Indie publisher, Small Monsters Games‘ new card game, Takeout, is a small pack that packs a punch.

Disclaimer: The IGGPPC received this game for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our review of the game.

Deck box for the card game, Takeout. A white box with minimalist sketches of a pagoda in red.

Visual aesthetic is one of my first check-marks for a game and this game, which focuses on Chinese cuisine, is presented in a deck box designed to look like Chinese takeout. It is adorable. Once unpacked, the deck’s colorful illustrations do not disappoint. Check out this amazing neon sign design for the card backs…

A fan of five cards, showing a black background and a design of a neon sign of a noddle bowl with chopsticks and "Takeout Card Game"

The game centers around the idea of ordering authentic Chinese dishes. Each player is attempting to build a full meal with a dish of each flavor type – salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and spicy and, of course, don’t forget a cold beverage! As players gather their dishes they are also trying to keep the other diners from acquiring theirs. This gives the game something of a “take that” element. At no point in our play did this competitive play become divisive but, with the wrong mix of people, I could see it turning sour (see what I did there?)

The cards have a nice slip to them for shuffling but I do wish the cardstock were sturdier. A thicker card would hold up better to the wear and tear of young players, like my 6 year old, which is important, as you’ll read. I was especially delighted by the accessibility of the cards for non-readers and those with color-blindness. Each flavor is delineated by a color, a word, and a Chinese character, providing play to the broadest possible audience.

Takeout’s broad appeal and simplicity are the laurels on which it is to be lauded. Though not a chewy Euro game, it is easily grasped, making it friendly to almost all ages and player levels. The rules, which are printed on a “takeout menu” style sheet are memorable but thorough. The packaging is portable, perfectly shoved into a pocket or bag for a con or family event. In fact, family events are exactly the kind of place that Takeout will shine.

The replayability and the competitive streak the game incites make Takeout the perfect pastime at your next family reunion. Because it is such a delightfully simple game your niece who has yet to read, your cousin who’s too cool for tabletop, and your grandma who just isn’t as fast as she once was will all enjoy. Because each game is generally a digestible 15 to 45 minutes, players can comfortably join or leave the table between each set.

Back of the deck box for Takeout, showing an arch with the word "Enjoy" and the description, "There's delicious food in this restaurant's kitchen, but unfortuantely, no one at your table speaks Chinese. Overcome your language barrier and get every flavor into your meal before your friends do!"


This may not be the game that seasoned players reach for but, if you’re friends and family are the type to enjoy Uno, Pinochle, or Euchre, Takeout is definitely a great game to bring to your shelves.

  • Player Count: 2 -4
  • Run Time: 15-45 min
  • Publisher: Small Monsters Games
  • Mechanics: Hand management, pattern building, set collection, trading