English language edition
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Here a salami pizza, there a Bombastica. Hey, who stole the cheese! As Pizza makers, the players put ingredients on the table. From time to time a player may place an order on the table, thinking the needed ingredients are available. If they are, the pizza is made, if not -- disappointment. Thoughtful tactics, a pinch of luck and a pound of memory can bring victory! Mamma Mia is an easy, but unusual card game, which whets the appetite!
If you had a great memory but no ability to form a strategy then you would not win this game. On the flip side, all strategy and no memory won't win either.
People say that this game only depends on if you can remember what's in the pile. Waiting for ingredients to fill your order. That's not true. The way the game mechanics work, if you put an order in now (that lacks 1 ingredient) you can still fill the order later (save that ingredient). You can have the remaining ingredient now and not play it. You might even play the order in hopes of getting the ingredient later.
With a lot of that going on, you don't know what's in the pile anymore. For example: The person before me just played an order that takes all of the peppers that I need if it goes through. But I know that the order is short two mushrooms. I can play my order now since I figure that the previous order will not make it through. However, if that person adds mushrooms at the end of the round, I won't have my peppers and my order won't go through. I should probably save some peppers for the end of the round when I might need them.
I've seen two orders fail because someone forgot to keep ingredients and the third order (which I was sure wouldn't make it) was the one that was filled.
Yeah, I'll agree that this isn't the best strategy game. There is too much luck, memory, etc. to make it a game of skill. Still, I think that it makes for a great family game. The rules aren't too complicated and it keeps people involved. If you get up to get a drink, you probably lost the round.
I just had to rebuff what was said in a previous review. This game works great for two players. (Mike from Arizona, are you sure you're taking out the right number of ingredient cards before playing the game? It should be almost impossible for both players to finish all 8 orders).
We haven't played this game enough for me to give it 5 stars, but our preliminary experience with this game suggests it's a winner.
Mamma Mia achieves that delicate balance that is characteristic of the best games. It's easily explained, players can get right into the action on their first try, but the game offers much to think about. The combination of deep thought and easy rules is a terrific quality for any game.
In Mammia Mia, players hold hands of cards that have displayed on them pictures of ingredients, as well as orders that must be filled. On their turns, players contribute ingredients to the oven. When they think the necessary ingredients are in the oven to fill an order they're holding, they submit the order, too. It's a race to see who can fill the largest number of their orders in 3 rounds.
Some of the criticisms of the game here describe it as overly reliant on memory and card-counting. Yes, it's helpful in this game to watch the cards as they're played, count them, and remember them. But there are so many reasons why memory is only part of the equation here.
1) First, simply counting the cards and playing an order when the ingredients are all in the stack is not the optimal strategy for winning. One of the elements of the game is that when an order is revealed, it can be filled not only if all of the ingredients have appeared before it in the oven, but also if the player has enough cards in his hand at the end to fill an order. Thus, the right play most of the time is to try to work out the probabilities that you're going to draw a given number of cards of the right ingredient and thus have them in your hand by the round's end. An intuitive feel for probabilities in card games is at least as valuable as memory in this regard, and will enable you to beat your opponents to the punch in getting orders down. And doing so is a double-edged sword. On the plus side, you get an order in and use the ingredients. On the downside, you've now committed your 'future hand' as to the cards it must contain. Do this too much, and you'll have problems getting the cards you need because you'll be afraid to let go of other cards you can't afford to discard.
2) There's far too much to keep track of unless you're Steven Hawking. A reasonably intelligent person can keep track of the cards played in five categories of ingredients as the round goes. But now orders start coming in. Now you've got multiple sets of orders to keep track of. In order to figure out the ingredients available for future orders, you have to subtract out the ingredients of the order just placed (assuming it can be filled.) But then you need to also remember the total number of each ingredients played, without subtracting those cards, in order to guess the chances of your still drawing one you need of a particular type. And on top of all that, there's often no certainty as to what cards will be used for an order. If an opponent plays the Pizza Minimale or Monotoni card, you may not know what ingredient will be used to fill the order, and to what extent it will rely on cards from that player's hand. Let's face it, that ain't simple card-counting. There are too many possibilities out there even before accounting for the fact that your opponents may have screwed up their orders and some cards may still be in the stack that you assume are gone.
