Card Game Review: Wok on Fire

A few days back, I sat down with my son to try out Green Couch Games’ Wok on Fire with Gabe, my 8-year-old son. This is one we’ll be playing for years to come.

In Wok on Fire, each person takes a spatula playing card, then spreads the rest of the cards face down out in the center of the table in a messy circular shape. Each person then gets a chance to flip cards using their spatulas, and picking up cards to create sets. The sets are meals you’re assembling, which reminds me a lot of Sushi Go, and would play well alongside it (I do understand that the food in Wok on Fire is Chinese and Sushi Go is Japanese, yes.)

I’m a big fan of dexterity games, especially with kids. I’ve found that if we’re playing a card game together where we’re holding hands of cards, my son gets distracted and begins fiddling with his cards. In the case of dexterity games, he stays engaged when it’s not his turn, in order to see how badly his dad fumbles around trying to flip cards. We found that if you weren’t careful in reaching under cards to flip, you’d push the whole stack across the table, which led to me pushing the pile back toward the center.

The art is great throughout the game, with cute faces on the food, and a nice, simple design. Each of the cards is easily and quickly identified by type with the colored backgrounds to help make scoring easier. Each corner of the card also features tiny colored dots, because you need three of four corners visible in order to flip a card. The dots help you identify if you can see the corners.

One nit-pick is that the packaging is actually really difficult to open. The two box pieces are very tight, and there isn’t any kind of cut-out on the top box part to allow you to easily open the box. It takes a bit of wiggling to get it loose.

I had come up with a similar idea a few years back, involving flipping cards using another card, which involved a burger joint. I showed it off to Michael of Clay Crucible Games, and it was rough, needing a lot more work, but feasible. This game figures out all of the problems I was trying to work out in my own game, and does it nicely.

If you like dexterity games, kid friendly games, and/or games with food with faces, pick this one up. You’ll have a lot of fun.

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