With this game Food Circle aims to bring the value back to food, and for that reason, if you waste food in the game, you also lose points. Each player represents a food organisation, and needs to create meals out of the ingredients they receive. They can also freeze, dehydrate or pickle some ingredients, to save them to use in another moment in the game. For meals they get points. The winner is the player with most points, and is declared to be the Zero Waste Chef !
Different photos from different game testing organized for Zero Waste Chef
There are three types of cards: Ingredients, Recipes, and Preservation Methods. Each player starts with 1 of each of the preservation cards, receives more ingredient cards in their turn, and can use any recipe. The recipes are open in the middle of the table for everyone to see what they can make.
As chefs, your goal is to collect and trade ingredients to make as many meals with as little food waste as possible. Remember to be strategic: ingredients without a recipe will spoil, and you’ll lose points!
Game is suitable for 3 to 6 players.
Lay all the Recipe Cards face up in the centre. They should be visible to every player.
Distribute one Preservation Card to each player. Place them face-up, clearly in front of you.
Shuffle the deck of Ingredient Cards, and hand out 5 for each player. These should not be shown to others. Stack the remaining Ingredient Cards face down in the centre.
Take turns to roll the dice - the person with the highest points starts first.
Each game consists of 2 parts (representing weeks), and each part consists of 4 rounds (representing days).
The end of the 1st part represents the end of a week. Our week for game purposes lasts only 4 days.
A Preservation Card can be used to freeze, dehydrate or pickle ingredients for specific recipes, or keep them fresh through rounds. You can only put one Ingredient Card for each preservation method in one round (day). Anything preserved at the end of the first week is safe and can be used in the next week.
Each Ingredient Card indicates which preservation method can be used for that specific ingredient.
Animal Protein Cards (with a red frame) are meat, eggs and cheese. If unused within a week, players lose 2 points.
Fruit and Vegetable Cards (with a green frame) include pepper, lettuce, potato, tomato, mushroom, onion, avocado, apple and banana.
Cards with a blue frame are flour and oil are non-perishable and therefore do not require preservation.
There are 10 Recipe Cards in total.
Some Recipe Cards include a “+” sign next to an ingredient. This item is not required to complete a recipe, but it will give you extra points if you use it.
The ice-cream recipe can only be made with frozen ingredients meaning you have to freeze the ingredients in the previous rounds.
The fruit crumble recipe contains a “+” next to ice-cream. If you present the fruit crumble and ice-cream together, you gain additional 2 points plus the points from the ice-cream recipe.
How To Play:
Remember that your goal is to make as many meals with as little food waste! You don’t want to have unused Ingredient Cards in your deck while collecting as many recipe cards as possible. To do this, you can choose the following moves on your turn:
Trade cards with other players
Your chance to help yourself, other players, or disrupt your rivals. You may negotiate with other players to trade cards with you in an attempt to gather all ingredients necessary to complete one (or more) recipes.
Use your Preservation Card to keep your ingredients fresh (this means you get to keep them for the next round). You can only use one Preservation method per ingredient, per turn, and will only be valid until your next turn. When you choose to preserve an ingredient using one of the ways, you put the card facing down next to the green arrow of the selected method in the Preservation Card. On your next turn, you can flip the card around for everyone to see.
Pick up 3 Ingredient Cards at the end of your turn
At the end of each player’s turn, each player must pick three Ingredient Cards from the pile (which should be stacked face down at the centre of the table). You won’t be able to play these cards until your next turn.
Every time you complete a recipe on your turn, count the points straight away and put the cards in a pile in the middle, so when you run out of cards to pick from the original pile, you can shuffle the cards and use them.
At the end of the first week (Part 1), it’s time for Market Madness. It is your opportunity to score as many points as you can by getting rid of your unused ingredient cards by trading freely for a chance to complete more recipes. The maximum number of recipes you can make during market madness is 2.
Count and note down your points straight after you make a recipe. The player with most points wins and gets an honorary title of Zero Waste Chef!
Add up the points that can be seen on top of each Recipe Card. Don’t forget to include bonus ingredients (marked with a “+”) for extra points.
Subtract one point for every unused Ingredient Card (excluding non-perishable ingredients with a blue frame like flour and oil), and two points if it’s an animal product (red frame cards).