Halflings Best Chef – The Dice Placement Game Project Update #1

Halflings Best Chef is a dice placement game about cooking and halflings

Greetings fellow food lovers,

On April 11, 2024, we unveiled Halflings – Best Chef, our first dice placement game and newest creation to the world at Atelier du Jeu in Pully – Switzerland. Just two days later, we showcased it again at the Orc’idée festival in Lausanne.

You welcomed Halflings: Best Chef with great enthusiasm at its debut. You immediately noticed the simplicity of the rules and the game’s fiercely competitive nature.

After a few minor tweaks, we presented it once more at the Ludinam festival in Besançon on May 4-5, 2024. 

Here’s what our audience loved most, in their own words:

We have many different playtester profiles playing Halflings Best Chef.

“It is easy to understand and has great strategic depth.”

“The possibility of blocking your opponent.”

“The dice placement strategy.”

“Conviviality and strategy to collect
ingredients and improve your inn.”

“Dice placement and the points race.”

“Design, dice placement and theme.”

“Well-controlled randomness, light theme light, easy to handle.”

“The mechanics.”

“Easy to understand and easy to grasp, friendly atmosphere.”

“Strategies for making others lose, having several possibilities for winning and having victory points.”

“Having several choices for placing our des and developing our strategy.”

“It is a very nice dice placement game.”

“The theme (cooking), the dice placement mechanism.”

“The variety of gameplay strategies (having to pay attention to multiple aspects).”

Refining the Gameplay

We also heard the things we could improve: the direction of the first player’s rotation, the temporary design of the prototype, a few balance issues or unplayable dice, the end of the game being triggered by player actions, and finally, “nothing” (8 times 😊).

So, we worked tirelessly in May and June to refine the gameplay. Here’s a brief summary:

  • Optimal Number of Dice: We’ve tested the optimal number of dice per player: 2, 3, or 4. The best compromise is 3 dice, allowing enough actions without excessively prolonging turns or leaving dice without useful placements.
  • Player Count: Halflings has been tested with different player counts. It works well with 2 players, but really shines with 3 or 4. Next, we’ll explore making it enjoyable and playable with 5 or 6 players.
  • New Location – The Black Market: A new place, the Black Market, has been introduced to offer an additional interaction point between players.
  • Simplified Victory Points: We simplified the victory points system. Instead of having separate standing points and victory points, we’ve merged them into a single type, making scoring clearer during the game.
  • Balancing Work: We’ve adjusted the price of some decorations to make them equally tempting. A new decoration allows a player to place their die over an already placed one. We’ve also removed victory points directly tied to recipes, leaving only the points for ingredients used. This balances the different strategic options for winning.
  • End of the Game: The game now ends after 10 turns, tracked by a small stomach that fills up. This allows all players to plan their strategy based on the remaining turns and avoids giving extra strategic advantage to a player who has already cooked 3 dishes. Completing a full menu (starter, main course, and dessert) still offers an advantage but now grants 5 extra victory points instead of triggering the end of the game.
  • Collaboration with Luis Pages: We decided to work with Luis Pages for illustrations because his style perfectly matches our vision for the Halflings world. Luis is an artist, illustrator, and singing teacher, as well as a board game enthusiast. He shares our excitement for Halflings and adds his humor to our illustrations. He is now an integral part of the Halflings: Best Chef creation team.

Work on the Illustrations Has Begun

Luis has been working tirelessly to find a style that matches our vision for Halflings. He has made dozens of proposals and reworked the images based on our feedback. His first “test” illustration was the space for “stealing an ingredient from another player.” Now that the style is defined, he is working on the game board.

Below you will find some of his sketches.

Ongoing Improvements

Despite all these efforts, there are still some areas we need to refine. We plan to test as many games as possible to ensure the number of turns required to finish the game is accurate, that the Black Market functions as intended, and to work on the final balancing of the bottle collection.

We are also creating chef characters for each player to embody, providing small, variable advantages to add a touch of asymmetry to the game. Finally, we will continue to work on the game’s illustrations with the help of Luis.

Join Us for Playtesting

Playtesting of Halflings

If you’d like to get hands-on with Halflings: Best Chef, we’ll be at the prototype areas of the following festivals:

We look forward to seeing you there!

Final Comments from Our Playtesters

Before we part ways, we wanted to share a selection of the final comments from our playtesters. Thank you all for helping make Halflings even better. It’s a real pleasure to create games for you.

  • “We love your games!”
  • “I loved the game.”
  • “Keep going. Great game concept.”
  • “Very good game! Can’t wait to buy it in all the renowned stores! 😜”
  • “Very fun and entertaining game, I recommend it.”
  • “Great game, can’t wait to buy it 😊😊”
  • “Super game! Well done!”
  • “Thank you for your time.”
  • “Great job, I can’t wait for it to be released.”
  • “Superb game 😁 If you kickstart it or there’s a way to buy it early (even in digital format to print at home), I’m very interested. Keep it up, can’t wait to see it on the shelves of the best Halfling markets 😉”
  • “Great concept!”
  • “Looking forward to its release. Can we pre-order?”
  • “Great game, thank you 😁”
  • “Excellent work, can’t wait for it to come out.”

And until the next update, Bon appétit, dear foodie friends!

Tania and Devrim 🍰🍒🍗🍔

About Us

We are 2 geeks living in Switzerland and passionate about board games and role playing games since childhood. We decided to realize our passion by designing our first game, Dwarves: The Fall Of Karnarak.

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