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Dish It Up!

A thematically rich children's memory game

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Dish It Up!

Dish It Up!

Image courtesy of Gamewright
There are a lot of memory games out there, but not nearly as many which use memory in a thematic way to create a great children's game experience. Dish It Up! is one of the proud, the few... the thematically rich memory games.

Working in a Greasy Spoon Diner

Players are waiters and waitresses in a greasy spoon diner, what folks in the South would call a "meat and three." I have fond memories of an old Waco, Texas, institution called Leslie's Chicken Shack where the waitresses looked like Flo's cousin and worried that we poor Baylor students weren't eating enough. Hot biscuits and honey plus lots of excellent fried chicken... sigh. It's gone now.

But I'm supposed to be telling you about a game, not salivating about Sunday dinners long past.

Ahem... Well, on his turn, a player turns up two tiles from the tableau. Instead of trying to have the tiles match, though, each player is working to match the items on his order cards. Each one of those cards has a main dish, a side, a drink, and a dessert. As long as you match both items with your card, you can pick them up and go again. When you complete your card, you get a tip ($1 -- these are not generous patrons).

Cranky Customers and Crying Babies

There are a couple of flies in the ointment (or soup!):

  • Matt has lost his mitt. If you can turn over Matt's tile and the Mitt tile in the same turn, you get a dollar.

  • There are also cranky customer and crying baby tiles in the tableau. Turn one of them over and your turn ends immediately.

The round ends when one player finishes their orders, and unfinished orders don't get tips. The game is played over several (usually three) rounds, with players shooting for a dollar amount in tips based on the number of players.

Because the game uses pictures on the order cards as well as the tiles, this game works with some kids as young as three years old. (However, they usually can only play one round before getting antsy.) As well, since you've got multiple matches early in the game (each player has at least two order cards with four items each), the frustration level for younger players is low as well.

We've had a great time with this game at the Jackson house -- of course, neither of the boys have had to wait tables yet. Some shine will probably come off the theme when that happens.


Dish It Up! is for 2 to 4 players, ages 6 and up. It was designed by Ann and Monty Stambler and published by Gamewright.

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