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The (real) Story Of Scoville

Wilbur Scoville was born on January 22nd, 1865. The world would never be the same. In 1912 Scoville developed the Scoville Organoleptic Test (SOT), which was used to measure the "hotness" of peppers.

Scoville's test is still used to measure the capsaicin in a pepper, expressed as Scoville Heat Units. Ever since, people have tried to breed hotter and hotter peppers.

The (fake) Story Of Scoville

The town of Scoville was founded in Wilbur's honor as a home for those who believe that the hottest peppers are the best peppers. Every year around this time, the town hosts the Scoville Chili Pepper Festival.

The festival includes fundraising auctions for the local high school (Go Flames!), a huge Farmers' Market, incredible prizes for growers who plant the fieriest peppers, and the world famous Scoville Chili Cookoff, where competitors try to scorch their way to victory with the wildest concoctions.

The festival only lasts one day and the grower that can generate the most heat will take home this year's trophy. Are you ready to feel the burn?


  • 1 Game Board
  • Many Pepper Tokens
  • 6 Player Screens
  • 6 Farmers
  • 6 Discs
  • 65 Auction Cards
  • 48 Market Cards
  • 30 Recipe Cards
  • 12 Award Plaques
  • A Bunch of Coins
  • 18 Bonus Action Tiles
  • 4 Breeding Charts


A General: Assemble the board in your play area. Make piles (separated by color) of the peppers nearby. Make a coin bank as well.

B Players: Give each player a Screen and the farmer and disc in their color, one of each Bonus Action tile, $10 worth of coins, and three peppers: red, yellow, and blue. Players should set up their screens to hide their stuff behind them during play.

C Farmers' Market: Shuffle the Morning deck of Market cards, then draw a number of cards according to your number of players as shown on the board; lay them beside the board face up. Return the remainder of the Morning deck to the box, but shuffle the Afternoon deck and keep it on the board where shown. (On the large square empty table).

D Chili Cookoff: Shuffle the deck of Recipe cards, then draw a number of cards according to your number of players as shown on the board; lay them beside the board face up, overlapping them as shown to save room. It's a good idea to order them by score from lowest to highest as shown. Return the remainder of the Recipe deck to the box.

E Auction House: Shuffle the Morning and Afternoon Auction decks and place them face down near the Auction House. Draw cards equal to the number of players from the Morning deck and place them face up in the slots on the board. Place the remainder of the Morning deck, plus the entire Afternoon deck, face down nearby.

F City Hall: Separate the Award Plaques by pepper color and stack them in the matching spots on the roof of City Hall, making sure that higher-valued plaques are on top of lower-valued plaques. If this is a 2p or 3p game, remove one plaque (the most valuable plaque) from each stack and return those to the box.

G Starting Plots: Take a red, a yellow, and a blue cube into your hand. Randomly choose two of those to place on the Starting Plots of the pepper field (marked with green outlines). Return the third pepper to the supply.

H Turn Order: Take each player's disc and randomly place them onto spots on the Turn Order Track. Do not use any spots on the track numbered higher than the number of players. (For example in a 3pgame, don't use the 4, 5, and 6 spaces; you might want to place a coin on unusable spaces as a reminder).

I Breeding Charts: Keep these handy so that players can refer to them.

Game Play

Each game of Scoville consists of a variable number of rounds. Each round is made of these five phases:

  1. AUCTION (Players bid for turn order and claim Auction cards).
  2. PLANTING (Players plant peppers and can win Award Plaques).
  3. HARVESTING (Players move their Farmers up to 3 steps, breeding peppers as they go).
  4. FULFILLMENT (Players may fulfill a Market card, fulfill a Recipe, and sell one pepper color).
  5. TIME CHECK (Check if Morning has progressed to Afternoon... or Afternoon to Endgame).

1. Auction

In the Auction phase, all players bid coins for choice of turn order, then in turn order they claim Auction cards.

Bidding For Turn Order

Note: There is no bid for turn order in the very first round of the game; turn order was randomly established during Setup. In all other rounds, players will be bidding for turn order.

First slide the discs off the turn order track up onto the faint circles above, preserving the turn order from the previous round.

To bid, each player secretly selects any amount of their own coins (including possibly zero) and holds it in their hand. When all players are ready, everyone simultaneously reveals their bids.

The player who bid the highest chooses their spot on the turn order track and moves their disc there, then the next- highest bidder, and so on until everyone has chosen their spot. Players pay their bids into the bank as they go.

  • In the event of a tied bid (of greater than zero), the tied player who was earlier in the previous turn order chooses first.

  • Players who bid zero do not get to choose their spot on the track. After every player who bid greater than zero has chosen, zero-bidders drop down (in previous turn order) into the available spaces on the track, from lowest-numbered to highest.

