FTW Staff Picks - Safranito April 19 2017
For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new.
Designer: Marco Teubner
Player Size: 2 to 4 Players
Game Length: 45 minutes
For fans of: Flick 'Em Up, IceCool
Dexterity games by nature are typically more luck-based than strategy-based. Sure you can make meaningful decisions in something as light as Jenga or even something a little heavier like Flick 'Em Up. But at the end of the day, there's less turn-to-turn planning than a standard card or board game. While there's still an element of chance in Safranito, it manages to add minor elements that allow for long-term strategizing.
The core gameplay mechanics involves throwing chips at various bowls of Spices in order to collect the necessary ingredients to complete Spice Blends. Each player has 6 chips of different values (10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60). Depending on the value(s) that land inside each spice bowl, this will determine both the Sell value and the Buy cost for the round. The economic aspect of the game allows for some interesting plays in order to setup bigger moves in the future. It's a style of bidding that is somewhat similar to something like The Speicherstadt. Highly contested spices will require higher bidding chips. Or you can just try knocking them out of the bowl entirely.
The dexterity part of the game is tense. You only get a limited amount of chips to throw each round, and the values are typically hidden (unless a bad bounce flips it over). The board itself has a slight wall allowing for cool bank shots. The chips are very solid, reminiscent of the original Splendor gem tokens. The key is getting your target inside the small circle of each chip. The four bonus spots on the board also provide large incentive to potentially change the course of the game. Becoming the head chef can have some very large implications, especially late in the game.
The most important part of every dexterity game is feel. And the act of playing Safranito just feels good. But even beyond that its game elements are strong. There's enough meat to justify its rather long playtime for a dexterity title. It's a rather unique experience and one that gamers of all-ages can enjoy.