Components

  • 54 monsters cards
  • 6 lemon sorbet cards
  • 16 table cards

Object of the Game

Score the most points by collecting monsters and matching them up with their respective meals. But be careful not to take any monsters that end up going unfed as they will subtract from your score.


Setup

Note: These rules are for four players. Rules for two and three players are included at the end.

  • Separate the cards into two decks, according to card back.

  • Shuffle the 16 table cards and place four face up (meals showing) in the middle of the playing area, leaving ample space between them. Stack the rest face down off to the side.

  • Shuffle the 60 monster cards and stack them face down in the center of the four tables.

  • Each player draws one starting monster from the center pile and places it face up in front of them. (If you draw lemon sorbet, shuffle it back into the deck and draw another card).

    Note that each monster eats a specific kind of food, as indicated by the icon in the top right corner of the card.



Game Play

Monster Cafe is played over a series of four rounds. The player who most recently ate something disgusting starts the first round and play continues to the left. On each turn, you may do one of two actions:

  1. Draw the top card from the center pile. Or
  2. Clear a table containing at least one monster and remove yourself from the round.

Each option is explained in further detail below.



Draw a Card

If you wish to seat a monster at a table, draw the top card from the center pile. Assuming you don't draw lemon sorbet (see below), look around the playing area and choose one of the tables to place the card.

Each table has four available seats, indicated by the four sides of the card. As long as there's a space at a table, you may place the card adjacent to any open side. This ends your turn.


Anything Eaters

Anything Eaters are wild, meaning that they eat any food at any table. If you draw an Anything Eater, place it at any open table.

Whoever clears that table can associate the Anything Eater with any food in their collection.

Strategy tip: You may wait until the end of the game to decide where to place it.


Lemon Sorbet

Nothing scares a monster more than the refreshing taste of lemon sorbet!

If you draw this card, you must immediately choose all of one type of monster that you've previously collected and place them in a discard pile, along with the lemon sorbet card.

This ends your turn, unless you are the last player left in the round.


Clear a Table

Instead of drawing a card, you may claim one table from the playing area along with all of the adjacent seated monsters, provided that there is at least one monster seated there. (You cannot clear j an empty table).

When you clear a table, 1 take the table card along with any seated monster card(s), and place them face up in front of you.

This action signals that you are out of play for the remainder of the round. (You may no longer draw cards or take another table).


Ending a Round

The remaining players continue taking turns drawing cards and/or clearing tables until all players have cleared one table. When this happens, the round ends.

Start a new round by placing four more table cards in the center of the playing area. All previously collected cards remain face up in front of each player.

Whoever cleared the last table starts the next round, which plays out just like the previous one.

Notes:
  • If all available tables are fully seated, then you may not draw a card. Instead, you must clear a table.

  • If you are the last player left in a round and there are open spaces at the remaining table, you may draw cards until either the table is completely filled or until you wish to clear it and end the round.

  • On the rare occasion that there are no cards left to draw, all remaining players must clear a table.



End of the Game

The game ends after the fourth round, when the last group of tables has been cleared. At this point, all players match up their monsters with the corresponding table cards.

Each table feeds all the matching monsters in your collection. Score one point for each fed monster and two points for any monster fed by two plates of the same food.

Then subtract one point for each unfed monster. (No penalty for food cards that didn't feed a monster). Highest total score wins.


Scoring Example:


At the end of the game, Mike had the above collection of cards. He scores 3 points for the Sludge Eaters, plus 4 points for the Stinky Sock Eater and

Anything Eater since he collected both Stinky Sock Stews, which double the value of any matching monster.

He then subtracts 1 point for each unfed monster (-3). No penalty for the unused Spaghetti and Eyeballs. Total: 3 + 4 - 3 = 4.

3-player Rules

Before playing, remove any two complete sets of regular monsters from the monster deck (for example, all six "Eyeball Eaters" and all six "Stinky Sock Eaters"), plus the matching table cards that feed those monsters (four altogether).

Place these cards out of play. Play as above, except deal only three tables per round, instead of four.


2-player Rules

Play exactly like the 3-player rules, except that one of the tables becomes a "dummy" table. After both players have each cleared a table, discard the remaining table along with any seated monsters.

Strategy tip: it pays to hold out longer and be the second player to clear a table because you will have the luxury of having the extra table to decide where you want to seat monsters before clearing one.


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