Wok This Way!--A Double-Take Preview of Wok on Fire!

There's nothing like tossing a bunch of ingredients into a big wok and stir-frying up a feast! What's better? Playing a game where you toss a bunch of cards on the table and stir-fry up a feast! There's no fire, or risk of food-borne illnesses for that under-cooked chicken you just ate!

Today we're previewing Wok on Fire from Green Couch Games. It's currently live on Kickstarter and nearly funded! So did we flip for Wok on Fire? Or is it a flop? Best read on to find out!

The Components  

*Disclaimer* As with any preview, these components are all in the prototype stage, so it's expected that we'll see some changes to them once the final product hits shelves. 

Cards! Lots of them! There are:

4 Spatula cards - You'll use these to flip ingredients.
50 Ingredient cards
4 Player Aids - These help you keep track of the combos you can plate up!

The Setup

Each player snags a spatula, then all four of the player aids are placed on the table to make a square shaped playing area (or wok!). You shuffle up all of the ingredient cards deal off 24 into a stack for the supply, and then the remaining 26 are dealt/scattered randomly and evenly face down throughout the playing area. Pick a random player (or the last player to use a spatula) and you're ready to roll, or wok.. or wok and roll?

The Gameplay

Players take turns completing three phases before the next player takes a turn.

  • Phase 1 - Stir Fry! Yes! It's time to flip those cards. You get to use your spatula card twice to flip some cards over!
  • Phase 2 - Pick up! If there are any cards that are face up and you can see at least a portion of the circle on them and one of the corners. You can pick up that card. You can pick up two cards this way each turn. But you must say which cards you're going for. If there are ingredients on the side/falling out of the wok, you can't go for those, except the green peppers, you have to grab those!
  • Phase 3 - CHOP!This is the crazies part of the game. You pick up two cards from the supply and hold them in your palm, then using a chopping motion with your other hand you chop them into the wok! The play how they lay! Face up or face down.

Once all of the supply cards have been chopped, everyone gets one last turn and the game is over! (It goes pretty quick folks!)

All of the cards are broken up into different categories, like Meats, Vegetables, Condiments, and Starches. You score points for each card in different ways. For example, Mushrooms will score you 18 points if you collect a set of 3, and Chicken is worth 2 points each, but if you go for chicken you get to pick up all visible/eligible chicken cards at the same time for ONE pickup action! That's a lot of chicken! On top of how they all score individually you can combo them up to rack up some nice points! Noodles combo with a meat, vegetable, and condiment to make a main dish and score you 25 points! The trick is that you can only use a card to score once, so no moving those mushrooms between that set of 3 and the main dish.

Once the game is over, players plate up their food, tally up their score and see who is victorious!

The Verdict

Jeremiah--I talked with Jason Kotarski about this game and he agrees with this take as well: This game feels like a dexterity version of Sushi Go! This is NOT a knock on the game; the theme and concept are similar, but the means by which you collect your cards make this a very unique game in itself!

Firestone--Yeah, I suppose there's a broad similarity, but the games aren't much alike beyond the idea of collecting sets of food. 

Jeremiah--Green Couch Games keeps finding these little games that make very creative use of just a pack of cards. Yeti Mountain creates a whole mountain with just cards. Fidelitas creates its own unique playing area with just cards. You build a whole stinkin' treehouse out of cards in Best Treehouse Ever. And now we're flipping cards... with cards! When will it end!? Ha! Seriously, I really like the ingenuity of this dexterous mechanism!

Firestone--Yes! I have no idea if that's a filter Jason uses, but it's certainly nice to see people thinking of what else they can do with a set of cards. 

Jeremiah--If there's one knock that the game takes, it's that you have to have a group that enjoys dexterity games (but this is true with most dexterity games). But if your group isn't into dexterity, you'll hear "Why don't we just play Sushi Go?" My kids loved it, and continually ask to play it. It makes for a really fun Family Game Night game! And if your group likes flipping cards, they're going to dig it as well.

Firestone--What weirdo doesn't like dexterity games?! My family's always up for Sushi Go--it's a go-to game in our house. But for the time being, Wok on Fire has taken its place. We've had great laughs around the table with this one. It's also easy to bring out with nongamers. Just like Chinese food, it's filling, but then you'll be ready for something else in 30 minutes.

Jeremiah--Even in its prototype state Wok on Fire is sporting some really nice graphic/art design. I personally don't see a ton of room for improvement, things are looking really nice on this one.

Firestone--Those poor pigs and chickens, with their bones sticking out! Jason, you MONSTER!

Jeremiah's Final Verdict--My gaming group isn't big into dexterity games so Wok on Fire probably won't get much play there. But my family LOVED it! It's another great, unique way to make a card game that isn't anything like a card game! Kudos to Green Couch Games for pushing the envelope of the filler game niche!  

Firestone's Final Verdict--Wok on Fire is a fun, light, silly family dexterity game that accomplishes perfectly what Jason and Green Couch Games have set out to do. I love games that bring my family together!

You can back Wok on Fire on Kickstarter right now! Thanks for reading!