Have you ever played a tabletop game and realized that it was probably invented by a few drunk college students who truly know all the rules, but aren’t very good at communicating them? That’s how we all felt at the end of Taco Fight, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun.
Taco Fight is a simple game with strangely complexly written rules, which I feel put us off on a bad start. Basically, you have a board in front of you, above the board, different tacos get placed. These tacos have two sides (which isn’t defined in the rules and which was very confusing). One side is the tacos as a killer enemy, angry and trying to attack the player. On the taco fighting side, they have a number, which is really important in beating them. On the other side, you will find the taco as an ingredient, which we will talk about later.
In each round, once you have the set number and color of tacos in front of you, as defined by a handy graph within the instructions, a timer is turned over and madness ensues. The goal is for everyone playing to defeat all of their tacos, leaving nobody with any tacos left. This is a co-op game, but it’s hard to play co-op, due to the short timing on the timer. Players will start grabbing ingredient cards from mutual piles and flipping them over in front of them, in groups of two. The top card can then be used, if the player wishes, to help defeat some tacos.
There are many ways to defeat tacos — you can start by loading your plate board up with tacos in front of you. These tacos need to be built up, starting from a tortilla ingredient which has a value of zero and stacking it with the next number (1) as a ladder up until you hit the same number as the taco in front of you. This is basically the only way to actually defeat the tacos you are facing, as the rest of the ways to attack tacos have to be done to other players you are playing with. You can punch other people’s tacos by looking at the fist icon on the ingredient card and putting those on other player’s plate boards until the punches match the number on the taco. You can also eat other player’s tacos using the fork card, which requires you to tap tap tap a player’s taco until they move it away, signifying it’s eaten.
Once the timer has run out, a cleanup stage happens, which allows players to put used ingredients and defeated tacos into their pantry hand and reset the field. If any tacos are still alive, the player who was facing them needs to physically hold the card in their hands. You can play one-handed, but having two tacos means you are frozen, and the only way to get rid of hand tacos are to use forks. It’s smart to save the forks and not use them the first few rounds of Taco Fight, as once they are used they are out of play for the rest of the game.
It’s worth mentioning that along with taco cards to fight, there are chips and salsa cards which need to be forked, fajita cards which require you to stack up a taco of the same level to defeat, and burritos which must be punched by another player. These throw a real spanner in the works, but aren’t found too often in each deck. Decks are color-coded from green (easy), yellow (medium), and red (hard).
The game ends when someone ends up with three undefeated tacos or at the end of the last round. You’ll need to defeat all of the tacos at the end of the last round, which is a really challenging task.
Taco Fight is simple, but the timer is short and communication is far too hard to do when everything is going on, especially in games with more than two players. It’s also very challenging to really understand what tacos are actually defeated and what ones are still in play, especially as more and more tacos are in the playing field. If everyone can keep up, the game feels fun, but you’ll need to really understand what you can do and how, as well as what is going on with everyone else.
The cards themselves in Taco Fight are really lovely, the art being super cute and funny. Everything is super identifiable, which is very useful because of the pressure put forth by the timer. The timer itself is nice too, working well. Everything fits nicely into the box, though the cards do easily get mixed up, as there aren’t separate places for each deck.
Was Taco Fight a fun game? Yes, but it took more time to really understand the rules than the game would even take. The game does have an app, but we didn’t end up using it or realizing it was a thing until I started typing up this article. The game itself lasts a total of about six minutes, so it’s a very quick game that requires a lot of attention when playing. It’s not a game to have a conversation over — more of an opening game as long as you have someone that really understands what is going on.
You can purchase Taco Fight by making a late pledge on their Kickstarter.