Pizza night. There are few better ways to spend an evening with family. Now you can recreate the experience whilst learning some fractions when you play Blobby’s Pizza. What’s more, the game is filled with monsters. That’s right, pizzas and monsters; what’s not to love? Games of Blobby’s Pizza take about 30 minutes to play and are aimed at children aged 9+ (though it definitely can be played by younger children). The game supports 2-6 players, and just like pizza night, the more the merrier.
What is Blobby’s Pizza?
The aim of the game is to rack up the largest bill at Blobby’s Pizza by building and eating whole pizzas. During the game, you’ll obtain pizza slices in different size fractions, which you can hopefully build into complete pizzas. When you have a complete pizza you add it to your bill. This itself would be quite good fun, but to make matters more interesting, if you have the right cards in hand you can use them to steal other players’ pizza slices to complete your own pies!
What’s in the Blobby’s Pizza Box?
The box is small but perfectly formed with some engaging monster/pizza artwork. It has a funky magnetic clasp fastener that is very pleasing.
Inside the box you’ll find:
127 Cards in varying types:
- 88 Pizza Slice Fractions.
- 28 Pizza Eating Monster Cards.
- 3 Switch and Swap Cards.
- 8 Tax and Tip Cards (used in the more advanced rules).
- 6 pencils. For writing the score down with.
The cards have one rounded corner, which is probably pleasing to some and maddening to others. I quite like the effect when the cards are in hand, but it is a little disconcerting when you have a stack of them and they’re not all in the same orientation. This is purely an aesthetic choice. It does suit the pizza artwork but has no functional significance.
There’s a Waiter “Guest Check” pad for writing the score on. This is arguably unnecessary, as any piece of paper would do to write down the score, but they make the game much more immersive and have been the thing that has brought my youngest (8) back to the table to play. He loves a bit of restaurant roleplay, so for him, they’re definitely a nice touch.
The components are all of good quality, with the possible exception of the pencils. The card stock is good and as mentioned the waiter pads are very well done.
How do you play Blobby’s Pizza?
Setup is reasonably straightforward. First up, the Rainbow Chef Blobby Card is removed. Then the rest of the cards are shuffled and 5 are dealt out to each player. This is your hand. (Or, somewhat confusingly, your “plates.” I don’t feel this definition works, even if it’s in keeping with the theme. It is much easier just to call it a hand; everybody understands what you’re talking about then). If there are 3 or more players, the previously removed Chef Blobby card is placed somewhere approximately in the middle of the remaining deck of cards. This is then placed in the center of the table to form the Kitchen, a draw deck. During the game, the drawing of the Chef Blobby card will herald the end of the game. In a two-player game, you have to keep a tally of the amount of Pizza sold, and the first person to reach $60 wins.
Playing the Game
First and foremost, you always have to have 5 cards in your hand at the beginning and end of your turn. Turns open with the drawing of a card and end by drawing back up to five.
There are two main types of cards in the game.
The Pizza cards have fractions of pizza on them. These you will play on the “Table” in front of you to assemble your pizza. An entire pizza has 12 slices in it, and the Pizza cards have varying numbers of slices on them, ranging through all the numbers from 1 -10. In order to fulfill a pizza order, you have to complete exactly 12 slices; you can’t count 13 slices as 1 pizza and a slice leftover.
The Monster Cards are used to eat other players’ pizza. Whilst you’re assembling your pizzas you’ll have to put them out on the table in front of you. At this point, they are fair game to be snaffled by other players’ monsters. Again, there are varying types of monsters that can steal differing fractions of pizza (1/6, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, 5/6). There are different numbers of each monster in the deck, with the majority being able to steal smaller fractions. It’s worth noting that monsters don’t have to steal exactly the amount printed on their cards. They can steal UP TO that amount, and they can even steal slices from several players at once as long as they don’t exceed the limit printed on their card.
The area in front of each player is designated the “Table.” It is here you will assemble the Pizzas that you wish to sell. You can only sell a complete Pizza. As you can only have 5 cards in your hand by the end of your turn, on your first turn you’re going to have to place some Pizza on the table in front of you. Note: Only pizza cards can stay on the table, monsters have to stay in hand.
There are 4 types of Pizza in the game: Cheese, Pepperoni, Veggie, or Supreme. You’ll get more money for completing a Supreme Pizza than you will Cheese, with Pepperoni and Veggie falling somewhere in the middle. If you’ve collected enough pizza slices to make EXACTLY one whole pizza of one of the four types, you can sell it at the end of your turn. Sometimes you can even make multiple pizzas, in which case you can sell all of them.
