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Burger Up Review

Quick Look: Burger Up

Designer: Matt Parkes
Publisher: Rule & Make, Greenbrier Games
Year Published: 2016
No. of Players: 2–4
Ages: 14+ (rating from box, 9+ at other sites)
Playing Time: 45 minutes
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Hamburgers are the specialty. Every one of them is a work of art. Ingredients are added, piled higher to create wonderful specialty sandwiches: Gourmet, Tower, or Colossal. Orders have been placed and now it is time for the cooks to create.
Burger Up is a competition to earn the most money by building specialty sandwiches to fill the Pending Orders before another cook does. When we sat down to play Burger Up our first point of interest is the fact the game is rated for players 14 years and older. We figured there had to be a level of strategy that required planning and observation, and none of us were disappointed.

Players start with 2 bottom buns. Throughout the game you can only build 2 burgers at a time. Each player also gets $2, a pristine spatula, and 4 ingredient cards.

Starting player layout

The rest of the ingredient cards are placed in the middle of the table: 3 turned up for purchase in the Market and the rest are a draw pile.
Along with the ingredients there are Pending Orders. The number of cards in the Order Deck is based on the number of players. The top 3 cards are turned over to show the Pending Orders. Each of the 3 showing Pending Orders has a $1 coin placed on it.
Determine who is going first and they get the Player Aid card with the First Player icon. This is important to know because everyone gets the same number of turns.

Starting Pending Orders and Market

Players have 4 phases when taking their turn: Market, Build, Burger Up, and Cleanup.

Market Phase
For $1 the player may purchase an ingredient form the Market. Since there are 3 ingredients in the Market a player can buy up to 3 items. Once it is taken out of the Market it is not replaced until Cleanup.

Build Phase
This is where you combine your ingredients to make your sandwich. Anything can go next to (i.e. on or adjacent to) a bun; this also applies to middle buns that are part of the ingredients but they don’t count for how big your burger is (more on that later). All of the other ingredients dictate the type of ingredient that can be placed next in your gastronomic delight.
You can play up to 3 ingredients during your turn. The ingredients can go on the same bottom bun, or be split between them. You can also play fewer than 3, but that might mean you have to play catch-up to other players.
Each of the Ingredients cards can also be played in 1 of 2 ways. Each one lists two ingredients and depending on the direction in which you play the card on the existing stack determines which ingredient you’ve added and the type of ingredient (there are 5) can be played next. This twist on turning the cards gives more ingredients to use, but requires planning so you don’t leave yourself in a position of not being able to put an ingredient onto your next level.
Middle buns work like a wild card. They allow you to place the bun and start building with a fresh start. Anything can be placed next to a bun.
Since everyone is building to fill the Pending Orders you also need to watch what others are doing at their workstations. If you have to change what you’re doing because an order has been filled, you can use your spatula to remove or move ingredients form one bun to either the discard pile or to the other sandwich you’re making. You only have 2 uses of your spatula and every use costs points at the end of the game.

Additional Ingredients (this might be upside down)

Burger Up Phase
Fill the order and collect your pay. Not only do you get the coins placed on the Pending Order card, but also for the ingredients on your sandwich. The bigger the build the more it is worth. There are also Perfect Ingredients that, when used, provide bonus payment.
When an order has been filled you place the used Ingredients Cards in the discard pile, keep the top bun card to show you made it, and turn over a new Pending Order by drawing the top card from the Order Deck. A coin is placed on each of the Pending Orders. The new Pending Order has $1 placed on it and the others have $1 added to them. The longer it takes to fill an order the more money it's worth.
Cleanup Phase
This is when Ingredients Cards are added back into the market. Then, the player chooses to discard any cards left in their hand and draw their hand back to four cards.
Next player’s turn starts.

Theme and Mechanics
The theme of building sandwiches kept the game fun. There are more than just hamburgers. The change in Pending Orders during play left some cooks scrambling to see how they could alter their creation to meet another order.
The planning of ingredients across 5 types to meet the Pending Order requirements before another player did created a challenge that required more strategy than originally expected. This puzzle mechanic, determining the direction of the Ingredients Card, which determines what is being added to the sandwich and what can be played next, is the sole reason for the age determination. Younger players with more gaming experience should be able to participate.
Scoring the Iron Giant

Artwork and Components
The art is done by Stephen Gibson and they give it a light-hearted look. The art makes the game look as fun as it played.
The components are also nice and should hold up against continual play.

The Good
  • Multiple levels of strategy, during play and for earning the money for the end game.

The Bad
  • The look on the shelf can be deceiving to the required strategy.

Final Thoughts
The rule book describes a World Expansion so you can expand your menu. There is also a Game Recipe Book which includes 6 variants and “an actual burger recipe!”
For the international gamers, the credits show Burger Up is printed in 14 languages.
We had 5 players at the table for Burger Up, so I watched and took notes while others played the first game. I’m looking forward to getting my grill dirty and taking them on to see who the better line cook is.

Players Who Like
  • Food based games
  • Head-to-head competition games

Check out Burger Up on

Daniel Yocom - Reviewer

Daniel Yocom does geeky things by night because his day job won’t let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He’s written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines along with stories, after extensive research. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join in the geeky fun at guildmastergaming@blogspot.com.

See Daniel's reviews HERE.
Burger Up Review Burger Up Review Reviewed by Guild Master Gaming on October 30, 2019 Rating: 5

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