~500 Kickstarter Preview: Filler

Disclaimer: This preview is from a preproduction copy provided by Green Couch Games to Open Seat Gaming, but opinions are our own based on several plays of the game. Art and graphic design are not final. Kickstarter launch coming soon.

Designer: Jonathan Chaffer
Artist: Claire Donaldson
Publisher: Green Couch Games
Main Game Mechanisms: Set Collection, Hand Management, Bidding
Number of Players: 2 to 5
Game Time: 20 – 30 minutes

Description: You are striving to be a successful baker and your goal is to fill as many valuable (and delicious) pastries as possible. Collect customer reviews (stars), money, and critical acclaim (trophies) to win and become the best baker in town. 

Each player starts with three cards that have the five different varieties of pastry filling: vanilla, chocolate, blueberry, strawberry, and custard; as well as three different starting times. In the first phase of the game, you choose a card with a time to “bid” for your starting time. Your start times will determine the turn order, starting from the lowest and going to the highest. 

On your turn, you can perform one of two actions.

  1. You can fill a pastry. When you do this action, you use cards that have the correct combination of ingredients in order to fufill the recipe, thus adding that card to what you’ve collected. 
  2. You can restock your pantry, take all of your discarded cards back into your hand.

You use your hand of cards to both bid for turn order and for the ingredients to fill various pastries. When you have used most or all of your cards, you will need to restock. When you restock, you may also choose to reserve a recipe by putting it back on the top of the deck. That will help you to “save” that pastry for the next round.

The size of the deck is 10 cards per player, which helps to keep the game time under control. The number of recipe cards out at a time is one more than the number of players. Different recipes have different values associated with them. They have a time and ingredients that they provide for use on the left banner, and on the bottom left they typically have a combination of stars, money, and/or trophies.

Each star, money, and trophy symbol you have collected into your recipe book at the end of the game is worth one point by itself and, for each set of 3 unique symbols, you get a bonus of 2 points. You may decide to fulfill your recipes based on scoring points or just based on the ingredients available in your hand. As you may expect, the person with the most victory points is the winner. 

Pros: This card game has a fun theme and a punny title, considering the amount of time that it takes to play it (earning it a title as a “filler” game). The most fun and satisfying part of Filler is getting a good combination play. The set collection aspect was engaging and fun. The player aid cards were clear and helpful. 

The utilization of the multi-use cards is very good in the gameplay of Filler, and since that’s a mechanism that we enjoy, it was definitely intriguing to us. In short, Filler is a neat little game that uses multi-use cards in a interesting and unique way. 

The bidding mechanic is thematic because it makes sense that the earliest baker to the kitchen has the best selection available to them. Being able to make your favorite pastries was fun and I can’t wait to see the final art for all of the different types of pastries that you can make. The art on the card backs is evocative and we enjoy the use of color. 

Cons: There are parts of the graphic design of the cards which can be hard to see and differentiate, especially if you have color issues. The symbols on the pastry fillings are hard to see and it can be hard to differentiate the dark blue of the blueberry from the brown of the chocolate. We were also sometimes confused by which ingredients were for filling and which were required to acquire the recipe. Since this a preview copy of the game, these aspects of the graphic design should become more clear in the final production.

The option of reserving a recipe when you restock didn’t seem to be that worthwhile in our plays, but I could see how you could use it to your advantage. The two player game was mechanically sound, but we definitely enjoyed it more with higher player counts.

Kickstarter Info: Filler comes to Kickstarter this Wednesday, April 11, and we will update with the link as soon as it goes live! 

Game On!
Sarah

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