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Food and games can be a tricky mix. Trying to explain to a new gamer that sticky ribs aren't the best game night snack can be delicate. Pizza would not usually be seen on game night unless it was in a sanctioned break with hand washing facilities on standby. New York Slice comes to the rescue with it's canny pizza styling from the pizza box box, the takeaway menu instructions and the pizza slice punch board pieces.
New York Slice
The game comes with a ton of thick punch board pizza slices of different flavours, some 'special tiles' offering different ways of scoring, and rules. Each slice has a number between 3-11 and some combo slices which we will talk about shortly. The number on each slice tells you how many of that slice there are in the game and how many points it will score for the player who has the majority of those slices at the end of the game.
The set-up involves removing some pizza slices dependent on player numbers and making stacks of 11 slices with one random special on face down on each stack. The starting player then flips the special tile, reads it out and makes a pizza from the tiles by flipping them over in the order they are stacked.
New York Nice
The first player will then split the pizza and the special into the same amount of groups as players. They can do this in any fashion as long as they keep the slices in the same order. So they could put one slice on its own or group multiple slices together, they can add the special tile to any of these groups or make it a group on its own.
What stops them doing this in an unfair way is that they get the last choice, the leftovers if you like. This 'I split, you choose' mechanic is at its purest in New York Slice. You must either make all groups equally desirable or offer the others what you think they want and hope they don't notice you sneaking what you want away. The use of special tiles makes this more interesting, as a powerful special tile can make a otherwise bad group suddenly more attractive.
Once players have taken a group of slices they must decide whether to 'eat' or 'bank' each slice. Slices which show pepperoni may be eaten and at the end of the game you will score a point for each eaten pepperoni. This is a nice way of scoring for slices that you know you will not get the most off. You may also want to consider eating anchovies as any non eaten anchovies score you minus one at the end.
Other than that if you have the most slices showing a number, you score that number. So once I have banked four 'seven' slices I know I will score seven points at the end. This is open information so you can start to work out who is going for what and adjusted your pizza splitting accordingly.
New York Slice is a fun game to play. The decision of how to split the pizza is sometimes agonising as you try and limit the points you are offering to others while giving yourself something worthwhile too. Secondary decisions of which slices to eat and which to bank can be equally as challenging. In some players this will create overly long consideration, which can make the game slow down. This is somewhat negated by the fact that when you are not splitting the pizza you are on tender hooks hoping the split will go in your favour.
The special tiles add to this by sweetening deals or causing you to consider groups that you wouldn't have otherwise. Despite some downtime the game plays in less than an hour, but there is some set-up to do removing slices (depending on player count) and then stacking them all up for play.
The scoring pad is neat and helps tally up the end game result quickly. There aren't many complications here, but what is here works well with the stellar presentation. The pizza slices look good, except for the bizarre number 5's, and the packaging is great, if not overly practical.
All in all a fun game with some cool choices that is learnt and played in a reasonable time. If you can stomach the set up then you will find a filling meal that leaves room for more enjoyment later on.
I split, you choose is an interesting and little used mechanic.
Presentation and components.
Easy to learn and play.
Not great with two players.
Box looks great but is not the best storage solution.
This review first appeared at Zatu - https://www.board-game.co.uk/new-york-slice-review/