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The Thick Table Tavern

by manonamora profile

bartender simulator, fantasy
2022

Web Site

(based on 19 ratings)
9 reviews

About the Story

One dream. Fourteen days. Serve drinks and gather enough tips to make it happen in time. Or choose chaos and mix whatever you feel like, damned the consequences.

- Story Mode with 6 endings, 3 difficulty levels for the drink mixing and randomly generated paths.

- Arcade Mode with 3 game type (Endless, Perfection and Timed) where you can just mix drinks.

You can play with either a mouse or a keyboard (links are keybinded).

Content warning: mention and use of alcohol, mention of violence, lewd language and swearing, animated text and background (can be toggled off)

Bartending simulation, fantasy •

Two hours •

Choice-based •

Twine

(See guide)


Game Details


Awards

37th Place - 28th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2022)

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(3)
4 star:
(6)
3 star:
(7)
2 star:
(2)
1 star:
(1)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 9
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A lengthy and somewhat heartwarming game about running a tavern, October 21, 2022
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

As someone who's never tried alcohol, mixed drinks always seem intriguing; I always imagine they'd be like milkshakes or punch or other sweet things. From what people say, it's not really like that. But I like the way the bottles look and the idea of trying to combine ingredients in a neat way.

This game heavily features a minigame where you have a stock of drinks (represented visually with nice graphics) and have to mix specific cocktails from it. All real-world drinks have been re-named, and some are pretty funny (especially ones that are just nicknames for a single drink).

The main storyline is about you, a young individual, trying to save up enough money to buy out the tavern owner. Simultaneously, you are contacted by a 'watcher', an extradimensional being, who discusses the nature of agency with you.

The dialogue in the game is written with an accent, which is always a risky choice, as it can come off pretty goofy or hard to read. This one was fairly simple, though, so that's good.

There is some strong profanity in the game (I have a filter that turns it off, because why not?), and some mild references to sexual situations.

Overall:
-Polish: I had a couple of times where a major event repeated itself (making a buffet, passing out, etc.) and there was some fiddliness with things like the tip box, where you made a choice whether to put it out or not, then when doing the 'getting ready for the day' menu, you had the choice again, repeated word-for-word. Just things like that I feel could be fixed up a bit.
+Descriptiveness: The game is very descriptive, especially with the imaginative cocktail names.
-Interactivity: Like several other reviewers have pointed out, the main minigame can get monotonous. I got to flinching when I'd get another round of 9 orders. But I think the core idea is good, maybe it just needs a few tweaks. I wish there was a sense of progression in skill, or something to learn, but after the first few it's mainly repeating identical actions.
+Emotional impact: I found it heartwarming the way the group could hassle each other but also bond in positive ways.
+Would I play again? With a few changes, like those mentioned above, I think it would be fun.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Beautiful Gameplay, Fun Mixing Minigames, October 7, 2022

This game has really gorgeous UI, a story mode, and several arcade modes. You play as a bartender in a fantasy universe (think typical fantasy TTRPGs) and serve clients drinks.

The story mode needed a little more attention when I played. There were still a few bugs, but these will likely all be fixed soon, if they haven't been addressed already. The author has been extremely responsive to all reports of errors. 

The arcade mode, though, and the core drink-mixing mechanics, are an absolute triumph. The UI really shines here, with colorful bottles, a variety of recipes, and gameplay that is just difficult enough to be challenging (the timed modes are especially fun).

There are also a few clever UI implementations in the story mode gameplay itself, which add variety to the randomized patron encounters (one involving Tarot Cards was really delightful).

All-in-all, definitely a game I would recommend. Whether you play around in arcade mode for a few minutes, or take some time and delve into story mode and meet the Tavern's customers, you're in for an entertaining experience. 

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
The Thickheads Table Tavern, August 3, 2023
by Heli N.
Related reviews: IF Comp 2022, Twine

Introduction:

The Thick Table Tavern (TTTT) is a text-based interactive fiction game that immerses players into a rich fantasy world of strange and eccentric characters. As a fan of interactive storytelling, I was eager to delve into this game and discover its unique narrative and gameplay mechanics, as an entry to the IFComp 2022. In this review, I will expand upon the various aspects of the game, from the writing quality to the gameplay mechanics, to provide an overview of the overall gaming experience.

