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'Cryptid Cafe' brings monstrous meeples to the tabletop
All images from squatchygames.com

Gaming

‘Cryptid Cafe’ brings monstrous meeples to the tabletop

Play as Bigfoot, chupacabra, Mothman, and more!

The chupacabra is a busy cryptid. We’ve already seen how it gets around in other board games, but when it comes to serving food, the goat sucker may have to yield to Bigfoot, who really takes the cake.

That’s because in the game Cryptid Cafe, published by the appropriately-named Squatchy Games, every player has a squad of delightfully whimsical Bigfoot meeples, ready to please the patrons of the eponymous eatery.

'Cryptid Cafe' brings monstrous meeples to the tabletop

In Cryptid Cafe, 1-4 players try to best serve the creepiest clientele around, including a Jersey Devil, Mothman, and the Flatwoods Monster. But as you might imagine, these ravenous beasts won’t be satisfied by chicken fingers or fish and chips — their monstrous palates demand  more exotic fare, like Hexpresso, Cinnamonster Rolls, and Al-BONE-digas soup.

Cryptid Cafe customer cards

Not every animal has the same nutritional needs, though. The giant Thunderbird has a sweet tooth, wanting five Cinnamonster Rolls all to itself, and 11 food items total. The tiny Jackalope can be fed with only five items, but it prefers Hexpresso and BLTE (bacon, lettuce, tomato, and eyeball) sandwiches. Your cryptid customers are dealt randomly, and are worth more points the sooner you fill their orders. But if you wait too long, the flustered figment walks out of the Cryptid Cafe, and you’ll actually LOSE points!

Players obtain the desired delectables by sending their meeples to the food station, lining up for a specific dish. If you’re at the front of a line, you’ll get more of that item (Thunderbird is HUNGRY!), and if you’re at the back, you only get one serving. But before orders are filled, if you share some tip money with the Kraken Chef, he’ll look the other way and hook you up before the rest of the wait staff.

'Cryptid Cafe' brings monstrous meeples to the tabletop

Each cryptid patron is worth a different amount of points, and whoever has the most after a certain number of rounds (based on player count) wins. You can get bonuses, though, for serving groups of cryptids that enjoy each others’ company. Satisfying three “water” cryptids like the Loch Ness Monster, Bunyip, and Beast of Busco gets you an extra three points, for example. And along the way you’ll have to dodge random events that might prevent you from getting a certain food item for the duration of a round.

Cryptid Cafe is a fairly light introduction to worker placement games, or a nice little filler for heavier game nights. But to many readers here, that may not be the real story. Because while the game is fun, and the Bigfoot meeples are indeed adorable, cryptid enthusiasts could be more enthralled by the special “Cryptid Cafe Server Pack,” which adds three additional meeples of *14* different types, representing all the creatures on the customer cards.

Rounding out the animals included are the Native American Wendigo, the Snallygaster, the hulking Grafton Monster, Canada’s Ogopogo lake monster, the yeti, the chupacabra (of course!), and the Loveland Frogman, complete with his bizarre little wand. The Cryptid Cafe Server Pack, full of screen-printed, wooden weirdness, is currently shown as out of stock at the Squatchy Games website, but it’s listed price is only $14.95.

'Cryptid Cafe' brings monstrous meeples to the tabletop

But wait! Even non-gamers may want to give Cryptid Cafe proper a try, because due to a warehouse issue, Squatchy Games is now liquidating their current supply. This may be your last chance to capture this rarity! I personally suggest you do, because these folks are fine people who who helped me out a ton when my Kickstarter fulfillment never arrived. Thanks, Squatchy Games!

Every February, to help celebrate Darwin Day, the Science section of AIPT cranks up the critical thinking for SKEPTICISM MONTH! Skepticism is an approach to evaluating claims that emphasizes evidence and applies the tools of science. All month we’ll be highlighting skepticism in pop culture, and skepticism *OF* pop culture. 

AIPT Science is co-presented by AIPT and the New York City Skeptics.

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