by Louis Sylvester
Playing a game is a great way to raise one’s spirits, but during this period of social distancing, gathering together with friends is simply off the table. Fortunately, there is a wonderful solitaire tabletop game available for isolated players — a bag-building, push-your-luck diversion called Coffee Roaster (1 player, ages 12+).
The goal of Coffee Roaster is to prepare the perfect cup of coffee. The game comes with 22 varieties of coffee cards, each with different goals to challenge the roasting skills of a player. During the game, you will roast hard beans and screen out unpleasant pieces until you are ready to pour your cup of coffee and face the final cup test.
To set up the game, lay out the roast board, the thermostat board, and the cup-effect tokens. Then select a type of coffee to brew. Some coffee beans are more difficult to roast properly, so the coffee cards are marked from beginner to expert. The selected coffee card will show how many tokens denoting beans, flavor, moisture and defective beans to place inside your bag. Once the bag ingredients are set, the game begins.
The game is spent roasting your beans over several rounds. First, draw several random tokens out of the bag. Moisture tokens evaporate and are removed from the game. Bean tokens are replaced with bean tokens of an increased roast value. Drawn flavor tokens can be used for special game effects such as eliminating smoke and defective beans from your bag. Then all the altered tokens are returned to the bag and you decide if you would like to take another roasting round, in hopes of improving your bag’s tokens, or if you would like to proceed to the cup test. A perfect cup of coffee requires a few rounds of roasting — but be careful about pushing your luck too far as excessive rounds can burn the beans and ruin the cup.
The cup test is the final phase of the game. Draw tokens from the bag and place them in your cup until it is filled. Then score the cup. Points are based on the roast levels of your beans, desired flavor tokens and skill points. Your cup will lose points for hard or burnt beans, smoke and defective beans.
Coffee Roaster offers game play that employs a mixture of strategy and luck. The many varieties of coffee cards included in the game allow for high replayability, and the randomness of drawing tokens from a bag creates a level of chance that means every game will play differently, providing hours of solitaire fun.
Sylvester is an associate professor in the creative writing program at Lewis-Clark State College. He is the co-author of “Legends of the Lost Causes” series, a rip-roaring adventure set in the fantasy West. You can send him your questions about tabletop games at email@example.com.