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Coffee Roaster

Coffee Roaster (2015)

Published by: Stronghold Games

Players: 1

Age: 12+

Play Time: 10-30 min.

Overview: Play as a coffee roaster, striving to achieve the perfect blend.

Main Mechanics:

  • Bag building

  • Push your luck

Components Review:

The components of Coffee roaster look great giving the game a beautiful table presence! The game comes with three cardboard boards, a cloth bag, cards, a plastic insert, and tons of tokens. The boards are nice, two being double-sided, and all of them linen finished, which I love. I would have liked them to be dual-layered, but I want that for every game. The cloth bag is fine and generic. I think Coffee Roaster would do well with a bag like that in Calico. I will likely replace mine, but the included one serves its purpose. Coffee Roaster includes plenty of double sided cards that serve as the different roast challenges, the back of each having real info on the depicted coffee blend. For the way cards are used, I think the quality is fine. The tokens are standard punchboard tokens. The thickness is good. The iconography is on both sides though I would have liked for one side to be blank, or just a bean icon, as it would make certain uses more clear. Lastly, the art style. I REALLY like the art of Coffee Roaster, it fits the theme well. The iconography is just okay for me; Some of it is great and descriptive, with others parts less so (I would have liked the green tokens to have two beans instead of one, and the immediate effect board spaces to be blank with just the color indicating that you don't also get the bean effect). I really like Coffee Roaster as a solo game. Its relaxing and fun, with great table presence. The components are good especially at this price point, but this is a game that feels like it should have extra premium pieces.

Gameplay Review:

How to: Coffee Roaster has two game modes, a single brew or a series of three. They're played the same way, so I always play a series even if I only have time for one brew during that sitting.

Setup - To set up a game, first choose a roast card. These come in three difficulties (beginner, moderate, and expert) and three roast settings (light, medium, and dark). Once you have your roast card, add all depicted tokens to your bag. Set up the board by placing the red circular token on the roast level depicted on the card, and the red cube at 0 on the roast track. Shuffle and place cup effect tokens on the board, place the wild flavor token in its spot, and you are ready to play. The game takes place over two phases, roasting and pouring.

Roasting - During roasting you follow a series of actions:

  1. Raise roast track- move the circular red token one number up on its track, adding any smoke from its new space.

  2. Draw tokens - draw a number of tokens from your bag corresponding to the roast track.

  3. Spend tokens - at this point you can spend any tokens you'd like as long as you meet the requirements.

  4. Roast - raise the roast level of all beans by exchanging them for the next higher number. Four is the highest level, then the bean is burned. Raise by two levels when on the red spaces of the roast track.

  5. Decide if you would like to roast again, or move on to the pouring phase. If roasting again, repeat steps 1 through 5. You can move on to the pouring phase at any time.

Spending Tokens

  • Wild token - work on unlocking the wild token by placing a 0 or 1 in their corresponding spot. Once unlocked the wild token can be spent or added to your bag. I like to save it.

  • Immediate effects - the left side of the player board has immediate effects. Place the matching flavor token (colored tokens) to activate these effects. Note: you do not also get the bean effect for these spaces.

  • Cup effects - work on unlocking cup effects by placing the matching flavor tokens. When placing a flavor token here, you get the added benefit of using the colored beans effect (described at the back of the rule book). Once both tokens are placed for a cup effect, that effect is unlocked and can be moved to its end game place.

Pouring - During pouring you pull tokens out of your bag and either discard them (if you can) or place them into your cup. The goal is to have a roast level (combined numeric total of the beans in your cup) and flavor profile (colored flavor tokens) that matches the ideal roast and flavor on your chosen card. Once all spots on your cup are filled, or you have no more tokens to place, the game ends and you score your cup according to the scoring card.

Thoughts: Coffee Roaster is an excellent solo game. It's a great puzzle with a fair amount of luck, which I don't mind. Half the fun is puzzling out how to make the best of a bad draw. The pacing of the game is good. It really can be set up and played in about 10-15 minutes once you know how to play. The theme comes through well for me, carefully roasting your beans, trying to make sure everything is balanced to achieve the cup you want. For a coffee fan like myself, this game is excellent.

Final Thoughts: I really like the gameplay or Coffee Roaster. It is the type of play that is quick enough and relaxing enough to make you want to play with your morning coffee, which I often do, but also thinky enough to wake you up like a dose of caffeine. I highly recommend that you have a cup of coffee while playing. If not, you're missing out!

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