Game Changers

Competition Details
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Bellytimber — A Seasonal Food Game

by David Hughes
Co-authors:

Bellytimber is a fun, strategic food game that promotes seasonal, local food and healthful eating. Increasingly, our food travels more than we do; we have grown accustomed to eating food that that has never grown roots in local soil: Strawberries in winter? Asparagus in autumn? Where does this food come from? At what cost? The way we eat has an enormous impact on the health of our planet.

Bellytimber encourages players to think about these issues by focusing on when food grows (seasonality), which leads to the question of where food comes from; where food comes from implies freshness and freshness equals taste.

Eating local food in season means your food tastes better and is better for you.

Eating local preserves genetic diversity too because delicate fruits and vegetables don’t have to be packed and shipped across country which reduces fossil fuel consumption.

Shopping local helps sustain small family farms—a boon for wildlife and the environment because it preserves habitat. It also builds strong communities because it is a food system built on trust. Eating local means you can shake the hand that feeds you!

Bellytimber inspires players to imagine and create seasonal dishes. In this sense, Bellytimber is truly a game both for the belly and the soul!

MATERIALS
140 tiles, 4 racks, pencils and paper.

OBJECTIVE
Score the most points by winning the greatest number of seasonal menu challenges.
Menus must contain 6 tiles—one from each food category (fruit, dairy, vegetable, grain, protein, treat).

HOW TO PLAY

• Blindly select 5 tiles and arrange them on a rack.

• Play one tile per turn collecting a new tile after each
play.

• Menus can be created vertically or horizontally but all
tiles in a 6-tile menu must be in season.

• Tiles can be placed in any order but players can only
connect to one other tile when placing a tile in play.

• Players can bump other tiles off a menu if they have a
higher scoring tile from the same food category and
season(s). Bumping increases menu score and is a big
part of game strategy.

• The player who places the highest scoring 6th tile and
avoids being bumped, wins the menu row.

• Add up the value of each tile for a total menu score.

• When all the tiles are exhausted, the player with the
most points wins the game.