In Teufels Kuche
In The Devil's Kitchen

Invented by ?.
Published by F.X. Schmidt.
Review by Andy ?.

I am the god of hellfire...

The lurid cartoon graphics on the box artwork of Devil's Kitchen raise a fun expectation level that is not disappointed by the contents. The production values of the game are high, with wonderfully chunky coloured plastic devil pieces about an inch and a half high, and a colourful glossy playing board and menu cards. Lots of nice vividly coloured illustrations on cards and game board.

The mounted board is a plan view of a labyrinth in hell, with a kitchen area at each corner, and a circle cut out of the middle. Into the circle goes a fist-sized black plastic oval stove with lovely detail and a big red button on top. It has an important role to play in the game, and more on this later.

Hey, good lookin', what'cha got cooking...

Each player starts the game with four devils which begin in the corner opposite the player's home kitchen. Every devil wears a detachable little white chef's hat. The player also has four colour- coded plastic pots with different symbols on each one. The pots are assigned a point value by slotting four cards with a value of 0 (the dreaded milk bottle),1,3 and 5 points, respectively into a tray which has on its back the same symbols as the pots. In this way, only the player responsible for those pots knows what the value of each pot is. Each player then distributes their pots around the board.

The 2 dice are rolled and players take it in turn to move around the board and recover the pots, which each of the little devil figures can carry waiter-style, one at a time. When a pot is returned to a player's home base, the value is revealed and added to the player's running tally. When any player has ten points, the game is won.

Come on baby light my fire...

To keep it flexible and unpredictable, the game has a number of little quirks and twists. Firstly, the dice each have one little bat wing symbol on them - if both of these come up on a player's roll, they may fly any one of their devils to anywhere on the board. Also, players may split the dice roll in any combination of points among as many devils as they like. Players can also pick up each other's pots and try to return them to their own kitchens. The tricky thing about this is you don't know if you have a pot worth having or the dreaded bottle of milk. If it's the milk, your devil is banished from the game!

I'm on a highway to hell...

Of course, with all these little devils wandering about the place, confrontations are bound to happen. When one player moves onto a space containing another player's devil, there is a duel, resolved by use of the mysterious black stove. The attacker and defender take it in turn to point the stove at each other and press the red button on top. The attacker presses it once, the defender twice, the attacker three times, and so on until finally and unpredictably the lid pops open and the Oberteufel or chief devil (an imposingly grim character with a fine black mustache) pops out. Whoever makes the Oberteufel pop out wins the confrontation. The losing devil drops any pot he may be holding, loses his chef's hat, and is returned to the starting space. Any devil who has already lost his chef's hat is removed from the game. I'd love to know how the randomiser gadget in the stove works, but something in there makes the number of pushes needed to pop the lid different every time.

Beelzebub has a devil put aside...

It's a highly colourful and entertaining game, especially with four players and all the devils on the board. There is a little strategy in where you place your pots, and then a lot of luck in how your dice rolls go and which of the opponent's pots you come back with. The scoring of the menu cards is designed so that you have to bring back at least one of your opponent's pots to win. It proved to be a lively game to play after an evening at the pub or to round off a night of slightly more serious games. Using the stove gadget proved to be so much fun that whenever we played it, people deliberately set out to beat up each other's devils. If anyone looked like winning, the others would tend to gang up on them to slow them down a bit which made for a lively finish.

Put your brain away for 30-60 minutes and its fun, as they say, for kids of all ages. A delight visually, and great value, too; my copy was only $15 from a UK dealer.

The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell