There are some gamers who enjoy seeing the same theme hit the table over and over again. Trading in the Mediterranean, zombies, generic fantasy, Cthulhu Mythos – these themes come up again and again. But some of us like to see really different themes from time to time (and a lot of us both have our favorite repeated themes and like more options). Truck Off: The Food Truck Frenzy (from Adam’s Apple Games) adds to the options for the latter crowd, bringing the world of food truck vendors to the tabletop.
Each player in Truck Off controls one chain of amusingly named food trucks, such as Fry Hard or BeeBeeQ. In each round of play, some of these food trucks will be deployed to various locations in hopes of making the most money serving the most customers – locations such as the Brewery, the Concert, and the all mighty Gaming Convention (the game supports 3-5 players; more players means more locations). Mechanically, each of these locations is associated with a die, from a four-sided die (d4) to a twenty-sided die (d20).
At the start of each round, each player secretly assigns trucks to two of these locations. After the trucks are assigned the dice associated with the locations are rolled. Because the cash collected at the end of the round is based on the value of the die, initial assignments must consider the expected values of the dice and anticipated locations of other players’ trucks. Obviously having the d20 spot to oneself is ideal, but an empty d8 spot is better than a d20 spot with two other players.
Once the dice are rolled, the players then have the opportunity to select action cards from a pool of 10 (that’s 10 over the whole game, so an average of two per round, to be managed over that span of game). There are 12 total action cards for each player, so at the start of the game it can be made more or less “take that” depending on the players’ choice of which two cards to remove (everyone has to remove the same two cards).
All players simultaneously select which action cards they’re going to play. But once that selection is made, card play occurs one at a time. So player 1 plays a card, then #2, then around until player 1 gets a chance again. Card effects include re-rolling dice, moving trucks, adding a new friendly truck, or (if you’re playing with the most “take that” cards) shutting down trucks and venues. Whoever gets to play first knows exactly what the effect of their first card will be. Every other card play is contingent on how well the player can predict what the other players might do in the meantime (players always have the option to not execute a selected card; the card is still lost, but there’s no requirement to execute a card that turns out to be harmful). Unused cards are worth points at the end of the game.
Once all of the selected actions have been executed, the venues pay out (the die value divided among the trucks present). Do this for five rounds, and then most cash wins.
It’s an optional rule, but I’d recommend playing with the Daily Specials. In this variant, two cards are drawn from a deck each round and placed with the matching venue. The cards will affect that venue in various ways – changing the effective die value, possibly shutting down trucks, protecting shut down trucks, letting trucks move, etc. There’s no escalation in gameplay over the five rounds – the only change is which cards players still have available. The Daily Special variant injects more variety within a game, and between games.
Given the fairly light-hearted nature of the game, I would suggest starting with the least “take that” option and then getting ‘meaner’ as needed. All other things being equal, a higher player count probably works best, playing into the game’s chaos.
Truck Off will probably be most enjoyed by players who like the theme, who enjoy all of the puns/wordplay on the action cards (e.g., there’s an entire deck worth of plays on board game titles), and who enjoy a game that’s chaotic and has significant randomness. There is definitely strategy in where to send the trucks and which cards to select, but the game can often be decided by one big play, where a player nabs 20+ points from one truck – and it’s still possible to re-roll a d20 set to 6 and get an even lower result.
Promotional consideration was provided in the form of a review copy.