Example: The bids are revealed. Greg bid 7 while Ruth and Yuri both bid 5. Greg chooses first. He wants to lead in the Harvesting phase-which works in reverse turn order-so he chooses space 3.

Ruth and Yuri's bids tied, so they choose in the previous round's turn order. Ruth chooses space 1, so Yuri (left with no choice) ends up in space 2.

The new turn order is Ruth, Yuri, Greg. Ruth chooses the purple pepper card, then Yuri chooses the yellow + blue pepper card, then Greg takes the remaining red pepper card. Each player discards their card and takes the shown pepper from the supply. Then the Auction house is refreshed with three new cards from the Morning draw deck.

Claiming Auction Cards

In the new turn order, each player chooses one of the cards currently in the Auction House. The player takes the pepper(s) shown on the card from the supply and discards the card.

After all players have chosen, draw new cards from the deck to refill the Auction House. (Use the Morning deck if it's still Morning, Afternoon deck if it's Afternoon).

In the rare event that the deck runs out, shuffle the discards (of the appropriate deck) to form a new deck.

2. Planting

In the Planting phase, all players (in turn order) must plant one pepper. To plant a pepper, the player selects any pepper from their own supply and places it in an empty plot of the pepper field.

  • A player's pepper may only be planted in a plot that is horizontally or vertically adjacent to a plot that already has a pepper in it.

  • A player may plant one extra pepper by using a certain Bonus Action tile.

Award Plaques

If a player plants a pepper of a color for which any Award plaques still remain on City Hall, the player may collect the most valuable of those plaques. (Plaques should be stacked with the most valuable on top).

  • The plaques with the striped pepper on them refer to the planting of a Purple or Orange or Green pepper.

  • A maximum of one plaque may be earned by each player per round, even if the player uses the Bonus Action tile to plant a second pepper that would also qualify for a plaque.

  • A player may earn more than one plaque of the same color, providing that they are earned in different rounds.

Example: Ruth goes first. She could plant one of her peppers in any of the spots marked with a checkmark. The spots with red Xs on them are not legal because they are not horizontally or vertically adjacent to a planted plot.

Ruth eventually decides to plant her purple pepper in the spot shown.

Example: Ruth planted a purple pepper, and there are still purple/orange/green plaques on City Hall. Ruth claims the most-valuable matching plaque, earning herself an easy two points!

3. Harvesting

In the Harvesting phase, each player (in reverse turn order) moves their plot farmer up to three steps along the plot paths, earning a pepper for each step ending between two planted plots.

  • In the first round, each player on their turn first places their farmer on the star, (facing either direction) then begins their movement. In later turns, farmers begin their movement from wherever they sit.

  • Farmers may move up to three steps but must move at least one step. One step consists of sliding the farmer along the paths between the plots until the farmer is in the notches directly between two plots (or in the notch beside a plot if traveling along the outside edge of the field). It is irrelevant whether the plots are planted or not.

  • Farmers may not pass through nor stop on an opponent's farmer. (In the rare case that a farmer is totally blocked and can not move even one step, the player must skip their turn in this Harvesting phase).

  • A farmer may be pivoted at the start of a turn to start moving in any direction, but once it has begun movement it may not be "turned around" to face the opposite direction. Because of this it will not be possible to move along any portion of path already traveled this turn.

  • When a farmer's step ends between two planted plots, the farmer harvests a pepper. The player collects a pepper (or peppers) according to the Breeding chart.

  • See Crossbreeding to learn how to read the Breeding chart to harvest better and hotter peppers!

Example: It's Greg's turn, and it's the first round. He places his farmer pawn on the star and begins.

(This initial placement on the star is not a "step"; the player doesn't harvest anything).

Step 1 takes him between an empty plot and a yellow pepper, so he harvests nothing.

Step 2 takes him between an orange and purple pepper, so he checks the Breeding chart; he harvests a white pepper!

Step 3 takes him between two orange peppers. Checking the chart again, he sees that this earns him a black pepper!

Next round, his farmer will begin movement from that spot between the two orange peppers.


When a farmer ends a step between two peppers, the player gets to crossbreed the peppers and collect the resulting pepper(s) from the supply. Players will learn many of the combinations quite quickly, but its always good to check the Breeding chart to confirm the crossbreeding results.

To use the Breeding chart, find one of the peppers in the left column of the chart, then follow its row across until it reaches the other pepper's column. The place where the row and column meet display the result of the crossbreed.

  • Most combinations result in a single pepper for the player.
  • Some combinations result in two peppers for the player.
  • Some combinations (all involving brown peppers) result in an X on the chart, which means the player collects no pepper.

