Dinner in Paris swept through Instagram about six months ago as review copies dropped around the globe. It was not on my radar until that point, so I didn’t have a copy dropping through my mailbox. I didn’t have FOMO, it was clear… I was properly missing out. This board game had miniature buildings and looked gorgeous. It’s okay I told myself, I will just buy it. So, I went to buy it… it was not for sale… ANYWHERE. I waited. And I waited more. Until it suddenly just appeared in a new board game store. I bagged a copy straight away and to support a new board game store put some other things in my basket… be rude not too right?
So you don’t have to be Poirot to gather I was a little excited to try this one. But what might surprise you is my lack of food puns in this introduction. I surprised myself if I’m honest.
The board is double sided, one side is for two player games, the other for two to four player games. Place the buildings nearby. If this is your first time playing you will need to factor in more time for stickers and attaching the roofs.
Each player choses a colour: yellowy-orange, red, blue and errr blue! They put their property tiles to one side. Then, before you get to play Dinner in Paris, each player must arrange a wealth of squares on their personal board. Chat while doing it and try to ignore the tedium of the task and it will be over in no time. Shuffle the various decks of cards and place them in the relevant places on the board. Deal four resource cards to each player and turn over a common pool of these in the relevant area of the board. Also pick a card for end of game scoring majorities. Finally, deal each player two hidden objective cards, they keep one which becomes a personal objective and put the discarded one face up in the common objective area.
You are now ready to play!
On your turn you will draw a resource card, either from a face up card in the common pool or blind from the draw pile. You will then perform two further actions, these can be a combination of things:
Draw another resource card, a fairly self-explanatory action.
Open a restaurant, if you have enough matching resources you can open a restaurant.
Build terraces, plot your domination of the square to meet objectives, income permitting.
Or, you can complete a personal or common objective.
That really is how it plays: collect cards to build restaurants, which give you income that you use to buy terraces to complete objectives!
The game continues until either a certain number of restaurants have been places, a player has played terrace tiles from two restaurant categories or it is no longer possible to legally place restaurants or terraces on the board. Points are then scored to decide the victor. These are awarded for restaurants, terraces, majorities and objectives.
What it’s like
Setting up is a bit of a faff, particularly the terraces on your individual player board, but that will soon be forgotten when you have played, because this tedium is rewarded with a really fun game. So much so, I have added this paragraph in after writing the rest of the review!
With the limited actions on your turn, this game is delectably simple to teach and learn. Income remaining the same every round, terraces and the cascading bonuses need a little more attention, but generally it is as tricky as Ticket to Ride to teach. In that regard Dinner in Paris is a very good entry level game. For me it adds a little more strategy into the mix, than the Days of Wonder classic, but it still has a soupçon of ‘take that’ if you want.
Play, like a condiment, moves swiftly round the table at two or three players. Most of the downtime can be spent planning where your terraces will go, or how you will capitalise on a bonus. At four players it is a little harder to plan your turn and as a result a little bit slower. I therefore think I prefer it at two and three players, but there isn’t a lot in it.
There are a few strategies that seem to work and none overpower another from my experience. The point salad approach to scoring generally means games are tight and you won’t know who has won until the end. I always like that in a game as it gives hope, even if it turns out to be crushing false hope like a clove of garlic!
I feel like I need to find a negative and if there is one, it is that the gorgeous buildings that go around the edge of the board can make it difficult to see where you should lay terraces or how best to get a bonus. Would I dispose of the restaurants to solve this? Absolutely not, that would be lunacy! Instead I lift my bum off the chair and stare down onto the town square.
Dinner in Paris excels in providing a feast for the eyes. The starter consists of one of the prettiest boards around. The artwork, tone and setting is almost perfect. Had their been a place for the Pigeon card discard pile on the board it would be the very best. The fact it is double-sided claws this minor imperfection back.
The main course comes with the delightful restaurant buildings that players claim throughout the course of the game and are arranged around the edge of the board. Now I hate applying stickers to the point of it almost being a phobia. However, while the stickers are painful to stick on, the end result is so worth it you will probably start to forgive the game for it after a handful of times. Mine also came with a bonus sheet of stickers, this may be an accident but it was a happy one, for if ever the stickers start to peel off.
The dessert is the dual layered player boards and card design which are all brilliant and round the proverbial board game meal to a satisfying finale.
The colours in Dinner in Paris are interesting. I love the palette but I am not sure how they would fare if someone was colour deficient. The other quirk is the lack of a box insert, it is generally surprising! The little bit of card that masquerades as an insert seems entirely superfluous. Perhaps that’s just me. Oh there is a score pad though so that’s good!
Final thoughts on Dinner in Paris
Keeping on theme, there is certainly plenty to amuse your bouche in Dinner in Paris. Your taste buds will tingle with delight at the stunning production.
This board game is a dream to learn. The layers of strategy then come to the fore with subsequent plays, just like the warmth of a chilli presenting itself after a mouthful of something spicy.
Dinner in Paris may not quite win a Michelin star. It does however deserve its place in the Board Game Review Hall of Fame as it is a delectable delight of a game. I thoroughly recommend playing it if ever you get the chance.
At the time of writing, the publishers, Funnyfox, have just announced an expansion ‘Battle of the Chefs’, but very little information surrounding that has been published yet… we will have to wait and see how much it changes the game. Rumour has it that delivery drivers or food trucks will add to the unpredictability of your opponents moves.
Number of players: 2 to 4
Board Game Review Recommended Age: 10+
Publisher’s Recommended Age: 10+
Playing Time: 15 minutes
Setting Up and Take Down Time: 6 minutes
Designers: The Trolls
Publisher: Funny Fox Games
Dinner in Paris is a magnificent board game. A gastronomical Ticket To Ride with arguably a little more to it, allowing it to appeal to seasoned gamers and those relatively new to the board game hobby alike. With quality gameplay and a beautiful production, Dinner in Paris is certainly worthy of your attention.
Artwork and Components
Value for Money
- Gorgeous to look at
- Light enough for those new to the hobby
- Strategic depth
- Good value for money
- Balanced and varied routes to victory
- Expansion available (soon)
- Works better at two and three players
- Can encourage a bit of take that
- No box insert
- Tedious setting up individual player boards at start
- Putting stickers on the buildings!
Need more games?
If you already own Dinner in Paris and enjoy it, or are looking for other inspiration, you might also like these similar games:
- Ticket to Ride
- Century Golem Edition
- Marvel Splendor
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