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CHILL & CHILI

Lenny Herbert for Schmidt Spiele.  Players aged 8+  #Players # 2-5    Takes around30 minutes

The subtitle "Mit Wasser wird's krasser!" translates (via Google translator) as "With Water It Gets Crasser" which doesn't sound quite right to me but thankfully it doesn't affect the playing. The copy I have has only German rules and so I used Google to translate it and then tried to adjust the translation into a better (maybe not entirely or grammatically correct) version (published below). We can and do play games using my translation, whether we are playing exactly right I cannot say, but the kids enjoy it and we all have fun so it must be close.

Players take on the role of farmers cultivating vegetables to win Victory Points. Planting vegetables is one aspect of play, watering your fields is just as important, if not more.
 
CHILL & CHILI is another game to make use of the bottom half of the box as part of the game and not just to keep the components safe. The plastic insert has spaces to keep the cards and counters for storage but also has a circular dish which is the garden pond. A 3D Well (it's supposed to be a fountain but it looks more like a shallow Well - it really doesn't matter what you call it) has to be assembled prior to play and this sits safely in the pond without having to break it down when storing. The 20 'object' cards are shuffled separately from the Vegetable cards (which are also shuffled) and the game is setup to resemble what in the UK is known as an 'allotment' (it's possibly called the same in other countries too), a place where men like to go to get away from their wives, TV Soccer, and all their cares and worries; where they can potter around growing vegetable and showing off their marrows to each other.

  

The 20 Garden Object cards are split into 4 groups of 5 cards each. Scarecrow, Wheelbarrow, Fertilizer and Watering Can, each of these can be bought when they are on display and they give various advantages to the growing and selling of your crops. The Counters are double-sided with Water on one side and Coin on the other. When you receive a payment you can usually decide to take it in either Water or Coinage they may not take some of each from one instalment, it's ALL Cash or ALL Water.

The Vegetable cards are valued for Victory Points at 3 (Corn), 4 (Carrots), 5 (Tomatoes), 6 (Cauliflower - which happens to be my favourite veg' of all) and 8 (Chili Peppers) plus Pumpkins which are multi-valued depending on how many you have (1, 3, 5, 8, 12). These cards also have a number of leaves in their top Right and Left corners which show how many cards of the same type have to be laid at the same time for the vegetable to be planted. Pumpkin (1-5), Corn, Carrots, Tomatoes (x 2 cards each), Cauliflower and Chili Peppers (x 3 cards each). Personally I find the rules and strategies a little too complex for most 8 year olds unless they are playing as a 'partner' to an adult (with the older player making the majority of the decisions).

Although this is a family game with the lowest age recommended being eight years old, it is also a clever strategy game where players have to balance buying and selling and, to a point, begging, which is what it feels like when you have to use your Action option to take money after working so hard to create a fertile environment for your vegetable garden/allotment.

  

The 'sliding card' mechanic is used to reduce the cost (in coin) of the Vegetable cards, the highest cost being 4, then 3, 2 and 1 - if they want a 'free' card it works slightly different from most other games using this mechanism as instead of the 'free' card being at the far end of the conveyor belt it is the top (unseen) card of the Vegetable card deck; also as soon as a card is bought from the line it is immediately replaced by the next card along with the top card of the deck flipping over into the highest cost position.

CHILL & CHILI is a neat, fairly straightforward, fun game of card buying and set collecting, and playing is a very pleasant event with friends and family, but you should know that it can get quite interesting, and different, if one or two of the players are experienced gamers. If you are introducing it to new players who have never played a game in this genre you first have to sell them on the fun aspect of set collecting because Vegetables and Gardening aren't exactly exciting themes for a game. Normally I would expound about the beautiful illustrations, but to be honest these are better than adequate, good, but in the way that the artwork in a young child's storybook is good, but not in the way one nowadays generally expects a card based game to look.

As I have already said though, this is a game where you don't worry about how beautiful the cards look, they are simply a means to an end, like the cards in a regular Standard 52 card deck - you only look at the Numbers and Suits in a Standard deck. You are collecting Vegetables, it's hard to get mentally aroused in the hope that the next card turned over might be a Carrot. But I am taking the cards out of context here, the real fun is in making the correct decision at the right time. 

