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Too Many Cooks
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Store:  Family Games, Card Games
Edition:  Too Many Cooks
Theme:  Food & Beverage
Genre:  Set Collection
Format:  Card Games

Too Many Cooks

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 30-45 minutes 2-5

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Manufacturer(s): R&R Games

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Product Description

Mmmm... Nothing tastes like a good bowl of soup... Especially when everyone's cooking in the same pot!

Each chef secretly picks a different soup to make and races to finish it first. It's a hot competition in the kitchen as everyone tries to make their soup without too many crazy ingredients. But with only one pot, who knows what you'll end up with!

Be the first to complete the soup by playing enough cards to fill the pot and win the coveted gourmet stars. The more your soup tastes like the recipe you're trying to make, the more stars you'll collect!

Remember, Too Many Cooks can spoil the soup... but a hot chili pepper can ruin the whole pot!

Product Information


  • 52 Soup cards
  • 25 Menu cards
  • 36 Gourmet chips

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.3 in 3 reviews

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Cook Up Something Good with The Folks!
April 11, 2004

THE prolific game designer Knizia takes a bit of slack from the BG community for his lighter works. Every game can't be T&E! Where he loses hipness points with the hardcore community, he delivers the goods to the casual gamer and/or family member.With Too Many Cook delivers enough novel twists to the trick taking game and that crucial 'take that' feel that most casual card players love! Sure, the components could be better. That said the light hearted artwork is along the lines of Bohnanza, though not as strong. All I know is this game really appeals to the casual gamer and makes an excellent opener. Ideal for family members who find all this German BG stuff abit weird. That said, it doesn't feel like work to me.

With the asymmetrical nature of the tricks themselves and the little tics of overall play, there is enough to keep you entertained as long as you don't mind a little luck of the draw. The relative inexpensiveness of the game versus the number of times I've played this game has made this a good purchase. If you don't like card games there is nothing here for you. But then again when is the last time you played a game with your family?

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Decent game, awful components
September 03, 2003

I consider myself to be a good teacher of games, and yet when I tried to teach this one to my wife there was something about it that she just could not grasp. Maybe she was tired, maybe I had an off night as a teacher, but still she could not grasp the basics of this relatively simple game. For what is essentially a trick taking game with some slightly different mechanics, we sure had a lot of trouble...

At its core though is a good game. As mentioned in Greg Schlosser's review, this game has a strong screw factor. This should make it a good choice for a more raucous casual gaming group or for VERY good friends. While not one of Dr. Knizia's best efforts, it is worth playing.

The components on the other hand are pretty bad. The box is far too big, as mentioed earlier, and seems to have been designed that way simply to make it seem more substantial and give it more presence of gaming store shelves. The cards themselves are flimsy and evena few playings are going to cause noticeable wear and tear. The ideal version of this would have put the emphasis on quality cards rather than the box it came in.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Fun in the Kitchen
November 13, 2002

Designed by: Reiner Knizia

Released by: R&R Games

Players: 3 5

Time: 1 1 hours

Review by: Greg J. Schloesser

No, this isnt Andy Merritts homemade design from last year. Rather, it is the latest new card game from Reiner Knizia, released by R&R Games. I understand that R&R acquired the legal rights to the name, but the use of the same name as Andys game will undoubtedly cause some confusion in the minds of gamers.

I first played this game in prototype form at 2001s Gathering of Friends and enjoyed the experience. The game received very good response from nearly everyone who played, so Frank DiLorenzo was confident he would release it under the R&R Games label. Well, that day has finally come and the theme and mechanics remain intact. That is a good thing, as the game is VERY good.

I hesitate calling this a trick-taking game. Although it does bear some similarities, there are some very novel twists and mechanics which, to me, give it a different feel. Often, it is a trick-avoidance game. It also bears some similarities to Was Sticht, a game with which I wasnt overjoyed. The package here, however, is much more enjoyable.

Players represent cooks attempting to make four different types of soups (French onion, pea, mushroom and chili pepper) and, on one day (round), avoid making any soup. To properly make a soup, of course, you must include the best ingredients suitable to the type of soup you are attempting to cook.

