Episode 3: Still playing catch-up ?

V2 Play testing:
The revised ingredient card frequency and starting hand helped speed up the game, as did the extra action per turn.
Increasing the upgrade card frequency definitely helped fix  the trailing players, but at the same time also helped the leading player progress sooner. It also introduced a new issue, adding too many un-needed cards to players hands, in turn slowing the game down for everyone.There were still rare cases where it forced players lagging behind to fall even further behind.
This was another failed attempt at catch up mechanics that had to be majorly rethought or removed all together.
The added ability cards helped give the game a little more depth as you had to earn them by spending your money. While this was a great addition to the complexity of the game, spending your money slowed down the game once more.
The cost of the food was unrealistic to the point where people criticized the game for it (a $45 burger?). It did not resonate with players and not only did I agree with them, I knew how to fix it.
V2 was still plagued by pacing issues, a broken catch up system, and unbelievable thematic elements.

V3 Changes :
– 3 more abilities were added to the game and they were distributed to players character cards for free use, instead of being add-ons you had to purchase. They were thematic to the game and added some charm and character to the game.
– A team and single player mode was created.
– Discarded cards now go to a leftovers pile instead of being discarded. These leftovers can be bought by other players for one action.

V3 stood a chance of fixing some of the games problems, it was also the first big evolutionary step towards making the game more enjoyable to play.
But was it enough? Check out next episode to find out.

Episode 2: The need for speed.

V1 Play Testing:
Play testing showed that the game suffered from some serious pacing issues.
The upgrade card was designed to stop runaway victories forcing a player with $50 to change focus from making food to digging through the ingredients deck to find an upgrade card, thus allowing other players to catch up. This at times worked opposite to its intended use, as players lagging behind wasted turns trying to find an upgrade card, making them fall even further behind.
The tax card of -$10 was too much of a hit to take, this also greatly impacted the pacing and was a little unfair to lose as much money as a 3 card food (hot dog).

V2 Changes:
– Player actions per turn increased from 2 to 3
– The frequency of each ingredient needed tweaking to help things move along.
– Players now start with a hand of 3 Ingredient cards and 1 Action card.
– The upgrade card mechanic was left in, but the number of them in the game was increased.
–  Ability cards: Players could buy abilities
– $5 –  Hand size +1
– $10 – Sale: Each tip and sausage roll earns an extra $5
– $5 – Trade: Discard up to 2 cards and draw the same amount



Speed of play was the main focus for improvement, but was the V2 changes enough?
Check out next episode to find out.

Episode 1: An Introduction to Head Chef.

Head Chef summed up 
Head Chef is a food  themed game that will see you progress from food truck cook to restaurant head chef by collecting ingredients and making food. It’s a fun, light, family friendly filler game for 1-4 hungry players with 5-30 mins to spare.

Now that you know a little about the game, how did it come to be?

Back story:
About 4 years ago my siblings and I decided Sunday was family day. So of a Sunday we all congregate over to mums for coffee, treats and board games, we have all left home so this meant a lot to mum.
This started my hunger to find new games that the whole family will enjoy. Board game time was quality family time. This was so successful I joined up to various gaming groups, met lots of great people and played lots of great games!

It was at this stage of my hobbying that I thought, hey I would love to make a game, to be responsible for the great quality time I spend with family and friends. So I got myself a visual diary and started documenting anything I thought would make an interesting theme or mechanic. The one that caught my passion was Head Chef.
Below is a diary of the games development, its changes, play testing observations, and thought process.

Head Chef V1:
Through my love of food I decided a fun, vibrant food themed game would be a great start. Hands up if you like food !!!
The initial idea was to have the games cards able to be played in combinations to make food. I started by writing down a whole bunch of basic ingredients and used that list to create food. I apologise for the crude drawings, go on have a laugh… evidently I am no artist, not even close … and I don’t claim to be one!

This was the core of the game in its original design. The ingredient cards count increased depending on the number of players, to support up to 6 players. These ingredients are used to make food, which formed the ingredients deck (along with the upgrade card, but we will get to that later). Additionally a second deck was created to add some player interaction, the Action deck.


Each turn players could perform 2 actions, which could be any one of the following:
1. Draw an ingredient card
2. Draw an action card
3. Play a food (combination of ingredients)
4. Play an action card

Players had a hand size of 5, with any extras at the end of their turn being discarded.
Players started with a food truck card that they had to fill with money, gained by selling food.
Once they had earned $50 they had to play an upgrade card to unlock the cafe card. Filling $50 on this cafe card would then be followed by another upgrade card to unlock the Restaurant to win the game.

Each player would also have a character card to represent themself, this card held 2 tokens (winks), used as a means to track your 2 actions per turn.

All this formed Head Chef V1, but how did this play test?
Find out in our next article in Head Chefs, Dev Diary Series.