Chocolatiers is a two to five player tabletop game about creating very beautiful boxes of chocolates. I backed it on Kickstarter a while back and have eagerly waited for the day to come when the box arrived. That day was recently, and it’s a box full of wonderful, cardboard chocolate pieces ready for me to play around with.
In Chocolatiers, each player starts off with three secret chocolates that they want to match and place within a box tile, as well as three wild chocolate tokens. Box tiles are dealt face-up, with five of them in the middle of the play area forming into a chocolate tray, much like a conveyor line at a chocolate factory. Under these chocolate boxes comes six chocolate cards in a row, waiting to be plucked from. Once you have your chocolate factory set up, the game begins.
On a player’s turn, they must do two of the following four actions:
- Take a chocolate from the chocolate tray
- Place a wild chocolate in to one of their chocolate boxes
- Box chocolates to create a full box in front of them
- Reserve a box tile.
To explain, taking a chocolate from the center tray is easy — grab a chocolate and place it in your hand. The wild chocolate tokens, which in the Kickstarter version are wooden, are for more strategic plays. They can be placed on a box of chocolates within the conveyor belt, reserving it and moving that box to the area in front of you, but not requiring you to spend your chocolates to gain that box. This box will not count in scoring until you have paid the chocolate cards from your hand required on the box to fill it, but it will prevent another player from taking that box. Boxing chocolates is how you score a chocolate box in front of you — by handing in the same chocolates listed on the box. Each box has up to four chocolates listed, and you’d need all of them to score points. Finally, you can place a wild chocolate in one of the four spaces in your box, either on top of another chocolate or in an empty spot if there is one, to gain more points at the end of the game once that chocolate box has been scored by you.
Your ultimate goal is to create a three-by-two megabox of chocolate, made up by those little boxes of chocolates that each have points shown in the middle of them. These points are added up at the end to tally a score. Placement of the tiles is important, as adding wild chocolates will increase the number of chocolates around them and there are also bonus points available for having the most of specific types of chocolates within your boxes.
The game from there on is quite easy, with each player taking their turn, refilling the factory and then swiftly moving onto the next player. Once a player has claimed their sixth box of chocolate, everyone gets one more turn before scoring.
Chocolatiers is pretty straight forward and because of that, it’s a pretty fun game to play. The art work is brilliant, showing an array of different colors and chocolates, all begging to be boxed and given to someone you love. As I have the Kickstarter version I do have a set of wooden tiles, but these are just packed as an alternative for the cardboard wild chocolates tokens — which feels pretty unneeded, if I am honest. Some random wooden tiles in a pile of cardboard ones doesn’t really make much difference. That said, the cardboard tiles within the box are all very nicely crafted and thick — they feel and play nicely.
The game itself felt balanced and cute, although we did have one player rushing to fill out their box as fast as possible and it’s pretty easy to win that way if you are the first one finished with your box, as you’ll easily get a few bonuses. I feel that playing in a way where you actually use all of the chocolate box cards, claiming box after box and creating as many as you can before the deck runs out, is a fun house-rules version of the game.
All in all, however, I did enjoy my time with Chocolatiers — especially as after setting up, the game was incredibly easy to play and very pretty. Everybody who was playing could understand what was going on well and we all had a subtle craving for delicious chocolates. Chocolatiers can be loved by chocolate lovers and sweet admirers alike.
You can purchase Chocolatiers on their publisher’s website.