Where does a 500 pound eyeball eater sit in a restaurant?
Anywhere it wants.
Or, in the case of Gamewright’s clever little card game, Monster Café, anywhere you want. You run a café that caters to monsters (hence the name) and you score points by matching each of your monster customers up with its favorite meal. For every monster you feed, you get positive points. For every monster left unfed, you get negative points (and maybe negative arms and legs). High points win.
There are three types of cards: monster cards, table cards, and lemon sorbet. There are nine varieties of monsters with descriptive names such as eyeball eater, brain eater, and the wild anything eater. The table cards are labeled with one dish that the monsters prefer: spaghetti and eyeballs, boiled brains, and toenail tartare (to name a few). Lemon sorbet is a special card that is part of the monster deck. It drives monsters away.
The game is played over 4 rounds. Four tables are revealed each round. Play then proceeds clockwise. Each player either draws a monster card and places it at one of the tables OR collects a table and all the monsters sitting there. Once you collect a table you are done for that round.
After the four rounds players match the monsters they have collected with the tables that serve their favorite meals. You earn points for each fed monster and lose points for each unfed monster.
Because you cannot collect cards on the same turn that you draw a monster, you have to be careful about how you seat monsters at their tables. If you put an eyeball eater at a table of spaghetti and eyeballs then the player to your left will probably collect that table (and earn points). So you generally don’t sit monsters at a table that will score points. This means that in the first round you will have a lot of unmatched tables and monsters. In subsequent rounds, you have to look for tables that match the monsters you have already collected without adding too many new monsters.
If you draw a lemon sorbet card, you have to remove one set of monsters from your collection. This can be bad if you don’t have many monsters but it can also be good if you have monsters that are going to go unfed.
As we’ve come to expect from Gamewright, the cards are humorously illustrated and the rules are easy to follow. The strategy is surprisingly deep and (not so surprisingly) very engaging. I did find the game plays best with 4 players but there are rule modifications for three and two opponents.
Serving monsters might be very dangerous and they don’t tip well, but it is major fun.
For 2-4 players, ages 8+
Monster Café designed by Roland Tesh, Garrett Donner, and Michael Steer. © 2013 Gamewright.