Wednesday 22 January 2014


Plays: 4Px1.

The Game

Plastic cups are randomly arranged in a beehive pattern, and each player picks a colour. The objective of the game is to claim as many cups as possible. Every turn you stack one of your cups onto an adjacent cup, creating a higher stack. You can stack as long as your cup (or stack - I'll use the word "cup" to mean a stack with your colour on top) is taller or of the same height as your victim. As cups stack atop each other, the play area will shrink and break up. Once separated, the isolated groups of cups will never meet again since the play area can only shrink further every turn. The game ends when no one can make anymore moves. Stack together all your cups, and whoever has the most cups wins.

The drawings are cat, panda, leaf and flower.

The Play

Cappuccino is a straight-forward abstract game. There is an atmosphere of escalation as players try to create powerful stacks which can run wild eating up every smaller stack in their way. However players also need to pay attention to how the play area will break up. You want to have your stacks run away from the more powerful stacks. If a powerful stack becomes isolated, then it will not be able to do much damage. You want to make sure the breaking up will favour you, leaving your stacks as the most powerful ones on the newly created islands. They don't need to be very powerful, they just need to be more powerful than the others on the islands.

There is one aspect of the game that feels like Through the Desert. Every turn there are a few crises you want to address, but you can only pick one to act on. Making one defensive move in one area of the board will mean you are missing out on the opportunity to make a strong offensive move in another area. Plenty of tough decisions.

At this point two smaller islands have broken off from the main play area, the island of three stacks on the left, and the one with six stacks on the right. On the island on the left, it is a race between beige and black. Whoever claims the white stack first will win the whole island.

Boon Khim. Determining who wins is as simple as this - just stack all your cups together.

The Thoughts

Cappuccino feels like a simpler cousin of DVONN. The play area keeps shrinking, and pieces stack higher and higher. It supports up to four players, as opposed to only two for DVONN. Both are perfect information abstract games. Cappuccino doesn't have the DVONN or life pieces, which are an important aspect of DVONN - player pieces that lose connection to a DVONN piece are dead. Cappuccino is easy to teach, and will work with casual players and families.

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