Review: Rival Restaurants

In this chaotic board game you are the chef of a restaurant. Does your restaurant earn the most popularity? Then you are the 'Wiener'!


Gap Closer Games




Game explanation

In Rival Restaurants you have to be the first restaurant to score 20 popularity points. Players earn popularity points by buying and trading ingredients and use them to cook recipes. The harder the recipe, the more points you get!

Every restaurant is different, with each their own bonusses and recipes that give you more points. A chef will go to work in your restaurant! Your chef has his/her own special chef power. In the base game there are 12 different chefs and 8 restaurants.

Every day consists of 3 phases:

Money and Move: Players collect income for the day and decide where they want to move using their location wheel. The ingredients you need for recipes can be bought on several locations. Everyone shows their location wheel and moves to the location they chose. Watch out, because there can be more chefs on one location!

Buy and Barter: Players have 1 minute to buy as much ingredients as possible from their location. If there are more chefs on 1 ingredient, a 'bidding war' starts. Players can bid on that ingredient, so the ingredient will (most of the time) be sold for a higher price. Players can now trade with other players, not only with players on their location. You can trade almost everything including ingredients, money, garbage, action cards, recipes and much more! Pay attention to the timer, because after a minute the phase stops immediately!

Cook and Counter: If you have all the ingredients for your recipes, you can start cooking it in this phase! When you cook a recipe you get popularity points immediately. Unfortunately, cooking also gives you garbage. You want to get rid of this, because it gives you less popularity points when cooking your next recipes! Garbage can be thrown away at a special location for $100. In this phase, the counter will be 'countered'. The last ingredient on the counter will expire and be discarded. The rest of the ingredients move and a new ingredient will be taken from the shelf. After refreshing the ingredients a new day starts!

Every day you play the same 3 phases. But make no mistake, not every day is the same! All players have an action card which they can use to shake things up! With action cards you can steal money from other chefs or gather extra ingredients. Players can also buy new action cards during the game.


Our thoughts

 Rival Restaurants is a beautiful addition to your game collection. The box has a place of honour on our game shelf. Rival Restaurants offers a unique playing experience.

Gap Closer Games paid a lot of attention to the details of Rival Restaurants. The artwork is implemented in all components of the game and fits the theme very well. While playing Rival Restaurants you imagine yourself in a world where you are the chef of your own restaurant!

Rival Restaurants is a hectic, stressful, but very fun game! You can also make the game less stressful by removing the timer in the buy & barter phase. The game offers a unique and fast playing experience. This is because everyone is playing at the same time. Nobody has to wait! Together with the high amount of interaction, this makes Rival Restaurants a very fun and well thought-out game where everyone is involved during the whole game.

While playing you have enough to do and endless possibilities. You can close all kinds of deals with your opponents, buy upgrades and use action cards. Besides that, the game has a lot of variation by offering a great variety of restaurants, chefs and recipes. During the game there are many things you have to think about. This ensures that you will never get off easily while running your own restaurant.

It can happen that one player has it easier than others. The restaurants and chefs all have their own bonuses and powers. Unfortunately, some bonuses and powers are more useful than others. Moreover, some action cards are quite overpowered. This is a disadvantage on the one hand, but on the other hand it causes more excitement and variety during the game.

Playing with 2 players

Weplayed the game with 2 players and with 4 players and we both enjoyed it very much. We believe that Rival Restaurants is a very nice party game and indeed works very well with a large group, but also with 2 players you can have a lot of fun! The game manual includes special rules for 2 players. These rules are in our opinion a bit (with the emphasis on bit) less fun that the standard set of rules. In a 2-player game, you both control several chefs in your own 'kitchen squad'. These separate rules make it a bit more difficult.

What we already noticed during a game with 2 players is that it's very easy to adjust the rules a bit. For example, we already played a game where we both had 2 restaurants. By trying different things you can make a game with 2 players just as fun as a game with a larger group.

 Pros and cons

+ Fun theme that has been worked out well
+ Beautifully finished cards and parts
+ Unique playing experience where it's always everyone's turn
+ Lots of variety
+ Great box storage

A lot of rules (but not hard)
For 2 players there are different rules that are a bit harder
Some chefs, restaurants and action cards are too strong
The movement wheel delays the game (we don't use it)