You and two to five other players all are cooks in a very fast, very demanding kitchen. Legoblah Swamp is full of monsters, each demanding fast food with very little waiting time. In Fast Food Fear! you need to deliver these orders in cooperation with your friends, all before the monsters get too angry.
This colorful box is full of very few things; 110 cards and a two-minute hourglass is all it takes to start playing Fast Food Fear! In the middle of the table, the Monster Chef (or first player) must line up as many customer cards as there are players, plus one. These will be the monsters you all are trying to serve — each of them must begin face down. The rest of the customer cards are placed to one side. Customer cards have a blue backing, making them easy to differentiate from ingredient cards, which have a red backing.
All of the other ingredient cards then need to be shuffled, with six being dealt to each player but not shown to everyone else. The rest of the ingredient cards go into the middle of the table, still face down, as a stack. Once cards are all in place, the game begins.
And, that’s where things get a bit fuzzy. The rules for Fast Food Fear! don’t actually make much sense. That, or the game is impossibly hard and not very fun. Following the rule book, the Monster Chef flips over that two-minute hourglass and chaos ensues. The instructions state that players can “talk, suggest and coordinate so that one of the players can play from his hand, in his own turn, the combinations of courses that match the orders from the Customers revealed in the “line”, so that their cards can be removed from the game.” We took this to mean that in order to get rid of a customer, one person must have all the cards needed for their order.
This is a very hard task. On your turn, you can only do one of the following actions;
- Play a combination of courses (meaning you feed the customer if you have all the cards needed)
- Play a single event card (which get handed out as ingredients and can be used to pass cards around, turn over the hourglass or pick the player who goes next. These are pretty helpful when it comes to that very fast timer as you really need to keep flipping it.
- Discard any single card from their hand and then pass, letting the next player goes
After the action is taken, you must draw back up to six cards in your hand before the next player can take their turn. Once the ingredient deck is depleted, another customer gets put into the customer line and the discards get shuffled back into place.
Now, the issue with Fast Food Fear! lies in trying to fulfill the customers orders. As you only have a hand of six cards and only one person can fulfill a full order, it’s really tough to get all of the foods into one person’s hands. Sometimes, this means a single player needed to have four or five cards that matched a specific order. Various dishes are rare, so more often than not, all of the players would be discarding to draw a single card, in hopes of finding the rare food needed. A lot of the time, we couldn’t get more than two customers fed before the timer had run out with no one being able to flip it back over. This simply felt frustrating and we figured that we were playing the game wrong.
After reading the rules over and over, we decided that maybe, on your turn, you could place a single food from the order to a customer. This meant that people were dropping down orders in hopes of others adding to them. We communicated on which one to add to, so that a monster would be served fast and taken out of the restaurant. We then found this version of the game so easy that we didn’t need to use action cards or even tip over the timer a second time.
Our third attempt at figuring out the rules had us deciding that we could serve food to a customer as long as we started with the top food on the list and worked our way down in the order that we saw them. This added some challenge as specific people needed to place items first, which then allowed us to use our action cards more. It still didn’t quite feel right.
In the end, none of our group really knew how to play the game, but we all agreed that the cards themselves looked nice and that the idea behind this quick card game is interesting. It’s just a shame the rules don’t make much sense. As I still don’t quite understand the game, I don’t really have any final thoughts on it. I sort of wish the food the monsters were ordering weren’t normal, everyday items and instead were ‘fearful’ versions of what humans eat; worm spaghetti, spider burgers or maybe eyeball milkshakes, who knows. Maybe if you pick up Fast Food Fear!, you’ll have better luck figuring out the rules.
You can purchase Fast Food Fear! on Amazon.