Updated: Oct 24, 2020
There are plenty of food-themed games out there but this one is all about the meat. Subtitled, 'A Cutthroat Game of Gluttony', players in Absurdist Productions' Churrascaria are all diners at a Brazilian steakhouse. The restaurant serves side salads and desserts but you don't want to bother with them, you just want to stuff yourself with as many of the tasty meat dishes as you can. Don't worry about your arteries; think of this at the Atkins Diet game.
You'll be drawing food cards from the face-down menu stack and adding them to your plate. You'll also have a hand of four 'action cards' that are primarily used for 'take that' actions against other players.
On a your turn you can take any two actions. You can flip your own or another player's 'food request' token (if it's green side up, the player gets to draw another food card at the end of their turn and add it to their plate, when it's red side up they can't). You can 'eat' (move a food card from your plate to your stomach, where at the end of the game it will score its positive or negative points value). And you can play an action card and/or discard and replace any number of action cards.
The problem for the greedy diner is that your plate can never hold more than four food cards and it's only the meat dishes that will score you positive points when eaten. Salads and desserts fill up your plate and, if you eat them, they will score negative points when your stomach is emptied at the end of the game. This means that Churrascaria is all about managing your own plate while using action cards to force unpalatable choices on your opponents. If an opponent already has a full plate, forcing them to draw another food card will require them to eat their lowest value dish: so you'll want to force this on them when you see they have one or more negative value cards on their plate.
Designer David Thomas has come up here with a tight 'take that' game with an original feel, where your hand management is about being able to draw on and play action cards on yourself and others when they will have the greatest impact. The art by Ellie Jang gives the game an authentic and appetising Brazilian diner look: even those desserts look delicious - it's just a pity they are all worth negative points.
Churrascaria takes 2–6 players. Turns are quick so there's very little downtime even with 5 or 6 players, which is especially welcome as this game particularly shines with the cut and thrust of 5 or 6 players. Just try playing this game without thinking of Monsieur Creosote from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life... Steer clear of any wafer-thin mints.