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Stardust Coffee

There are several coffee-themed games: the 2012 game VivaJava (Dice Hate Me) and the dice version that appeared in 2014 are among the best known. Like most other hot beverage-themed board games you'll be making coffee but, as the title suggests, in this game you'll be making coffee with an extra sci-fi ingredient...

Low B Game's Stardust Coffee takes coffee-making to the stars. Each of the 2-4 players has their own fleet of initially two spaceships that will be moving around the modular board collecting resources (coffee beans, water and milk), converting some of them into 'advanced' ingredients (dark roasted beans/chocolate, whiskey/ice, and cream/milk foam). You'll be using various of these ingredients to upgrade your ships and to make speciality coffee which you'll score for when your ships deliver it to your base.

Each turn, players choose one die (each representing a specific ingredient) and one active space ship, but you then get to take any of seven different actions based on the colour and/or number on the die. Not all of the actions are entirely intuitive, so there's an initial learning curve to navigate. Shown here on Board's Eye View is a preview prototype of the game ahead of its upcoming launch on Kickstarter. We'd hope to see action summary cards for each player in the finished version of the game.

Players are mostly doing their own thing, so there's no 'take that' interaction but, of course, players are competing for resources. Tho' you don't get to steal from other players, your spaceships may have to fend off space pirates who will try to rob you of specific ingredients, which are randomised and differ each round. You can shoot down a pirate spaceship that is one square behind you (three squares if you've suitably upgraded your own ship) but that's at a cost of a whiskey. This seems a little bizarre but that's the rules. It initially feels expensive having to sacrifice an 'advanced' resource but actually it's worth it because it'll give you 'honour' (worth points at the end of the game) and it'll earn you a bonus, depending on how far you've moved on the honour track.

We've not yet come to the Stardust part. When you complete and deliver coffee, having collected the regular and advanced resources indicated on your coffee card, you can also choose to add one or more of the Stardust resources you've collected 'to improve the flavour'. That will also add to your victory points score at the end of the game. The score for Stardust increases with the number of resource tokens you add (some coffee cards will take up to three Stardust).

In Stardust Coffee, Bevis Chu and Leo Chan PY have put together an engaging set collection and resource optimisation game. From the title, you might expect Starbucks to sponsor this game but instead it's coming to Kickstarter. Tho' it's listed as a 2-4 player game, it would lend itself easily to adaptation for solo/solitaire play where you're trying to reach target scores over the game's 10 rounds. Perhaps that's another option that will emerge during the KS campaign which is due to launch on 21 June...

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