SNAP Review – Filler: Bite-Size Baking
Filler – A Bite Size Baking Card Game
I love eating baked goods, but my daughter loves making them. In Filler, you play as a pastry chef, reporting to work at the bakery. Use your supplies to fill recipes; may the best baker win!
Filler is a card game for 1-6 players, ages 8+, designed by Jonathan Chaffer and published by Green Couch Games.
Listen to my thoughts on Filler in 5 minutes, or read on below.
How to Play
Each round in Filler is called a day. At the beginning of a day, each player chooses a card from their hand to represent the time they are coming in to work. All players reveal their time cards simultaneously, then each player takes a turn starting with the earliest time and ending with the latest time.
On your turn, first discard your time card to your personal discard pile. Then choose to either play cards to fill a recipe, or restock. At the end of the day, refill the “recipe book” with new cards from the deck.
Fill a Recipe
Play one or more cards from your hand. Match the ingredients listed on the left side of your played card(s) with the requirements shown on your desired recipe (underneath the picture of the finished product).
If you’ve met all the requirements, discard your played cards to your personal discard pile, then add the new recipe to your hand. You’ll be able to use this card as a time card and/or an ingredient in the future. Some recipes give a bonus action when you fill them for the first time (more on that in “Impressions”).
If you can’t (or don’t want to) fill a recipe, then it’s time to restock! Pick up all the cards from your discard pile and add them back to your hand.
When restocking, you may also choose to “reserve” a recipe, returning it to the top of the draw pile. That card will come out again on the next day; maybe you’ll be able to fill it then!
Game End and Scoring
A game of Filler ends when there are not enough cards left to completely refill the “recipe book” for the next day. Then it’s time to score everyone’s completed pastries.
Most recipe cards have victory point symbols on them. The victory points come in three styles: Stars, Trophies, and Money. Each symbol on a card is worth 1 point, but each complete set of 3 different symbols (1 star, 1 trophy, 1 money) scores an additional 2 points.
Add up the points to find out who was the best baker!
Filler is a short game that’s easy to learn. My daughter and I both really enjoy it, and the theme of “working” in the bakery sets Filler apart both from other set-collection games and other food games, which are usually focused on consuming food, rather than making it.
The game does start slowly, since each player starts with just 3 cards that are not very powerful. They’re just enough to allow a player to choose a time and fill a simple recipe.
I’ve discovered that I really like games with multi-use cards. In Filler, the recipe cards can be used for their time, their ingredients, and their points. Every time you look at your hand, you are faced with a decision on how to best use your cards: early times tend to pair with rarer ingredients, and high-point cards usually have late times, with a common ingredient or none at all.
The special powers on some recipe cards make your decisions more interesting, too. Some recipes have a “bonus fill” action: immediately after filling that recipe, you are allowed to fill a second available recipe – if you’re able to muster up the ingredients. Other cards give a “bonus restock” action: as soon as you add that card to your hand, you can also “restock” and pick up all your discarded cards. Unsurprisingly, these cards are hotly contested.
As you may know, I like short simple games that I can play solo. Filler‘s solo mode does not disappoint! It feels very much like playing a game against a single opponent, since each of the 6 starting decks is paired with an automated chef personality card. Each chef has slightly different powers and preferred card types, so there’s quite a bit of variety.
Lastly, the illustrations look delicious, and the representative bakers come from several nationalities. My kids appreciated the non-traditional color choices: the orange, blue, and yellow starting decks have female bakers, and the pink, purple, and green decks have male bakers. Perfect when you play with a boy who loves pink or a girl who loves blue!
All in all, Filler is a delicious game. It plays quickly, with just enough player interaction to keep things interesting, but where players can primarily focus on their own goals. Buy it from Green Couch Games today!
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
The Family Gamers received a copy of Filler from Green Couch Games for this review.
Filler card game
Number of Players: 1-6
Age Range: 8+
Playtime: 30 minutes