Cake of Doom

Kickstarter Tabletop Alert: ‘Cake of Doom!’

Crosspost Gaming Tabletop Games

You had me at “cake.” Cake makes everything better and yet, I own very few cake-related games. Elevenses and perennial favorite, Go Nuts for Donuts, but that’s about it. Now I can add Cake of Doom to that list. Cake of Doom is a fun, simple-to-play game of cake and bribery. It will soon be appearing on Kickstarter (10th March)

New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.

What Is Cake of Doom?

Check out all the details on the Cake of Doom website. 

All images used in this review show prototype components. They will look different in the finished version of the game. 

In Cake of Doom, each player takes on the role of an alien, hoping to take over Earth. You’re going to do this by bribing the planet’s inhabitants with cake. Ignoring the fact that I would be one of the first to praise our new alien overlords, this sets up the crux of the game. Take control of two continents by the gratuitous use of baked goods, convince the Democratic Order Of Mankind that your dominance is a good thing (again using a confection of sweet treats), and win the game. 

Not gonna lie, the theme of the game is somewhat tenuous. But who cares if the game is fun?

Cake of Doom is designed by Pearl Ho and Amar Chandarana and published by Rainy Day Games. It is for 3-6 players, aged around 8 upwards, and takes around 20 mins to play. Longer with more people. 

What’s in the Box?

The contents of The Cake of Doom box are simple.

  • 160 Cards
  • Draw Tracker
  • Alien Meeple (which is entirely cool)
  • Placement Guide and Rule book. 

How to Play Cake of Doom

The winner of the game is the first person to control 2 continents and the D.O.O.M card. 

The game has some easy rules and a slightly harder set. The slightly harder set makes for a better game and you’ll be playing with those after no more than a couple of rounds with the easy set. 

How to Set up Cake of Doom

To set the game up, you arrange a number of the continent cards face up on the table. These are drawn randomly. There are two cards for each continent. Each continent card has printed on it the number of cakes required to successfully make a bribe. (A pair of continent cards cost the same as each other.) The number of continents in play varies depending on the number of players. (2n – 1 continents are used, where n = number of players.)

The D.O.O.M card is also placed with the continents. This requires 5 cakes to make a successful bribe and can only be claimed once you claimed two other continents. 

Two draw piles are placed on the table. One for cake cards, the other for mischief cards.

Each player is given 8 cards. These can be any number of cakes or mischief. The player can choose. (The simple rules suggest 5 cakes and 3 mischief cards.)

Each player is given an alien card. Each alien has a different bonus power it can use to affect the game. 

‘Cake of Doom’ comes with neat summary of the game on Player Aid card.

A Cake of Doom Round

The person who most recently ate cake goes first. Usually me. 

On your turn, you start by playing as many “grab” or “steal” cards as you like. These cards allow you to take cards from other players. 

Next, decide if you want to try to bribe a continent to your side. Continents require differing numbers of cakes to bribe, depending on location. They range from needing 2 to 4 cakes. Some cakes have bonuses depending on which continent they belong to. So, if you’re playing a regionally appropriate cake, a single card might be worth two cakes. 

After you have decided how many cakes you want to bribe the continent with, you declare it. After this point, you may not change the number of cakes you have declared. You might (will) want to overbid for a continent because your opponents are inevitably going to want to throw a sponge in the works.

Opposing players may now attempt to sabotage your bid. Players can confer for 1 min (though we have never enforced a time limit) to decide who is going to try to intervene. Multiple players can contribute no more than 1 sabotage card. Sabotage cards reduce the amount of cakes used in the attempted bribe by discarding cakes to the discard pile. The person making the bribe may also have some blocking mischief cards that they can play at this time to prevent the attempted sabotage. 

If there are still enough cakes remaining, then the player who attempted the bribe brings that continent under their sway. If not, any cakes remaining in their bribe pool are returned to hand (this is a really crucial point – a failed bribe does not result in cakes being discarded (unless discarded through sabotage).

If a player won a continent, they place the continent card in front of them, with the number of cakes used in the successful bribe. In the advanced rules, continents have a special ability printed on them. Most of these trigger at this point.   

Finally, you draw fresh cards and play passes to the next player. The number of cards drawn increases by one each turn, starting from 1 and going up to 10. These cards can be drawn from either deck. Players can never have more than 10 cards in their hand but may discard at any time. 

Play then passes to the next player and continues in that fashion until the end of the game. 

After a player has bribed a continent, it is possible for the other players to steal from them by offering more cake. This occurs in exactly the same way as bribing a continent from the middle of the table except the new bribe must be at least one more cake than the previous player offered. These bribes can be stopped by sabotage cards in exactly the same way as above. 

Once a player controls two continents they are allowed to go for the D.O.O.M. card. This requires a bribe of 5 cakes. If a player successfully gains the D.O.O.M card they win the game. Should somebody outbribe one of their continents and reduces them back down to one, that player can no longer attempt to gain control of the D.O.O.M card until they are back to controlling two continents. 

Some mischief cards (prototypes shown)

Why Play Cake of Doom?

Cake of Doom is a light-hearted game that doesn’t outstay its welcome. It’s a fun tit-for-tat game, within which, in a relatively short space of time, some interesting tactics materialize. There is always a balance between trying to keep hold of as many cakes as possible in order to make your own bribes, whilst at the same time having some sabotage cards in hand to thwart the designs of your opponents. 

In my experience, the game worked better with more players. With three, it could be hard to claw back somebody who got into a winning position. With more players, there are more people to disrupt the plans of the other players and more sabotage cards around to mess things up. 3 can also feel a little like ganging up, especially if you are playing with children.

Children’s temperaments can be awkward in Cake of Doom, there are a few “gotcha” moments when cakes are swiped or plans are foiled. If you have children who don’t deal with this sort of thing very well, this might not be the game for you. 

I haven’t seen a fully finished version of the game, but the artwork is very engaging and the thematic cakes are a nice idea. The aliens are fun too. I like that each alien has a different power and that they are assigned randomly, meaning you can play a large number of games, and they’ll all be a little bit different, depending on which alien you are playing and which ones are also in play. 

Cake of Doom is an entertaining game with some great artwork. Whilst it doesn’t take itself too seriously, there are still some tricky decisions to be made in order to stop your opponents from bribing continents. There is a fine balance between defense and offense in this game, and those who maintain it best will seal their opponents’ D.O.O.M! 

If you want to fill your plate with Cake of Doom check out the Kickstarter from March 1oth! 

Some cake cards (prototypes shown)
3 of the Alien cards. (prototype shown)

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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.

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