Episode 5: The silver lining.

V4 Play Testing:
Wow, the changes made were amazing!
Replacing the building cards for a single scoring track card made setup and pack up faster, streamlined the upgrade process while the game was in progress, and made it clearer to see where players were in the progression of the game.
Changing the scoring system to points of fame played nicely into the games theme.
Increasing the amount of actions per turn meant players could progress and gain fame just about every turn, which greatly increased the games pacing while giving players that feeling of accomplishing something more often.
Capping the player count at 4 and removing the team mode was a tough decision, but was necessary given the changes. To make such drastic changes, the game had to stripped back to a more basic form and rebuilt. I was never able to recreate the feel of the team variant with the games current configuration, so as to not add something in for the sake of it being there, it had to go.
Removing the action deck and bundling them into a set of power cards that each player starts with really moved the game away from the heavy element of luck of the draw and more into the strategic, situational based thinking of when to play a power card, and who to play it on. They were also redesigned completely to be weighted more on the progression (positive) side and less on the negative (disruptive) side.
Creating more character cards greatly increased the replay ability and variation of the game, after all this is the heart of the game!
Ingredient frequencies were fine tuned over many play testing sessions to ensure the food was attainable without being over powered in the fame department.
I was happy to have been able to fix the catch up mechanic by putting a permanent action cost each turn to upgrading from food truck to cafe. Thematically this action was spent setting up your cafe in the morning where this was not required having no furniture when on the food truck stage. So once you have upgraded to a cafe, for the rest of the game you only have 3 actions per turn instead of 4. All players that had not hit half way would be getting an extra action per round to help them catch up.

At this stage the game flowed well, playing in a reasonable time for the games weight (5-30 mins depending on player count) and most of all was a close finish that never really saw anyone lag behind too far, and if they did they had a high scoring food on its way that shot them back into … or ahead of the pack.

It took a long time and a lot of testing but I truly believe Head Chef V4 has overcome all previous issues that held the game back while adding in a lot of new elements along the way to improve the games enjoyment factor!

Design of the cards were changed many times to ensure all of the required information was accessible and easy to identify without having to constantly refer back to the rule book.
In the top left you have the sequence number, when making a food you need the ingredients in sequential order.
The star value of the last ingredient in the food you are making will indicate how many points of fame you will earn.
At the bottom, for the players that want to know more of the depth of the deck makeup can play a little risky now knowing how many of each card is in the deck or safer knowing that there are a lot more of their required ingredient in the deck based on discarded cards.
All this information help make the game easier to play, easier to learn and easier to strategize as to when to risk waiting, and help to make up your mind on what card to discard to the leftovers pile.

But it doesn’t end here, I am still working with designs and thinking of ways to add, without complicating the game. Little tweaks are being made assisted closely with play testing observations. I actually have a few ideas right now that will be play tested, so v5 will definitely be a thing and perhaps the last version that you will receive as part of the kickstarter release… exciting times!