Having created my first version of Churrascaria on a whim, I never really expected it to come this far. Now, of course, it’s very close to ready for a Kickstarter and I’ve got a bunch of other designs in progress to follow it. It’s been a rather long road though from there to here, and the game as it is now is very different from the first incarnation.

To really make sense of everything I talk about in the rest of this post, and those to follow, I think it’s best if we start with the Food Request Token. In the grand scheme of things, the revisions to it were really mild, and I essentially had the final form in mind from the start, but understanding how it works will also help make a lot of other things make sense later on.

At the Brazilian steakhouses I have visited and researched, at least in the United States, each patron has a small token sitting next to their plate. One side is green signifying to the waiters to bring more meat. While the other is red and signifies that you are full, or at least need some time to eat before more meat arrives. It’s a very simple thing, but from the very start those tokens were something that I really wanted to make sure was a key mechanic in the game.

Some examples from actual restaurants.

In Churrascaria the Food Request Token determines if a player can get food from the deck. If its green side up then at the end of their turn the waiter brings them food. It also has to be green side up for any of the other cards that award food to have an effect. I also added a rule that players can only hold so much food on their plate and going over that total forces them to eat the lowest value card. All of these decisions made the status of the Food Request Token and knowing when to flip it, a very important element.

Then, of course, I had to figure out what it would look like. While I tend to think mostly in mechanics when I start a design, it is important to also keep in mind what the final product is going to look like so you have an idea of how much space you have to work with for text, icons, and the like. In the case of the Food Request Tokens the text is minimal so my options were wide open.

The first prototype just had a card that was red on one side, and green on the other. I did both the color and the word because you have to account for those who might be red/green colorblind. While that worked as a quick option for the prototype, it was rather boring. So I then looked back to the samples I had from real restaurants and decided I liked that they had the Portuguese phrase on them. I don’t speak the language, but it it’s the language of Brazil and of this food so I figured it would be a nice touch. This still left a lot of room to play with, so I let my artist have some fun with it. The current full art prototype is beautiful and far better than I ever imagined. We are currently in talks and design of a possible actual token design to act as a stretch goal for when the game hits Kickstarter.  Until then though, these three show the progression.

Next time I’ll get into the food cards, which thanks to our artist look delicious and have resulted in every playtest ending with people looking for food. Till then, keep gaming.

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