I play a lot of food-based tabletop games. A lot of them. Never before has one of these games made my mouth water as much and made me want to recreate the food as Churrascaria has. Luckily for me, the tabletop card game has its own cookbook to go along with the foods you find on the cards.
Churrascaria is a very simple game, with one thing to keep in mind; eat meat and do not fill up on anything else. You and every other player at your table are all at a Brazillian restaurant, where you must eat the most meat instead of filling your stomachs full of side dishes or desserts. Each player is given a cardboard token which has a green side and a red side. They are also given a basic rules card, a salad card (which is worth negative points) and a meat dish called Frango. You’ll also get four action cards in your hand.
In front of each player is their plate, waiting to be filled with up to four foods (you do start with two tiles filled, mind). To the right of that is your stomach, which contains the food you have already eaten (or nothing, at the start of the game). Once you eat a food card, it goes into your stomach and no one else can take it back from you. Food on your plate however is dangerous and can be taken from you using action cards.
Food cards have positive or negative numbers on them, depending on the food. Some also have different actions which can be triggered by eating that food. They also have lovely, mouthwatering descriptions that make you want to try the foods that are being passed around — even the desserts.
On your turn, you can take two of the following actions:
- Flip over any food request token (the tokens with a red side or green side) on the table
- Eat an item on your plate
- Play an action card
- Discard any number of cards from your hand and draw that many cards back
At the end of these actions, if your food request token is green, you will get another food placed into your plate. If your plate already has four items, you will have to eat the item with the lowest score.
Churrascaria is a very cutthroat game. You’ll find yourself stealing from other plates, forcing people to take food and hopefully making sure you yourself don’t eat anything that really is wasteful. Action cards are where the gameplay really comes in. Many of the action cards allow you to mess with other players, while some allow you to stop actions from happening. This means that on a players turn, they might try to steal your plate or force you to eat your plate, and you might be able to block that.
During the first time our group played Churrascaria we were stacking these ‘no’ cards — whoever’s turn it was would try to play an action card on someone, they would play a reaction card stopping them, and then the original person would play another reaction card stopping the stop. This made for a lot of very funny instances where people were tagging in to help each other or destroy each other — and it’s a totally wrong way of playing the game. Although it’s not really specified, once a reaction card is played, that’s the end of an action. You cannot continue to react until cards are depleted.
If you want to win the game, you just need to keep your eye on everyone’s plate while focusing on eating the most filling foods as quickly as you gain them. Keeping loads of food on your plate is always dangerous, especially if they are of a lower number, but once again there are action cards that allow you to clear them out.
Churrascaria is a quick and easy game to play, yet it is also fun and polished. Playing against friends who you don’t mind stealing from and ruining the plans of provides the best experience. The cards themselves each have super lovely artwork and descriptions — they are marvelous. I also couldn’t believe the game itself had its own cookbook, teaching you how to make these various Brazillian foods. I very much enjoyed my time with Churrascaria.
You can find Churrascaria on the developer’s website.