1. Storyline and Writing (7/10):

The heart of any interactive fiction game lies in its storytelling and TTTT does not disappoint. The writing is engaging, descriptive, and often enthralling, drawing the players into the world and allowing them to connect emotionally with the events and characters.

Starting strong with a prologue designed to pull the player in, it continues by following the days of an overworked bartender in a small-town tavern, serving whimsical and abnormal costumers appearing in random order, surrounded by funny yet annoying colleagues. Even so, the interactions between the bartender and the costumers felt more like a one-sided storytelling (aside from some of them) rather than a dialogue. A different thing could be said about the bantering between them and their colleagues which showed why it is one of the author’s strong points.

However, in some instances, the pacing could have been improved to prevent lulls in the storyline. After a few days, it feels as if the story is dragging needlessly long. There is also the problem, as pointed out on other reviews, of grammar errors present in the story.

I am kind of disappointed on the missed opportunity with the character appearing on the prologue and one of the days in the story. It gives the impression of something fishy happening behind the scenes, yet the small plot goes nowhere. Why does the bartender end up on that condition when meeting them for the second time? What do they need from them? Are they their guardian or enemy? Why the bartender? These and more questions were left unanswered for me.

2. Gameplay and Choice (8/10):

TTTT offers unique gameplay mechanics, standing out among other entries in the IFComp 2022. There are two modes and a simple currency system directly linked with the story’s outcome.

a)Story Mode is the mode the player has to choose if they want to proceed with the story. Each day, the player has to choose whether they go against the bosses wishes. If they feel testing their luck over and over again, the outcome will be the same: Your pay is gonna be reduced. The most fitting quote for them: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Oh, and the player can test their bartending skills through the rush hours, following the recipes provided. Based on how good they do, they get a certain amount of tips to help with their end goal. The customers appear in random order thanks to the random function implemented on the game.
b)Arcade Mode is the mode the player has to choose if they don’t want to bother reading the story, being (lazy) only interested on trying out the bartender life while practicing their drink-making skills. To get the hang of things, the player can try the tutorial (leading to “there is still a bug” page after finishing with it). If they want to test out their skills and be punished at their first mistake, they can choose perfection mode, but if they desire to be punished for not finishing their work on time, they can choose the timed mode. For those players who aren’t gluttons for punishment, they can choose the endless mode.

Regarding choices, I should make one thing clear. The only choices which matter in Story Mode will be the goal you have and how well the bartender can do in saving enough money to reach that goal. All the other choices only affect the flavor text the player gets to read.

3. User Interface and Accessibility (10/10):

The user interface is clean and intuitive, allowing players to focus on the story without unnecessary distractions, though the player should expect a cup of beer and a tavern sign welcoming them in the tavern. The accessibility features are all there for the player to choose, along with the difficulty adjustment for bartending skills test. The aesthetic choices made by the author and game designer are impeccable as usual.

4. Replay Value (8/10):

TTTT boasts commendable replayability, thanks to the multiple branching paths, outcomes and the random function implemented on the game. You never know when or if a character is going to appear. Each playthrough offers a fresh experience and encourages players to explore different decisions to uncover new aspects of the story. However, additional content or achievements could have added more incentive for repeated playthroughs.

Conclusion

TTTT, in spite of its flaws, has provided me with an enjoyable gameplay experience though it needs improvements to be made to it. I would recommend giving it a try, in spite of my review for you to make your own judgement on it.

Overall rating: 8.25 (4/5 in IFDB rating scale)

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See All 9 Member Reviews

The Thick Table Tavern on IFDB

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Polls

The following polls include votes for The Thick Table Tavern:

Games with root beer in them by Andrew Schultz
I played two entries in the Single Choice jam that made very visible references to root beer. Then I realized not many other games did that I could think of. I had one of my own. But given I like root beer much better than Coke or Pepsi,...

Outstanding Fantasy Game of 2022 - Author's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best fantasy game of 2022. Voting is anonymous and open only to IFDB...

Outstanding Debut of 2022 - Player's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best game of 2022 by a new author. Voting is open to all IFDB members....

See all polls with votes for this game




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