CHILL & CHILI looks nice. It is colourful and the quality of the cards and counters, as well as the Well (well Well!) and use of the box and insert which add interest. But for me personally it is a game that seems to have lost its way while looking for an identity. It isn't a great kid's game, it isn't a great strategy game and it is as much a family game as it is a gamer's game. Best described, I think, as a teenage game - not a game for teens especially but a game that you would find difficult (as I am) to categorise. I think it leans towards a gamer's game just a little more than a child's game but only by fractions. 

  

CHILL & CHILI : With Water It Gets Crasser (Games Gazette translation)  View the illustrations for examples etc in the German Rulebook.

Each player owns a farm and strives to cultivate as many high-yielding vegetables as possible in his fields. To do this, players need a certain number of vegetable cards, depending on the variety. The planted vegetables will later provide victory points. Players can get many victory points if they have watered their vegetables well. It means planting skilfully and draining off unnecessary water at the right moment.

The player who planted last will be the starting player. They place the tray over the box insert and the market tray onto the edge of the box (illustration page 3). 

Then they thoroughly mix all the vegetable cards and deal 5 face down to each player. Then two rows of 4 cards each are positioned adjacent to the Market (see picture). The remaining cards are placed as a face down draw pile on the corresponding field of the market tableau. Place the Price Strip between the two rows of cards so that 4-coin group is right next to the market. Assemble the fountain and place it at the end of the two rows of cards. The accessory cards are sorted into 4 stacks behind the well.

Each player receives 4 chips which they place with the money side up in front of themselves. With fewer than 5 players a different numbers of chips are removed and put back in the box. All remaining chips (with 5 players all) are placed with the water side up on the pond tableau.

Game Play:

Each player's turn always begins by pushing a water chip from the pond shelf into the pond. However, as this can easily be forgotten it is best to designated one player as the Gardener at the beginning of the game to remind everyone of this very first step of the Turn.

Then the player must perform one (1) of the following 3 action options:

A. Buy a ticket.

B. Plant vegetables or lay out accessories

C. Taking chips out of the pond

After completing one action it is the next player's turn clockwise.

Also this player begins his turn by first pushing 1 water chip into the pond.

A) Buy a ticket

The player has to decide if he wants to buy 1 accessory card or 1 vegetable card. If they choose an accessory card, they must throw the amount of money shown on the card into the well. Then they take the accessory card into their hand.   Players may only own each accessory once.

Example:
Nina buys 1 watering can, which she takes into her hand. For this she throws 1 coin into the well.
 

If the player chooses a vegetable card, they can either take the top card of the draw pile for free or they can buy one of the open vegetable cards from the Market. They must then throw 1, 2, 3 or 4 coins into the well, depending on the position of the card (see picture).  A gap created by a purchase is immediately refilled by moving the more expensive cards to the right (making them cheaper) and revealing a new card from the draw pile in the most expensive position.

Example:
Marie buys the tomatoes. She throws 2 coins in the fountain and takes the card on the hand. The carrot and cauliflower are pushed to the right and a new card is placed on the vacated empty space next to the market table.

The hand limit is 7 cards. If a player draws an 8th card, he must immediately discard one of his cards onto the discard pile (compost) to meet the limit again.

If the draw pile is used up, the compost pile is mixed and laid out as a new draw pile.
 

B) Plant vegetables or lay out accessories

The player can either: plant a vegetable variety or lay out an accessory card in front of themselves. Planting a vegetable variety depends on the type of vegetables; a certain number of cards of this variety is needed. These must all be laid out at once. The number of leaves in the corners of the vegetable cards at the top right or left indicates how many cards of the corresponding vegetables are needed.

For tomato, carrot and corn, exactly 2 cards are needed and for cauliflower and chilli exactly 3 cards each. This number must be strictly adhered to. Laying out more or fewer cards is not allowed, even if the player has more cards of this sort in his hand. But it is quite possible, in later rounds to replant the same type of vegetables in another bed. The laid out cards are arranged one above the other so that you can see the suns on the cards, but only the victory points of the top card are visible. These 2 or 3 stacks are called a bed. At the end of the game, all cards in a deck bring together the victory points indicated on the top card. For example, 2 carrot cards bring 4 victory points at the end of the game.

