Coffee Roaster is one of my new favorite solo games. This past week I played two new solo games that have come highly recommended, and that I've just been waiting to get to the table for awhile. Nemo's War, and Coffee Roaster. Sadly, despite it's high rating, Nemo's War isn't a game I enjoyed. Whereas Coffee Roaster was absolutely delightful.
In Coffee Roaster, you're working to brew the optimal cup of coffee. This takes place over several rounds in which you slowly roast the beans in your bag, attempting to control for the type and degree of the final batch of beans. The bad news is that a lot of this is random, you're at the mercy of what the bag chooses to place in front of you. The good news is that you have a significant amount of control over many things to help you along the way, from abilities that you can choose how and when to use, to how long the roasting process will continue, to the bonuses you choose to earn. When you're ready to brew the perfect cup of coffee, you start the brewing process, pulling one bean at a time from the bag into your cup, and scoring based on metrics from the ideal roast, the coffee flavor, the consistency of the beans and more.
So why do I like it so much? Well to begin with, while it doesn't compete with longer solo games such as Mage Knight and Too Many Bones, it may very well be my favorite from the lighter puzzle category of solo games such as Friday and the Oni-Verse series. But that disclaimer side, as a good starting point...I love coffee. A good theme does not a good game make, but as I have no coffee games in my collection, finding one I enjoy is certainly a good set of bonus points in the games favor. But from there, the game plays over 3 rounds, but still managed to be around 30-45 minutes total, a nice sweet spot for a solo game (for me). Additionally the game feels very zen like, I almost feel like I'm just going through the experience but with enough decisions along the way that it feels rewarding and zenlike. It's basically 45 minutes of pulling tokens from a bag striving towards that ideal cup of coffee...and I enjoy it very much.
Needless to say, the game is best played with a cup of coffee on the side. A truly delightful experience.