Disclaimer: This preview is from a reviewer’s copy of the game that was provided by Button Shy Games to Open Seat Gaming, but opinions are our own based on several plays of the game.
Description: Arcane Bakery Clash is a battle between two magical bakers that love to provide the world with their arcane confections. The problem is, now they’ve gotten into an argument and the only way to settle it is a baking duel! Whoever wins is the best arcane baker – whoever loses is stuck cleaning the kitchen.
Arcane Bakery Clash is a two-player dueling game where each player is a baker, whipping up these really awesome confections of all sorts – but each of them has a magical property.
You start with two confections in your hand, and on your turn, you get to take two actions. You can either draw a card, put a confection in the oven (put it on the table face down), turn up the heat on a confection (move your coin up one on the heat track), peek in the oven (look at what you put in there), or take something out of the oven (as long as you’ve cooked it correctly – put the heat to one of the numbers on the front of the card – the matching ability goes off; if not, you damage yourself for 2 points).
Each of the confections is different – some are simple cards where the ability happens, you discard it when it’s done. There are also duration cards, where you get that ability for one or three turns (depending on how well you baked it), and there are also a couple of elementals that provide you with extra boosts too – they have their own hit point pool that your opponent needs to deal with, or they just stick around.
You have 10 hit points, and the last baker mage standing wins!
Review: I’ll be the first to say that I really like microgames. They’re kind of becoming our thing. There’s something that is so smart and fun about putting together something so small while, at the same time, still having intuitive gameplay. My first step into this world was with Button Shy’s Circle the Wagons, and they got me hook, line, and sinker with that one.
Arcane Bakery Clash is a game that Sarah and I fell in love with right away – our reviewer copy is almost exactly what you will get in the Kickstarter campaign, with the exception of the wallet, and the fact that some of the iconography is going to be cleaned up for a better understanding. The art is whimsical and fun – even the “scary” things (like this Syrup Elemental) have some whimsy to them.
One of my concerns going into the game was that, with only 18 cards, it would start to feel samey – let me tell you, that is absolutely not the case (and we’ve played the daylights out of this game). As you learn and memorize the cards more, you will find that it makes the game even more strategic – you’ll be trying to outsmart your opponent, deduce what may be in their ovens, put together combos, and hold onto the Handful of Flour for just the right moment.
In short, this game is fun, it’s thinky, and it packs a huge punch for such a little game. The theme is a unique one, the mechanisms feel fresh, and even though my memory sucks, I enjoyed the memory aspect and how you had to keep up with the cooking times so that you had the maximum impact. The King of the Hill feel of it gave me a little taste of King of Tokyo, but it brought it down to a two player version that is competitive and enjoyable. We love this great little wallet sized game, period.
Try, Buy, Deny: We’ve been having a ton of fun with the game, and, guess what? It’s going to be on Kickstarter this week (I’ll update with the link when it goes live) with another great Button Shy Game called Stew, which we plan on backing as well. So, our opinion? Buy – or in this case, back – it!