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Subject: Review: Barista rss

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John Sheppard
United States
Bellevue
WA
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The company that produced this game is local to me (if a 30 minute drive, 90 minute 'pedestrian only' ferry ride and a half-mile walk can be considered local). I was intrigued by the idea of the game. It sounded like it had some depth (not a lot, but some).

Really basic overview:

Roll the 'drink' dice to generate a random coffee order, collect cards to 'create the drink' before anyone else.

Components:

1 - Instruction Sheet. It could just be me and the fact that I read it quickly, but I found the instructions, while adequate, poorly written. No typos or obvious mistakes, just...not exactly clear.

1 - Coffee cup, plastic. About as useful as any dice cup, but I like that it at least sticks to the theme of the game.

4 - Dice:

* The size die (Short, Tall, Grande)
* The milk die (Non-fat, Soy, Breve)
* The type die (Latte, Mocha, Cappuccino
* The shot die (Single, Double, Triple)

1 - Bag, velvet, for holding...

20 - Coins, shiny silver plastic. I like these simply because they seem like real coins. It's a small thing, but they are much better than punch-out cardboard coins.

1 - Deck of cards.

Some detail about the cards:

They kinda suck. They are regular size, but stiff and hard to shuffle. If you do a 'normal'(?) shuffle (where you slightly bend two halves of the deck and 'flip' them together into one pile) the cards will retain the bend. They are laminated or coated on both sides, but the edges are open paper, so under heavy use, the cards could separate or tear easily. I don't generally go testing my games for their 'water resistance factor', but I think if these cards got wet, they'd be done for, so...don't play while you drink coffee. The cards were not cut completely uniformly, so some of the cards (about 10%) are a slightly different size. Not a big problem, just...odd (and maybe I'm just the lucky one with this problem).

Besides the production/quality of the cards, they are all 'left handed'. If you're like me and fan the cards so that the bottom card is left-most and the top card is right-most, you'll only see the top, left corner of the cards in your hand. However, all the text and icons for the cards are in the upper right corner, so...I guess if you're left handed then your game has finally arrived.

Aside from the standard cards that show drink components (Tall, Mocha, Double, Soy, etc.) there are a few other types...

Bonus/penalty:

* You are voted 'barista of the month' and gain a coin (used to track points) from each player (bonus).

* Your espresso machine breaks and you have to pay a coin into the 'tip jar' (coffee cup) (penalty).

Action:

* Spill - Choose a player and they must discard all cards and draw new ones. Makes it hard to complete a drink.
* Change - Allows you to change one of the die to a value that matches a card you have in your hand. Makes it easier for you to complete your drink.
* Roll - Like 'Change', but you roll the die and take what you get.
* Take - The choose a player and they must let you select any of their cards at random. You then give them a card from your hand (your choice, as long as it isn't the one you just took).

Wild:

* Wild. Hmm...I guess that's pretty self explanatory.

Scoring:

What about the coins? What's this about a tip jar? Well, when you start, you divide the coins up evenly between players (exclude remainders from the game). For penalties you'll have to pay coins to the tip jar (the coffee cup). The winner of the round (there are a few ways to win the round, but usually it means collecting all the cards to build the drink) will collect two coins from each other player and all the coins from the 'tip jar'.

The game ends when one player runs out of coins. At that point the player with the most coins is the winner.

What I like:

This game was light and fun. It moves fast and it has a few options. About the same feel as your average game of Fluxx. As I mentioned, the coins are nice. The velvet bag is well made. As you should probably expect with coffee culture, everything in the game that can be black is black. The backs of cards, the cup, the box, etc. I like black, but you may feel different. The cost was also not too bad. $14.95 walk-in retail.

What I don't like:

The quality of the cards. I don't think this game will see so much use that the cards will fall apart, but I'd like to be able to shuffle them without damaging them. I'd also like them all to be the same size. It's great that they spent 'extra' money on the quality of the coins and the bag, but really, the bag is not necessary and the money spent producing it should have gone to making better cards.

Will I play it again?

Yes. It's better with more people (four), but still balanced with two. Good, quick filler fun. This would make a good gift for the 'game shelf' at your FLCS (Friendly Local Coffee Shop).
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Ken Ferguson
United States
Howell
Michigan
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Available retail deep discount now for 3.99. I found it at my local Tuesday Morning. Great gift for my professional barista sister-in-law.
 
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