Serving Up some Wok and RollAugust 17, 2021
Ryan looks at the roll and write game, Wok and Roll from Origame
Wok and Roll
- Published by Origame
- Designed by Daryl Chow
- 1-5 Players
- Ages 10+
- 30-45 minutes
Note: We were given a copy of the game by the publisher in return for an honest review
Wok and Roll is a roll and write game from Singapore publisher, Origame. Though this game isn’t found in the US, it can be ordered and imported quite easily from the company, the website is in English, so don’t let the words “Singapore publisher” scare you away from this game. You can order from, https://www.origame.co/
In Wok and Roll players are running their own Asian restaurant and will be making dishes with the ingredients they roll. There are double player boards with a simple and expert menu. We first explain the simple version and then explain the differences to expert.
On a player’s turn, they will roll 4 white dice and 2 red dice (they have the same symbols of rice, noodles, vegetables, meat, shrimp, and recipe book). Everyone can use the white dice, the red dice is just for the active player. Dice can be re-rolled up to 2 more times if needed as, freezing any dice you like. Players will then use the ingredients on the dice to mark off sections on their player board (for example a dish may need double meat, noodle, or vegetable). Players can use recipe books to unlock special abilities (making menus stand for certain food types if you like or special end game scoring). Everyone also starts off with a fridge. Their fridge is stocked with one of every ingredient type and one recipe. This helps if you need an extra ingredient or with any bad rolls. There are also times along the way to pick up some extra food and recipe books to help (like the fridge does) in the meat and veggie section of the menu but requires you to make two squares to collect them (they are halved). The first to complete 3 columns or rows (in the case of the shrimp section) triggers the end of the game. The player with the most points wins.
Expert mode plays similar to the simple menu but has some interesting changes. The first is everyone has a unique dish they are given at the start of the game (a little cardboard piece you add to your board). The fridge only lets you use 2 ingredients, but as you make your specialty house dish, you can unlock ways to go to the fridge 2 more times. Recipe books have a new use, for every 2 recipe books you can unlock locks that are on your board. If you ever reach a lock, you cannot go any further until you unlock that section. Many of the spaces you mark themselves have ingredients and special abilities faded in them. If you mark one of those spaces you unlock that ingredient in your panty (which works more like the fridge in the simple version of the game, but it also gives you points). Those are the main differences. There is also a section that already has double menus for you to use on locks, but if you use one of those abilities, you get negative points (but again helps with any bad luck rolls, and keeps the game moving along).
I will start my thoughts on Wok and Roll, highlighting the only two negatives I have, because I have far more positives I want to write about. First, in solo mode you have to write 1-10 on the menu and then cross them out/erase them to keep track of the rounds, it would have been nice if they were already printed on the menu, not a big deal, but would have been nice for solo players. The second negative is the dry erase markers used, they are rather thick, and some of the marks you make in the game (like circling small icons) needs fine or superfine dry erase. This can easily be corrected by adding your own dry erase markers, but I want it to be noted, there is a small issue there.
I love this game that deals with Asian food that is actually made by an Asian designer and is authentic to its culture (which from my conversions with Daryl Chow, owner of Origame and designer of this game, is important to him). It features the names of the dishes that you are making in the game, which is a nice touch. In my mind, this is a strong positive to the game, in setting the theme. Another strong positive is I have a hard time deciding which version of the game I like the most, the simple or expert version – they do have a slightly different feel to them. I don’t think I would ever introduce the game to someone starting with the expert version, I always start with the simple, but that said the expert’s lock system makes the game a little more puzzly which I enjoy. The simple version is something that can be played while you still socialize at the table or want a quick game. Both feel great and are worth playing depending on the mood. Another positive in my mind is that you can play it without the use of a table thanks to the thick player boards. Just roll the dice in the box between you can play on the couch, on the bed, or on the go without having to have table space (or much table space).
Like many modern roll and writes, Wok and Roll allows players to play at the same time (while giving the rolling player more options) which is nice at giving the game little downtime (any downtime will be found in those reroll moments). However, that can add a little take that, as I may re-roll things I know other players need, and I do not. Another nice touch is both the specialty skills and the fridge which both can be used to help mitigate a bad roll. The expert mode as mentioned has a puzzly aspect to the game with the locks, but also allows some fun combing moments, as you collect food for your pantry section, which opens more dishes to make. Also, the new specialty skill found in the expert mode that lets you manipulate a die to the face you want without having to roll it is a nice touch.
All in all, Wok and Roll really is a solid roll and write game, and thanks to the double-sided menu, one that is easy to introduce to just about any gamer in your life and for those that want something fast and easy or something puzzly and thinky all in a small box.