Lord of the Fries: Superdeluxe Edition is a card game for two to eight players ages 12 and up from designer James Ernest with art by Brian Snoddy.
Published by Cheapass Games, it plays in about 40 minutes and retails for $25, though it can be found for almost $10 less online.
In Lord of the Fries, players are trying to fill orders at Friedey’s, the fast-food restaurant of the damned, McFrye’s coffee and dessert shop, or the Ren-Faire food court, depending on if you’re playing with one or two decks, which are included.
Play continues over four days, and the player with the highest score at the end wins.
How it works:
Choose one of the decks and its corresponding menu, then deal from nine to 15 cards to each player, depending on the number of players.
The cards have numbers from one to six, with six being the rarest and most valuable card.
On each round, the player whose turn it is either rolls the dice to determine the fast food order or calls an item from the menu, such as Cheezabunga Conga, which needs meat, cheese, a bun, fries, and a drink to fill.
Play passes to the left, where the player can either fill the order by playing all the cards or necessary or passing. If a player passes, she passes a card to the left if the first player called the order. If the first player rolled the dice, she passes cards to the first player. The player to the left does the same, either filling the order or passing.
Play continues around the table. If all the players pass, it goes around again, but a player can fill the order with one ingredient missing. This continues, dropping ingredients, until someone fills the order.
When one player is out of cards, the day ends. All cards a player played by filling orders are scored. Cards left in a player’s hand are subtracted. Negative points are possible. At the end of four days, the game ends.
Why you might buy Lord of the Fries:
Despite (or maybe because of) the zombie theme, the game is cute and the art is charming.
With a big enough group, just saying things Chickacheezabunga, Fruitier Than Thou, and Lurker’s Lunch is funny.
And under the silliness, there’s a real game. It’s about timing, deciding whether to try to collect cards, which you’ll need at first, or get rid of them as quickly as possible because that’s safer but could mean fewer points.
The game works well with a large group, which is unusual and pleasant for a card game. But the number of players doesn’t make the game significantly longer, which is also nice.
Why you might not buy Lord of the Fries:
You can play with two people, but it’s not the same. In fact, I don’t recommend it. Once you’ve got three, it’s fine, and the more, the merrier.
The cards you’re dealt matter quite a bit, although not as much as in other games, since you’re passing and receiving cards.
If you go into negative points, you probably won’t recover.
I played Lord of the Fries first with just two people, and I didn’t really get it. You’re doing a lot of passing cards back and forth, and it seems like a race to get rid of your cards first.
But with more people, the game got interesting. The person calling an order very likely won’t have a chance to fill it, bringing in a lot of second-guessing and interesting choices.
Plus, everyone laughed and had a good time.
I often play with six people, and there aren’t a lot of games that work well with that many people unless they’re in teams — which, of course, is fine — so Lord of the Fries fills that gap nicely. And with humor.
Full disclosure: I got a review copy of Lord of the Fries from Cheapass Games. I wasn’t required to write a positive review. These are my honest opinions.