Scoville is a resource management pepper farming board game for 2-6 players, designed by Ed Marriott and published by Tasty Minstrel Games. In Scoville, players take the role of pepper farmers, who try to crossbreed peppers to make the hottest ones in order to make the best chili, sell goods at the farmer’s market, and win auctions to gain more peppers. By planting, harvesting, and crossbreeding peppers of various kinds, players can earn points in a variety of ways. Whoever has the most points at the end, wins!
Scoville is a very interesting resource management game. Players start out with some base peppers (red, yellow, blue), and must plant peppers and harvest to gain hotter peppers. Since players are competing for space on the pepper farm, you can effectively block opponents from harvesting certain peppers and beat them out to recipes and the farmer’s market points. Players also auction for turn order at the beginning of each round, which keeps players on their toes. Since harvesting (where you pick up crossbred peppers) is done in reverse turn order, sometimes, a player may want to get last in the round to beat out other players to a good crossbreed.
I was very impressed by the theme of Scoville, and I loved the board and artwork. It’s a very light and fun theme, although it can get a little cutthroat in the planting and harvesting phases! The game isn’t quite colorblind friendly, however. They did make an effort to make similar colored peppers different heights, such as the red and brown, but the cards are not as bright as the pepper pieces, which caused issues for our colorblind players. Also the green and orange peppers are the same height, and looked like the same color on the cards for colorblind players. The game is still fun, even with these issues, but just note that a colorblind player may need some extra help with the cards.
Scoville had a really great pace, and on a couple games, it even felt a little too short. Our 3 player game took just an hour, which is perfect to fit in on just about any game night. There wasn’t too much downtime in between turns, even with planning ahead for the next round. Scoville is a great introduction to heavier euros, and has a fairly easy learning curve, especially as they provide a crossbreed cheat sheet to each player.
Overall, our group really enjoyed Scoville and I’m looking forward to more games of it. I liked that I could play it in about an hour, and that there was good player interaction without being overly cutthroat. The theme was fun, artwork was high quality, and it will definitely stay in our collection for a long time.