You've just opened your very first business, a cozy little donut shop in your small town. Working hard to make sure your customers get the donuts they want, you scramble to create glazed, chocolate covered, strawberry, and blueberry donuts as fast as you can. But with all the hubbub around the shop, and the customers streaming in from neighborhoods all around town, you're bound to make a few mistakes. But running your own donut shop is your dream come true, so hold your chin up high and keep on baking! This is Dollars To Donuts, a brand new board game from Crafty Games.
Dollars To Donuts is a game for 2-4 players, and plays in about 30 minutes. In it, players draw donut tiles from a central reserve and strategically place them on their player boards. Points are scored for donuts made and customers served, and the game ends when one person fills their entire player board with tiles.
Each player's player board is a grid of 7x7 blank squares, and on each board several squares are already filled in with donut pieces on them. To play the game, players will select place donut tiles (which are four squares long) from a central board as mentioned above. These tiles contain halves of different types of donuts, and the goal of the game is to place these long donut tiles on their player boards in an attempt to match donut halves with like donut halves. Though it sounds simple enough, matching the tiles up correctly can prove to be an especially tricky challenge, as more valuable donuts are rarer. Place a rare donut half in a space, and you may find yourself waiting several turns to find a tile that matches it perfectly.
But the shop won't close down if you mis-match donut types. Instead, you'll earn dollar tokens which you'll draw blind from a bag. These tokens have money on one side, which can be used to purchase tiles from the central reserve, and either donut holes or extra donut halves on the other side, which can be used to either fill in empty spaces on a player's board. Along with scoring points for creating whole, matching donuts, you can also use these whole donuts to serve customers who have specific requests, and give a few extra points.
There's a wonderful tension in this game that comes from knowing when to bite the donut and finally give up on that one special space you've been saving. And knowing when to give it up and just collect some cash from a mis-matched donut is crucial to squeezing out a victory. In the end of all of our playtest games, the final results were extremely close. And by losing points for every empty square left on your board, the game incentivizes players to engage in its systems of filler tokens and big risks.
This is the kind of tile-laying game, like Patchwork and Calico, that could end up overwhelming players who suffer from what we call "analysis paralysis," but unlike those previously mentioned games (especially the brain-busting Calico) it's also a game about taking big chances and knowing when to just hang up your chef's hat and settle for a mis-matched donut. Because of that, you'll spend less time scratching your head and staring at the board, and more time making moves and hoping your opponents don't steal the tiles you've been holding out for.
As a note: In the photos you'll see throughout this review, we played with an upgraded game kit, which contains acrylic tiles as well as some of the expansions found in the Kickstarter. But even without those tiles, the game is well-produced, and evocatively illustrated.
This is an extremely well-crafted, balanced, and wonderfully approachable tile laying game. Suitable for more strategic gamers and families alike, Dollars To Donuts offers a lot of charm in its relatively small package. We found ourselves coming back to Dollars To Donuts long after we'd finished reviewing the game, just like that box of donuts that keeps beckoning us from across the office.
Dollars To Donuts sells for MSRP $44.95. To learn more about the game visit Crafty Games.
Get This Game If...
- You're looking for a fun game to play with the family
- You're a fan of tile laying games like Patchwork and Calico
- You love a good chocolate donut
Avoid This Game If...
- You're looking for a more strategic gaming experience
- You're more of a Cronut person
The copy of Dollars To Donuts used in this review was provided by the publisher.