OK geeks, bear with me on this one: What do you get when you mix super cute anime animals, Great British Bake Off, and that person at work who is really nice half the time and a complete, massive, total, less-than-nice person the other half of the time?
Obviously, you get a game called Frenemy Pastry Party by Mizo Games. To give this adorable yet devious game a thorough testing I gathered a crack team of experts with some very high entertainment standards… kids.
So what is Frenemy? How does it work I hear you cry?
Firstly you set the table up, you place 5 ingredient cards down face up and have the pile next to it, then 3 delicious pasty cards face up with the pile next to it. Each player then gets 2 ingredient cards and randomly picks which cute little critter they are going to be (Between the Kitty, Racoon, Bunny, Capybara, Shiba Inu and the Otter). Now you are ready to play. On each cake is a list of ingredients you need to make the cake and your goal is to, using a little help, bake that. There is a good spread of tasty ingredients for you to pick from with each cake requiring 7 in total to cook. You pick up from the table and build the pantry in your hand and replace what you took with a card from the pile. This simple mechanic is part of the brilliance of the game as others can see what you are adding to your hand. Remember that. Once you are confident you could make a cake you get the chance to cook it. You get to ask up to 2 people to assist with an ingredient that you ask for, but… they can lie about what is in there hand if they wish.
Remember I said to remember that you can see what people have picked up. You know they have the chocolate you need, they know they have it and they say they don’t. FRENEMY! Fear not though, there is an incentive for them to help you bake your cake. For every ingredient they cough up, they get a point on successful baking of that cake in that turn. I had many an unsuccessful bake thanks to my kids ganging up on me. The joke was on them though, grounded for the summer holidays. Keep those tasty strawberries from me, oh sweet summer child?
Bakes get you 5 points and add that to what you assist someone else with you can get a decent return but that isn’t all. Let’s get back to our cute little critter cards, each fluffy friend has a preferred ingredient and if you just so happen to have the most of that one ingredient in your points pile, you get extra points. This adds a real nice little dynamic into how and when you choose to help someone bake. You know your little Kitty loves blueberries and you have been asked to help by chipping in blueberries? Yep, I’m going to help on that one.
Frenemy Pastry Party, on the surface, looks like a simple, cute and easy to play game, and that’s because it is, but what it does really well, and what will appeal to the more mature of you, is the added depth that they have baked in with simple but very effective setup and gameplay quirks. All in all, it’s actually proving to be really hard to find a fault with it. It is simple enough to learn, has wonderful complexities, jaw-dropping art and only takes around 20 minutes to play so has a nice run time. If I had to nitpick I would say the incentive to lie and focus on your own cakes is high and that could be negated by making your animals worth more. This may just be something I noticed from playing with 9 and 10-year-olds, but it made baking a bit harder. Thankfully they are now grounded for their bake prevention antics.
Don’t run off to make your cake just yet!
I was lucky enough to have a chat with Penny from Mizo Games and ask them a little about themselves.
R: Hi Penny, welcome. Can you tell us a little about Mizo games?
P: Of course, Mizo is designing board games devoted to Taiwan’s history. As well as humanities, social and environmental issues.
The core value of Mizo’s establishment is to raise people’s awareness to things that are happening every day and which is significant to all the people who live here through the creative idea of board games we designed.
R: That is incredible, can you give us some examples of how you are achieving that?
P: We have historical issued board games “Raid on Taihoku” and “Raid on Takao”, both of these games are based on the stories that happened in Taiwan during WWII.
Dare to Love is a social issues board game talking about gender equality.
Environmental board game “Run Animals Run” is about endangered animals in Taiwan and their survival stories.
But not all of them are so heavily focused, like Frenemy Pastry Party, we have some more relaxed games in “The Tales of the Kit-Pataw” which is a game related to the time-space distortion in a district in Taipei and “Pirates Rumble” which is a party game and players can play different roles of legendary pirates from all over the world.
R: They all sound fun. Finally, what does the future have in store for Mizo Games?
P: In the future, Mizo is aiming to market overseas, we want to reach to people all over the world and the most important is that we have a responsibility to show off Taiwan to the world by using the games we designed.
Besides Taiwan issued board games, Mizo also published party games that fit general taste but still bring Mizo’s unique sense and high-quality production
R: The quality of what I have seen has been breathtaking. Keep up the excellent work and we hope to see more from Mizo soon. Thank you for taking some time to chat.
P: Thank you
You can find Mizo games on Facebook
As always, take care of yourself