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Bake the Cake!» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Too many bakers... rss

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Nicholas Hjelmberg
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(Designer's own review)

What happens if you take an ordinary resource management game but allow players to take what they want from any other players? Perhaps the same thing as would happen if you let too many bakers into the same kitchen.

Bake the Cake! takes this different and slightly chaotic approach to the resource management game. The cakes are baked in 3 steps and the players take turns to do one of the following:

1. Buy an ingredient
2. Use an ingredient and a tool for a part
3. Use a part for a cake

Players may freely use ingredients, tools and parts (if available) to build their cakes but by doing so, they also give the other players points as all players contributing to a cake may score. Players may also block each other by using the ingredients or tools that other players need or even by eating each others' ingredients or parts. Nevertheless, a player cannot win by finishing her cake alone because only the cake to which most people have contributed is counted in the final scoring.

This results in a gameplay that is very unpredictable and, some would say, chaotic. Planning may at first seems futile as an ingredient you pick may end up on another player's cake before it's your turn again. However, the challenge lies in understanding how the other players will react to your actions and act adapt your plan accordingly. The game provides several small tactical tricks, such as the blocking actions mentioned above, to force them into your plan. The key to victory is to have the other players play in a way that benefits you. The "Knizia" ending of only letting 1 cake determine the final score may be considered too unpredictable for first-time players but if used, it adds an element of uncertainty that keeps all players in the game until the very end. To win Bake the Cake!, you need to ensure that your ingredients and parts are used in the winning cake but also to ensure that as many other players as possible contribute to the cake.

Bake the Cake! is quick to learn and quick to play and a game session will provide both laughs and frustration as people get in each others' way. The game may also serve as a gateway to more complex "make the others play as I want" games.

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