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Fish Cook - Board Game Box Shot

Fish Cook

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Fish Cook header

It's Paris, and it's 1909. You are a master chef, just graduated from the city's most prestigious cooking school.

And so are your enemies.

Fish Cook is a board game about cooking fish. Players vie to become the best chefs in France by earning money, prestige, and the respect of their peers. (And since it's a board game, prestige and respect are conveniently measured in money.)

Fish Cook is an original board game by James Ernest, brand new in the summer of 2013. The game takes place over several "days," which are divided into a morning and evening. In the morning, players take turns buying ingredients from the markets, and in the evening, they take turns cooking recipes. You can cook your own secret recipes, or you can copy good ideas from the recipes that have been cooked before.

The strategy of the game revolves around spending your money wisely. The market price of each type of ingredient goes up as it becomes more scarce. So you need to make buying decisions that get your ingredients as cheaply as possible. There is also some risk management: you can use a bigger fish for a smaller recipe, but you might have paid too much for it. And if you don't cook a fish by the end of the day, you have to throw it away. Is it worth the risk to buy a big fish first, and possibly waste it on an inferior dish?

Fish Cook game elements

With simple rules and nuanced game play, Fish Cook really is one of the best games in the Cheapass Games catalog. If you'd like to read more, and even print the game for yourself, check out the free version of Fish Cook.

Fish Cook also has a charming fake history. In this alternate reality, the game was invented in 1909 by a French chef named Jacques de Flandres. It inspired a series of popular cooking games in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Fish Cook itself was copied without permission by a Japanese game publisher in 1994, and Cheapass Games has acquired the English language rights to the Japanese edition. This explains why the game is filled with sushi dishes even though it is supposedly set in France.

If you'd like to read more about Fish Cook, check out the Designer Diary here.

NOTE: A Kickstarter campaign to create a digital edition of the game was successfully funded on September 6, 2014.

images © Cheapass Games

User Reviews (1)

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Greater Than Games fan
42 of 48 gamers found this helpful
“One of the best Cheapass games. . .and a whole lot of fun”

I have been playing this game for quite a while now. I played it since it was print and play and it is always a hit. I have found it goes well with my gamer group and as well as with family. It is a funny game and a strategic game as well. It is a game of being a fish cook and gathering your fish and ingredients in the morning and then cooking what you can in the evening and earning money for doing so. The art is cartoon-y and recipes have somewhat realistic and some funny names. It plays fast and fun. The fish market and ingredient market are both determined by a set of dice for each which are rolled and placed in the line that matches the numbers rolled.
The players buy ingredients one at a time until one runs out and then each player gets one more buy. And the person that caused the end of the buying phase becomes the first to cook. Each player starts off with a hand of family recipes that you can work on as well as the face up recipes in the cooking school. In the cooking school, you can buy the face up recipes, buy a random recipe from the top of the cooking school deck or just prepare one of the cooking school recipes in the evening and therefore claiming it from the cooking school. Also, once players have prepared a recipe from their hand they place it on the table to indicate that it is now on their menu. When a recipe is on a player’s menu they can re-make it multiple times, and other players can also prepare it and they make the money and have the ability to steal it and add it to their own menu. This matters because at the end of the game the player with the most of a size of a recipe will get a bonus. Each recipe has an amount a player gets paid when they prepare it and also a bonus amount. The bonus amount is only awarded when you prepare a recipe from your hand, one in your menu and when you buy from the cooking school. If you take a recipe from the cooking school instead of buying it, you get no money. If you cook a recipe in another players’ menu you get the paid amount but the owner gets the bonus, but you get the opportunity to steal it by rolling a die and if it equals or is more than the size of the recipe you steal it.
The players will prepare recipes one at a time going around until no one can prepare a meal and then you move the round marker and re-roll all the dice and start the next day. You play for 5 days and at the end of the game the player with the most money is the winner.


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