Kitchen Rush is a co-operative game where the players work as a team, running a busy restaurant. Each of the four rounds plays out in real time: you have four minutes to achieve all you need to do, with the not-inconsiderable catch that your restaurant workers are made of timers: each one takes 30 seconds to complete its task!
The board represents the kitchen of the restaurant and each player starts with two workers in their own colour. There are various different objectives to be met depending on how hard you want the game to be, but they all involve the serving of orders and the generation of money and prestige as a result. Players can take as long as they like to plan ahead, but once the timer starts, you have to keep things moving. Wherever you assign a worker, they do an action: welcoming customers to the restaurant, taking orders, gathering the ingredients, cooking them, washing up the plates, buying more ingredients…
When the sand in the worker has all fallen through to the bottom, the task is considered finished and you’re free to move them on to a new one. Keep things moving and you’ll make enough money to pay your workers at the end of each round. Mess up, and it won’t only cost you money, but prestige too – and possibly the game!
Meet the set target of objectives, and you collectively win!
Phew. Kitchen Rush seeks to recreate the pressure of a kitchen environment with orders flying in and jobs needing doing, possibly all while the sous chef is off ill. I think it succeeds entirely – or at least, it succeeds in generating the pressure of juggling lots of different needs and then – most likely – realising you forgot the salt. I had a ball playing it, but I was also noticeably relieved when it was over! Definitely not for sedate afternoons or cerebral evenings: everyone will fall back in their chairs when Kitchen Rush finishes.
None from the other players, but plenty of stress from the game!
Pretty much absent, unless you count the precious, agonising seconds watching sand falling.
The challenge here is management. It all sounds so simple, until you go to the store for a carrot and find there are none. That means someone has to dash to the shops and buy them - which means you can't start cooking your beef stroganoff until it arrives in the store, and by then you may find the plate you need - there are four different sizes - might need washing up...
You can play the game on different 'settings' to make it harder, but outside of that potential insanity, the overall experience will be much the same each time, so the replay value here is really down to how you feel about the race-against-time feel of it all.