Do you see a pizza dripping with cheese and toppings and start to salivate?
Of course you do.
(I believe that pizza-haters are a myth propagated by Big Diet)
So what game could be more perfect for a lunch-time gaming session than New York Slice?
New York Slice is a game designed by Jeffrey D. Allers with art by Stephanie Gustafsson and John Kaufmann, published in 2017 by Bezier Games.
The game plays 2-6 players.
The game is one of those “I split, you choose” games which I didn’t realize was a thing until I saw this one (though I know that it’s also been used before).
So how does it work?
New York Slice consists of a numerous amount of pizza slices that come with numbers on them, noting what type of pizza it is, how many points you will potentially get for them at the end of the game, and how many slices of that number there are in the game.
The slices are randomly divided into stacks of eleven slices, hidden so nobody knows which slices are where. Three slices will be left after this, and they are removed from the game without looking at them.
Each stack will also have a random “Today’s Special” put on them face down. These Specials will give extra points at the end of the game, or break some of the rules of the game, or things like that.
There are many more Specials available than there will be portions, so you never know what will be coming out.
On a turn, the “slicer” will take a stack of slices, read the Special to everybody, and then turn over the slices one by one, placing each slice next to the slice previously placed. You will then have a fully-formed pizza (though it will look like it was put together in Dr. Frankenstein’s lab).
The slicer will then divide the pizza into a number of portions equal to the number of players. They will either put the Special on top of one of the portions or it can be a portion by itself.
Pieces cannot be rearranged during this process. You are simply cutting the pizza.
Then, in turn order starting with the player to the slicer’s left, each player will choose a portion. That player will then choose which slices they want to eat and which ones they want to keep in front of them.
How do you know what you want?
You can eat any slice that has pepperoni on it. You then turn the slice face down in front of you and it is worth 1 point per pepperoni on it at the end of the game.
Or, you can keep it in front of you as part of your attempt to get set points.
At the end of the game, players will potentially get points for the slices that are in front of them. From 3 to 11, one at a time, players will see who has the most of a particular number/type of pizza. Whoever has the most gets that many points.
For example, there are four “4” slices in the game (keeping in mind that there are three slices removed that could include some of these). Whoever has the most “4” slices uneaten in front of them gets four points. Whoever has the most “5” slices uneaten gets five points, etc.
One thing to keep in mind is that you lose one point per anchovy on any uneaten slices. Anchovies on eaten slices do not penalize you.
That slice with three anchovies in the full pizza pic above doesn’t have any pepperoni on it, so you can’t eat it. So the portion you take with that slice in it had better be worth it!
Thus, you have to think about what sets you are trying to win, whether there are anchovies on any of the slices you might need for a set, how many pepperonis you can eat from that portion, or maybe what the Special is if it happens to be on that portion.
Maybe it’s the Special that will get you points for anchovies instead of losing them? Might be worth it!
At the end of the game, players will do the set scoring, then any blue Specials that give points at the end of the game, and then get their pepperoni points (and lose their anchovy points).
Whoever has the most points wins!
Is New York Slice a Meat Lovers pizza smothered in toppings or is it a Spinach & Kale pizza?
(Ok, switch that around if you’re a veggie-loving heathen)
I really love this game. It’s such a quick filler, easy to teach but with interesting decisions.
I do like the “I split, you choose” mechanism because it makes it so you have to be really careful when you split the pizza. You know you’re going to be getting the last choice, so you want to make sure you don’t get a bunch of limp pizza.
Is somebody else collecting 11s? If a couple of 11 slices come out, maybe split it so that the person doing so might be tempted to get something else.
Once sliced, how do you choose a portion?
Maybe that Special is a must-get no matter what. But it’s placed on a portion with crap pizza.
What do you do?
This can all cause some major Analysis Paralysis in some players, so that could be a drawback if you have players prone to AP. It could lengthen the game way beyond what it’s worth.
But the game is so accessible that it shouldn’t be an issue often.
Yesterday, I played two games at lunch during work, one game with 4 players (two non-gamers) and one game with 5 players (three non-gamers).
The 4-player game took 23 minutes because everybody but me was learning the game. The fifth player showed up half-way through so learned it as we finished that game. There was no learning in the 5-player game.
We finished in 15 minutes.
How can you go wrong with a game like that?
Sure, it’s not a game you’ll build a game-day around. But it’s a perfect warm-up game, end-of-night game, or (as stated numerous times above) at lunch.
Just don’t drool all over the pizza if you’re doing it at meal-time.
Which brings me to the components.
The pizza slices and Specials are hard, firm cardboard. The pizza designs themselves do look really yummy (with a couple of exceptions, like the BBQ chicken “5” slices).
The Specials are thick and colourful, colour-coded so that you know if it’s a Special that will affect gameplay or if it will affect end-game scoring.
The score pad looks just like an Order Ticket at a pizza parlor.
And the box looks just like a pizza box, even opening like one!
The one knock about the box and design is that once all of the pieces are punched from their sheets, it can be really difficult to keep them in any order inside the box. You will have to carefully store them so that none of them are sticking up and making the box not close properly.
But, since you’re randomizing the slices anyway, it’s not really a tragedy to just dump out all the pieces on the table and start turning them over.
However, if you have OCD, beware. You will not like how you have to put the pieces away.
New York Slice has a lot of replayability, both because of the large number of Specials available as well as how the slices are randomized. You never know what the pizzas will look like.
While there are some great decisions to make once the portions have been formed, some people may not like all of that randomness. In a longer game, that may be an issue.
But this game is so short and light that you really shouldn’t mind.
If you are the type of gamer who does mind that, though, you probably don’t like many fillers anyway.
The game also scales really well. At two players and five players, you are removing slices so that you can still get stacks of 11 (with 3 left over), but at 3,4 and 6 players, you keep them all in.
I’ve played 3,4 and 5 players, and all of the games were fun. I wouldn’t say that there is a bad player count (though two sounds like it might be iffy)
New York Slice is a game that I plan to play a lot. It’s fast, it’s simple to teach, and it’s fun.
Most importantly, it’s pizza!
How can you go wrong with that?
This review was written after three plays