Raid the Pantry
If I’ve been told once, I’ve been told a thousand times…”Stay out of my kitchen!” I make a mean homemade Hamburger Helper and can heat up Chef Boyardee like no one’s business, yet Jennifer is intent in cooking everything on her own. I’ve honored her wishes mainly so that I don’t show her up…give me a moment while I lock the door…and so that the kids don’t get spoiled by my cooking. I don’t want to toot my own horn or anything, but Gordon Ramsay once asked for my autograph. True story.
Okay, maybe only the above first two sentences were true, but I can dream right? Luckily, I can play with all of the ingredients I want and make dishes to my heart’s content via a card game that was recently added to my collection. Before we get started with the usual review format, I’d like to take a minute and thank Julia Schiller from SchilMil Games, Ltd. for reaching out to me and sending me a review copy. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because I recently reviewed a “save the animals” themed game that they sent to me by the name of Komodo. Feel free to check out that review once you are done here!
Cards – Cards are the only component in this game (besides the manual), but they come in a wide variety of flavors. There are “Ingredient cards”, “Action cards”, “Dish cards”, and “Ingredient Distribution cards”. To sum up what they do, players will be using ingredient cards to play and score dishes via the dish cards. Action cards affect gameplay in various ways and the ingredient distribution cards serve as a guide and list out all of the ingredients in the game.
The dish, action, and ingredient cards are shuffled separately and placed in the middle of the table. Three ingredient cards are drawn and form the “Rubbish Pile”, though the cards are laid out so that they overlap each other. My son and I found it easier to arrange them in groups of six. This is done so that players can see how many cards are in the rubbish pile, but more on that later. Each player gets six ingredient cards and three dish cards. The youngest player goes first.
On a player’s turn, they get to do the following:
1) Take an action card. -OR-
2) Place two ingredient cards from your hand into the rubbish pile and draw one new ingredient card.
In addition to the normal flow of play, players must keep the following in mind:
-If a player has less than four ingredients in their hand, they may take two ingredient cards in addition to the action card.
-Some action cards force players to act immediately while others can be held onto.
-A player may also lay down a dish and its required ingredients from their hand to score and lock in ingredients for future dishes, much like in the game of Rummy.
-For every dish a player lays down, that many dish cards are drawn from the draw pile.
-If the rubbish pile exceeds twelve cards, the six oldest ingredients are shuffled back into the ingredient draw pile. (This is why I mentioned earlier that we found it easier to group them by sixes)
-Wild cards can be used to substitute for any ingredient, but players can steal them by placing the ingredient that the wild card represents in place of it.
-The salt ingredient card can be played with any dish to give that player an extra point.
Scoring & Endgame
Laying down dishes will score players points. Players score extra points for laying down dishes of the same type (or cuisine). The first person to reach the designated point value (which changes depending on how many are playing) wins the game!
While I didn’t cover ALL of the rules, the above should give you a general idea of how the game is played and what you’d be in for.
The first thing I noticed right away about “Raid the Pantry” was the pictures included on the cards themselves. They are real honest to gosh photos which probably took a lot of doing. One photo in particular had me cracking up…that is…the picture of the guy on the dumpster diving card. I also appreciated that the creators of this game mentioned his name and title on the back of the manual as “Tester and Dumpster Diver Extraordinaire.” The cards also include translations of the food as well as facts that educate the player about them. I had no idea that a cow’s milk clocked in at a pH of 6.4 to 6.8, for example.
The learning curve wasn’t high at all…it took me roughly a half hour of reviewing the manual to get a good idea of how the game was played. With the proper coaching, my son Vinnie (11) was ready to play within minutes. The game doesn’t take that long to play either, which makes it an appealing candidate for a quick pick up and play game. Its portable size allows it to be ideal for travel. Clean up was very easy…another reason why it would fare well for when you are out and about.
While a lot of the game is luck driven in drawing the ingredients you need, the action cards help to mix things up. Some action cards allow players to swap ingredients while others allow players to draw ingredients they need from various sources. The dish exchange action card is probably the key way to get bad dishes out of your hand, especially if you’ve seen other players discard ingredients that you needed to make it.
My son enjoyed the experience, mainly because he liked looking at all of the pictures and reading the facts about them. The game was simple for him to follow, so there weren’t any issues as far as rules were concerned. As for me, I enjoyed it because it was a casual game that I could easily bring out and play without too much preparation. Some of the Eurogames that I have take hours to set up and play…this game is quick and does what it sets out to do well. I recommend it for those who enjoy casual card games, as intense / competitive players suck the fun right out of these types of games. Raid the Pantry has a light and causal atmosphere, and it would be best played in that setting. Overall, it is a great addition to my ever-growing collection.
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can learn more about the game by visiting SchilMil Games, Ltd., the official Raid the Pantry game page, and Board Game Geek here:
You can purchase the game through the SchilMil Games Online Store here: