My journey with learning Dark Imp’s PnP games has come to an end with Restaurantrepreneur. Certainly not my journey of _playing_ them and if they publish more, well, I definitely be interested in learning those. But Restaurantrepreneur wraps up me learning all of the one currently published.
The theme of Restaurantrepreneur is opening up a new restaurant, which is thematically similar to another Dark Imp game, the Grand Opening, about a restaurant’s first day. However, Restaurantrepreneur involves things like buying fixtures, advertising and hiring folks.
The game consists of five different mini-games. (The Menu, Hiring Staff, The Location, The Fixtures and Fittings, and The Marketing) They all have their own rules, are pretty simple and none of them could really stand on their own.
Each turn, someone rolls three dice. Each player uses one die to pick the game (sixes are wild for this purpose), one die to use in that game and one die as money withdrawn from the bank.
Now, if Restaurantrepreneur just consisted of two dice, picking a mini-game and a die to use in it, it would still be pretty good. But the bank is what pushes the game to the next level.
There are three accounts (pips 1&2, pips 3&4, pips 5&6) They each have sixteen money bags. When you have to cross out a seventeenth bag in an account, you are overdrawn and the game ends for you. (You can’t force an end to everyone’s game)
The bank doesn’t just act as a timer for the game, although it does do that. It makes every turn more interesting. And, at a certain point, you have to make sacrifices to either keep the game going or end the game earlier than you might like to get crucial points.
No, none of the elements are new. Dark Imp doesn’t reinvent wheels but it makes good use of wheels that have been road tested.
While I can’t say that the mechanics really reflect the theme (they are either crossing out numbers or marking spaces), the themes tie together nicely with the overall idea of trying to get a restaurant started.
Restaurantrepreneur is part of Dark Imp’s placemat line, which means that they take up two sheets of paper, have slightly more complex rules and are ink heavy. The ink heavy part kept me away from the placemat games initially but I’ve been quite happy with them after I took the ink plunge.
Restaurantrepreneur lands solidly in casual gamer camp. It has good choices and the thematic pieces click together. It’s a game that I would pull out for a low key family game night. Restaurantrepreneur captures the feel of a Euro family game in two pages.