3) There is plenty of strategy and tactics in this game apart from card-counting. The last game I played, I lost because I didn't get any cards of my personal ingredient, because my opponent had gotten lucky in holding them, then played them all at once in a Bombastica, so that they disappeared from availability to me. Making sure that you don't put down useful cards for your opponents is critical, as is monitoring the numbers of cards you put down. Also, should you pick up orders or ingredients? In my first few tries, I have burned myself by getting too ambitious in holding multiple orders in my hand, when I really needed greater flexibility in pulling ingredients I was relying on getting.
And all of this just scratches the surface. This is not a light game -- it's played quickly, but there is an opportunity for major brain-burn, between all of the card-counting and number-churning, bluffing and basic tactics. It takes a few plays to figure out the stategic use of the Bombastica order, when to gamble on future draws and when to play only based on what's in the stack, and many other subtleties. Perhaps the game will run dry of possibilities for us before is apparent at this point, but right now it appears as though Mamma Mia is a fascinating exercise that will reward repeat plays.
Mamma mia, lotsa' pizza! Players take turns stacking ingredient cards on the discard pile. Attenzione! Slap down an order card if you think it can be delivered. Hands are replenished from the ingredient stack or your individual order pile, but not both. When all ingredient cards have been discarded, the pile is turned over and cards laid out one at a time. When an order shows up, the owner collects the cards if it can be filled from those that have been played-with extra toppings from cards in hand if needed. Ingredients for unsuccessful orders remain on the table to fill subsequent ones. You win in this busy but hilarious restaurant with the most pizzas after three deals. A taste for Italian food is not essential, but definitely enhances the fun. Mangia!
Bohnanza and Schnäppchen Jagd are two Uwe Rosenberg card games that use a light-hearted theme to front for a game with depth and subtle strategies. Mamma Mia follows in the light-hearted flavor of these two but the end result is a game that, while fun to play, is definitely lighter weight.
Making pizzas is the name of the game here, and each player has eight orders to fill over three rounds. Some of the pizzas require a specific mix of toppings, while others use specific quantities of any of the five different ingredients. (As a nice touch, the five player colors match up with the five ingredients: green for pepper, red for pepperoni, etc.) Game play is simple: on your turn, you must play ingredient cards (as many as you want, but only of one type) and may play a single order card, then refill your hand to seven cards. When someone picks the single Mamma Mia card, they get the duty to score the cards at the end of the round.
After the deck runs out, the Mamma Mia player turns the deck upside down and starts to sort the cards by ingredient. As orders come up, they are "filled" by the ingredients in the sort, and can be supported with cards from the order-maker's hand. Filled orders get put aside, short orders get put back in the player's order stack, and after three rounds of this the player with the most filled orders wins.
Simple concept, but there are some nice touches that add to the strategy of the game. When filling your hand back to seven, you can pick from the ingredient stack or your own order stack, but not both. You need orders to fill, but at the end of the round you want to be holding ingredients to help fill out those short orders. The order mix is well designed. Several pizzas require a definite mix, while a few can use any ingredient in a specific number. The "Pizza Minimale", for example, requires one specific ingredient and three of the ingredient with the fewest in the sort stack at that time. The "Pizza Bombastica" needs 15 total ingredients in any combination to complete, but additionally uses more cards if they exist in the sort, clearing the cards sorted up to that point.
Good memory is required to win this game, but it is much more than a memory game. The more players, the harder it is to successfully lay the pizza you want since others will play orders using the ingredients. You can help your own cause, of course ("three pineapples, and the pineapple pizza") but need to closely watch both the ingredients played and the orders placed. The Mamma Mia player card is interesting; more than just the scoring designator, it also determines the start player for the next round. Since ingredients not used in the round are carried over into the next, this is significant. If Mamma Mia is close by, you likely benefit from having order cards in your hand at the end of the round, so that the right one can be played at the start of the next round to optimize the ingredients left over. Otherwise, you may be better off holding more ingredients to help fill the orders placed in that round.
In play, the game is fast and fun. Usually many more orders are placed than can be filled, as there is no direct penalty for an unfilled order. Interaction is common and encouraged, and clearly conflicting orders often create a verbal spar between the two chefs. For some strange psychological reason, players feel compelled to speak in bad Italian accents, adding to the light-hearted feel. The scoring is part of the fun and tension, as cards are placed and orders pop up. Will you have the extra cards needed to complete the Pizza Maximale you placed? Will the next guy's Bombastica wipe out the olives you were counting on?
I've played Mamma Mia with dozens of different people and it is hard not to have fun. It is not Rosenberg's best effort, but should be on your game shelf.