Do you remember when your parents told you not to play with your food? Well, you can ignore that rule now by sitting down and playing some Yum Cha. Our second game by Quokka Games and the 2022 PAX Aus’ Indie Showcase winner, Yum Cha is a steaming basket full of fun. From the team who brought you Boba Master, it’s time to spring roll into our Yum Cha review as we tell you about this quaint matching game. Let’s gao (rice)!
Yum Cha Review – Gameplay
Yum Cha is a matching game very similar to Mahjong played with up to 6 people. If you don’t know har gow (shrimp dumplings) to play mahjong, don’t worry, this is very simple to pick up! Each player starts with 10 cards in hand and the remainder of the deck is placed face down on the table. Your job is to make 3 sets of 3 cards from among 7 levels of dim sum and a pair of tea cards.
The person who ate Yum Cha most recently goes first and draws a card from the deck before discarding a card from their hand, face up on the table. The next person can choose to either draw from the deck or the pile of discarded cards.
The game continues like this until someone has a complete hand of 3 sets of dim sum and 1 pair of teas. That is the end of round 1 of 4 and the player with the most points at the end is the winner. I found that compared to Boba Master, the games went much faster and with luck, you can be done in about 30 minutes. But then again, where Boba Master is all luck, there’s much more strategy involved with Yum Cha when building your hand.
Some things to know when playing: There are 7 types of dim sum: Small, Mid, Big and Dessert types are worth 1 point while Special, Super and Top are worth 2 points. Then you have the tea which will give you a x2 or x3 bonus to your hand. There’s also one other type of card you can pick up and that is the Takeaway card. These only come into effect if you daan taat (egg tart) win a round.
If you have a Takeaway card in hand and a finished set of dim sum, you can still “take away” those points if you haven’t won the round. You can use up to 2 Takeaway cards at a time but you can’t use them on the tea, after all, in real life, you don’t takeaway tea!
No chimkins were harmed in the making of this review.
The last thing to keep in mind is when you’re building your hand, you can’t have multiple of the same dim sum to make up your level. You need some variety! At the end of the day, you dim sum, you lose some. It’s all about having fun!
Yum Cha Review – Art and Design
Just like with Boba Master, the art of these cards are super cute. Each dim sum has a cute face on it, which is a little concerning as you’re theoretically going to be eating these pieces of food. However, I think the art here is even better than Boba Master. In Boba Master you can pick up an action card which is mostly just an item, however, each card in Yum Cha has a face on it, bringing a little personality to the cards.
The box and cards are the same size as Boba Master. And, while I’m not going to use the banana for scale like in the previous review, this photo from Quokka Games tells you everything you need to know. All 4 of their games have a bite-sized carbon footprint compared to most other traditional-sized board game boxes. It’s a bao (steamed bun) time we got more smaller travel-sized games!
Yum Cha Review – Conclusion
I really enjoyed siu mai (pork steamed dumpling) time playing Yum Cha. I found that once my friends and I got the hang of it, we all became super competitive and more strategic about what we put down while keeping an eye on what other people picked up. I can see myself playing this again when game nights come up at my house in the future. Hell, you can even take it on the road and play it with friends when you travel!
Why should you cook up Yum Cha for your next game night?
- You like a quick game but you’re fine if it goes longer
- You like the element of luck, but you’re also more strategic
- You’re looking for dumpling fun to play
- You’re more than happy with some puns
But why should you go hungry without Yum Cha?
- You still can’t handle the puns
A big thank you to Quokka Games for sending us a copy of the game for our Yum Cha review. If you want to get your own copy of this great game, head on over here and support the team! And be sure to check out more of our boardgame reviews and join the Qualbert Discord to chat with us about all things tabletop.