Sometimes you just need to treat yourself to something simple and sweet to escape the seriousness of other board games, because tabletop gaming can’t always be about dwarven farmers, galactic domination and winemaking, am I right??
For this review I’ve decided to share a cute little title that I stumbled upon called Doughnut Drive-Thru, a game that’s all about serving doughnuts and other desserts while earning some dough (pun intended!) in the process. Doughnut Drive-Thru is the seventh game in a series known as The Mike Line from Grail Games, which offers great fun packed into a portable little box. And now dear readers, let’s drive right into the review to find out what I think about this tasty game!
Doughnut Drive-Thru is a worker placement and dice-rolling game, where the goal is to first prepare, then serve these delicious treats and earn the most money after completing 5 servings – at which point the game comes to an end.
Gameplay is dead simple: On your turn, you either place your doughnut pieces onto one of the four action cards to perform that particular action, or retrieve up to two donuts from a single card to replenish your “workers” – as they will not all come back to you like in other worker placement titles. The actions in the game are very straightforward. Learn a Recipe allows a player to draw 2 cards from a deck, discarding one and keeping the other, placing it in front them. These recipes will have different dollar amounts, ranging from $1 to $5 – depending on the difficulty of completing the card. Each of the cards have two dice values, one for the Serve action and the other for Prepare.
In order to successfully complete the actions, you will need to roll an equal or higher value using the supplied six-sided die. Once completed, you will flip your doughnut card over, signifying to the other players that you’re one step closer to triggering game end. Some of the cards will have a dice value that’s greater than 6; to be able to reach a high number, a player can either place two of their doughnut pieces onto the Prepare or Serve cards to receive a bonus of adding +1 to their die roll, or they can rotate their completed cards sideways, which further gives +1 to the result for each card rotated. Cards that are rotated can be returned to their normal state using the Coffee Break action.
Once a player has served 5 doughnut recipes, players will add up the total number of dollars from their finished cards and whoever has the most money is the winner of Doughnut Drive-Thru!
For a small-box game under $20, the production quality of this game is surprisingly good! The cards are printed on a linen vinyl stock and the wooden doughnut worker pieces are a nice added touch to the theme.
If there’s one particular component that I would gripe about, it’s the six-sided die – a plain white and uninspired plastic die that has a ‘o’ in place of the number 1 pip, but it’s otherwise fairly unimpressive. A wooden or pastel-coloured die would have been a better choice, but this is a minor complaint for a reasonably priced game.
The artwork on the recipe cards are incredibly adorable, although I do question some of the ingredient combinations (Wasabi and Guava anyone?!).
Doughnut Drive-Thru is an extremely light game that plays in less than 30 minutes. There isn’t a whole lot of strategy involved with it, as the majority of what you’re doing is rolling the die in an attempt to match the value on the doughnut cards. It’s certainly more luck-based as opposed to developing a careful strategy to victory.
Still, it can be enjoyed casually by players of all ages and experience levels and it’s especially great as a quick game that can be slotted as either a palette cleanser in between the meatier games or a delectable appetizer to kick off your gaming night!