Welcome to Scoffton our town’s best (only) all you can eat buffet. Grab a plate and load up before sitting down to a nice relaxing meal. For some reason some of our patrons see this as a race, something we do not encourage at all. Please do not overeat, this is not a competition. Please do not sneeze on the buffet!
Fat of the Land
Before we get into this a small caveat. I’m not a fan of worker placement games, they just don’t do much for me. Lords of Waterdeep is the only one I have in my collection and I made clear my aversion to the genre to the creators of this game.
However, the moment I cracked open Scoffton I started smiling. The art was really different to other games and whilst some might deride the cartoon style I really liked it. It evoked a certain period of animation for me. The rulebook made me actually laugh, and not in a ‘my god this is laughably awful’ way. The 3D printed insert and quality of the components, even at this early stage, showed a lot of love and thought had been poured into the game. I was actually looking forward to playing a worker placement game. Good start!
Form an orderly queue
Scoffton is a pretty straightforward example of the genre. Each round you will have 3 workers to distribute around the restaurant floor: going to the buffet or various food stations, having a dig through the Lost & Found, pulling the lever on the claw machine, visiting the toilet (it’s not a restroom damn it!) or making a complaint to the manager. The core of the game comes down to your player board on where will reside your dishes pre and during digestion. You see you have a table where you can stick your dishes done to be consumed by one of your workers, and 3 stomach areas where you can place said food for digestion: two normal stomachs and a dessert stomach (nice touch).
When one player has all 3 stomach areas full the game will end and you count up points to see who has been the greediest. To add a little wrinkle to the proceedings when you complete a stomach section you can aim for one of the many menu options available, ranging from a chip butty to surf and turf, to get some extra points. In addition you can visit the ‘facilities’ to empty out a stomach section and score points for the food you have eaten, only to dive back in for another round. Disgusting, but necessary.
Beyond the normal blocking of these games, you can also sneeze on food or create spills to take up spots, all eventually sorted out by someone complaining at the front desk or the management turning up. The management cards you get each turn will do a variety of things and can end up messing with your plans a little which some people may not like in their worker placement.
Scoffton manages to convey a lot of its themes through the mechanics present, something I found unusual for a worker placement game. The claw machine gives you a prize, then it gets harder to get a prize from. The flow of food to plate to stomach just fits the mechanics perfectly and little touches like prawns being risky all lend to the flavour of you taking your chances at all you can eat buffet. We’ve all been there.
I was really nervous about taking on Scoffton, especially as the company was sending it all the way from Australia, but I found myself really quite enjoying it. It’s not a genre shattering title by any means, it’s not going to turn the world of worker placement on its head. You know what, that is fine. Not every game needs to reinvent the wheel, it just needs to stand on its own merits.
Scoffton sets out its table and then delivers with the most thematic worker placement game I can recall playing. It’s quick moving, doesn’t outstay its welcome and oozes charm from every dish. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking for a light, quick worker placement and I think it would be especially good for families and games clubs. You can find the Kickstarter here. Bon Appetite.