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Game Preview: Bag of Chips, or You Can't Play Just One

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Bag of Chips
Mixlore, a Canadian-based studio in the Asmodee Group, seems to specialize in unusually packaged games for a mainstream audience, such as Black Mirror: NOSEDIVE, Skulk, and Don't Sweat It!

On August 16, 2021, Mixlore released Bag of Chips in Canada, this being a food-themed game packaged like the item after which it's named, similar to 2019's Ramen Fury. In October, the game will also be available in Italy, Spain, Chile, Korea, and other parts of Asia.

Here's an overview of this 2-5 player game from designers Mathieu Aubert and Théo Rivière:
Quote:
Bag of Chips is a party game in which you will face crucial choices to score as many points as possible at the end of each round. Be careful, though, because if you're too greedy, you will lose a lot!

At the start of a round, each player is dealt six objective cards and the 25 chips — in five colors, ranging from 7 yellow potato chips to 3 orange chicken chips — are placed in the bag. Someone draws five chips from the bag and places them on the table, then everyone discards two of their objective cards. The player draws four more chips, then everyone discards another objective card. The player draws three more chips, after which everyone places two of their cards on the positive scoring side of their playing area and the final card on the negative scoring side. The player then draws two more chips, one by one, both for increased drama and for some of the objective cards.

Board Game: Bag of Chips

If a played objective card has not been completed, discard it. Add the points from your completed positive objective cards (if any), then subtract points from your negative objective card (if any). The player with the highest score wins two reward tokens, and the player with the second highest score wins one reward tokens. Complete rounds until someone has four or more reward tokens and wins. (In a two-player game, only the player with the higher score receives a reward token, and whoever first collects three tokens wins.)
I've now played Bag of Chips four times on a review copy from Mixlore with two, four, and five players, and the game is a mash-up of silly presentation and head-scratching choices that are harder than you expect them to be. In the image below, for example, you'll see that three onion, one vinegar, and one kebab chip have been drawn, and I've pared my hand down to these four cards. The middle two cards seem like safe bets since one is already worth 24 points and the other needs only one more kebab in the remaining nine chips to be worth 9 points.

Now, 9 points isn't very good, especially in a game with more players since the final point totals seem to swing higher thanks to people taking more risks to overcome more opponents, but you also want to keep a card that can become the negative objective card, so at worst that card would cost me 9 points.

Board Game: Bag of Chips

In fact, the card on the left is worth 11 points, and that total can only go up — which is a mixed blessing given the final card in my hand: the lone "instant win" card that requires more chicken than potato once all the chips have been drawn. If this card is in your positive section and it hits, then you win no matter how many reward tokens everyone has; if it's in your negative section and it hits, then you lose the round no matter how many points you have. If it doesn't hit, then it's ignored, no matter which section it's in.

So my choice of what to keep depends on what comes up in the second draw of four chips. Maybe the instant win card will be scotched, so I can ditch the onion/kebab combo card...or maybe that card will still be viable, which means I'll likely ditch the kebab card.

The need to consider what might count against you is a great twist in a bidding game. Tying into this are objective cards that reward points based on the final chip drawn from the bag, so with those in hand, you care about what's been drawn before in a different way than with the other objective cards. Aside from the instant win, the cards range in value from 1 point to more than 200, so you can swing wildly for high totals or play it safe on lower-valued cards. You can also gamble on the impossible not happening as with, say, all six onion tokens being drawn, and those final draws will often have you gripping your hands tightly until that final token hits the table.

To see more of the objective cards and watch me run through two rounds, check out this overview video:

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