This is a guest post from Mike Tunison.
Yummy World is a thing. I had no idea it was a thing. I saw the name Yummy World: Party at Picnic Palace in a list of new releases and laughed as I read my wife the ridiculous description about food and fresh-baked friendships in the town of Sprinkle Tree. My nine-year-old daughter overheard and got very excited. It quickly became apparent that not only is Yummy World a thing, but we would soon own a game about it.
Just as I began to feel the disappointment of enduring what I assumed to be another uninspired children’s game, I read further and a spark of joy broke through amidst three beautiful words: Phil Walker-Harding. He designs fantastic stuff like Barenpark, Imhotep, Cacao, and one of my all-time favorites, Sushi Go! Okay, Phil, I’m in. Let’s pack our bags for Sprinkle Tree. I hear their friendship is lovely this time of year.
Yummy World: Party at Picnic Palace is a family-friendly set collection card game for 2-4 players, which plays in 20 minutes and plays best at 3 players.
The game includes a single deck of about 100 cards, which feature colorful food-themed characters from the Yummy World license. During each of the game’s three rounds, players will collect cards from a center display. This display is made up of three rows of about 10 cards each, most of which are dealt face-down. On a player’s turn they simply choose to either:
1. Flip up a new card in any row, adding to the available cards
2. Spend one of their few “Invitation” cards to collect all face-up cards from any one row.
The round ends when all Invitations have been spent, or all cards in the display have been taken. During scoring, some cards simply provide an indicated number of points, but most reward you for collecting larger sets of the same character. Then your collected cards are discarded and you start over in the next round. After three rounds, there’s a final bonus for the largest collection of Sprinkle cards. The player with the highest total score is the snack-tastic champion!
Like so many great card games, Yummy World offers incredibly simple rules coupled with interesting decisions. Players are always facing the fun push-your-luck timing of when to spend their precious Invitations.
Since most cards are designed to score higher as part of a matching set and each player ends up collecting a different combination of sets, the relative value of revealed cards is constantly shifting. Trying to predict what other players want, what cards might still come out during the round, and how long you can hold out for a better “take” creates a really nice tension which drives the decisions each turn.
Each choice is light enough that kids shouldn’t have any problem jumping in, but compelling enough that adults will enjoy the gameplay as well. The pace is quick and the overall time to play the game is perfect for a light card game.
The graphic design does an excellent job of clearly indicating each card’s character and scoring. Since players are continually scanning the table to check the central display as well as review which cards other players have already collected, the effective visual design keeps the gameplay smooth and effortless.
As a slight design improvement, I do wish they had added something to the cards (or as a separate player aide) to indicate the total quantity of each character in the deck. This can be a big factor when estimating the probability of finding a certain card, and during more strategic play we referred to the rulebook regularly for this information.
My main hesitation in heartily recommending this game is that the theme might not appeal to everyone. I enjoy games with unique themes, and the Yummy World characters have certainly provided some fun laughs and jokes. Sadly, I think this has the potential to be quickly dismissed as just another goofy kids game, which is a shame since there’s a really delightful design here.
My only other mild criticism is in regard to the components, in that the card quality is a bit thin, the card-back colors vary slightly throughout the deck, and nothing is included to keep track of scores.
This is a wonderful family game. If you have kids in the 7-12 range and want something they’ll be excited to play which also keeps you engaged, Yummy World is an excellent choice. Even if you primarily play with adults and aren’t put off by the silly theme, this is an easy recommendation. On the whole, I was very pleasantly surprised by this “kids” game and have thoroughly enjoyed my plays of Yummy World. Once you embrace the wonderful cast of Sprinkle Tree, there’s a lot to like here.
Final Score: 4 Stars – A great light strategy card game for “kids” of all ages
• Theme might be too silly for some
About the Author: Mike’s happy place is tinkering around in a clever euro-game engine, particularly when piles of little wooden bits are involved. He loves connecting with friends and family around a gaming table, or just spending a quiet evening alone with a new game and a rulebook. He also enjoys pretending to be fancy about his coffee, treating himself to an annual box of Hot & Spicy Cheez Its, and waiting for Rothfuss to finish Book 3. He has a lovely wife and three children, all of whom agree that most of his games are super boring.