Designed by Corey Keller | Published by Analog Game Studios
1-4 Players | 15-25 Minutes
Grab your smock, turn up your Norah Jones album and tie up your man-bun, it’s time for Latte Throwdown! In this battle of the baristas, you’re competing against other coffee aficionados to carefully craft the most brilliant latte-topped, foam designs. It’s going to take skill and a bit of luck to top the competition in this light-hearted, deep roasted, dice rolling café game.
In Latte Throwdown, you’re rolling dice and working to complete sets associated with unique latte-foam designs. The more complicated the dice set, the more points it’s worth. Gather bonus dice and use barista cards to efficiently manipulate your dice rolls in an effort to be the first to brew up 20 points.
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
Latte Throwdown is breezy, light-game of delicious dice-rolling. Each player is equipped with their own set of dice and take turns rolling and assigning dice to a variety of different latte foam designs. The rules are simple and the game incredibly easy to learn and jump right in.
To begin, players will face a series of potential lattes they can “pour”. To successfully pour a latte, a player must match a dice combination with their own dice supply. On a players turn, after rolling, they may assign any matching dice to any of the available latte patterns. Pattern requirements vary from 2 to 4 dice with the larger rolls awarding more points.
Once a die is placed on the board it will stay there until you or one of your opponents achieves that design. Dice left unplayed will be available to reroll on the next turn. This does require some strategic focus as loosely placing your dice or targeting the wrong pattern can greatly reduce your chances.
The board also features a series of Barista Cards that allow for players to manipulate dice if they’ve met certain requirements. Perfect Foam cards allow a certain die value to be changed to one of your choice. Steady Hands will give you a barista point when you roll matching numbers. You also might see the option to gain additional dice from the dice supply. These additional dice will certainly help your chances in this race to grab points.
Each round continues until all the latte design cards have been achieved. Rounds continue until one player has gained 20 barista points.
The game also features a fairly challenging solo mode where you battle against the AI to achieve barista points. The deck is stacked against you as the AI holds a larger set of dice and systematic approach to placing their rolls. Combing a careful strategy with a whole lot of luck and you just may come out on top. Like the base game, the solo game is easy to jump into and plays fast.
Latte Throwdown is a fairly small box game. The board isn’t huge, but it does the job. The sets of dice are the real draw here. They are all dipped in various shades of mocha and certainly contribute to the enjoyment of the game. The Latte Cards are all shaped like fancy, burlap, coffee coasters. Along with the barista cards, they both have a nice texture that’s easy to shuffle and distribute. The player tokens are little wooden coffee mugs. Overall, the components match the theme and create a more enjoyable gaming experience.
The game’s artist must have had a good time putting this game together. After playing the game you actually feel like you visited a coffee shop. The textures and endless bean piles draw you right in. The Barista Cards look like tiny black boards used to take a latte order. While there aren’t a ton of pieces to this game, the game does make the most of the artwork.
The one thing you need to know before you go out to buy Latte Throwdown is that this is a very light game that is predominantly driven by the luck of the dice. That may turn you off or pull you right in.
The Barista Cards do provide some mitigating factors allowing for a bit of strategy. That typically relies on a bit of luck in and of itself. The right Barista Cards meeting the right dice rolls can easily equate latte success. Being able to alter certain die rolls can swiftly help you shore-up those dice numbers to complete a specific design. Another great card is the ability to take matching dice and grab a bonus barista point. You also have the ability to wipe the current Barista Cards from the board and grab a new set. The only one I felt was under-utilized was the ability to draw additional dice. I love rolling a big handful of dice – and regularly being able to grow your own dice pool feels great. Unfortunately, if you’re lucky enough to snag a bonus die – it only lasts the round and you never fully get the opportunity to lay the bonus-die smack down on your opponents.
The game is essentially a race through a coffee shop. The theme has a great vibe adding to the game’s accessibility. Games are played in just a few minutes and you’re likely to play 2 or 3 in a row just to see how your luck holds up. The latte designs are great creating anticipation for what new Latte Card design might show up next round.
- The theme is comforting and fun – especially for coffee lovers
- Anyone who can roll a handful of dice can play this game
- This game will definitely appeal to non-gamers who are looking for casual competition
If I haven’t driven this point home hard enough: Latte Throwdown is an extremely light game of rolling dice. If you’re ok with that then there is a lot to like here. The combination of theme, simple mechanics and easy, breezy rules make this one highly accessible. Coffee lovers are going to play this for the theme alone. Setup is a snap and games are over before you know it. I like Latte Throwdown because my entire family is almost always up for this. There isn’t much thinking involved… we can all relax and be social… there is limited down time between turns and the game is over before anyone can get bored. It’s not going to set the world on fire, but it’s likely going to get more table time than my latest 60-page strategy game. If the idea of rolling dice and drinking coffee appeal to you, you should definitely give Latte Throwdown a look.