Game Review: ‘Sixpence Bakery’

A New Game Game Based on an Old Nursery Rhyme

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Game Summary:

Number of players: 2-6
Time: 15-30 minutes
Ages: 6+
Game type: casual
Gamer type: anyone
Complexity: 3

“Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie” is a lyric from a nursery rhyme called Sing a Song of Sixpence that most of us have known since childhood. It is a crazy little ditty that is a condemnation of vanity, but has evolved into a little rhyme that we teach kids when we read them stories at night. It combines elements of fantasy, morality, and fun into a song that they can remember. It also created a great universe for an excellent card game published by Dann Kriss Games (DKG) called Sixpence Bakery.

The publisher explains that the game’s features include “light strategy with an easy learning curve, great fun for family game night, helps practice simple mathematic skills,” and is a “fun Mother Goose-themed play.”

According to the rules, this is how you win:

“In Sixpence Bakery, you are one of the King’s ‘Royal Bakers.’ The King’s birthday is almost here…now you and the other bakers must scramble to bake up as many [blackbird pies] as quickly as you can. The first baker to complete three pies with 24 blackbirds each wins.”

Quality Art and Classic Story

Sixpence Bakery has amazing art created by Ruslana Shybinska. The card art is fun and contains pictures of blackbirds and the royals who are waiting for their cakes. The wooden tokens used for counting your pies are well crafted and have the nice feel. The box art is very good, and the box itself is a fairly standard size, which accommodates all the parts (the pies fit under the insert). The game can easily be stored on a shelf. This earns Sixpence Bakery a score of 7.5 for art.

The narrative provides a classic story, which always works well when you link culture into a game in a positive way. The pies and the characters represent the nursery rhyme. The simplicity works well in adding to the players’ experience. This earns the Dann Kriss tabletop game a score of 6 out 10 for the story.

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Simple Mechanics and Amazing Strategy

The mechanics of the game are simple, You compile 24 blackbirds for your pie by selecting cards off the table, playing them from your hand or stealing them from your opponents. Seems pretty straightforward right?

Well, character cards make the game more interesting. The king lets you swap cards, the queen lets you play two cards, and the maid lets you destroy a card. All of these actions can really challenge your goal of building a perfect 24-bird pie. The mechanics work quite well together. There is a little confusion with the rules about when you draw back into your hand, however. Other than that, it is a game anyone can learn and play quickly. Thus, Sixpence Bakery earns 7 out of 10 for mechanics.

Strategy is interesting for this type of game; it has amazing strategy that does not really fall into the big four categories that are ordinarily reviewed here. There is office where you can choose to attack your opponents with character cards. There is engine building with the character cards; you can also keep select cards in your hand. There is even a rush style, where you build your pies quickly.

Playing these styles together gives you a very good chance of winning. While there is no defense, this feature could be considered in an expansion, something that DKG does very well. Sixpence Bakery receives a 6.5 out of 10 in this category.

Unique Novelty for a Non-Gambling Game

Sixpence Bakery is a numbers game, which is a fairly crowded genre.  However, several novel elements to the game allow it to stay ahead of the pack. The combination of cards and tokens, unrelated to gambling, is rather unique. This makes it more unique than just a card-counting game. Further, the implementation of the characters add a level of skill which prevents Sixpence Bakery from being a luck-of-the-draw game. Overall, the story and the style are quite novel and impressive, resulting in a rating of 8 out of 10 in this tier.

Overall Rating for Sixpence Bakery

It is no secret that I love games that the whole family can play. This allows a household to spend time together and kids to learn reasoning skills. This game is very effective in helping children develop the essential skills of math and basic logic. For the overall rating, Sixpence Bakery earns a total score of 35 out of 50, which is a stellar score for a hybrid card game.

If you have kids (and/or friends who enjoy uncomplicated games), Sixpence Bakery is a tremendous addition to your collection. Pick up a copy and make some pies.

Christopher W Smithmyer
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