Selling pizzas is the last thing that you’ll do in your turn, at which point you draw back up to 5 cards. Note: If, before you draw, you hold less than 5 cards in your hand, but have some pizza sitting out on the table, you can take it back into your hand if you wish. This prevents people from stealing it during their turns but also reduces the number of cards you have access to. Having more cards in your hand means you draw fewer to replenish.
Play then continues until the rainbow Chef Blobby card is played. This is hidden somewhere in the middle of the deck, so nobody quite knows when it will be drawn. The player who draws Chef Blobby is also not obliged to play him, should they want to keep the game going until they are in a position to win. Chef Blobby is a powerful card to draw, however, as he can take up to one whole pizza’s worth of slices from the table. One caveat to playing Chef Blobby is that he can only be played after at least one of all the other types of monster cards have been played. The seven types are all handily color-coded to form a rainbow of fractions. Only when the rainbow is complete will Chef Blobby come to eat. Which is a poetic-sounding way to finish a game.
Once the Chef Blobby card is played and his pizza collected, it’s time to total up the amounts of pizza sold. The person with the highest amount is the winner.
In a two-player game, where no Chef Blobby card is used, players play until one of them has accrued $60 in pizza sales (or a total agreed by the players). This means you are continually adding up how much pizza you’ve made, which does spoil the flow of the game slightly, but also helps promote some repeated adding up, so there are pros and cons.
There are a couple of extra subtleties to the game. One that is present from the beginning and another which you can add as you become more familiar and if you have older, more able mathematicians playing.
The main deck has three “Swap and Switch” cards. Monster waiters who are ready to cause mayhem. If you draw one you can choose either to:
- Switch the direction of player turns (much like UNO).
- Swap a “Tax and Tip” Card with another player or choose a new one, not in play (more on Tax and Tip in a moment).
- Switch all the players’ plates around, i.e. pass your hands either to the left or the right. The person playing the Swap card chooses direction.
The Tax and Tip cards add a neat variant. Each player is dealt a Tax and Tip card, face down, at the start of the game. They look at it but keep its value a secret. The percentages shown for each will then be subtracted/added to the total of their bill. There are four variations of these cards, ranging from 10% tax and 15 % tip to 5% tax and 20% tip, so these can cause a swing in the final reckoning. If you want to give yourself a challenge, you can let younger players take the better value card before you start. Bear in mind though that Tax and Tip cards can be switched using the Swap and Switch cards (although there are only 3 in the deck, so such shenanigans don’t occur that often).
Why Play Blobby’s Pizza?
It’s a tough ask to make a game that educates that is also good fun. Children are great at sniffing out teaching by stealth, and if they catch a whiff of it, it’s often curtains for that game. (Our family favorite, City of Zombies is an exception to this.) We’ve had lots of repeat Blobby’s Pizza plays, so the outlook is good for this game too! The use of pizza seems to keep the kids interested, and so far, I haven’t even had to shell out for any takeaways, so that’s a bonus too!
The game is very visual. Arguably there’s almost too much going on. There’s a lot of colors on the cards, and with the four different types of pizza, it can be difficult to remember that the color of the cards relates to the size of the slices rather than the type of pizza. I do like that the monsters are color-coded to the types of pizza that they eat, however. It makes it easier for younger players to see which pizza their monster might be able to consume.
Whilst it does add to the clutter a little, I like that at the bottom of the card it has a breakdown of the fraction shown—e.g. “3/12 = 1/4 = 0.25.” It makes it nice and easy to discuss the fractions you’re using in the game and how they relate to one another.
The restaurant-style “Guest Check” pads are a great idea, although ultimately they are superfluous. They work better in a two-player game where you are constantly adding up your pizza’s values. In larger games, you add up at the end, so any piece of paper would probably have done. They do have spaces marked out for your tax and tips, though, so it does all add to the sense of theme. My youngest was particularly taken with them, and they definitely inspired him to try out the game. The biggest problem is coming to the box and discovering he’s taken the slips off somewhere to use in his roleplay cafe!
The multiplayer game is definitely better than the two-player option. Firstly, there is more pizza available to be stolen, and second, you have to worry a little more about your own Pizza being stolen, making the game both more tactical and frenetic, with a higher number of “gotcha” moments. The multiplayer game is also stronger as a result of its flexible ending. First to $60 in the two-player variant makes the process more mechanical.
Where Blobby’s Pizza excels is in its attempts to teach fractions. You’re not always going to be able to make whole pizzas. Often you’ll find yourself with too much pizza, which is an important part of understanding how fractions work. It also subtly teaches how to add different valued fractions together. Its colorful, visual representations of the pizzas and the pizza chompers are very engaging, inviting younger players in. My youngest was desperate to see how the game played, and he loved finding the different colored monsters within the deck.
If you’re looking for a game that helps teach the often tricky subject of fractions, without making it feel like a chore for those playing, you should definitely check out Blobby’s Pizza.
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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.