Presented in a packet that looks like it could be a bag of Doritos, Nacho Pile is a fast easy-to-play push-your-luck party game for 2-6 players using triangular plastic pieces that look for all the world like nachos.
Players each start with their own cardboard plate. On your turn, you draw nachos from the bag. There are some ‘special’ nacho chips but most are numbered 1-7. You can keep drawing as many nachos as you like but if you draw a duplicate then your turn ends and all the nachos you’ve drawn go back into the bag. Assuming you don’t bust, however, the nachos you draw go in front of your plate. And if you stop without going bust, you take any nachos in front of other players that have the same numbers as those in front of you. Nacho chips of the same number are formed into a pile.
Any nachos that are still in front of you at the start of your next turn are moved to your plate where they are safe till the end of the game.
You’ll obviously want the nachos on your plate because until they get there they’re at risk of being gobbled up by the ‘take that’ actions of other players who match the numbers you’ve drawn or who draw any of the special chips… ‘Steal’ lets you take any nacho chip pile from any other player, and without causing you to bust. ‘Remove’ lets you take any nacho chip pile in front of any player and put those chips back in the bag. ‘Score’ lets you choose any nacho you’ve drawn that turn, take all the nachos of the same number and immediately put them on your plate.
You might naturally expect that the game would be won by the player who has the most nachos on their plate when the nacho bag is emptied. You’d be wrong. The twist in Nacho Pile is that it’s the last nacho chip left in the bag that determines the win condition. If it’s a numbered chip, then the win goes to the player with the most chips of that number. Only if it’s one of the special nacho chips (or one of the ‘wilds’ that can be allocated as any number) is the win given to the player who has amassed the most chips.
For sure, there’s a high luck factor in Ken Gruhl’s design – not least over the mechanism for determining the winner – but that doesn’t detract from Nacho Pile being a fast fun game that can be played and enjoyed by children and adults alike. Pandasaurus have done a great job in the production, with artwork by Michael Parla. The crisp-packet draw bag reinforces the ‘theme’, tho’ we’d still liked to have had a box to better store the bag and components.
Nacho Pile is a filler-length party game to play over snacks – and one where you don’t need to worry overly about players spoiling components with greasy fingers!