Safranito!




Safranito is a fantastic unique game that really gets you interacting. There are dexterity, strategy, and bidding components to this game. I first saw Safranito at a games night and was instantly drawn to how much fun it looked, everyone was having a good time throwing chips around and trading money for cards. My first thought was wow I have got to try this out, after getting in the next game it became clear that Safranito does not disappoint!


Spice Recipes


Objective

The first player to complete 3 spice recipes is the winner so it is important to not fall behind. A round lasts until a specific number of chips have been thrown (2 players = 4 / 3 players = 4 / 4 players = 3) a game consists of several rounds.




Players select what chip they are going to throw and take turns tossing chips one at a time onto the board. Spice bowls let you buy or sell that type of spice based on the value of your chips and the stock of spices available. The special actions are harder to land on because they are smaller and it’s easier to be knocked out by an opposing players chips but they provide some pretty useful abilities.


The Head Chef, this ability becomes more useful the more games you play after gamers have a chance to learn the rules, it lets you break ties and complete recipes first. The head chef also determines the order that spice bowls / actions circles take place in.
The Extra Recipe, this gives you an additional recipe option that only YOU can complete, a good one to consider if there spices for sale do not match the spices on current recipes or early on in a game to give you more options.
Extra Spice Card, this is by far the most powerful space on the board, if you land a chip in this circle you get to look at the top x amounts of spice cards, keep one and discard the rest. X is the corresponding number on your highest chip in the space.
Extra Throw. This space allows you to throw another chip right away, in any game I played we never could really figure out a use for it other than if you are good at knocking chips to where you want them to go.

In order for a chip to be considered “in” the circle in the middle of the chip must be inside the spice bowl or action circle. Now let’s talk buying and selling.

Selling: One spice at a time players are allowed to sell spices, their value is equal to the TOTAL number of ALL chips in a spice bowl however a player does not have to have a chip in the bowl to sell spices there.  After you sell if you had any chips in that bowl you now remove them, this stops you from both buying and selling the same spice in a single round.
The total sell value of all the chips is 80, if either player decideds to sell mint
His/Her mint is then discarded and their chips are removed from the bowl



There are 2 garlic's available,  both orange and blue players
have a 60 point chip in the bowl if they wish to buy garlic
they can, starting with the head chef
Buying: One spice bowl at a time the player with the highest total chip value gets to buy first costing the sum of his/he chips, the player's highest valuable chip is then removed and the second highest total gets to buy next even if it is the same player. Note that there is a limited supply of each spice and that supply is randomly replenished every round.








At the end of a round once all the chip tossing is done with players get to complete recipes. The head chef gets first pick, as soon as someone gets a third recipe card the game is over and you have your winner. Note that when a recipe is completed a new one is turned face up at the start of the next round.


Before we move on to who will like it and why lets take a minute to stop and take a look at the components, the art work is superb and the gameboard is good quality, the board is easy to setup (2 parts) and has a nice raised border around it to stop the chips from flying off as easy. The chips themselves are a good weight and feel nice in your hands. Nothing in this game is made cheap and that adds to the relaxing feel the gameplay in Safranito brings.


Safranito is certainly a unique game that combines many mechanics I enjoy, but let’s talk about who else would enjoy it and why.

Family Gamers: Safranito should definitely appeal to family gamers for many reasons, it is a relaxing game even with the ‘bumping each other’s chips’ part.Safranito provides a lot of player interaction and table talk. It has simple easy to follow gameplay, each round has 4 steps and the same 4 steps are repeated every round until the game is over.
Casual Gamers: Casual gamers will enjoy Safranito for a lot of the same reasons family gamers should consider it, however because the ‘buy low sell high’ auction mechanic allows for more strategy and options, the recipes to be completed are random and so are the spices availble each time you play, Safranito is a game that can be replayed over and over.
Gamer Gamers: Although this is not going to be the first choice for someone who enjoys in-depth gaming it is a perfect game to play if they are looking for something lighter to play with their friends. The chip throwing provides uniqueness that even a gamer gamer can appreciate and although the gameplay is not overly complex, it is smooth flowing and fun to play. I believe that most gamer gamers would not give Safranito a chance but would actually enjoy it if they did. 
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Fresco Review

After teaching new players Fresco last weekend I thought this would be a great game to do my first review!




Fresco is one of those games that might seem intimidating at first to someone unfamiliar with euro games however the game play mechanics are not super complex. There is a fair amount of planning and strategy needed, but by the end of the 2nd turn almost everyone had the ‘idea’ of the game down. The objective is to score the most points; you do so by completing sections of the cathedral’s painting.


The game plays out something like this, you pick your wake up time on the first turn this is chosen at random but it is later determined by reverse score order, that is the person in last place chooses when to wake up first. This is a nice element because it stops someone from really taking off, some games I could jump out to an early 20 or 30 point lead but get stuck with the last wake up time and end up with a poor paint selection.


Your wake up time determines everything for the rest of the round, the order in which you will buy paints AND the paints available, the order in which you get to paint the Cathedral, the cost of paints and your moral.








After you’ve chosen your wake up time you begin to plan the rest of your turn. You place your workers onto a rectangular card that determines how many of each type of action you get. 2 Men on the market means you get to make 2 purchases however you will ever only get to purchase from 1 “Market Stall”. For every man on the Cathedral you get to paint a tile in the center of the board, you can move the “Bishop” one space (diagonals are allowed) but only once regardless of the number of workers painting. The rest of the actions are straight forward, for every worker on portraits you get 3$, for every worker on the Workshop you get to blend TWO paints. And for every worker in the theater you gain 2 moral.

You make all these choices behind a privacy screen, however if you have players new to worker placement games or new to gaming in general I would recommend playing the first turn or two without the screen.


All players’ actions take place at one location before moving to the next (everyone buys from the market before moving to painting etc.) The order that actions take place at each location is determined by your wake up time. After you have done the theater action the turn is over and players choose a new wake up time and repeat until there are only 6 tiles remaining in the Cathedral, this marks the next turn as the final turn.


I feel that Fresco is a great game that can and should appeal to all types of gamers and here is why.


Family Gamers should consider Fresco because there is no fighting, no war or ‘adult’ theme. Fresco also helps to teach management and planning skills, because you are planning actions behind a hidden screen and most of the time several turns in advance this game definitely gets a brain thinking.

Casual Gamers should consider Fresco as a bridge to more complicated and “gamer” games. Fresco brings worker placement to a basic level and really gets you planning a few turns ahead however it is short and after everyone knows how to play I found that a game only lasts 30-45 minutes. With the availability of multiple expansions you can think of Fresco as a game similar to Carcassonne, simple enough mechanics with room for complex strategies making a great game to convert casuals to gamers.

Gamer Gamers should definitely add this one to their collection. It’s a strategy worker placement game with hidden planning, and multiple expansions that come with the basic game. There are also 3 more expansions that offer plenty of replay ability.



Tips/Tricks

There are 2 tiles with only primary colours, be quick to paint one of them because every completed tile gives you 1$ income for the REMAINDER of the game

If you spend early turns waking up late / increasing your moral and stockpileing resources, you can wake up early on the last 2 turns without going in to negative on the moral! this means you get 2 turns at being first player with all your regular workers! Paint your little heart out
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