Posted by: gschloesser | January 2, 2020

Truck Off: The Food Truck Frenzy

Each of the five rounds follows a specific sequence of play:

Select Trucks.  Each player secretly selects two trucks, after which all players then assign their trucks to the matching venues.  This assignment is done before the dice for the venues are rolled, so it is certainly a guessing affair.

Roll Dice.  All venue dice are rolled.  The dice represent the number of customers and money that can be earned at the venues.  The value depicted on the dice translates into money and is divided equally amongst all food trucks present at the venue.  Thus, it is to one’s advantage to minimize the competition so you can grab a larger share of the customers.

Select Actions.  Each player selects as many cards from his hand that he plans to use in the current round.  Cards have a variety of effects, including re-rolling dice, moving trucks, shutting down a venue, doubling a truck’s take, etc.  The challenge is that selected cards are used and then discarded, making them unavailable for future rounds. Since there are five rounds in a game, players  must carefully parcel their ten cards, selecting them and using them wisely.

Execute Actions.  In turn order (which rotates each round), cards are played and the action performed.  As mentioned earlier, the object is to position your trucks so that you will earn the most income.  This usually means having the least competition and having your trucks at locations with the highest dice values.  Card play is designed to accomplish this, sometimes by moving a truck (yours or an opponent’s), re-rolling a die, doubling the financial take of a truck, etc.  You can even shut down an entire venue to prevent opponents from reaping a financial windfall.

Resolve Payouts.  After players have played their selected cards, income is determined.  Each venue is evaluated separately by taking the value of the die and dividing it by the number of trucks present there.  The result is the amount of income earned by each truck.

Five rounds are conducted in the same fashion, and the player with the most money becomes the food truck titan, winning the game.

The game does include a deck of “Daily Specials,” which can be used as a variant to add some variety to the proceedings.  Two cards are revealed each round, with the cards affecting certain venues. There are a wide variety of effects, including adding value to a venue, preventing a venue from being closed, allowing multiple rerolls, etc.  All of the cards have humorous names, as do the action cards of the players.

Truck Off’s advantages are that it is relatively fast—a full five-round game can be played in about 45 minutes or so—and it is fun.  That last advantage, though, certainly depends upon the tastes of the players. The game certainly has a large element of luck, particularly in the dice rolls, but also has the element of chance in that one cannot control or accurately predict the truck placement or card play of his opponents.  There is a large degree of uncertainty, and much is beyond a player’s control. Careful planning can easily be upset by an opponent’s play of a card. This type of uncertainty is not to everyone’s liking.

Turn order can also be important, as going later during a round has a distinct advantage as opponents will be unable to react or respond to your card play.

In spite of these factors, the game does have its moments, as the timely play of a card can yield handsome profits and/or cause opponents to moan in grief.  While the game can accommodate up to six players, there is more control when playing with three or four players.

The game is likely to have more appeal to folks who enjoy the “take that!” feature, whereas folks who prefer games with more control and less randomness will likely not be impressed.  Fortunately, the game does play rather quickly, so it can be used as a harmless filler between meatier fare. Just like the offerings from many food trucks, Truck Off likely won’t be what you choose when seeking gourmet fare, but it can be one of those guilty pleasures you tend to enjoy on occasion!

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