Smoothies is a game titled as if it is a food game, but do not be fooled, it isn’t really a food game. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad game — Smoothies reminded me of Bingo, but in a way that you are doing math and having power-ups to juggle. It’s really quite something else.
Despite having a single-player mode, we played as a group of two (but you can play with up to four players). Smoothies will take about ten seconds to set up, which basically involves laying out the two parts of the box next to each other — so that you can see the different blenders — and giving each player a scorecard and pencil. Depending on how many players you have, you will each write a specific number in one corner of this scoresheet.
There are also a large handful of colored dice, which each match a color on the scorecard. The scorecard is better explained in a picture, but has a top column of numbers which then break down in rows of each color dice. This is where the main scoring goes, however, your blender bowls also have two rows and there are plenty of spaces for power-ups which allow you to reroll one or all of the dice, change the color of a die you are banking, or bank an extra dice as a passive player.
Let’s talk about passive and active players! The active player is the person who rolls the dice into the two top boxes. You’ll want to drop the dice evenly over the middle, as you will need to get at least two in the box with the lowest number of dice. Any dice that don’t make it into the blender will cause you to reroll the entire thing. Once you have two boxes of dice, you need to decide which box you want to bank as a part of your turn. Banking is simple; you will add up the number on all of the dice, go to that column on your scorecard, and start crossing off the boxes that match the colors of the dice in the blender. You will also need to mark across the bottom of the scorecard, that keeps track of how many dice from each blender has been banked by you. Once you hit the grey area of one of the blenders, you can no longer take from that blender. If you go beyond the number needed to hit that box, you’ll hit some penalties. The game ends when all players have hit their grey blender boxes for both blenders.
As a passive player, you are able to check the discarded blender and bank one die, by going to the number column that’s listed on the die and crossing out that color that the die is.
At most points yyou are able to use power-ups to help you get a bit more ahead and there are also special abilities to some boxes that can help you along. Stars, for example, give you an extra box on either the top, bottom, left side or right side of the box that you’ve crossed out.
The column under the number seven, if filled in as an active player, will give you a bonus box anywhere on your sheet to fill in, while the column under the number fourteen will give you two bonus boxes to fill in anywhere else on the sheet. These bonuses only count if they are filled in through banked dice.
These aren’t the only bonuses on the board; you can get plus and minus different numbers, which can help you towards the end of the game if you are stuck with a blender that has a high roll or specific blender tokens that let you not fill in one of the dice at the bottom blender score.
At the end of the game, there is actually a lot to tally up, but the scorecard is made in such a clever way. Following across, you can count up the number of each color in each row and place it in its box. You then compare your numbers with your opponents — if they have gotten greater than you and the minimum requirement on yellow and orange, they can bank three more points for each color. Moving down the sheet, you then can add up all of the numbers in the side columns and any bonuses. Working across the sheet, you can subtract any negative points which were given from going over the grey boxes for your blenders, leaving your next score in the white box under. Lastly, you can add in five points for every completely filled in column going vertically down and subtract two points for any vertical column that has no boxes marked off. That number, combined with your previous score, makes you the final score — which fits into another box. The player with the highest score wins.
Having the two different blenders gives a bit of strategy, as you might need to pick blenders that have fewer dice toward the final turn, instead of blenders with dice you may really need. The number of bonuses and power-ups in Smoothies is really interesting too, as it can really change what is going on. Both of us ended up ending the game at about the same time, which makes sense as the blenders were pretty evenly full during the game. Adding everything up looked intimidating at first, but the scorecard is really sleek, so anyone could follow how to get to their score.
Smoothies is a really fun, quite short game that fits perfect as a warm-up or a small activity between a few people. We quite enjoyed our time with it, even though it wasn’t a real food-based game beyond the graphics on the box.
You can find more information on Smoothies on the developer’s website.