Diner is a fast-paced game about waiters in a friendly competition to make the most money in tips. Take orders for the tables in your section, gather the plates to fill those orders, and serve your tables, and do it as quickly as possible while showing up the other players.
Diner features a pseudo-real time mechanic that has players passing action tokens whenever they take an action; if a player does not have a token, that player can't take an action. At times, action tokens may accumulate in front of a player, allowing them to take multiple actions at once.
Diner is the winner of the Dice Hate Me Games 54-Card Challenge - a contest that challenged designers to create a game using only 54 cards and very minimal components. It was selected as winner among over 100 participants.
Diner puts players in the shoes of someone serving patrons at a greasy spoon. The goal is to earn the most in tips by gathering plates of various types from the kitchen and then serving them to a table of patrons in your section demanding certain orders. The real magic of the game is in the pseudo-real time action system.
When you want to take an action - say, seat a table in your section - you have to have an action token in front of you. When you perform the action you pass the token to the player next to you. Sometimes those action tokens can pile up allowing you to do multiple things at once. Other times you’re urging the other players to hurry up a bit so you can serve your tables.
It’s a very madcap, social experience, with lots of table talk. With the action tokens, though, it’s not total chaos like many real-time games - there is a lot of control worked into the mechanics. It’s a brilliant design, and one that will appeal to many gamers whether they like real-time games or not. Guaranteed.