Kickstarter Tabletop Alert: ‘Blend Off!’

BlendOffFeatured

After a slow night, smoothie shop owner Becca has started closing up shop. One minute before close, the door swings open. Outside, school buses fill the lot and a line of people winds all the way to the street corner. The high school girl’s volleyball tournament has just gotten out, and everyone is craving a smoothie for the ride home. Becca cuts a deal with her Master Mixers: whoever blends the most smoothies tonight gets free smoothies for a month!

At a Glance: Blend Off! is a fast-paced, competitive, chaotic dice-rolling and resource collection card game for 2-4 players. It’s designed by Scot Eaton, who has previously designed expansions for Catan and 7 Wonders. With a unique theme and charming artwork, this is a fun, casual Kickstarter game that everyone in your family can enjoy. You and up to three other players roll custom dice (representing Kevin, Becca’s unreliable fruit-supplying son) and try to accumulate enough ingredients in your blenders to complete recipes and claim them for points before the deck runs out.

What’s in the Box?

The prototype game and box (Image by Anthony Karcz)
The prototype game and box (Image by Anthony Karcz)

41 Custom fruit tokens (10 bananas, blueberries, strawberries, limes, and oranges… and 1 durian)

4 Custom dice

48 cards (including blenders, cheat sheets, recipes, and special orders)

While the components in my prototype box weren’t final, the cards were solidly thick and professionally printed.  Thematically, the font, colors, and art reminded me of a ’50s tiki bar, which made me love it even more. I look forward to being able to play with the custom fruit tokens instead of the colored cubes (which were nice, but still cost us precious milliseconds of identifying the proper ones to grab).

Blend Off! Tokens
Final tokens and custom dice (Image by Keith Matejka)

If you have enough components to substitute for the fruit, you can download a print and play version.

How Does It Play?

In a word? Fast! Once you start, there are no turns (though if you’re playing with younger players, you can add turns in). The dealer keeps the row of orders stocked and everyone is frantically rolling and rerolling, trying to grab fruit for their blender, while trying to claim orders as their own before someone else does. Then you dump your blender in the center and keep going till the order deck is depleted. Y’know what? It’s actually easier just to show you:

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Special Orders add a bit of a wrinkle to things, where the usual recipes have something added or subtracted (as indicated by the card). This can be especially gutting if you’ve been working towards a recipe, only to have a special order dumped on it at the last second. There is also a durian that “Kevin” will bring players if the stock of a certain type of fruit runs out. The Master Mixer that gets it has to dump their entire blender and start over (we didn’t play with the durian in our game). There are also Race and Blend Off! Jr. versions of the rules that you can download the rule book to check out.

The Verdict

After so many fantasy and sci-fi themed games, my daughter was thrilled that I was finally reviewing something that she could get into (because, really, who doesn’t love smoothies?). And I have to admit, Blend Off! provided a nice breath of fresh air in our household gaming repertoire. A full game takes less than 15 minutes and is full of all kinds of good-natured squabbling and jostling that comes with “no turns” play. We played three times back-to-back and had a blast every time. The rules are easy to pick up, can be modified to cater to more or less sophisticated gamers, and it only costs $19. Thunderworks Games has produced two other successful Kickstarters, and with such an engaging, straightforward theme, I can’t imagine this campaign won’t be anything but a slam dunk. The campaign started on April 26, so head on over and make a pledge today!

Writer, father of two, runner, Marvel-phile, recovered WoW addict, unrepentant Generation 1 Transformers nerd (seriously, I know more about G1 than is healthy). Author of the superhero novel: 'Nightingale: The League Cycle, Book One.'