’s quite a bit packed into Burger Joint. You get a cloth bag and 60 resource cubes that stand in for ingredients you and your opponent need to cook up delicious burgers and pizza. There are some tasty looking cardboard markers, 15 for each player, that show whether you’re on the burger team or the pizza team. Three distinct playing boards let you keep track of how many restaurants make up your growing empire, while managing distribution of resources each turn.
The remaining markers are moved around each board as you rack up victory points and buy publicity that can play a big role in winning. The bag holds your resource cubes for storage, but also lets you draw them unseen, as you’ll do for most of the game. We liked that the illustrations on each board have lots of purpose, showing you exactly how you stand on score and making it simple to designate who gets what resource, and when.
How It Plays
Most restaurants go out of business within six months. It’s hard enough to keep one small business running, much less maintain a franchised chain. Burger Joint is a really clever take on this economic puzzle, beginning with distribution and supply. During the game’s setup each player gets two mid-grade restaurants, connected to two distinct resource colors. Running these restaurants gives you a slight edge in that you get first dibs on those resources during the supply phase of each round.
There are several strategies you can use toward racking up the 12 victory points needed to win, including flooding the market with cheap restaurants and publicity, or upgrading your basic restaurants to fine dining establishments. One big incentive for moving upmarket is that you unlock special abilities. Instead of being limited to drawing resources randomly, you can earn the right to make resource trades or draw extra cubes. Burger Joint is designed well enough to accommodate many different styles and approaches, but the first players who unlock these abilities have a distinct edge.
Understanding the flow of play during supply and distribution was the biggest hurdle, but once we got a feel for Burger Joint it played like a dream. It’s well suited to young players in the sense that it doesn’t require reading or anything more than simple math, and even the building requirements are clearly marked right on the board.
You see plenty of games designed for large groups that have two-player variations but it’s harder to find board games that are designed for two. For that reason alone, Burger Joint is a winner.
You want to build a really great mix of everything, because each type of restaurant serves a purpose. Publicity doesn’t really add up unless you use it a lot.