We had already seen some pictures on Instagram of ants chasing food while headed to a big construction made from components. Our curiosity was triggered. A few weeks later, we received the game ourselves thanks to BoardGameTables.com. Happy to add another light game to our collection, we immediately started to unpack the game and read the rules.
How to Play.
The setup is actually one of the most fun parts of the game already. Place the anthill on the table and place one of each regular food tokens next to it. Then mix and shuffle all the remaining food tokens and place them randomly in a trail, ending at the anthill. The shape and direction doesn’t matter, just have fun making a nice path for your ants to travel. Place all ants at the beginning of the path and choose one card from each of the four decks. They might have additional set up rules. If this is your first game, the best cards to choose are: Overachiever, Doubler, Collector and Minimalist. The remaining cards can go back to the box.
On your turn, choose an ant to move it to the food token that matches with it’s color. Each player can move any ant on each turn, they are free to play with. You can take the food token in front of behind the ant you just moved. Keep the food token near you. You can’t collect a food token if an ant is standing on top of it, simply take the first token available in that direction.
If you managed to collect chocolate, you can spend it to gain the special action that is described on the chocolate card you chose in the set up. With the Doubler card, this would mean you can take a second food token after your turn for the ant you have just moved.
If there are no more matching food tokens for the ant you move, you can place him on the anthill. The red card will tell you on what position to place the ant. For the Overachiever this would be the highest available space. If you place an ant on the anthill, you may take a food token of your choice from the tokens you set aside during the setup.
The game will end when all the ants have reached the ant hill.
The placing of the ants on the anthill is important for the end scoring. The ant on the highest space, will give you the highest scores for the matching food tokens. If the red ant stands on top of the hill for example, you will score four points per red food token you have collected. If the green ant stands on the bottom, this will give you zero points for the green tokens. The white card adds an extra rule to gain points for the wine tokens you have collected. For the Collector card, this would mean you receive one extra point for each wine token you collect. The blue card will add a different special rule to each game. For the Minimalist card, there is no extra special rule added for this game.
Playthrough of the game.
We were already having fun with Bites during the setup as we were trying to make the most crazy paths as possible each time for our ants. But we found that the game itself is also a lot of fun. Each game will be different depending on the cards you choose and the rules that are printed on them. Some card are more difficult then others which can give you a nice challenge if you have played this game before. But if you play with people who don’t play board games often, it can be a nice gateway game to. The rules are simple, set up is quick and a game lasts about 20 minutes. If you play with two people, a little less.
Your timing also needs to be right to score the most points. The highest placed ant on the anthill, will score the most points for that matching food token. If you have a lot of red tokens, and you see your neighbor has a lot of green tokens for example. You might want to rush your red ant to the top a little to make sure you receive your points making your neighbor having less points for his green tokens. The components in Bites are simple, but look nice and colorful on your table. We found it starts out pretty chaotic (in a good way) with the trail you lay out, and the more the ants collect, the less chaotic it will be.
The only minus in our opinion in this game, is that the box is still pretty big. It’s not to big to take with you on your travels, but I think they could have even made it smaller making it easier to play this game outside for example.
Bites is a great gateway game that is fast to learn and setup. A game takes about 20 minutes and it looks nice and colorful on the table. The game will be different with each game and can be more or less challenging depending on what cards with rules you choose. Timing and a little strategic thinking is essential in this game in order to get the most points and win the game. We are happy to have this light game in our collection!