Welcome to Friedey’s, the fast food restaurant of the damned. You and your coworkers are zombies, doing your brainless best to keep the food coming and the restaurant clean, but that’s much easier said than done.
Give Me the Brain and Lord of the Fries are two house favorites from Cheapass Games, returning this year in “superdeluxe” editions. Cheapass Games has produced several versions of these two award-winning, zombie-themed fast food games. After spending some time as publications of Steve Jackson Games, these games are back home at Cheapass, and the new editions are better than ever.
The world was first introduced to Friedey’s Restaurant in 1997 with Give Me the Brain. The game won the Origins Award for best traditional card game of that year. In Give Me the Brain, the players are all zombies working at a fast food restaurant, trying to finish their daily chores with only one brain to pass around.
“It’s a simple play-all-your-cards game,” says inventor James Ernest. “Like a lot of Cheapass games, the story of Give Me the Brain was based on a joke: imagine fast food employees passing one brain back and forth, like the Stygian Witches and their eye.”
Gameplay is simple. There are job cards and bid cards, and the goal is to get rid of all your cards. On your turn, you play jobs. Some tasks, like breakfast or lunch rushes, require the brain. Others, like scrambling practice, require only hands. If you play a card that requires the brain, there’s a chance you’ll drop it on the floor. Then everyone can play bid cards to grab the brain and take the next turn.
Nothing is easy, of course. A lot of the cards make you draw more cards. Some let you steal cards, or hand cards away, and the newer editions also contain “objects” that stay on the table in front of you. Some are good; the “extra hand” card lets you play more cards each turn. Some are bad; the “mop” card actually prevents you from winning.
The sequel, Lord of the Fries, followed shortly in 1998. Rather than re-hashing the mechanics of Give Me the Brain, Lord of the Fries casts the same brainless zombies in a completely new, rummy-style game. The goal of Lord of the Fries is simply to make combo meals from hands of random ingredients. Some orders are easy; the “Cowabunga,” for example, requires only cow meat and a bun. Others, such as the infamous “Patriarch,” are more difficult. The “Patriarch” requires fish meat, cheese, a bun, fries, a drink, and the oft-maligned strawberry pie.
Each round, players create an order, either by rolling dice or by choosing something from the menu. Going clockwise around the table, the first player who can fill the order plays those cards and creates the next order. This continues until someone’s hand is empty, at which point you score points for all the cards you have played, and lose points for all the cards left in your hand.
Since its first release, Lord of the Fries has been through several editions and many alternate menus have been created for the original deck. In the new edition, Cheapass has turned up the awesome by creating expansion decks with all-new artwork, as well as alternate menus and variant rules.
There are four self-contained expansion decks for Lord of the Fries: Mexican (Las Cabezas), Chinese (Long Wok), Irish (McPubihan’s), and Italian (Ghicciaroni’s). Each comes with its own menu and unique ingredients, and stands alone for up to six players. Cheapass Games also plans to release four additional decks in 2017 (French, Japanese, Brazilian, and American Breakfast). Cheapass Games also releases alternate menus from time to time, including the “Winter Holiday Menu” at cheapass.com, and the “Halloween” menu in this magazine.
Other Friedey’s Games have also come and gone in the 19-year history of Friedey’s Restaurant. In 1999, Cheapass issued a tiny little card game called Change, which featured zombie-themed money and three different change-making games. And in 2000 they made a board game called The Great Brain Robbery, in which the zombies leave the fast food restaurant, travel to the old west, and rob a speeding train.
What became of The Great Brain Robbery? Ernest explains. “It was a popular game and I would like to bring it back, but like many older games, I’d like to update the mechanics first.”