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Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Latte Fun!

Today we ventured over to Carmel to Soho Cafe & Gallery. Our drinks of choice were a White Chocolate Mocha and a Leprechaun (Amaretto & Irish Cream). They were lightly sweet and very creamy with properly frothed milk.   Unfortunately, Claire thought the coffee lacked flavor, and felt that the espresso was much fainter than expected.   I personally love their coffee and I know I’ll be back many more times as they also have great breakfast food and sandwiches.  The cafe itself has an open feel, with nicely spaced sturdy tables and a diverse selection of artwork for sale.  If you appreciate art as we do, you should stop in to look at their art gallery and have some coffee!  We appreciate the friendly, professional staff they have at Soho and look forward to returning again and again!  As for this week’s game of choice, we’re in a rush to have a latte fun so read on to learn how we made our coffee. 

Caffeine Rush is a fast paced matching game with a theme we just couldn't resist. Each player has a stack of Ingredient cards and uses them to fill the Order cards in the center of the play area.  Everyone plays off of the same orders, but the player that places the final ingredient gets the credit. This is a quick, fairly simple game that gets much more lively the more players you add.  It can be fun to rapidly play your cards, racing against the other players to see who can complete their orders the quickest.  It obviously helps if you're a coffee aficionado that loves to drink it as well.  As you make your way through your draw pile (only using one hand), you may encounter the supervisor card.  If this happens, all players immediately clean off their discard area and re-shuffle into the Ingredient Cards OR sort all matching Ingredient Cards into piles and arrange next to each other. If you come across the Latte Art card, you set it in your prep area. Then when you are close to filling an order, place it next to the order you wish to fill prior to placing the final Ingredient card. If you are the one to place the last Ingredient, you gain double the points for that completed order.  

Once you either cannot play any more cards from your hand or discard piles, or there are no more orders to fill, the game ends and you tally up your completed coffee cup orders and the player with the most completed, and/or with the most points, is the winner of the game.  To us, this game is okay.  It's certainly above average, but that's also because we really love coffee!  The main problem with this game is the iconography. The ingredient cards do not match the order cards and thus require each player uses a reference card.  There is zero reason the ingredient cards couldn't have an icon and their text abbreviation.  The necessity of a player aid in a game this basic is bad design, plain and simple.  That aside, there are aren't that many abbreviations to learn and you can probably pick them up in a game or 2.  Adding more tackiness to the game, (per the instructions) when you complete an order you're supposed to shout, "Order Up!" and then take the cards into your supply.  Since that's dumb, we don't shout anything out.  We simply mention we completed an order and take it into our supply.  Generally speaking, we aren't big into speed games or games where your opponent gets credit for your work because they placed the last card, but this game was surprisingly fun!  It's quite difficult for us to turn down a game about making coffee.  It keeps the player engaged and lasts just the right amount of time for a game of its weight.

Caffeine Rush
Overall Meeple Rating: 6/10

Game Mechanics:
1) Simultaneous Action Selection
2) Pattern Building

Have any thoughts or questions?  Leave a comment below.

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