Cookie Fu - A Tasty Game
Cookie Fu “Grandmaster’s Return” is a simple and unique board game from game designer Blue Kabuto. The game has a Chinese food and martial arts theme, and more interestingly, comes with actual fortune cookies that you can eat. To get started, all you need is a friend to play with and a clan pack for each person. Each clan pack looks like a Chinese take-out box and contains a rulebook, 5 dice, and a fortune cookie.
There are three clans in the game: Chocolate Ox, Vanilla Hare, and Coconut Monkey, each of which has their own special skills and moves. In a basic game, players roll a Clan Fortune die and all of their Fu dice (ensuring to keep the results hidden). The Clan Fortune die determines which player gets to decide who goes first, where a whole cookie > a crushed cookie, a fortune > a whole cookie, and a crushed cookie > a fortune. In the event of a tie, the dice are re-rolled.
After determining who goes first, the battle begins. Each of the Fu dice has 6 possible results: strike, kick, block, grab, throw, and chi. A block negates a strike, a grab negates a kick, a throw must be used in conjunction with a grab, and chi can be used to attack, defend, or heal. The player going first decides which of their moves to use, and the opponent has a chance to either negate the attack with one of their dice or pass. Players take turns performing attacks until both sides run out of dice or pass, after which the dice are rolled again. Each player starts out with 10 hp, and lose points every time their opponent lands a successful attack. The game ends when a player loses all of their hp, though it is possible for both players to be brought down to zero, ending in a tie.
So where does the fortune cookie come into all of this? In advanced play, players have the option of using Cookie Fu Moves by spending their chi. Players also have a Clan Move, which is listed on the fortune inside the fortune cookie. These moves deal more damage and have extra effects, which add an extra dimension to the game as the outcome is now based more on your strategy when choosing when/which moves to use and less on what you get during your roll.
To increase the difficulty of the game, players can purchase booster packs to add more dice and Clan Moves to their collection. The more dice you have, the higher your rank and the more moves you can use. The dice themselves are also colored to indicate dice type; a white die lets you use that result once, a yellow die lets you use that result twice, an orange die 3 times, and a green die 4 times.
I found the game to be rather entertaining considering how simple it is to start. The large number of move combinations makes the game much more strategic than it sounds. It can be played just about anywhere with a flat surface to roll the dice on, and the take-out boxes are a perfect place to store your dice. Games can be as short as a few minutes or longer depending on how many dice you are using and how long each player takes to decide on a move. The list of Cookie Fu moves is hilarious, with names such as “Baked Cookie Evasion” and “Tasty Snack Toss”, and they make you want to eat your fortune cookie(s) even more (and they were delicious).
One of the problems I had was that it was difficult to hide the results of your roll, with some dice bouncing off the table or out from behind your hand. Since some of the more advanced games use up to 12 dice, having a container to roll them into would be useful. In my opinion, Cookie Fu is a good game to play during lunch at school or work. It’s fast, portable, and best of all, you get a fortune cookie to finish off your meal.