CAPPUCCINO is an abstract game of "topping" using soft plastic coffee cups, each of a different colour and each with its own decorative base.
4 colours 16 cups per colour. 2-4 players, best with 3 or 4 but intriguing with just two. All ages. 15 minutes per game *
This pic shows the cup set-up except the cups have to be placed
open side down.
When you open the beautifully designed box - it's like an expensive chocolate box with a flip over lid - you find 4 rows of coffee cups that have
been stacked and laid sideways. Your first job is to separate these into 64 individual cups. Take care when you do this as we had one where the
glue used to stick the top into place had run over and stuck 2 cups together. It took a lot of very hot water, twisting and pulling to safely get the
cups apart but we managed it and no damage done; it's unlikely that this will happen again but just be careful.
Once you have the cups separated mix them up as best as you can and randomly place them into a shape that resembles the above picture but with
the bottom of the cup showing up - so that all players can see the unique illustrations as visible above left. You have to be careful when setting up
that all bases touch at least one other base. This is quite difficult as the sides are not as clear cut as they would be if these were hex tiles instead
of classy plastic cups.
Players decide which colour cups they wish for their own and then determine a starting player in whatever means they like - the person who drinks the
most coffee is suggested. Then in clockwise order the players take turns moving one of their own cups onto any adjacent cup. This can be one (or more)
of their own colour or opponent's colours, the only two stipulations are that you may only place cups on top of other cups that are adjacent and touching,
and that the cup or stack being moved on top is either of equal height (number of cups) or is taller than the target. Thus one cup can only be placed on top
of one other cup, whilst two cups can be placed on top of one other cup or a stack of two other cups etc.
A degree of commonsense is required when playing for it is virtually impossible to play with three or four people without someone accidentally moving a
cup or stack while picking and placing. This means that your perfectly designed shape will soon have a lot of cups adjacent but not actually touching. It
is easy to see whether the cups should in fact be in contact with each other, but there is a chance that a pedantic player will not accept close as touching
even though it is obvious that touching is how they should be.
During play there will be times when cups or stacks become isolated. The rules say that the owning player - decided by the top cup - should remove these from
the play area and place them in front of themselves, but we prefer to just leave them where they are until the end of the game. When it is impossible for anyone
to place any more cups or stacks on top of other cups or stacks then the game ends and the scoring occurs. Simply place all stacks (and odd cups) that show the
same topmost colour/picture together and the player with the highest stack wins - see pic above.
The rules for this are so simple you cannot at first believe that there is a real game here, but it soon becomes apparent that it is indeed a very clever challenging
game. It isn't just a case of putting one cup on an adjacent one, for often when you do this you leave other of your cups liable to be taken or isolated, either way
they aren't going to be a lot of use to or for you. The more you play the more wary and cautious you get and the 15 minute game time* can easily stretch as each
player checks every possible move before making one.
The faster you play the more mistakes you make but the more family fun it is. Therefore it is a good idea to have a sand timer or alarm of some kind and set a game
time up. This pushes players to think less and act more. Yes it causes more errors but generally it also means the game can become frenetic and much more amusing.
With a timer (one isn't included) Cappuccino is a fast paced fun family game. Without a timer it is a fun challenge where forethought and hindsight play large parts.
The two-player variant has each player using 2 colours but only scoring for one of them. There is also an advanced
game, the set up of which is similar but slightly more regimented in design.
As Cappuccino is my favourite hot drink - yes I am a heathen that drinks it after mid-day - I was immediately drawn to this game just by its title. When I first laid
eyes on it, just a bunch of coloured cups, I have to admit that my hopes for a good game faded dramatically, it looked simple and banal. Then I played it and that was
me hooked. It is quite unusual, it is very well made, the components are super, and the box is sublime. It will stay in my regularly played games selection for a very
very long time. It can be taught in seconds and you don't need to be a games player to understand it or the strategies of playing. It is also a very acceptable product to
be given as an excecutive or family, Christmas or Birthday present. I love it!