I don’t think that there are many chips that I do not like. I like all varieties: potato, corn, and tortilla chips just to name a few, and almost every flavor as well. I’m not as partial to barbeque flavors but I’ll eat them under protest. I honestly prefer these salty snacks over all other treats like chocolate. I would say the only other snack that would be a close second behind chips is pretzels (of course.)
This brings us to today’s review of Bag of Chips from Blue Orange Games. This hand management card game has players trying to match their objective cards to randomly drawn chips to score and win the game. Bag of Chips is for 2-5 players and plays in about 20 minutes.
The game is played over multiple rounds and in each round the following will occur.
The dealer draws 5 chip tokens and places them on Board 1. Players then must discard 2 objective cards and these cards are placed face down in front of that player.
Then the dealer draws 5 chip tokens and places them on Board 2. Players then must discard 1 objective card.
Then the dealer draws 3 chip tokens and places them on Board 3. Players then must decide which 2 objective cards will score points, and they place those cards to the right of their discard pile. The card they don’t keep is placed to the left of their discard pile, and it will will subtract points at game end.
Finally, the dealer draws the final 2 chip tokens (1 at a time) and places then on Board 4.
Players will score positively and negatively depending on which objective cards were completed (all uncompleted objective cards are placed into the discard pile). The player with the highest score receives 2 rewards and the player with the second-highest score receives 1 reward.
The game ends when one player reaches 4 rewards.
I hope it’s easy to see that the rules are straightforward for Bag of Chips. So, expect players to quickly master this one after a complete game. Plus, with each turn having identical actions of discarding and drawing chip tokens after a round or two you’ll mainly be using the rulebook to refresh on how the different objective cards score. Also, it’s important to note that the game comes in a durable plastic game bag that is about the size of a big grab-chip bag. This makes it incredibly portable and takes up very little shelf space when storing. Plus, Bag of Chips has a fairly small table presence, so you can play on surfaces when you’re out-and-about, like a bar top, bench, tv tray, pew etc.
I would classify Bag of Chips as a filler (maybe also a party) game since it plays fast and the rule set is pretty simple. But compared to many fillers (or party games), there’s a lot more engagement with Bag of Chips because players are fairly focused on what chips have been played and what could be played. Also, the last two chip draws, played onto Board 4, heightens players’ focus because they’ve all just placed their objective cards to score. It makes these last draws more tense but also fun to see how you or other players might have scored.
The last thing I wanted to note is that Bag of Chips has a thinky and mathy feel to it. The thinking parts are with regards to when you’re discarding, especially for Board 1. These aren’t analysis-by-paralysis moments but it does stop you and make you ponder which objective cards are best to keep and which you should get rid of. The mathy part occurs throughout because players are constantly trying to figure the odds using the Recap card, which shows how many different chips token types there are in the game. Also, figuring the possible points of their objective cards if they complete them. Both aspects give Bag of Chips some nice depth.
I must admit the theme of Bag of Chips is sort of pasted on. Aside from the game bag itself, there’s really nothing else that gives this game any semblance of an actual theme. Plus, it’s insanity to put 5 different flavors of chips into the same bag. The chips flavors are only explained deep down in the rulebook in the examples of scoring Objective cards, so this game is centered more around matching iconography of the chips to Objective cards than anything else. Bag of Chips could really substitute chips for anything like hammers, rocks, dice, or whatever, and the game would play and feel no different.
The last thing holding back Bag of Chips from scoring higher is there’s an Objective card that allows you to win the game if you achieve it. Now, it’s slim chance that you will complete this objective but this same card is usually offers no risk of scoring negative points. If you do not complete an Objective card you place that card on the discard pile and are unable to score it positively or negatively. I liked the risk and reward of the 2 positive and 1 negative cards to score but this “win the game” Objective card is just silly and I don’t use it anymore.
Bag of Chips is an easy-to-learn filler game that is portable and takes up very little shelf space. It’s engaging for all players who are constantly weighing their scoring options and waiting to see what chips will be drawn next. Bag of Chips also has a surprisingly thinky and mathy feel to it as players ponder what Objective cards to keep and discard and weighing the odds of the chips that could still be drawn.
Now the theme of Bag of Chips is essentially a bag that could be filled with almost anything else and the game would play no differently. Plus, the “win the game” Objective card is silly and lowers the risk for possible negative points so I stopped including it when playing.
Final Score: 3.5 Stars – A fun thinky and mathy hand-management card game with a weak theme but it’s easy to master and will keep players engaged throughout.
• Theme is a bag
• “Win the game” Objective card