Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

Kitchen Rush


Vangelis Bagiartakis

Artipia Games


No. of Players:



G@mebox publisher Frank Schulte-Kulkmann writes about the game:

If I remember correctly, Space Dealer actually was the first worker placement game in which meeples actually were replaced by hourglasses, representing the time which must pass before this token actually might be used for another action. However, whereas this older game kept the players busy on their own engine-building operation for a full 30 minutes, Kitchen Rush is a cooperative game which plays over four rounds of 4 minutes each.


With each player possessing 2 hourglass action pawns, the players have to work together to operate a restaurant, from the taking of orders to the preparation of meals, the purchasing of ingredients and the dishwashing. Each action taken by a player requires an empty space for placement of the hourglass at the corresponding location in the restaurant, and after preforming the desired action action the player has to wait until the hourglass is empty (30 seconds) before he may move or remove the hourglass.

When the first orders come in at the beginning of the game, the players find themselves in the comfortable situation that their storerooms are fully of indegredients, and so they can start to prepare incoming orders right away. So, a player who takes and order card (by performing the waiter action) takes the required plates and puts them on his oven-board. He next has to send pawns to the storerooms and the spice cabinet to get all required ingredients for the meal on order, and then he has to man the oven for one or more cooking actions. The finished order will be checked for completeness and turned into money at the end of the 4-minute round, but a player even may perform an additional waiter action to serve it sooner and to earn a bit of additional money.


Money is always in high demand, since the player's seemingly well-stocked storerooms will very quickly look rather empty if none of the players go out an shop for new supplies. Latest at this point the cooperative element of the game becomes fully visible, since a player who runs out of ingredients to finish a taken order will be hard pushed to get new stocks if he wants to do all this with his own hourglass pawns. So, the players have to split the tasks, with each one effectively supplementing the others by performing specific actions.

If you have ever seen a movie like The Hundred-Foot Journey, you will probably have an idea of the organized chaos which seems to rule in a big restaurant kitchen, and indeed Kitchen Rush is a perfect simulation of this situation. However, the key to gain money and stars in this game is not only a good cooperation during the round, but actually the players must use the phases between each round to discuss the situation on all parts of the gameboard. Even though it is not possible to plan everything in advance because of new orders being revealed, the first steps of each new round can be planned rather well, and so efficient players will try to make a plan how to proceed during the upcoming round. At this point the chaos will turn into something like organization - but of course there may be errors in the heat of the game which may lead to spoiled food, missing ingredients or an empty cashbox. Of course all this can be rectified, but it takes time - the game's most valuable resource.

As may be guessed from a game co-designed by Vangelis, there are more extras which the players can try to use to their benefit. So, the more stars a restaurant acquired from finishing complicated orders, the better the crew will get, profiting from bonus actions which can be unlocked by stars. The restaurant can even be enlarged with more action spaces if the players possess enough money, but money also is a valuable resource, not only because the players constantly need to acquire ingredients, but also because they need to pay their staff at the end of each round. Staff which cannot be paid may not be used in the upcoming round unless the payment is made, and so staff on strike will pose a considerable setback for the players who strive to reach a certain amount of money, stars and fulfilled orders in the course of the game.

Wow, even though I was a bit skeptical about the theme of cooking, Kitchen Rush fascinated me by the seemingly authentic feeling about the operation of a major kitchen. All actions and possibilities offered by the game come together quite well, and ARTIPIA GAME also has taken the effort to create a large amount of wooden ingredient pieces in order to give the players not just some stereotype cubes which they need to handle and staple on their plates. Even though the first game will hardly be won an errors will be made, the player's quickly get used to their new jobs as Maitre d' or Kitchen Chief, and together the crew of players will strive to satisfy the critics.

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Copyright © 2019 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany