From the mind of tabletop game lover turned designer, Rayne Aw, Hojo Pojo is a newly launched, and easy-to-learn, hot pot-themed party game perfect for a small gathering of family and friends.
Hailing from food-haven Singapore, it is no wonder that food culture is an extremely popular theme amongst game designers from the island nation. Hojo Pojo is one of the latest to join the ranks of Hawker Wars, Saucy Grannies, Mooncake Master and many more!
Food is such a communal experience among most cultures and the Hot Pot is right up there with the best foods to bring people together.
Funded on Kickstarter (launched in March 2021), Hojo Pojo was selected as a “Project We Love” by the platform and we can understand why. The game mechanics are simple and very thematic which makes introducing the game to newcomers very easy.
Designed for 2 to 6 players, the objective of the game is to cook and eat as much food (and score points) as you can before the dipping sauce runs out.
To begin, you place all the ingredient cards in the “pot”, which very creatively makes use of the game box itself, raising the cards slightly above the gameplay area giving it the “hot pot” effect.
You then proceed to dish out cooked ingredients using either the tongs card (which picks out the top card) or the slotted ladle (which potentially allows you to dish out more ingredients).
Place bowls in your game area and you’re ready to fill them up with a roll of the coloured die.
The objective of the game is to score points, and you do that by dishing out cooked ingredients into your bowls and then matching them with a sauce card. You score 1 point for a mismatch, 3 points for a match, and 5 points if you happen to draw an “orange” sauce card.
The sauce cards are also used to time the game and you decide as a group how many sauce cards begin in play. 5 sauce cards per player are recommended, but you can choose to play a longer game, or a shorter one.
In addition to the ingredient and bowl cards, other actions allow you to steal completed bowls and cards from other players, or defend against such attacks.
A “king of the Pot” card also allows you to trigger a final showdown if you have it in your hand when someone else goes for the win.
The variety of play and the ability to increase the difficulty of the game (there are 3 variant rules) aids in the replayability of the game.
One gripe that we had was the fact that the rules weren’t as clear and intuitive as we would have liked and could have been worded better. The action cards also lacked description text which meant that we had to initially keep referring to the booklet to figure out what the cards did.
However, once you figure it out (the instructional video really helps), it is extremely easy to grasp and it is easy enough to guide new people to the game.
Hojo Pojo is a casual, quick and fun game that almost anyone can enjoy.