The third choice of game went to me, and I seized the chance to teach Mamma Mia to Ed. This was after we made a run to our namesake, the Five Guys restaurant, for some artery-hardening cheeseburgers.
Our edition of the rules doesn't say anything about removing a number of cards when playing with fewer players, though the rules editions online clearly say that one should. We play with some cards removed, having found that to do otherwise makes the game far too easy. I have wondered how other game groups are playing it. In some session reports online, players report players easily completing all 8 of their orders, which happened to us when we had all the cards in, but is far too difficult in the game as we play it. I'm curious about it because we think we are playing pretty well, but are finding it very difficult to complete all of our orders.
In the first game, Ben and I bumped heads at several points while Ed was catching on. Somewhere along the line, either in this game or the next one, I made a phenomenal mistake, placing my ingredients but not the order card that went with them. That cost me big-time, and almost cost me the game. Still squeaked through with:
With Ed getting the next choice of games, we went back for a return bout of Mamma Mia. This time I played better, and Ben got in real trouble when I took a hefty number of his signature ingredient, the pineapple, out of the game with a Bombastica card. This is what he did to me the other evening -- he had first play, with the Mamma Mia card, and eliminated many of the ingredient that I needed. Tonight it was my turn to be lucky -- I kept pulling the Mamma Mia card and enabling myself to go first.
I had a significant lead after the first two rounds and hung on in the third round despite a surge by Ben.
I really like this game. Unlike some others who have criticized it, I enjoy the card-counting, but I love the fact that the card-counting is not enough to win. You have to be very clever about when to wait until ingredients are all present in the oven, and when to anticipate cards being pulled into your hand. Play a card too early or too late and you're in trouble. A very tactical game that requires paying close attention.