As Easy As Pie: A Review of Blue Orange’s Piece of PieMay 26, 2020
Ryan reviews Blue Orange Games’ food drafting game, Piece of Pie
Piece of Pie
- 2-4 Players
- 15 Minutes
- Ages 8+
Piece of Pie is one of the new Spring 2020 games from Blue Orange Games, designed by Trevor Benjamin (War Chest, Undaunted: Normandy, Mandala) and Brett Gilbert (Elysium, Mandala, Chocolate Factory). Players (2-4) are trying to make the perfect pie sampler based on different scoring cards. Scoring objects for the most part change from game to game, and pie slices are drafted from four (or three depending on player count) pies formed in the middle of the table. Once everyone has a pie (or 2 pies in the case of 2-players), made up of 8 pieces, the game ends. Players then score for the different public objects (and private goals) and the winner is the player with the most points.
In Piece of Pie, players perfect pie samplers could be made up of 4 different types of pie – Kiwi, Apricot, Blueberry, and Strawberry (no Apple or Cherry in this pie game). Before the game starts each player will get one private scoring goal, where one of the 4 flavor types will score them 1pt per tile of that type they have in their pie. There will also be two public goals that are drawn from two decks (one card each) the flavor recipe deck and the pattern recipe deck. Flavor cards that deal with specific flavor patterns in your pie. For example, the Kiwi card requires you to have a Kiwi piece sandwiched between two of the same flavor (ie. Strawberry, Kiwi, Strawberry). The Apricot & Strawberry card wants you to have an Apricot slice facing on the opposite side of a Strawberry slice. Pattern Recipe cards require players to make certain patterns in the pie. For example the Alternate recipe wants you to make a pattern of four slices ABAB (ie strawberry, blueberry, strawberry, blueberry). The side by side recipe wants you to put two of the same flavors next to each other. In the case of BOTH the flavor and pattern recipe decks, you can score each card multiple times, however, you can never score the same piece more than one per scoring requirement (recipe). Finally there is some set scoring (that stays the same in all the games) – for the decorations. Players will score 1pt for each slice of pie in their sampler that has chocolate shavings on it. They score 3 points for each pair of adjacent slices that have frosting on them (a run of 3 still only scores as 3 points, you need a 4th piece next to them to make 6pts). Finally, there is one of 3 shapes that can be found on some pies (stars, flowers, and hearts) – for each set of 3 (read one of each) in your sampler you score 5 points. This all may seem a lot but once you read the rules, you realize it pretty each to understand. It does help that the rules will help explain every scoring card there is.
How do you collect the pie slices? Players will draft them, however, they are limited in what they choose. There is a starting token that is placed in the middle of the table – that will have arrows pointing to the piece in each pie (in 2/4 players there are 4 pies in the middle of the table, in 3 players there are 3 pies). Players when drawing from a pie that hasn’t had a slice taken from it yet, may only pick the slices the starting arrows are pointing to. If the pie has had that piece taken, they may take the next available piece (clockwise or counterclockwise). This limits players from taking just any piece they want. They also have to keep in mind, when building your pie it must always touch a previously placed piece (again clockwise or counterclockwise). This makes your pie sampler building a puzzle, as you try to meet the different recipe requirements with the limited choices you have in taking and building.
Gameschool Aspect: What Does It Teach?
Piece of Pie is ALL about pattern building and pattern recognition. Most of your points will come from those recipe cards or the decorations (frosting and shapes) that require you to make patterns. If you are looking for a puzzle game to help in this aspect of your children learning there are few better. However, it should be noted the Ages 8+ recommendation is probably one point, due to some of the complexity of the patterns players will need to build, it’s not something a 6-year-old may be able to grasp for example. Of course, scoring requires addition.
Blue Orange Games has done a great job with Piece of Pie, not only is it one of the better Blue Orange Games, it feels like a Blue Orange Game. If anyone else produced this game, it would be easy to think – Blue Orange should have made this game. This is a great little family game that is fast to play (10 to 15 minutes) that will most likely be getting you to come back for ‘just one more game’ before putting it up. Some may have issues with the private goals cards, due to some being more powerful due to recipe cards (for example, if the recipe card calls for apricot, and I also have an apricot personal goal – I am going to score better than other players for completing the goal). However, you can always not play with them or house rule those. It was not a big issue in our games, because you can always play again (it plays so fast) and it’s a family game, so luck isn’t that big of a deal. The last player may have a slight disadvantage as they get whatever is leftover at the end of the game (and I suppose “hate drafting” can be an issue if you play with those that do that) – but the game does try to remedy this by saying with a tie, whoever went last among those players wins. 2-players (the player count I played) worked extremely well with making 2 different pies and working on them at the same time. There are 7 of each of the two recipe types and you only use one of each per game, so games have a good variety in the patterns you have to make from game to game.
Overall, Piece of Pie is a good family food drafting game and is for fans of Sushi Go, Go Nuts of Donuts, and Sundae Split, while feeling unique among them due to how drafting works and the pattern building aspect.
Piece of Pie is out now
Thanks to Blue Orange Games for sending a review copy for an honest opinion.