Roasters (2018)

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Version 1
Publisher: Back Burner Games
Year: 2018
Electronic (PDF, DOC, eBook, HTML, etc.)
1 pages
Size: Letter
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Description Edit | History

Roasters is a one-page RPG that will change the way you feel about coffee . . . or make you want even more.

Julie's Java is the central hub of information, business meetings, creative outlets, live entertainment, and social connection in the city. The employees who order, roast, grind, and serve the coffee are highly passionate about their work. Not so much the owners, on the other hand, who couldn't care less about coffee. They're using the coffee roasting business as a front for all sorts of clandestine illegal activities.

And the aroma-huffing employees of Julie's Java have no idea.

Instead of dice, players roll coffee beans to determine success. The Roast Development skill mechanic creates adjustments to the character's statistics.
Get exceptional successes to get a bonus!
Drink actual coffee to receive a boost!

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More Information Edit | History

I came up with the idea for this game while -- take a guess -- sitting in a coffee shop. I loved the smell, the ambience, and the camaraderie of the employees working to make and distribute drinks and food items to the customers that came in. Most of all, I loved how the smell of coffee permeated everything, and not jus the brewing of it, but the roasting of it in the back.

One of my favorite coffee companies obtains their product directly from the farmers who harvest it in various countries in Africa, South America, and others, and my office orders their coffee in whole bean bulk. The coffee maker we have is one of those that grinds the beans with every order of coffee, so the hopper is always filled with these amazing little coffee beans. Sitting in that coffee shop, I kept thinking back to that hopper with the beans inside, and thought, "I wonder if I rolled some coffee beans like I rolled dice, would some of them land split side up while others landed split side down?" The next day, I actually tried rolling some coffee beans, and found that the results were pretty random.

That's when the idea of rolling coffee beans instead of dice for this game was born.

I also tried to make the skills based on characteristics found in the coffee roasting and tasting process, but translatable enough that it would still make sense. This is a rules-light game that still has some mechanics that offer flexibility between the skills. As long as the player can justify the action AND get the number of successes needed, then the GM has to make the success work, no matter how weird or off-kilter it seems.

I also liked the idea of having a limited supply of coffee beans to roll with, and unsuccessful beans being culled from the player's supplies. So you have to keep in mind that you're probably going to lose some beans with every skill check, and this makes for a game with a definite time limit. But the beans that are lost can be ground up and brewed into actual coffee, which, as a meta-condition, can be consumed to receive a bonus on a future skill check. During playtesting, this turned out to be one of the most fun and enjoyable parts of the game -- that even when you're unsuccessful, your failure might still be able to help you at some point down the road.

Grab your favorite whole bean coffee, heat up the coffee maker, and give Roasters a shot. I guarantee you'll have more fun with coffee than you thought possible.

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