The pumpkin is a small special case. For them no fixed number of cards is given. Players can plant 1-5 pumpkin cards together in a bed. The bed is completed after playing / growing and no other pumpkin cards can be added to this bed.   However, it is quite permissible to design more pumpkin beds in later rounds. These new beds may also contain a different number of pumpkin cards. 

All cards of a vegetable variety always have the same victory points, but vary slightly in the number of suns and thus in their water needs (exception: pumpkin). Cards with fewer suns are more lucrative as they use less water to create double victory points (see below).

The following basic rules must be observed:

Each player can plant any number of beds (even with the same vegetables) placed them in front of them in one go, only one vegetable variety with exactly the required number of cards can be planted in a single bed.

In a bed cards can have a different numbers of suns.  A bed is planted exclusively with a single vegetable variety. A bed is finished after laying out and cannot be extended later.

Have an accessory card in front of you

An out-of-the-box accessory card gives its owner lasting benefits until the end of the game. 
There are these cards:

Fertilizer
When the player plants vegetables, he immediately receives the top card from the draw pile for free.
 

Wheelbarrow

Whenever the player plants vegetables, they immediately get 2 chips from the well. They can choose whether to take the chips as money or as drops of water

Watering Can

Whenever the player takes chips from the pond, they immediately gets 2 extra chips from the well. They can choose whether to take the chips as money or as drops of water.

Scarecrow
Always at the beginning of a Player’s Turn, after they have pushed a chip into the pool, the player may take the top card from the draw pile into their hand,  but then they have to put a card from their hand on the compost. This action does not replace the normal move of the player, so the player  then takes their Turn as normal.

C) Take chips from the pond


The player takes half (rounded up) of all chips in the pond. Then they have to decide to use these chips as money or water.

As Money

If the player decides for money, they turn all chips so that the coin side is on top and puts them in front of them. Chips deposited as coins can only be used for payment. They must not later be converted to water.

As Water

If the player chooses water, they turn all the chips so that they show a drop of water. They must irrigate their beds immediately. The drops of water are placed on the suns of the vegetable cards. There is room for a drop of water on every sun. The water drops can be distributed to different beds and no bed needs to be completely supplied with drops of water immediately. It may be deposited in later rounds on all still free sun water drops. If the suns on all cards are occupied, the surplus water drops into the well. A bed that is completely supplied with drops of water brings twice the victory points at the end of the game. However, if only one drop of water is missing, there are only the printed, simple victory points.

Example:
There are 11 chips in the pond. Nina does not begrudge her subsequent teammate the many chips. She also wants to have her two beds completely watered. Therefore, she decides to take rounded 6 chips. So she covered with 1 drop of water, the last sun on her tomato bed (at the end of the game now 10 instead of 5 points worth) and put another 3 drops of water on her bed of carrots (at the end of the game now 8 instead of 4 points worth). 2 drops of water remain, which she throws into the well. She cannot place the two chips as coins. Alternatively, she could have taken the complete 6 chips as coins.

Fresh Vegetables

A player always has the opportunity to provide fresh vegetables at the beginning of their turn. He can do this once and additionally on their turn. They pay 1 coin into the well, and remove the 4 vegetable cards of one row at the market to the compost pile. Then they place 4 new cards - starting at the market tableau - from the draw pile and then perform their actual move.


Play End

If the last chip is pushed into the pond the game ends as soon as the current player finishes their move. 

Each player now counts the points as follows:

Every bed that has at least 1 sun left shows the simple score of the top card.
Each bed, which is completely supplied with water drops (all suns covered), brings twice the score.
1 hand card brings 1 point.

3 coins bring 1 point.

The player who now has the most points wins. If there is a tie, the player who has planted more beds wins. If there is still no clear winner, there are several winners. 

Notes:

2 players: remove 60 chips

3 players: remove 40 chips

4 players: remove 20 chips

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015