The breakfast rush is on its way, bringing a flow of hungry customers into your diner. In Dish ‘em Out, the newest strategy game from SimplyFun, kids will have their planning skills put to the test as they cook and serve orders as quickly and correctly as possible.
Recommended for kids ages 8 and up, the game comes with 140 food tiles, 50 customer order cards, 25 penalty tokens, five diner boards, a kitchen caddy, and a chef’s spoon. Each player will pick one of five diner boards sporting a unique breakfast diner name and design, including Bread Basket, Early Bird Bistro, Morning Scramble, Pancake Place, and Sunrise Griddle (my personal favorite). Each diner board contains three tables to hold up to three orders.
To start, the player who shouts what they ate for breakfast first gets the chef’s spoon. Whoever carries the spoon acts as the dealer, then passes the spoon clockwise after each round. The dealer can pick up the same amount of cards as the number of players (2-5) and assign a customer order card to each player, including themselves. Each customer order card features a point total in the corner, signifying how many points that player can receive for correctly fulfilling that order.
Next, players can take turns taking food tiles out of the kitchen caddy. Orders can include any variation of the breakfast food tiles, including orange juice, pancakes, hash browns, toast, fruit, eggs, and bacon. Players can only take seven food tiles out per round with a maximum of three different food items allowed. For example, a player can take three eggs, two bacon, and a pancake, but cannot pick up a hash brown, too.
All of the food tiles go in their respective places on the “prep” portion of the diner board. Once every player has selected their food, the dealer yells “Cook time!” Each player can then slide their food tiles one space to the right, either to the stovetop to be cooked or across an arrow to a “Ready to Serve” space. Each food has its own number of rounds before it’s ready to serve, which means kids will have to be careful in choosing which food tiles to pick and when to play them. When all the food is ready to serve in an order, the player can place the food tiles on the customer order card. Then, they can put them back in the kitchen caddy and keep the card for themselves. If any food tiles reach the end of the “Ready to Serve” space before being served, they end up in the trash. Each piece of wasted food results in a -5 point penalty token for that player.
The rounds continue until there are no more customer order cards to draw and every player has completed the orders at their tables. If a fourth table arrives before a player can finish serving one of their current tables, they have to serve any food they have available to complete an order. For each incorrect or missing food tile, players will have to take a -5 penalty token. Whoever has the most points from their order cards at the end of the game is the winner. While the game can be a little tricky to figure out at first for younger kids, they will be dishing out delicious breakfast foods in no time.
There are numerous ways to make the game more challenging, including adding more players or customer order cards. You can also reduce the number of food tiles available in the kitchen caddy. If a certain food type has run out, players will have to rethink their strategy and learn to prioritize.
While the game is limited to 2-5 players, forming teams will allow for even more cooks in the kitchen. This can help teach kids cooperation and teamwork, too.
Dish ‘em Out is sure to serve up competitive fun at any family game night. Adults and kids alike can enjoy its complex gameplay and dish out some wins.