The game mechanics of Chef Cuckoo will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played party games like Apples to Apples or Balderdash or Snake Oil. There is a judge. Everyone else is a chef. Chefs try to put together three ingredients that will earn points from the judge. In the basic game, the judge assigns points without knowing what chef submitted what recipe. Variations have the chefs perform a sales pitch.
It’s a great vehicle for silly, and Blue Orange does a fantastic job of providing everything you need for the party in a little round tin. It’s like opening an Altoid box to find your favorite meal tucked up in one corner and an attractive table setting in another. So much more in the box than you’d think from the outside. Willy Wonka’s three-course-dinner-gum without the Violet Beauregarde side-effect.
The game comes with 60 ingredient cards (round), 12 challenge cards (square), and 36 small plastic stars. Each player is dealt 6 ingredient cards and the judge chooses one of the challenge cards. The challenges instruct the players to make the best or worst of the following: sandwich, soup, salad, pizza, omelet, or pasta. Each chef then chooses three ingredients and places them face down in front of the judge (who closes his or her eyes to ensure objectivity J).
Best recipe gets 2 stars. Runner up gets 1 star. Everyone else: nada.
The judge rotates, ingredient cards are replenished, and a new challenge starts the next round. Play continues until all the stars are awarded.
Like the games I mentioned earlier, you get to have Major Fun while learning a little something about the tastes of your fellows. No, I don’t mean that you get to lick them! I mean that you get to understand a bit more about… Ah, forget it. Dirty minds.
For 3 – 8 players, ages 7+
Chef Cuckoo game by Christophe Raimbault. © 2012 Blue Orange.