This is going to be a review for Gamewright’s new game Order’s Up which came in a box of goodies from them last week, but before I get into the review I’m going to hop up on my soapbox for a second and talk about game play essentials. I believe that there are a couple game elements that are crucial for a game to be good and one of them is having a “catch up factor.” Granted there are games out there where you don’t need – and can’t really have – a catch up factor, like Gobblet Gobblers, Twister and Connect Four to name a few. But overall when I play a game, pretty much right up until the finish I’d like to know I have a chance of winning – or should I say that my opponents like to feel like they’re not getting stomped into the ground! Ha!
Obviously, Order’s Up is a diner themed game and to kick off play, everyone selects two guest checks, which each have 6 food and/or beverage items on them. To win you need to collect all of the items on two checks. The game starts with 4 meal/beverage tiles in the center of table surrounding the bell. On each turn, a player rolls the die and it either has a picture of a bell, a broken bell (which puts you “on break” until your next turn – ouch!), a Free Meal, an Order Mixup or an image that indicates you need to add two tiles to the play area. If you roll a bell, the first player to ring the bell gets to select a meal or beverage from the play area that matches an image on one of their guest checks. If there isn’t one that matches, they draw from the stack and take it if it matches or add it to the center if it doesn’t. So this is really a speed game, which makes you think that anyone who doesn’t have the reflexes of a cat probably isn’t going to win. WRONG! The inventor of this game, Myles Christensen, added in some nice catch up factors for the quickness-challenged folks out there. For example, if you roll a Free Meal, then you could be a super-slow three-toed sloth and still get to start filling your guest check by grabbing a tile from the center. If you roll an Order Mixup, then you get to swap either one of your guest checks with anyone else’s (tiles included) – my suggestion, steal from the player with the roadrunner like speed. They’ll catch up again, right? (You just can’t swap for a completed card; those stay with the player that finished them.)
Order’s Up did a really great job of putting a couple of catch up factors into a cute themed speed game. And it’s these details that make the game memorable because at times it’s feels more like you’re getting bamboozled than your slow-as-molasses opponent is getting a chance to catch up. Then again, it could be the lightning fast person who is getting all of the Free Meals, but it only takes one Order Mixup to change all that.
Overall, all of the parts of Order’s Up work together nicely, kind of like how a milkshake, burger and fries make a great diner meal. And besides, the game’s got a bell and who doesn’t like a game with a bell?
Order’s Up Stats:
~$15 at Amazon (This game is out of print, if you can’t get it on Amazon try eBay)
15 Minutes or less (depends on number of players)
Ages 6 and up