Chai by Steeped Games
In Chai, you will step into the shoes of a tea merchant, combining tea flavours to make a perfect blend. Specialising in either rooibos, green, oolong, black or white tea, you will buy and collect ingredients to fulfil your customers’ orders.
3 words to describe this game: joyous, flavourful, beautiful Gameplay: In this game, you are competing with your fellow opponents to make tea by sourcing ingredients from the market and pantry, enticing customers to your tea shop and using your abilities (clearly gained in the lead up to becoming a tea merchant) to brew tea for the most customers or for the most lucrative customers. You play over 5 rounds: on your turn, you can visit the market, visit the pantry or reserve customers and use an ability. Once you have chosen one of the options, you complete the action and then you are free to fulfil a tea order if you can. Rounds end after all the customers for that round have been served and the tips collected. The person at the end of the game with the most victory points (along with any remaining money) is declared the victor and gains tea bragging rights until the next game of Chai.
OMG I love this theme! Tea drinking features highly in this house and this is such an immersive experience. Every item has been thought about and is absolutely beautiful! The front of the box stands out on the shelf and entices you to want to play, lifting the lid the inside of the box is adorned with beautiful design too and then the components - oh my gosh! This game is an absolute delight!!! You will not be disappointed! Components:
Teahouses x 5 - essentially your playmat. The artwork on these is fab and you place the tea ingredients on it in such a way that it looks like the tea is sitting on shelves and the pantry items on plates. It’s so inviting and absolutely stunning. Base tea tokens - wooden tokens denoting, green, black, rooibos, oolong or white tea. In the game every tea requires a base tea token and you pay to use your opponents! I love the style of these tokens and they look like the tea leaves which is super cool! Customer cards - each player has a set of 8 customer cards, some of which they keep in initial set up and the rest that become part of the customer pool. The artwork on these cards is so cute and I just love looking at them. I wonder who might like tea - crazy cat lady? the tin man? Alice in wonderland? Vincent Van Gogh? So much to explore within these cards and it makes the game so charming.
Pantry board - 5 circles on a board on which to place the pantry tokens Pantry bag and tokens - these are cardboard tokens with milk, sugar, honey, cinammon, and vanilla on them. Bag is same material as the tea flavour bag and it’s nice to denote the difference between the tea flavour tokens and the pantry items. Market board, Tea flavour bag and tea flavour tiles - one of my favourite parts of this game, the tiles are so tactile and I love the way you place them in the market and slide them along after someone has visited! They feel so good in your hand and are high quality! It’s really easy to tell the difference between the ingredients too! Ability cards - the symbols on these can be a little confusing until you learn what they are so have the instruction manual close to hand. Teacups - these are so cute! I absolutely love this aspect of the game! They serve no purpose other than to hold the served tea tokens but my do they look aesthetically pleasing on the table and there can be no mistaking what the game is about Tip tokens - cardboard token denoting a bonus you can get for completing an order Thermometer - this is so fun! Each round you move the thermometer temperature up. It’s so cute and such a neat way of showing how many rounds have been completed. So in keeping with the theme and just love it! Money pouch board and Cardboard money tokens - I would prefer to play with metal tokens but they are fine. The money pouch is a board and sometimes I find it easier to use a bowl or dice tray we have available but it works just fine.
Overall thoughts: Have I said I love this game enough? This is a joy of a game and is so visually pleasing to the eye. It is one of the most beautiful games in our collection and it was well worth buying at midnight one night before Christmas. It’s definitely one not to miss. We recently introduced this to our gaming group and it went down a storm. It was easy to set up given that it was only our second game and we were able to explain it fairly easily. The people we played with seemed to enjoy it and commented that they would have liked to have played with more strategy but as it was their first game, they were just getting to know it. I am certain it is coming back to our table very very soon!! Love this game and it is pride of place on our board game shelf!