I was living in Los Angeles when Roy Choi and Twitter started the Food Truck Craze with the amazing Kogi Food Track, (Bring a friend and split the Spicy Pork and Short Rib burritos.) so I was excited to take a bite out of Food Truck Entrepreneur.
However, much like the wait at many of the food trucks that followed Kogi, this game takes way too long and leaves players with a sour taste in their mouths.
In Food Truck Entrepreneur, players each open a food truck (Ice Cream, Hot Dog, French Fry, or Taco) and sell food to customers throughout the city to earn money and XP. The winner is the first player to earn 10 XP and payoff your loan.
Players earn one XP by:
- Serving three customers at one location who prefer your food type.
- Serving any five customers at one location.
- Making four donations to the Foodbank.
- Paying $8 to the bank.
On each turn players may:
- Play one or more action cards (Positive effects/Attacks).
- Buy one XP for $8.
- Move your truck by rolling two dice and moving the higher number rolled, then perform the actions of the location at which you stop.
The spaces at which you may stop:
- Food bank: Donate one food and/or buy one action for $1.
- Sell locations: Roll two dice and sell to available customers with that number. On Doubles, one can select any customer.
- The Market: Refill your stock of up to six food for $2.
- The Bank: Collect money $2/food item sold, pay truck cost ($2), pay the cost of your employees, pay $3 for interest and/or $12 for principal of the loan, and hire a new employee.
- Cater Event: Collect the $ on this space that comes from the money spent on action cards and from dice roll and Beep-Beep fines.
GoVenture claims that they are one of the original and most widely used series of educational games and simulations in the world. This game teaches you how to manage supply, hire/fire employees, make appropriate donations, and pay off loans. All important lessons for the 8+ age for which it is recommended. Just teasing, these are fine lessons, especially the concept of interest and importance of donating to food banks.
The problem with the game is it takes too long to earn XP. We even played the sped up version where the above actions give 2 XP instead of one and my 13 and 9 year old boys were “so over” the game when the score was 6/4/4/2. There is only one real strategy in the game and that is to sell $18 worth of food so that you only must stop at the Bank one time and pay off your Loan plus interest plus your initial employee cost and truck cost. You can mix in donating food to the food bank and buying action cards to your preference.
So, the game comes down to who rolls the best and who obtains the best action cards. In other words, it suffers from the same problem as most roll and move games with no new innovations to improve on this age old issue. On the slightly positive side, there is an optional rule that my boys really did enjoy, when two food trucks pass each other on the board the two owners have to say “Beep-Beep” and if you can finish saying “Beep-Beep” before the other player starts saying “Beep-Beep” the loser pays a $1 fine to the Cater Event space.
There is also a great fine for parents playing this game. If a dice roll hits a food truck or Food it is a $1 fine paid to the Cater event space, this limits how many times you need to reset pieces on the board.
I am not really sure of the intended target audience is for Food Truck Entrepreneur. As an educational game, the game takes too long to be played in schools. As a roll and move game for younger players, it works a bit, but again takes too long and the limited spaces of people to sell to and the randomness of who a player can sell to frustrates younger audiences. For older children and adults, there are not enough strategy choices to make.
Additionally, and I left this for last. GoVenture did not credit a game designer or illustrator on the box or in the instructions. They need to give credit where credit is due, but maybe the designers requested an Alan Smithee on this one.
Final Score 1.5 Stars – This game needed to cook longer to have been a success.
• The game takes too long.
• There are not enough strategy choices to make.
• The “take that” elements and random/limited customers make the game frustrating for younger players that may enjoy the roll and move genre.