Unpub Preview: Chef’s Choice

Unpub Previews allow designers the opportunity to talk more in depth about the development of their games in the Unpub Network.

Chef’s Choice is a quick and simple game about influencing consumer choices. As a small restaurant owner, you hand out samples on the street to build diners’ appetites for the menu you plan to serve at meal time. Keep an eye out on the samples your competitors are giving away, and you might be able to offer the right menu that lures more customers. (This game evolved from an earlier Unpub game called Space Station Vacation)

Let’s hear what Charlie has to say about Chef’s Choice, which will be showing up on tables soon…

What was your inspiration for the game?
I like the idea of a game where the environment is shaped almost entirely by choices that players make.  It started as a game where players voted (with ballot box antics) on the outcome. But I found that using the word “vote” gave many play testers expectations that didn’t match the game play. Thus the re-theme to restaurant owners handing out samples. Back to the original question, the inspiration of a voting game was just a launch point for a game that ended up somewhere different.

What is your favorite part of the game?
When players suddenly abandon the dish that had appeared to be everyone’s favorite and start handing out samples for an underdog.

To your knowledge, What do other people find most interesting about the game?
The players who enjoy this game most are those who like to slyly observe what other players are doing.

What has been the most challenging part of designing the game?
Trimming the play time. Some early feedback was that as a light casual game, the play time should match. The first versions of the game lasted 30-45 minutes. I made an effort to identify and trim anything that added unnecessary minutes to the game. Play time is now 20-30 minutes for a 4-8 player game.

What advice would you give to players attempting the game for the first time?
Pay attention to which dishes the other players are favoring.  Players (by design) have too little influence to single-handedly assure that preferred dishes will receive the most samples.   With higher player accounts, forming loose alliances may help you influence which dishes become the customer favorites at the next meal time.

What has surprised you most in play-tests of the game?
Play testers who afterwards tell me they’d buy it on the spot if the game were available for purchase.  I’ve had several gamers tell me this is a game they could easily play with their non-gamer friends and family.

People who like_____will like this game. Why?
I can’t think of a good answer.   If you like easily-learned casual games with shared area control that reward players who observe which areas their opponents are drawn to, then you will like Chef’s Choice.

Tell us anything else you want to say about your game that I haven’t asked or you haven’t said already.
Don’t play when hungry, it will increase your appetite!

For more information, photos and to find out where you can try Chef’s Choice, please visit the game’s Unpub.net Page!

Author: Brad Smoley

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