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Cupcake Academy

Join the cupcake academy and complete logic puzzles, while all working together against a seven-minute timer.

Players stack and un-stack plastic cupcake cups in order to complete the challenges shown on the assignment cards. You will have to work together, because not every assignment can be completed alone in this puzzle game by Blue Orange Games.

Gameplay

Each player takes a set of five cupcake cups. The five cups vary in color and size, so that they can all form one stack, fitting inside one another, from smallest to biggest. Each player also takes three personal plate tiles which they place in a line in front of themselves, and a shared plate tile is put in the center. Each player puts their cup stacks on their center personal tile.

You take the assignment card deck that matches your number of players, shuffle it, and deal, facedown, a certain number based on player count. The rest are returned to the box. In order to win the game, you must complete all these assignment cards before the seven-minute timer runs out.

To start the game, flip the timer and draw the first assignment card and place it in the center of the table. The assignment card shows which color of cupcake cups must be visible on each player’s three personal plates. These will not necessarily be the same for all players and some plates will need to be empty. In the basic game, you do not have to match the order of the plates. For instance if the assignment card shows you as having two empty plates and the pink cup visible on your rightmost place, it can in fact be any of the three. However, in the advanced rules you must also match the order of the plates shown on the card.

When moving cupcake cups, you may one use one hand and may only move one cup at a time. You may only move cups onto or from your plates or the shared plate. For some assignment cards, you will need cups from another player, in which case you will need to use the shared plate to exchange them. You may stack bigger cups onto smaller ones, and may only have one stack of cups per plate.

Once each player has matched their plates to the assignment card and the shared plate is empty, you set the card aside and draw a new one. If you do not complete all the assignments before the timer runs out, you lose the game.

Cupcake Academy Components

Review

Cupcake Academy is such a satisfying and original blend of logic puzzle and real-time panic. You’re trying to work quickly, while figuring out the most efficient way to solve the puzzle. The game also ensures replayability, because the puzzle is always going to be different — you don’t reset the cups between assignment cards, so you are always going to start each puzzle from a different setup.

The cooperative mechanics also work well, as players have to work together to get the right cups where they need to be, and have to try not getting in each other’s way with the shared plate tile. And while the game is certainly more fun with this cooperative element, it is even enjoyable to play solo, trying to solve all sides of the assignment card yourself.

From the cupcake cups (which are very satisfying to stack) to the tiles, the game is well made with solid and attractive components. We might have liked a few more assignment cards included (there are twenty for each player count), but this was a minor quibble.

Cupcake Academy is a fantastic fit for lovers of puzzles and real-time gameplay. It is enjoyable across all its player counts, it is family friendly, difficulty can be adjusted by tweaking the number of assignment cards you are attempting to complete, and gameplay is addictive and fast. Just be warned: you will want a cupcake before you’re through!

Pros: Component quality, a cooperative logic puzzle is an uncommon mechanic, ability to adjust difficulty

Cons: More assignment cards would be nice, be ready to be hungry for cupcakes

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.