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In Chai, you will step into the shoes of a tea merchant, combining tea flavours to make a perfect blend. Specializing in either rooibos, green, oolong, black or white tea, you will buy and collect ingredients to fulfill your customers’ orders.
As a tea merchant, each turn you will do one of the following:
Visit the Market – The player immediately receives a gold coin and selects a tea flavour tile (mint, jasmine, lemon, ginger, berries, and lavender), adding to their tea box. If the flavour tile is touching tiles of the same type these tiles are also taken. Payment (gold, silver, or a copper coin) is placed in the money pouch corresponding to the furthest-right column the tiles were in. Players cannot have more than 12 flavour tiles in their tea box at any time.
Select Additives – Tea additive cards (milk, sugar, honey, vanilla, and chai spices) are also needed to complete most orders. A player may conduct two actions in the additive area: selecting all of the additive cards of one type (with new cards drawn after the first action), resetting the visible cards, or drawing a card from the additive deck. Players cannot have more than 6 additive cards in their tea box at any time.
Reserve a Customer – A player may also reserve a customer card from the customer pool from the visible cards or draw deck. If drawing a visible card, a new card is immediately drawn faceup into the customer pool to replace the card taken. A player cannot have more than 3 unfulfilled customer cards at any time in their tea box. If a player has more than 3 cards, a card is discarded and placed faceup in the customer pool with a copper coin from the money pouch placed on top.
At the end of each turn, a player may complete a tea order from one customer card in their hand or visible in the customer pool. A base tea token, tea flavours and additives shown on the card are needed ingredients, and placed in an empty tea cup. The player flips over a tip and receives a coin bonus, moving the thermometer round tracker up one notch if all cups are filled.
The game ends when five rounds of cups have been fulfilled. When the final order is completed, other players complete their last turn so that each player has played the same number of turns.
To score, players add up their victory points from fulfilled customer orders, and add their leftover money to this total. In 3-5 player games, additional points are awarded to the player(s) who fulfilled the most orders and most diverse tea recipes. Award ties are friendly with each winner receiving 5 points.
The player with the most victory points (from customer orders, money, and awards) wins the game as best tea merchant! In the case of a tie, the person with the least number of fulfilled customer cards wins. If still tied, the person with the least amount of money wins. If that does not break a tie, the victory is shared.
—description from the publisher
Solo, 2 Players, 3 Players, 4 Players, 5 Players
20m – 60m
Connie Kazmaier, Dan Kazmaier
Closed Drafting, Contracts, Open Drafting, Race, Set Collection
Card Game, Economic, Print & Play
Arrakis Games, Little Rocket Games, Steeped Games Ltd.
I knew this was going to be a light game going into it but I did not expect the game to be completely devoid of meaningful decisions. None of the actions are remotely interesting. You are simply taking available tiles and chips to fill publicly available orders, and the choice of what to take is fairly plain to see. There is no longer-term goal here; you're simply responding to everything that is publicly available. Gaining money for going to the market and only being able to perform a special action when you reserve a customer card make zero sense and feel like clumsily tacked on afterthoughts. Like the game, the rule book seemed to be more concerned about looking good than being good, neglecting to mention some components like the wild tiles and the tea puns in there were pretty jarring, making them strangely difficult to read. I'd stumble every time I saw something stupid like "quali-tea" and need to re-read the paragraph. The abili-tea to read and understand the rules is grossly impacted by the quanti-tea and quali-tea of unnecessary tea puns, making the entire experience extremely shi-tea. Do you see how annoying this is? I get it - you're a tea game - but that kind of thing really does disrupt the reading process and makes the rules more annoying to parse. Just another annoyance of wasting effort on superficial stuff rather than putting the effort into actually making things better. The game is wonderfully produced but some of that effort could have gone into making the game more engaging. Nicely produced, but painfully shallow and not at all fun.
:thumbsdown: [BGCOLOR=#FFFF33]Solo win condition:[/BGCOLOR]: [b]Points, compare your score to a chart.[/b] Available on Tabletopia. Have an "old art" PnP.
A set collection game that my family really enjoys. We are not tea people but we find enjoyment in collecting ingredients and fulfilling tea orders. The artwork and game pieces in Chai are top notch and I think that helps with the enjoyment. Not a game I would burst out to often with friends but I do really enjoy playing Chai with my family.