Making and drinking tea is easily one of our favourite things at KA. Well, at least after playing board games. This magical drink can sweeten our day, help us relax or tell us more more about other cultures by learning how they drink it. Tea is loved all over the world, no matter where you look: England, Japan, Turkey, India and hundreds of other countries. No wonder that it has finally served as an inspiration to a board game, that remains among our favourites. Chai.
Chai on Kickstarter – a Little Backstory
Chai made its debut on a certain Tuesday, back in December 2018. A project crafted by a tea loving couple of Dan & Connie Kazmaier. We were taken aback by how it looked and upon learning more about the gameplay, we fell in love with it. Well, many people did actually as the authors got the support of more than 2500 backers and got $135.000 to make their dream project a reality.
Chai is playable solo or with 2 to 5 players. Dan & Connie have been talking about a new 2-player game called “Chai: a Tea for 2” for a while and we’re likely see it sooner than later. Meanwhile backers can get their hands on the original game and all its special editions. A new expansion called Chai: High Tea is also ready for all fans of this tasty game. And if you haven’t played it yet, let’s take a short look at the gameplay.
Ever wanted to become a tea merchant? No? Well, you can do it now. Chai makes you step into the shoes of this noble profession and specialize in one of five tea blends, while serving it to your dear customers. Like we mentioned, you can play it with up to 5 players, each being a different merchant with his or her own teahouse dedicated to either green, black, rooibos, oolong or white tea.
Everyone starts with one customer while the rest are either laid on the table or join the customer pool. During each turn a player has to brew a cup of tea. Before doing that it’s possible to visit certain places. Going to the market allows getting your hands on flavour tiles from mint and jasmine to lemon. These vary in prices which change after you buy some of the wares. Pantry is the other place you can visit. It offers a different choice of items you can add to your drink: milk, honey, sugar and others. You can get what’s visible or pull random ones from a bag. Finally: you also can reserve customers and use abilities.
After all these optional actions it’s possible to fulfil an order of one customer. You do it by adding specified pantry and flavour items from your mini board to a cup along a corresponding tea token (either yours or one bought from someone). After everyone ends their round the temperature on the thermometer-shaped tracker goes up by some degrees and when it reaches the top – the game ends. You count your money and add it to scores gained from fulfilled orders.
Chai: High Tea – the Newest Expansion is Here
Chai: High Tea adds many fun elements to the core game while also making it deeper and more customizable. So what’s new?
You can now use new player boards with unique abilities. Activating them flips your board and adds variable player powers to make the game more exciting. You can use these in addition to all actions from the base game and they’re free to take. There’s a total of 6 pairs of these in the expansion. There are also 2 new dice and they both look fantastic. Each is used for certain abilities and is transparent with colorful pictures of both flavour and pantry items. Other abilities like the one on “Turkish Tea Culture” card allows you to manipulate the market. “Indian Masala Tea” can even let you take tea tokens from other players and increase the overall amount of interactions.
Chai: High Tea is available in the $20 pledge, but you can also get a printable version for $3.
All The Editions
If you’re interested in more than the High Tea expansion – previous versions of Chai are here again. The Deluxe Edition comes priced at $65 and will net you a Game Trayz insert, 30 high quality metal coins and every single thing unlocked in the 2018 campaign. If you’d also like to get the new expansion with the deluxe core game – the entire package is available for $79.
And if you’re a huge fan of Chai, drinking tea or both: there’s also an incredible Tea Master Set. Laser cut wooden box comes filled with acrylic components and silk bags, a set of art prints and much more.
The Bottom Line
Chai: High Tea seems to be a great way to expand on the already fantastic game. Not only does it and more variety and interaction but also makes everything less predictable. Tea lovers will also appreciate how it celebrates the whole worldwide culture surrounding this aromatic drink.
And if you haven’t checked out Chai yet we highly recommend it. The game is fast paced, looks great on the table and works wonderfully when played both with younger gamers as well as veterans.