I went into Dark Imp’s Placemat games with some reluctance. For one thing, some of them are ink heavy and I’m stingy with ink lol
I honestly expected the first one I tried, Beach Life, to be terrible. Instead, I found that its collection of mini games came together to be a series of interesting decisions.
So I went into The Grand Opening with higher expectations and it lived up to them.
The theme of the game is that you are running the grand opening of a restaurant. You have to see your way through breakfast, brunch and lunch, doing your best to not have unfed guests or wasted food.
Every turn, two dice are rolled and everyone uses the same rolls however they want to. You can use each roll for one of three different actions: seat guests, make food and serve food to the guests. Each element makes sense and ties together well.
Thee are other some other bits and bobs like VIP guests who can earn extra points and assistants that give you a little dice manipulation. However, the core is getting bums in seats and food on plates. If that doesn’t make sense, stay away from restaurants.
Now, every time I go back to Dark Imp, I talk about how accessible their games are, how easy they are to learn, teach and play. The tablet games are designed for settings like classrooms and it shows. Low ink line art and very simple. Not bad but very simple.
The placemat games takes it up a notch in art and complexity. We are still talking Coloretto-level complexity. But the tablet games are ones I would use with a non-gaming audience or situation. I would use the placemat games for casual gaming situations.
While I have been enjoying Beach Life and The Grand Opening, I also have to say that they aren’t innovative. I can’t say they are top tier but they are reliable. They are pleasant, relaxed fun. And sometimes, that’s what you need.
We will be moving soon. Having games that are this space-mindful is really useful.