Game Review: Fish Cook

FishCookFish Cook
Cheapass Games/2012

In Fish Cook, you and your fellow Fish restauranteers are competing to create an elite menu for your restaurant, fulfilling orders, and making money. Depending on the number of players, the game will be played over the course of 3-5 “days”. Each day consists of a “morning” phase, where players purchase fish, ingredients or recipes for their restaurant, and an evening phase, where players fill orders from their menu, or try to steal recipes from their opponents. At the end of each day, the fish market and farmer’s market are re-stocked for the next day. At the end of the last day, the player with the most money wins.

This game has good strategic play. You must manage your money wisely, to maximize your purchasing power and get the most profit from your recipes. You start with $100 dollars, and must budget to get the best bang for your buck. The hard part is that there isn’t always a good market for the items you need to purchase. As fish and ingredients get scarcer, they get more expensive as well. Recipes that give you the most money, also require the most ingredients. You can win with a strategy of making a few expensive recipes or making a lot of cheaper recipes.

Cheapass Games has a long history of publishing games that supply only the parts required for specific game play, assuming that you could find common parts (play money, dice, etc.) in your own home from other games. They were published with lesser quality components, in order to keep the costs down, and make the games more accessible to everyone. Their first games were published with photocopied black and white cards and multi section photocopied boards, and were published at $5 or under. Fish cook costs $15, still quite a bargain, and comes with 2 — 2 section full color game boards, 36 full color custom “recipe” cards (same stock and finish as regular playing cards), and over 100 full color ingredient tokens, a first player token, and five day markers. The components are decent quality. I’ve seen a lot worse from more expensive games. You will need to 12+ dice and some way to keep track of money. Your Monopoly play money would work, but we keep track with pen and paper and it works just as well.

We found this game to be entertaining, well balanced, and fun.  Recommended.