Coffee Roaster is my 'go to' solo game right now. Here are a few brief thoughts for anyone curious about it.
The Components are perfect. Thick card stock, lovely texture. Charming artwork with an attractive colour scheme. Sensible box size, sensible insert. The Bean Sheets holder is a nice little touch. Very well translated rulebook. It all makes perfect sense with a logical progression. One or two typos, but no more than you will find in any other rules manual.
The Setup is refreshingly simple. Plonk down the two boards, choose a bean, throw a few tokens in a bag, a cube here and a disk there and you're ready to roast. That's it!
The Gameplay feels breezy. Randomness is of the good variety, by which I mean it feels tied to the theme, reminding you that roasting coffee is perhaps not always all that predictable. To mitigate that random element you always have the potential to know exactly what is in the bag, and the choices that you are presented are varied and satisfying. It's a harmonious balance really. Everything that happens in the game is a subtle pointer toward the art of coffee roasting. Combined with all the attention to detail in artwork, graphic design and components, it's easy to lose yourself for a while.
Special Mention should go to the tailoring system as you progress through the game. Dependant on your Skill / Luck on any given bean and subsequent score, the game will decide for you the difficulty level of the next round. Also, if you want to up the difficulty (i.e memory element) 'manually' so to speak, then you have the option to not use the roast counter as well as not leaving discarded tokens to the side for reference. Or maybe try out one of the Speciality coffees to reach Meister status! Coffee Roaster clearly defines the framework of the game first and foremost whilst deftly offering a few welcome tweak options here and there without it feeling 'Sand-boxy'.
To conclude, in the relatively niche corner of our hobby that is solo-gaming, Coffee Roaster is one of the more enjoyable ones that I have tried. It feels perfectly blended (see what I did there ). Satisfying choices, light and breezy and charmingly thematic. I give it a 'Cool Beans' thumbs up 👍☕️👍