When it comes to a choice between a salad or a pile of fries I know exactly what I am going to order. In Fry Thief, a two player game, one of you has made the silly choice of purchasing a salad but now wants to steal some fries from the other player. You’ll need to play your cards right if you want a full belly at the end of this!
Fry Thief is a two player game, however if you purchase a second copy of the game, it becomes a four player experience. I have only played the two player version, but rules for scaling up the game for four players is listed in the two player box, which feels like the game might be recommending this.
When it comes down to it, Fry Thief is pretty simple. One person (who has eaten fries last) gets to be the fry plate — gaining all of the fries tokens for their starting plate) while the other player is a salad eater with a very empty plate. Each player gets four cards and the salad eater goes first. At the start of your turn, you must draw a card. Then, you can either play a card, draw a second card, or pass. At the end of your turn you must draw up to two, or down to four cards total.
The fries on your plate are always up for grabs until they have been consumed. There are a variety of ways that they can be stolen. Once consumed they are safe and are placed next to your plate (with any bonus ketchups you’ve placed on them) until the end of the game, when you count them up for a score.
Cards are where most of the gameplay happens. Many of the cards have two halves; a fry person side and a salad side. They each have different abilities and do different things. Red cards can be played by any player and are single cards, while other cards have a yellow and green section pertaining to each player. The final piece of the board are the ketchup tokens which can give extra points — the game starts out with these placed out of play between both players.
All of the cards in Fry Thief are easy to read and understand. Some of them are played onto the table to be resolved later, while others — like ‘Swat’ cards — can be played whenever and are mainly used to stop your opponent from playing a card you do not like. A few do stack up; one of the salad side cards allows you to play onto the table, and if you play a secondary, specific card, it makes that card more powerful through a combo. This means that there is some thought before playing each card, and as you can mostly only play one per turn, you’ll have to hope your opponent doesn’t cancel anything out.
‘I know what you are thinking’ is a card that allows you to remove a card from your opponent if you can guess the card they have, which is a card we didn’t actually use in gameplay as we felt it’s only good use is if the opponent had a Swat card, and if you had nothing else to play. It could be used, with an ‘om nom nom’ card, to allow you to eat an additional fry when discarding however, which is what it was mainly used for.
Fry Thief is a simple game that is super easy to pick up. Once you have played a few rounds as a normal diner, you can flip the placemat cards over to reveal various characters. Each of these characters have different bonuses like fries being worth double, allowing them to eat two fries or steal three fries at the start, making ketchup worth more, etc. One of the cards is specifically for someone who wants to be the salad player, which I found a bit odd, as there wasn’t a card for someone that specifically wanted to be a fry orderer!
The game felt a little unbalanced when we played with these bonus cards, as it became clear that having double points on your fries left the person starting with a few extra eaten on a huge backfoot — even if they couldn’t start eating fries until the third turn. At the same time, I enjoyed Fry Thief’s easy nature as the game is very quick to understand and easy to play. Also all of the art and tokens are super lovely and well made. It’s an easy, light and small game that’s good for two people — something worth having if you tend to play two player games and are looking for something new.
You can get Fry Thief through the developer’s Late Pledge on Kickstarter.