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Your Price: $42.00
(Worth 4,200 Funagain Points!)
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from 8 customer reviews
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The Cafe International is a meeting place for guests from many nations. At a table an Indian drinks coffee with a Frenchman; at the bar a Spaniard converses with an African. The task of the players is to divide the international guests as skillfully as possible among all the tables in The Cafe. At the most, two ladies and two gentlemen may sit at a table. That's how the players get points. Guests which are forced to sit at the bar cost the players points. The player who can most successfully cope with the onslaught of guests will win this entertaining game.
Average Rating: 4.4 in 8 reviews
This game has everything going for it: nice pieces, terrific board, easy rules and hours of playability. I gave this game as a gift to a friend and we finally decided to play it. Well, we played it three times in the same night! All of us were intrigued by the simplicity of the game. We learned the game in minutes and only had to look at the rules twice just to verify table placement.
The object is to seat people of various nationalities at tables, scoring points in the process. Tables with patrons of one nationality score higher than ones with mixed nationalities. On a turn you have to score points. If you can't, you have to send someone to the bar. The first five spaces on the bar are positive points; after that they're all negative. This makes the game interesting as the tables become full and you have to place someone at the bar when all the positive points are taken up. There is even a Joker tile which can represent any nationality. On your turn, you can even exchange a Joker tile already on the board with a tile of the nationality it's representing. This costs a turn, but can be advantageous. Just don't get caught with it at the end of the game (it's worth -10 in your hand; all other tiles are -5). Even though we all could see each other's tiles, we didn't feel it took away from the game. In fact, it added to the strategy. Next time, we're gonna keep the tiles facedown and see what happens. This game is excellent.
Every once and while, you're driving someplace out of town, hit the 'seek' button on the radio and you find some forties music station, and get a great tune from The Ames Bros., or the Inkspots, the Mellotones... Straight forward tune, wonderful harmonies, fun lyrics. That's what visiting Cafe International is all about. No complex, 'let me check if you can place that there' tile rules aka Java. Just a straight forward, fun game you can teach anyone in two minutes. Try teaching Java to a new player, you'll be at it for a while... and keep the rule book handy.
Basically, all you do in Cafe International is 'seat' one or two of your patrons (tiles) at a coresponding table maintaining balance between males and females, or No place to seat someone? Put 'em in the bar! The better you arrange your patrons, the more points you get. As the restuarant fills up, it gets harder and harder, and you have to start losing points. Do the best job of making the most of your patrons early, and lose the least during the endgame, you win. The graphics are clean, patron tiles heavy stock and wonderfully UN-P/C, scoring system clear.
The only challenge I had with the game is a personal gripe of mine, laying out all your tiles exposed to everyone. It allows for way too much 'kingmaker' play, slows the action with too much over-analysis, and as stated in previous reviews of this game, a little dry. With one quick fix, Cafe International transforms into a fantastic game. Go to your local charity thrift store, pick up an old Scrabble game (there's almost always one there) and use the tile holders for your patrons. It keeps your tiles hidden, opponents guessing and the game incredibly lively! Also, the english translation on scoring doesn't show bonus points for seating a matched couple, only triples and quads. Basicly, seat any couple, threesome or foursome, score 2 / 3 / 4 points respectively. If they all match nationalities, double it.
For a wonderful game to play, especially with non-gamers, get Cafe International, some tile holders and enjoy a good cuppa joe!
I award Cafe International 5 stars because it is a great game for those looking for a light game with enough strategy to satisfy in that department.
As soon as the box is opened, it becomes clear that Cafe International is a quality game (the newer Amigo version anyway--I have seen the Mattel version and it's not as high quality). The clear, colourful, clean artwork is printed on a substantial board and chips.
Once 5 people chips are distributed to each player, players take turns to place 1 or 2 people chips into the cafe, or exhange a joker from the board. The tables display which nationalities the people must be, sitting at them, and it is necessary to keep a near-equal balance to the lady/gentlemen split at each table.
Players score points for every person placed into the cafe, apart from some of them that are forced to wait at the bar. The number of points scored depends on how many tables are affected, and how many people are at the affected tables--the more people, the more points.
Each game takes around an hour to play, and is highly recommended for people of all ages looking for a game which is light yet not shallow.
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The cafe in this award-winning classic European game (Spiel des Jahres 1989) has two tables each for 12 nationalities of people. Each table has four chairs, half of which are shared by adjacent tables. Players start with five faceup guest tiles, and earn winning points by placing one or two of them at an appropriate table on their turn. Each table must have equal or nearly equal numbers of men and women. Guests who cannot be seated at a table may be placed at the bar, but at the cost of a penalty. End your turn by refilling your hand to five tiles--less one tile for each high-scoring time you filled a table with four people of the same nationality! Caf International serves up a simple but elegant playing feast.