Example 1 (red): Your farmer is between two blue peppers. The blue row and the blue column meet where shown; you collect two blue peppers!

Example 2 (green): Your farmer is between an orange and purple pepper. The orange row and purple column meet where shown; you collect a white pepper!

Example 3 (yellow): Your farmer is between a brown and orange pepper. The brown row and orange column meet where shown; you collect nothing!

4. Fulfillment

In the Fulfillment phase, all players (in turn order) may perform any or all of the following actions. The player may perform his or her actions in any order, but may only perform each action at most once per round.

Visit The Farmers' Market

The player may choose one Market card available in the Farmers' Market display. The player pays the peppers shown on the "wanted" side of the card to the supply, and earns the reward(s) shown on the other side. The player keeps the Market card behind his or her screen.

Example: Yuri chooses this Market card from the display. He pays the wanted yellow and orange peppers to the supply, takes a brown pepper and $3 from the supply, and keeps the Market card behind his screen. It'll be worth 1 point at the end of the game as shown.

Compete At The Chili Cookoff

The player may choose one Recipe card available in the Chili Cookoff display. The player pays the combination of peppers shown on the card to the supply, then keeps the Recipe card behind his or her screen.

Example: Yuri chooses this Recipe card from the Chili Cookoff display. He pays the 2 black, 2 brown, and 2 red peppers shown on the card to the supply, and keeps the Recipe card behind his screen. This'll be worth a huge 16 points at the end of the game!

Sell A Batch Of Peppers

The player may sell at most five of one color of held peppers to the supply. Each sold pepper earns $1 for every two of that color pepper currently planted in the pepper fields.

Example: Yuri could sell up to five of one color of peppers that he holds. Considering the peppers that are currently planted in the fields:

Red peppers are worth zero. Purple peppers are worth zero. Orange peppers are worth $1 each. Blue peppers are worth $1 each. Yellow peppers are worth $2 each.

Yuri decides to sell 3 yellow peppers; he returns them to the supply and collects $6 from the bank.

5. Time Check

The game is divided into Morning and Afternoon. The game starts in the Morning, which is why the Morning decks of Market and Auction cards were used during setup. The Time Check phase works as follows:

If It's Morning

First, count the number of Recipe cards remaining at the Chili Cookoff.

If there are fewer cards than there are players (for example 2 or fewer in a 3-player game), then the Afternoon is skipped. One more round is played and the game ends after the Fulfillment phase of that round.

Note: This does not often happen in the Morning, but it is possible.

Then, count the number of Market cards remaining at the Farmers' Market.

If there are at least as many cards remaining as there are players (for example 3 or more and it's a 3-player game), then it is still morning. Start a new round!

If there are fewer cards than there are players, then the game progresses to afternoon.

  1. Discard any remaining morning Market cards from the Farmers' Market, then Draw new Market cards from the afternoon deck to refill the Farmers' Market to the same number that the game started with; return the remainder of the afternoon Market deck to the box.

  2. Return the morning Auction deck to the box, but leave the Auction cards currently in the Auction house where they are; Start a new round!

Example: In this 3-player game it's morning and we see that the Farmers' Market is down to 1 card. This means that next round is the start of Afternoon.

We'll discard the remaining Market card, deal out 9 afternoon Market cards from the deck (and get rid of the rest of the deck), and get rid of the morning Auction deck.

If It's Afternoon

Count the number of Market cards remaining at the Farmers' Market, and the number of Recipe cards remaining at the Chili Cookoff.

  • If there are fewer cards than there are players in one of the two locations, then one more round is played and the game ends after the Fulfillment phase of that round.

  • If there are fewer cards than there are players in both of the two locations, then the game ends immediately with no final round played.

Otherwise, start a new round!

Example: In this 3-player game we see that the Farmers' Market is down to 2 cards, while the Chili Cookoff still has 3. Since only one of the locations has fewer cards than there are players, we'll play one final round and then end the game.

End of the Game

When the game ends, each player totals their own points. Points are earned in five different categories:

  • Points on Market cards
  • Points on Recipe cards
  • Points on Award plaques
  • Points on the back of unplayed Bonus Action tiles
  • Every $3 = 1 point (ignore remainders)

The player with the greatest point total wins the game.

In the event of a tie, the tied player with the most coins wins.

Example: At endgame, this player has 8 points worth of Market cards, 21 points worth of Recipe cards, 7 points worth of Award plaques, one unused Bonus Action tile worth 4 points, and $17 which is worth 5 points.

The player's total is 8 + 21 + 7 + 4 + 5 = 45 points. Is that enough to win the game? (Probably not... we are showing a low score here so that the example's math is clear... but it depends on what the other players scored!)

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