In Safranito, each player is a chef trying to collect the necessary spices to create spice blends. The spices are limited, so each chef must haggle to get what they want. Rather than a traditional verbal battle, players must haggle by using strategy and dexterity as they throw their different valued chips onto the spice board.
It is this added element of chip throwing, combined with simple rules and quick gameplay, that makes this game fresh and appealing to a wide audience. Maybe your not as skilled at managing your money to buy and sell spices… you can still come out on top with some good chip throws!
Gameplay & Components
Your goal is to be the first to collect three spice blends. At the beginning of each round, a limited number of spice cards are drawn and placed next to board. These are the only spices available to buy.
The board is nice and thick, and wonderfully illustrated. There are nine large spice bowl spaces and four special action spaces which are smaller and more difficult to land on. There is also a raised edge around the board that will stop chips from falling off, which can even be used strategically during a throw. Just be careful you don’t throw your chip too hard causing it to bounce over the edge!
The more chips on the board when it is your turn to throw, the more interesting the game gets. Think of a game of billiards when there are lots of balls on the table, and you’re trying to get the cue ball so it lands just where you want it to.
Each player is given six chips, similar in shape and size to poker chips. They have a nice weight to them because their centers are metal. One side is blank and the other side has a value (10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60).
Taking turns, each player chooses one of their chips (not showing the other players what the value is) and throws it, value face down, onto the board. Then the next player throws a chip, and so on, until each player has thrown three or four of their chips depending on how many people are playing.
All the action happens during the chip throwing phase:
• Want to sell a spice at a high price? Throw your highest valued chip on that spice’s bowl. If there are other chips in the way, you will have to use skill to get it there.
• See someone with a chip on a spice bowl that will complete a set they are working on? Toss your chip at theirs with the hopes that it knocks theirs out!
• Think you’ve got your chips where you want them? Just wait until the other players throw theirs.
Once the chips have been thrown, special actions are performed. Special actions include throwing an extra chip, drawing cards and becoming the first player. Players then sell spices they’ve collected, buy spices that are available, and complete spice blends. Since everyone is working towards the same spice blends, it is important to make sure you complete it before someone else. Only two or three (based on the number of players) spice blends are worked on at a time. Once a blend is completed, a new blend is drawn at the start of the next round.
At the start of a new round, new spices are added to the board in addition to any spices left from the last round. Play continues round after round, until a player wins by being the first to collect their three spice blends.
Who would enjoy this game?
Families will find high appeal in the simple rules, wonderfully illustrated components and familiar set collection mechanic. Children will especially enjoy the chip throwing.
The social crowd will find that this game keeps everyone talking and interacting. Everyone is watching with anticipation as chips are thrown to see what happens and plan what to do next.
Casual and avid gamers will enjoy developing their chip throwing skills. There is also plenty of strategy both in how you play and how you adapt based on what other players do.
This is also a great game to bring out and play with friends and family that don’t usually play games.
I found it very hard to find faults with this game. Younger children may have difficulty choosing which chip values to throw. They also may need assistance with the strategies behind buying and selling.
In terms of gameplay, it can get frustrating to see your well tossed chips get bumped out of their spaces by other players.
As far as the components go, I found that the box insert failed to hold some of the components in place if you tipped the box sideways or upside down.
During each play through you’ll be refining your chip throwing skills. But no matter how refined, the chip throwing rounds are full of unpredictable results. This gives Safranito very high replay value. The quality of components was also very impressive. All of that, combined with a game that a wide variety of people will enjoy makes this a game worth adding to your collection.
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