Have you ever been on holiday in Paris and just sat down on a pedestrian square in the middle of the city on the terrace in the sun? No? Me neither. But with Dinner in Paris, you get the opportunity to try and create restaurants with the best terraces in order for your guests to experience that exact experience with a nice meal. The game comes with a gameboard that represents a perfect pedestrian square in Paris and a lot of mini restaurants that create an awesome 3D look. We couldn’t wait to try it!
How to Play.
The setup is easy, but takes a little bit of work. Place the game board on the table, the restaurants nearby, and shuffle the resource cards to place them on the designated spot on the game board. Place four cards face up. The last remaining empty space is for a discard pile. Shuffle the objective cards and pigeon cards and place them on the board. Pick one majority cards at random to also place it on the board. Then every player receives a player board and places 52 terrace tiles on the empty spaces in their color. Also place a yellow cube on the ‘1’ space of the income track and keep a white cube nearby as well as the property tiles of your color. Each player gets four resource cards and two objective cards. Keep one objective card facedown and place the other face up near the objective deck.
The game is played in two phases. On your turn you will start with the first phase by taking a resource card from one of the face up cards, or from the resource deck. Resource cards provide you with items needed to open up restaurants or building terraces.
For the next phase you can choose two actions out of four options. You can perform actions two times in a row, except for the build terraces action. The first action to choose from, is to take another resource card. You can also open a restaurant as an action if you have all the necessary ingredients. Every player board shows what ingredients you need for every restaurant in order to open them. If you have everything you need for a specific restaurant, simply discard all the resource cards needed, take the matching restaurant building and place it on one of the outer spaces on the board. Then place a fitting property tile in your color on top of the building.
You can also build terraces at the restaurants you own on the board. The cost of each terrace can be found on your player board and your income is tracked on the income track with the yellow cube. You begin with one coin to spend, but once more restaurants or terraces are build, your income will go up and you can build more terraces. With the white cube, you can track how much you have spend this round. You can build as many terraces as you have income. More income can also be gained from resource cards for a one time use. Income gained by restaurants or terraces, is often permanent which means you can move your yellow cube accordingly. If you manage to place your terrace on a pigeon printed on the game board, you can take a pigeon card. Pigeon cards provide bonuses like drawings extra resource cards, build terraces for free or draw a second objective card which can give you more victory points for example.
Lastly you can complete a personal or common objective as an action. Objectives have specific terrace layouts printed on them that will give you victory points at the end of the game once completed. Personal objective cards are in your possession, while common objectives can be found face up near the objectives deck. If you complete a common objective, take the face up card and place it in front of you to show all the players this is completed. If personal objectives are not completed at the end of the game, you will lose victory points. The game will end when a certain number of restaurants are placed (depending on the player amount), a player all the terrace tiles has placed from two categories, or when it’s not possible to place any more terrace tiles according to the placement rules. To reveal the final scores, add up all the victory points from restaurants, terraces build, personal and common objectives and majorities. Majorities are randomly drawn each game and each card will add three themes where you can gain victory points for. Like having the most restaurants, most pigeon cards or most money for example. The player with the most victory points, wins the game.
Playthrough of the game.
While Tomasz was aiming to gain money as fast as possible with Friteries, I was aiming for the big boys like Grills, Barrs, Brasseries, etc. In the beginning of the game this looked like a terrible idea. For Friteries you only need to resource cards with grain. For a Grill, you already need four different kind of resource cards. Tomasz was gaining income faster and started to build terraces. But when I build my first restaurants and received four more income in one round, it started to pay off. When Tomasz saw that my strategies was paying off, he started to block me and build terraces all around me so I couldn’t build. Imagine his surprise when I had saved a pigeon card that allowed me to build on top of his two terraces. Unfortunately karma didn’t work well for me since Tomasz then focused on the objectives, providing him with so many victory points at the end of the game that he still won. You might have won the battle, but definitely not the war. There is always next time…
This game is easy to learn, but has so many strategies you can try. It wasn’t clear to us who was going to win until we were counting the points. We were so close the entire game. Dinner in Paris is really balanced since we both got cornered a couple of times even in the same game, but simply changing strategies provide you with new insights already. We also love the mini restaurants and art in this game. When you build a restaurant and you get to place a property tile on it in your color, it feels like an achievement. The game board also has a two player side that you can play on so you don’t have to remember to adjust the placing of your restaurants. After every game, it looks like you have created this mini village with colorful cubes and buildings. And then there is the pigeons. It’s such a simple idea, but we think the pigeons are awesome and they give a great element on the game. Although I did feel bad for the pigeons every time I covered them.
Dinner in Paris is a strategic nice themed board game where you have to build the best terraces for your restaurants in order to win. From the moment we saw the mini restaurant buildings, we were sold. During the gameplay we found out there is also more depth to this game then you might expect in the beginning. In order to get the most restaurants and best terraces, you have to be careful of your opponent not blocking you. But if your opponents gain a lot of pigeons, you might want to watch your back. We noticed with more people there is more chaos and thus more fun, but even with two players only we had a lot of fun and since the board has two side where one if for two players, you can start playing right away.