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Subject: Coffee Roaster- First Impression rss

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EGG Head
United States
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Ok I admit it, I'm a major coffee addict. It's my life blood in the morning. Naturally, Coffee Roaster attracted me immediately, the theme and the artwork were instantly appealing. Coffee Roaster is a solo game and I generally don't have that much opportunity to play solo games but I was really intrigued.

The game's main mechanism utilizes pool building a spin off of deck building using a drawing bag instead of a deck. The first games I played to use this mechanism were King's Pouch and of course Orléans and it's a subtle enough change from a deck of cards to keep it fun.

The goal of the game is to become the best bean roaster.

The components work well. The box comes with nice dividers to keep the beans and other chits nicely separated. Reasonably thick cardboard tokens, a cup board and and a roasting board are included. There is a black drawing bag with a generous opening to reach in and pull out the tokens. Included is also a stack of double sided coffee cards which describe the qualities of each type of coffee and these cards come in a nice little folder. A score paper is included and may be downloaded off the publisher's website when you need more.

Game Play:
You can either play a Trial Menu for a 1 coffee bean challenge or a Full Menu where you roast 3 different types of beans.

You choose a type of bean from the file and add the beans, flavor tokens and moisture tokens as indicated to the bag. Some of the beans may be bad.

Then it's time for roasting!

Each coffee will indicate where the turns start on the roast board. Some turns will add smoke tokens to the bag.

You draw the number of tokens from the bag indicated on the turn board. Then you can roast beans drawn which you keep track of on the cup board. If you draw flavor tokens they may be turned in for some unique effect tokens or partial extra actions such as drawing more tokens of throwing away unwanted tokens. After deciding the tokens are returned to the bag and you can either take another turn roasting or you can finish and do the cup test. This will be determined on how you think you can score of course.

Too little or too much roasting results in lower points. Too much roasting can also result in burnt coffee-yuck. During the cup test you draw tokens one at a time and either place them in the cup or place unwanted tokens on the tray. You score for beans of the same roast level, and any flavor tokens. Bad beans in the cup or not enough tokens to fill the cup will result in negative points.

Your score in the Full Menu will determine the next level of bean to test. Total score in a Full Menu will determine your rank of coffee roaster.

When I think of solo games the first things ones that come to mind have lots and lots of tiny chits and combat and time consuming. Dated I know. With the surge of new games recently released over the past few years, a number of interesting solo games are coming to the forefront. They tend to be shorter and a number of them are card based like Friday or Shephy with deck construction/deconstruction as a core mechanism. For me these shorter solo games work much better as my game time is generally limited and after work I prefer something a little lighter.

Coffee Roaster fits the bill nicely. The theme is unusual for a solo game as are many of the solo games coming from Japan. With a lot the solo games having similar mechanisms I find the theme makes the difference in which ones I want to play. I have found it to be challenging to get a high score. The decision points involve when to stop roasting and how many of the flavor tokens and which effects to use. Like its inspiration, Coffee Roaster is a bit addicting as you want to improve your score each time. The game is as smooth as a good cup o' Joe and Coffee Roaster makes me want to wake up and smell the coffee.
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