Published on October 22nd, 2015 | by Rufus Hound0
Burger Boss Review
Average play time per game: 45-90 minutes
Suitable for ages: 8+
Number of players: 3-5
Mechanics: Dice Rolling, Simulation, Worker Placement
Christ knows, if I could take all of the money I’ve spent on gourmet burgers over the last three years, I’d have enough to start my own restaurant. I’m exactly the kind of white, middle-class knob who will eschew a Weatherspoons £4.99 burger & beer deal, to spend £18 on almost exactly the same thing dressed up as ‘artisan patties, sweetcure bacon and farmhouse cheese in a brioche bun served with craft ale from a local microbrewery’. And guess what? Fuck you. I don’t care what you think. That shit is DELICIOUS. Bankrupting? Certainly. But delicious? You bet your sweet ass/sweetcure.
But should I start my own burger restaurant? On the one hand, working in a burger bar has become shorthand for having failed at life (“McJob”), but on the other, thanks to the Tories, it seems that even if you get a First in Astrophysics, there’s a decent chance you’ll end up flipping meat or mopping floors. If only there was some way to simulate running an independent burger joint…
Enter Burger Boss. A card, dice and counter game presented in it’s very own plastic burger. Players select one of five franchises (McDowells, Big Tasties, Hipster Hamburgers, Burger Prince or Great Burger) and then get a kitchen (a card divided into ‘Grill’ and ‘Fridge’ sections), two workers (two dice) and some start up capital ($3 is cardboard coins). You’re now ready to open your doors, but to who?
Customers! That’s who! Unlike in a normal restaurant where the clientele select where to eat, then order what they want, in Burger Boss, hungry patrons have exactly what they want in mind and the competing franchises race to be the first to sell it to them. The longer they wait, the hungrier they get and will ‘go large’ and then ‘go supersize’ on their meal, before giving up altogether. The trick is to make the exact burger they want, then wait till they’ll pay you most for it – wait too long though and either your competition will get there first or they’ll leave.
Each round begins with players rolling their dice – their ‘workers’ – and the player with the lowest score going first, the second lowest going second and so on. The order of play has a big impact on the game, so players can choose to use fewer workers to improve their table position or more workers and get more done.
Once rolled, you can deploy these workers to buy ingredients (lettuce, tomato, cheese, buns and patties, all indicated by little coloured wooden disks), to attract other workers (thus enabling you to get even more done per turn), to extend your kitchen, (thus increasing the number of burgers you can cook and the number of ingredients you can store) or to grab a ‘Manager’s Special’ (ability cards).
And that, in a nutshell (or rather plastic burger), is the game. There’ll be a continual stream of new customers and whoever has the most money at the end of the game, wins. A bit like how the Tories see life. This is a resources management game that is good looking, well thought out and culturally familiar. But is it actually any good?
Yeah. It really bloody is. To be honest, I reckon these kind of games are much of a muchness. Monopoly, Carcasonne, Settlers of Catan, King of Tokyo – it all boils down to ‘Can I use what I have to get more?’. Whether or not the game works comes down to whether it balances. If it does, it’ll remain exciting to the last turn. If it doesn’t then the whole thing comes down to luck. In which case why not save yourself half an hour and flip a coin instead?
Burger Boss goes no short distance to make sure that players are engaged until the last customer departs. There’s enough depth to satisfy semi-casual gamers and more than enough to make it the kind of game that can be played and enjoyed by parents with their kids. The theming might make you think that this is the gaming equivalent of a cheap, disposable snack, but Legend Express have rustled up a gourmet treat. My only criticism? It could do with some sweetcure bacon but, in truth, I say that about everything.