Review: Café Fatal – a gourmet treat

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It’s a courageous act. Each customer will also receive a set of dice in addition to his meal. But they do not have to crunch them, just roll them in front of the waiter. He squeaks silently, writes the result on the paper and takes them away. If some stranger would come to this café, he would be very surprised by this. But here everyone knows, what’s in play. Cakes and coffee for free!

Café Fatale is the place, where all players would like to go. At least that’s what would its designers and imagine. Illustrations were prepared by another couple – and . Box was introduced by at the Spiel fair.

Box with the waitress, cake and pizza pairs in the background contains a lot of colored dice. But we would have expected it somehow, according to the introductory story. There are thirty dice together hidden inside, in five different colors. Each player chooses one color and gets six dice. He then spreads seven or more (up to thirteen in four) square table tiles in center of the table. All sixty slices (pizza, cheese or cake) should be put in a canvas bag.

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One player draws one sliced token for each table and then two more randomly assigned tables with a pair of dice (rolled by players). After the initial setup, each participant rolls a set of six dice. Then, he can choose one of the numeric results and place all dice with this value on any table in the menu.

After the first turn, rounds continue with rolling of all the dice, that the player did not place in previous turns. Now there are limitations. Dice with the value, that the player has already used in the previous runs can only be placed on this table. Any other combination (one or more dice with the same number) must be added to the table adjacent to its previously occupied table.

Players do not block the tables, but compete for their control. As soon as all participants place their dice on the tables, it is time to evaluate and divide. The content of the table goes to the player, who placed the most blocks there or has the highest numerical value of dice there. All the pizza, cheese, or cake pieces, that player captrues, are put in front of him. Participants are trying to make a complete five-part round of given type.

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If some of the tables is not interesting enough for any of the players, then pieces of food will remain there for the next round. Players will take their dice back, enrich the tables with new slices, and the fight for food continues. Individual meals vary in value, and so while a piece of cake is five points, pizza is for two points and cheese only for one point. If these pieces are part of a complete wheel, then they all have a double value. If a player earns forty points (or there is a tie for the tables), last round is played and the game ends. The opponent, who has the most points at the moment, becomes the winner.

Café Fatale is a dice game, in which you have to be able to distribute your results well, just like in Las Vegas from . Sometimes it pays off to compete for the most valuable table and other this, you should focus on the less valuable. Especially in other rounds, when a player already has some dice, he can have a good impact on the situation. He can either strengthen his footprints on an already occupied table, or try to get slices from another table.

Regardless of the number of players, players always have enough free choices in their turn. And that’s why the game is not as uncompromising and conflicting as you’d expect. Tactics is present on the tables only if they contain really higher points. Because the playing area is constantly growing, then you will experience some real competition only in five.

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This game is probably not going to hit any charts or rankings of best games, but it’s definitely not a drop. Everything in this game works just as it is. And if it comes to the hands of the beginners (or family) or you buy it as a filler, then Café Fatale is definitely a good entertainment.

The table is always different. And that means great variability of the whole match. The dice themselves mean the game is unpredictable and, of course, also random. Usually, however, the player has a choice of scores and counts, so it can be influenced.

Placement has its own rules and constraints. Players can place dice only on tables adjacent to their already played dice. Therefore, the first turn is absolutely crucial for the next phase of the round and everyone chooses their upcoming chances with their choice. Tables may have different values and even more numbers, if no one has chosen them in the previous round. This then increases interest and finally it gets among desired selection.

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In essence, this is a basic majority mechanism, this time with dice. Rolled dots do not give players much choice, so the individual turns are beautifully fast. Of course, this must also be a sign of the overall time, that is appropriate for the game of this format. The time needed is about half an hour.

Game processing is solid. There is not much to figure out on dice, but the pieces and tiles look pretty, and it’s easy to distinguish them apart. The rules are clearly described and do not have much to explore. There is an error in the rules, that only lists the range of three to five players. This somewhat raises the idea that the game was originally intended only from three players upwards. This also corresponds to the impression, that games of two are least competitive.

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Café Fatale passes through the theme and course with ease. If you do not mind dice and randomness, then you will definitely enjoy this game as a pleasant relaxation fun. Unfortunately, this is just a copy of the Las Vegas game and, in addition, it does not have much competition in this new game. However, if the theme of food and opportunity to fight for neighboring tables attracts you, then Café Fatale will not disappoint you with its quality and gameplay.

DesignerTrevor Benjamin, Brett J. Gilbert
ArtistVictor Boden, Dennis Lohausen
PublisherZoch Verlag
Year Published2017
# of Players2 - 5
User Suggested # of Players Best with 5 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5 players
(8 voters)
Playing Time30
Mfg Suggested Ages8 and up
User Suggested Ages8 and up
(1 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(1 voters)
CategoryDice
MechanicArea Majority / Influence, Dice Rolling, Set Collection
FamilyTheme: Food / Cooking
Primary Name

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Café Fatal – a gourmet treat
Final word
Café Fatal is a dice fun, that will definitely shorten your wait for something. But you will not be actively searching for playing it. Fighting the tables in the cafe entertains in an undemanding way to fight for majority. But its only a copy of an older game, which moreover puts much more emphasis on direct player battles over positions. Café Fatal looks pretty and plays well if you just want to enjoy your time. It's definitely not a hit.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
solid majority entertainment
simple rules
dice restriction
strongly variable
drawing tokens from the bag
Cons
coincidence
originality (copy of an earlier game)
lack of battles
in low numbers little competitive
2.5
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