Friday, 21 November 2014


Plays: 3Px1.

The Game

Burgoo is a gift from Allen, and is another microgame which he Kickstarted. Burgoo is a meat and vegetable stew (I hadn't known that). The game components of Burgoo are very simple - just a pile of tiles representing 6 different ingredient types. Everyone starts with a column of 12 ingredients, and a hand of 6 different ingredients. The objective of the game is to use up all ingredients in your column.

The ingredients of burgoo include beef, carrots, spices, celery, potatoes and and onions.

On your turn you do three things. First, you throw an ingredient from your hand into the pot (i.e. the central pile of non-player ingredients). You then announce top or bottom, and if any of the top (or bottom) ingredients in anyone's columns match this ingredient you've just throw in, everyone gets to throw them into the pot too. The second step is simply to pick one ingredient from the pot and put it in your hand. The third step is to again throw an ingredient from your hand into the pot. This time, instead of ingredients from your columns (and your opponents') tagging along, you (and only you) get to split one of your columns at a position matching that ingredient which you've just thrown in.

These are my two columns of ingredients, one with seven and the other with two. Those five ingredients in a small pile are ingredients in my hand. That big pile in the background is the pot.

On your turn you are throwing in one ingredient, then taking one, then throwing in yet another one. The net result is you are losing one ingredient every turn. However there is one special situation in which you get to collect more ingredients into your hand. If during the first step of your turn, one of your neighbours has an ingredient going into the pot (i.e. they are utilising your action) and that ingredient is the last one in its column, instead of going into the pot, the ingredient goes into your hand. Ingredients remaining on hand can be important, because it's the tiebreaker if two or more players use up their columns at the same time.

The Play

I asked my children to try this microgame with me, and they both defeated me soundly. In fact they both used up their ingredients on the same turn, and they had to determine victory by tiebreaker. The game is very short. It's an open information game. You get to configure your column at the start of the game so you can already plan how to maximise your efficiency in using up ingredients. There are not that many rounds in a game, because you only have 12 ingredients to get rid of, and you will usually get rid of at least one every round, sometimes more when you are able to have two matching ingredients at the ends of different columns, or when you are able to leech off others' turns. So the game is centred around little tactical decisions to rid yourself of ingredients as efficiently as possible.

Chen Rui has split her original column into three columns by now.

Shee Yun is organising her ingredients well. If she throws in orange and announces top, she can use up two tiles at one go. The same is true if she throws in white and announces bottom. She has also set up for the remaining ingredients.

The Thoughts

There is not much to the game. It's a short efficiency exercise, where you will find yourself analysing open information, trying to improve your efficiency without helping your opponents. Burgoo is a filler that doesn't feel very filling.

24 Nov 2014: I realised I've made a severe mistake. You don't execute all three actions on your turn. You pick just one! That changes everything. I need to play this again and reassess my opinion.


Rob Harper said...

Great write-up as always.

I haven't got around to playing my copy of Burgoo yet, but I think you might have made a mistake with the rules: according to the rules I have, you only do one of the three actions (add, sample or split) each turn, not all three. I don't know how much that would change the feel of the game, but it might go a bit differently for you.

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

Oh god that would make a world of difference! Thanks for pointing this out. I need to play Burgoo again and give it a fairer shake.

Rob Harper said...

Really looking forward to seeing what you make of the game after re-playing. Maybe I'll have tried it by then as well. :)