To be honest, I know Capital Gains Studio for their more serious game, which revolves around financial education. Through their newly founded Mercat Games, they release some lighter, vanilla games. And I ended up playing one of their latest title in 2021, Happy Dim Sum, a card game with take-that mechanic.
A short disclaimer before you read my board game analysis
As an avid euro gamer and hardcore Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) LCG player, my reviews may reflect a preference for these styles, and I may not cover solo games/variants extensively. Please note that my personal remarks are based on my gaming experiences, and I aim to provide honest insights within the scope of my preferences.
By bringing up the Dim Sum on the table (pun intended), Daniel Wong and co. try to recreate the familiar happy feeling for the Singaporeans. Although dim sum is not necessarily from Singapore, I believe this dish is the favourite go-to in the country. It’s interesting to watch and listen to the disputes about which restaurant serves the best dim sum in town, but let’s take a step back and talk about the game now.
To give a context, you can watch the video prepared by the dev team on YouTube. The six minutes will convince you that Happy Dim Sum is a good investment for your collection.
HAPPY DIM SUM, HAPPY TUMMY, HAPPY PARTY
Happy Dim Sum’s player count is great news for party game lovers. Nothing beats higher player count in this segment. Nevertheless, I think with more cards and contents, and perhaps some tweak to level the number of players, they can increase this aspect even more.
As mentioned, the game brings a familiar subject to the Singaporeans (and most of the folks in Asia). Mentioning this, many may think that it has a narrow audience scope. Well, I’m not concerned that it will not sell well in another region, though. Dim Sum is a widely spread dish, and globally well-known, too. Besides, it can be a good introduction for those who have not yet tried this dish.
MAKE OTHER PLAYERS STUFFED
Basically, when you cannot eat another bite, you are out of the game. It gives the feeling of battle royale, where we feed another players. To put it simply, player elimination is the core concept of the game. I know some people avoid this kind of game, but with an evanescent playing time and high replay value, they don’t have to wait too long to start a new game.
Happy Dim Sum carries the set-collection mechanic, where we build that set for another player. By completing another players’ set of dishes, we guarantee that they will not be hungry any more and out of the table. Unlike more common games out there, the set we have does not benefit our side at all. We want to keep the set incomplete as long as possible.
This is the point where the action cards are crucial. They help us to stay on the table longer by bringing the take-that mechanic. Some of them brings benefit for us, for example through drawing more cards. The other actions punish the other diners. I like the Hot Sauce card the most, since it prevents them to throw or move away their complete dish set.
My group finds the Grandma card terrifying. She is a gift that will never stop giving, making the other players serve their dish cards from hands to themselves.
Happy Dim Sum is a party game with a strong connection to food. Do not play this while you are starving. Kidding aside, this card game can be a solid option if you want to rotate your old take-that games. Easy to play and fast-paced, Happy Dim Sum is a go-to if you only have a short time to play with your friends.
I am a full-time food technologist during weekdays. However, when the calendar hits weekends, I transform into an avid board gamer. I am a hardcore Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) LCG player from Fantasy Flight Games (FFG). Current hobby: buying board games. My shelf of shame’s list is getting longer, thanks to you, Kickstarter.