Review - Banquet Royal - A Feast for the Eyes!
Designer: Alain Rivollet
Artist: Vincent Joubert
Publisher: Bankiiiz Editions
BoardHoarders Weight Complexity 2/6
Banquet Royal is an excellent, fast paced family game which gets a recommendation from us here at BoardHoarders.
Players take on the role of cooks serving a royal court with delicious dishes. How these dishes complement each other depends on your own unique perspective..
Players are cooks rushing bountiful platters of food to a grand banquet table. Your goal in serving this royal court of comical characters, is to curry the most favour by the end of the game. You will do so by matching menu cards to the arrangement of foods as they appear on the grand banquet table.
Each of your menu card shows a combination of 3 food platters. The first step in a players turn is always to deliver a new item to the table. You will then have a chance of matching 3 platter combinations to one of your unique menus. In doing so you ensure that card will score you points at the end of the game. If you have a good memory, as an option on your turn you can guess and reveal one of several hidden platters placed round the table. This action can bag you some tasty end game points.
There is some strategy involved in drawing and completing your menu cards. They come in 3 grades of difficulty. It's a nice touch as it allows for some pattern variation and can act as a balancing mechanism when playing with inexperienced players.
The main mechanism in the game is undoubtedly pattern recognition but there is a 3 card hand limit rule and even a hint of worker placement. Each player will have 2 cook hats (Toques) that can be used to sub for any missing food item. Really it's a wild card…well...hat. So it is great way of finishing a tricky menu card, however you will then leave that ‘wild’ food item on the banquet table for others to use in later turns.
When the table is finally full of foodie treats all player will add up their menu points. Most point wins!
Experienced players can add up to 4 small variants to spice things up such as the ‘Gourmet Variant.’ At the end of the game this rule adds or even removes victory points for those holding menu majorities.
With only a 25 minute playtime Banquet Royal manages to introduce some subtle gaming mechanics in a way that can sometimes seem hard to explain in more established family games such as Takenoko or even a Ticket to Ride. As a result, we at BoardHoarders firmly believe it is an excellent ‘gateway game
In conclusion, it really is one of those games that anyone can play and should serve up fun for both old and new gamers alike.