Every game night needs snacks.
Whether it’s charcuterie, pizza, pastries, or even the dreaded cheesy puffs, good food and games create a perfect recipe for merrymaking.
Nacho Pile by Ken Gruhl is a push-your-luck game where players pull nacho chips out of a bag. Everyone wants to collect the most of one number to win, but there is a twist. The last chip pulled from the bag decides who wins. Nacho Pile is published by Pandasaurus Games Pandasaurus Games and plays 2-6 hungry players age seven and up in less than 20 minutes.
Prep for Nacho Pile takes as long as it would to pour some salsa and open a bag of chips. Give each player a plate and give the bag of plastic Chips a good shake. The player who most recently ate nachos goes first!
In Nacho Pile, you’ll try to get as many Chips onto your plate as you can. There are three types of Chips: numbers (1-7), Wild, and Special.
Players take turns in clockwise order. At the start of a player’s turn, they claim any Chips in front of them, stashing them on their plate for the end of the game. Next, they reach into the bag and pull out a Chip, and place it in front of their plate. They may continue to push their luck, grabbing Chips one at a time until they Bust or decide to Stop.
If a player pulls a Chip from the bag that is identical to one already pulled this turn, they Bust. They must return all the chips they drew back to the bag. Turn passes to the next player.
A player may choose to stop rather than drawing again. When a player Stops they take any chips in front of other players that share the same number. For example, if Izzy drew chips numbered 2, 4 and 6, she would take the all Lisa’s 2’s and 4’s, Nick’s 4 and Jace’s 6.
All these chips remain on the table – they can’t be moved to anyone’s plate (yet). Organize them into separate piles by number.
Chips with a W are Wild and can be any Chip value when a player Stops. Just keep in mind a Wild cannot be assigned a number that would cause a Bust.
There are three types of Special Chips that activate when a player Stops. Once its action is performed, the Special Chip goes directly on the player’s plate.
Steal. Steal one Chip pile in front of another player and put it all in front of you. (Only take a pile that would not cause you to Bust.)
Score. Take all Chips of one number you drew this turn, and immediately place them onto your plate. (Ignore this effect if you didn’t draw any other Chips this turn.)
Remove. Take the Chip pile in front of a player and toss it all back into the bag.
Nacho Pile immediately ends when only one Chip remains in the bag.
All Chips in front of players move onto their plates for scoring. Now, reveal the last Chip.
The player with the most of that Chip’s value wins. If it was a Special or Wild Chip, the player with the highest total number of Chips wins. In the event of a tie, the player with the most Chips on their plate wins.
My family absolutely loves push-your-luck games. There’s just something about the tension and surprise of flipping the next card or grabbing a random token and hoping not to bust. Every success gives you a dopamine rush. And that’s what got us hungry to play.
There’s no effort to set up this game and its rules are so light, you’ll be mounding up heaps of chips in a snap. Nacho Pile’s gimmick of drawing Chips from the bag earns a chef’s kiss for being so thematically perfect!
The only decision a player has to make is whether to draw another Chip or stop. You can’t avoid busting if you get greedy. Knowing when to stop is key. We loved that when stopping, other players had to hand over Chips that weren’t on their plate.
Special Chips add a nice twist to Nacho Pile. Stealing, Scoring, and Removing fit perfectly into the game’s feel. Pulling them randomly really churned up the excitement and offset the hit of Stealing or Removing from each other.
Nacho Pile’s components are awesome! The Chips are plastic and feel great – and there’s no gooey residue left on your hands! The crunching sound the bag makes is so satisfying. And everything packs away nicely into the zip-sealed bag. The only thing missing is that nacho smell!
Where Nacho Pile crumbled apart for us was the win condition: the last chip revealed determines the winner.
If that Chip is a 5 and I have the most 5’s, I win. Or if it is a Special or Wild Chip, then whoever has most chips wins.
This is simple enough, but it felt stale. The act of playing the game is a lot of fun, but the way it ends left me hungry for something different.
Nacho Pile is is extremely welcoming for all ages and skill levels. I just wish there was a tastier scoring variant. I wanted something a little more strategic.
Who’s got a Taste for Nachos?
Nacho Pile is a great snack-like game to play in between courses of a game night. Open the bag and start playing in less than a minute – and it plays faster than hungry players could gobble a plate of nachos.
The combination of push your luck with a satisfying tactile experience will keep kids and teens reaching for the bag. Nacho Pile might also make a great gift for a foodie gamer you might know. Find it on Amazon or direct from Pandasaurus Games.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Nacho Pile from Pandasaurus Games for this review.
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Players: 2-6 (unlimited with more plates)
Age Range: 7+
Playtime: 20 minutes