The main deck of cards consists of 52 cards in four main suits (chili, mushroom, French onion and pea). The latter three suits each contain values of 0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 10 and a 0 Boil Over. The chili suit contains 2 cards of each value 1 5. The artwork on the cards is delightful, displaying the talents of John Veeter and Scott Fleenor. The pair also worked on Tin Soldiers, also released by R&R Games.

Each player also receives a set of 5 menu cards, depicting the four soups to be made and one No Soup Today card. The latter must be spoken using your best Soup Nazi voice. The Soup Nazi is a humorous character from the Seinfeld TV series. OK, you really dont have to mimic that voice, but it is fun to do so!

The contents are completed by an assortment of scoring tokens.

The cards in the main deck are thoroughly mixed and dealt to the players. Each player also receives a set of menu cards and five points worth of scoring tokens.

Each player examines his hand of cards and decides on what type of soup he will attempt to make this round. Of course, he can opt to make no soup. Each player plays the appropriate menu card face-down, then everyone simultaneously reveals them. If a player is attempting to make a pea, French onion or mushroom soup, then he should attempt to collect as many of the corresponding type of ingredient as possible. However, they should avoid at all costs collecting chili peppers, as these ruin these types of soups. For example, if a player is attempting to cook a mushroom soup, he should try to collect as many mushroom cards as possible. Collecting peas and French onions wont hurt you, but they wont help, either. Collecting peppers, however, are nasty and result in negative points and, presumably, unsatisfied customers.

If, however, you are attempting to cook a chili pepper soup, than you want all of the peppers you can grab. You also dont mind grabbing mushrooms, peas or French onions, as these ingredients wont hurt or help you. However, you should avoid collecting the 0 bouillon cards as they really spoil a good chili pepper soup and result in negative points.

Finally, if you desire to make no soup, then avoid ALL cards. This is the toughest task, but is quite satisfying when you accomplish it.

The basic mechanic of the game is similar to a traditional trick-taking game. The start player plays a card to the table and each player must follow suit, if possible. When the value of the cards in the center of the table reaches 10 or above, the player who played the final card which caused the collection to reach or exceed 10 points takes all of the cards into his pot. This is a good thing if the cards correspond to the type of soup you are making. For example, if you are attempting to cook a pea soup this round and you collect a stack of cards with several peas in it, than youve done well!

If a player cannot play a card that matches the lead ingredient, he is free to play ANY card. If a player plays a chili pepper, then ALL players are free to play ANY card from that point forward. This is akin to mass chaos and makes successfully completing your objective very difficult. However, it does allow players to have more control over their hand of cards.

The only other card of note is the 0 boil-over card. When this card is played, it re-sets the count of the hand to zero. This can certainly get you out of a jam (err soup) when you are trying to avoid taking a collection of cards, but since it re-sets the count to zero, it also creates the possibility of causing the hand to get back to you, facing you with the same dilemma!

Play continues until one player depletes his hand of cards. Once play returns to that player and he cannot play a card, the round ends. Players sort their cards, scoring 1 point for each card they collected that corresponds to the type of soup they are attempting to cook. However, if they are cooking mushroom, pea or French onion soup, they must subtract 1 point for each chili pepper they collected. If they were attempting to make chili soup, then they subtract 1 point for each bouillon card they collected.

If the player was attempting to NOT make soup this round and did not collect any cards, he receives 5 points. For each card he collected, however, he loses one point. He can even lose more than 5 points if he collected an abundance of cards, forcing the player to surrender previously collected points. Negative scores are not allowed, however.

The game is played over 5 rounds, with each player making his four soups and one No Soup over the course of the 5 rounds. The player with the most points after five rounds is named Master Chef.

Like any good trick-taking game, properly managing your hand is the key to success. Sometimes you are forced to play a certain card, but more often than not you have options. Exercising these options to garner the greatest reward is key, as is keeping your play options flexible. Possessing several 0 cards can get you out of jams and could be the signal to attempt to play your No Soup Today card.

The game is extremely entertaining, as players attempt to collect cards they desire and slam their opponents with unwanted peppers or bouillon. Players also derive sadistic pleasure from sticking their opponents who are attempting to not cook a soup with an abundance of cards. Nothing more fun than a despondent chef at least in this game!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

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