Finding the correct coffee route can be quite tricky! First of all, please read the coffee section of the expansion rules.
Make sure you fully understand the example and the reasons why each route was chosen.
The Ketchup Expansion rules are available here.
What goes into finding a valid coffee route?
Remember the following:
- Players actually need to have coffee in stock for a sale to be considered
- A house can travel along any route to get to the winning restaurant, as long as the tile distance does not go above the minimum required to get to the restaurant
- If the route splits, the house will choose the route that sells the most coffee
- For example, if the route splits and one route sells a coffee to players A and B, and the other route sells a coffee to player C only, then the path selling only to player C will be completely ignored because there is an alternative valid route that sells more coffee, and the house will take the route that sells the most possible coffee
- If the route splits and each possible split would sell the same amount of coffee, then no coffee is sold along this split part of the route
- This applies even if each path would sell the same amount of coffee to the same player. Why? Because that's what the designer has said! You can think of it as the house arguing about which of the coffee selling places is better, to the point where they end up skipping all of them, even if they belong to the same chain.
- Consider the example above with one path selling to players A and B, and the other path only to player C. What would happen if player B had no coffee? You would now be in the situation where one route woulf sell to player A and the other route to player C. Both routes would now sell the same amount of coffe, and so now both routes are skipped.
When I click "More Information" in the coffee section in "History", what exactly are the non-road highlights?
Restaurants / coffee shops that are highlighted indicate where coffee was actually sold along the route taken by this house.
Note that the squares highlighted correspond to where the restaurants / coffee shops were on this turn, not where they are now if they were moved later.
So if a non-road square has a highlight but does not contain a restaurant or coffee shop, then it must have been moved after this turn.
When I click "More Information" in the coffee section in "History", what exactly are the road highlights?
If there is only one valid coffee route from the house to the restaurant, it will be shown.
If there are multiple valid routes, the road squares common to all valid coffee routes will be shown.
This should help you to work out how the sales occurred. Remember distance is only measured in map tiles, not road squares. So if the house could travel one tile right and then one tile down, OR one tile down and then one tile right, AND both choices would sell the same amount of coffee (which would make both valid choices), then none of this section will be highlighted. If however only one of those routes sold coffee, then as both are the same distance, and the house will always choose the route that sells the most coffee, then both the route and the location where the coffee sale occurred should have a highlight.
A route will go all round a tile, if possible, as long as it stays on the same tile and does not make a U-turn. For example, if the route includes the triple lemonade tile from the expansion, or the tile with house 5 on it, then the route will always include all road squares on these tiles
Please consider the following examples to understand better how Coffee Selling works
In the following examples, the building with the lemonade makes a sale. Assume all players have 6 coffees.
Xango Blues (green colour) makes the sale, without a drive-thru. Can you work out which locations sell coffee?
In the answers, the locations that sell are circled in green, and the locations that don't sell in red.
Common road squares show the green highlight, and blue lines indicate where there is more than one possible path.
One coffee is sold to Gluttony and one to Xango. The house can travel all the way around the triple lemonade square. It can travel on squares it has already used, as long as it is not making a U-turn. Coffee selling locations don't have to be on the same tile as the route, they just have to be adjacent to the road. House 10 could come out of the house from the bottom left square or top right square, so this part of the route counts as "undecided", and no coffee sales would occur along here.
Santa Maria sells 2 coffees. House 12 will use any route that doesn't increase tile distance. So they come out onto the road square next to the overpass and sell to Santa Maria. The red circled coffee shops are on mutually exclusive valid routes, each of which would sell one coffee. So both of these coffee shops will be skipped. Note that although there is no green highlighted road directly adjacent to the Santa Maria coffee shop in this section, BOTH (all) valid coffee routes must pass adjacent to it, no matter which route is taken, and so one sale will always occur here as well.
One coffee is sold by Santa Maria from the middle right tile. This one is a bit more complicated! Remember that the "winning distance" for the lemonade sale is 4. So you can never cross more than 4 tile boundaries. Whichever routes you pick at the start, there are essentially the higher route and lower route. The higher route would sell to Santa Maria twice and the lower route to Xango twice. So all of these sales are skipped. Interestingly, there are no road tiles highlighted anywhere near the green circled Santa Maria, but every valid route does pass by it. Remember that a valid route must try to sell as much coffee as possible. So for the house to exit the centre tile to the bottom, it must first go all the way around the tile, passing by the Santa Maria coffee shop, before exiting to the bottom. If the house instead moves onto the right (onto the triple lemonade tile), then it will travel around the entire tile before exiting to the bottom, thus also passing this Santa Maria coffee shop. The same will happen if the house travels along the top and then down onto the triple lemonade tile. So no matter which valid route the house chooses, it will always pass by one Santa Maria coffee shop, but never more than 2 of the other 3 shops, and so these are all skipped.
Note that there are technically a lot more valid routes than are shown with the blue lines; for example you can exit the apartment tile down onto the central tile from any of the 5 bottom road squares. But in all cases, the outcome is the same.
Siap Faji will sell one coffee. Although both blue routes would each sell one coffee to Siap Faji, both locations are skipped, as per the designer's ruling. Think of it as the house arguing about which of the locations is best (even though they belong to the same chain!) and so both locations are skipped. Note that if you replaced the green beer location opposite Xango with a coffee shop, then all routes would now have to pass by this location in order to be a valid route (because it wouldn't increase the tile distance), and so that location would also sell one coffee.
I disagree with something on this page?
Coffee is complicated! I had to rewrite the algorithm several times as my understanding of the finer points of the rules changed as I went through development. Any things I wasn't certain of I found clarifications from the game designer on Board Game Geek. I have had a big input from my playtester as well, ensuring that the rules are strictly followed and any ambiguities from the rulebook follow the designer's rulings on BGG.
If you are unsure, I would strongly urge you to ask in the Board Game Geek forums about it, and if the answer is different to something on this page, please contact me.