Elevenses — Cutthroat tea time

Having the best tea party out of all of your friends is the aim of the game in Elevenses.

Elevenses is a cute yet cut-throat card game which sees you trying to make the best tea party that you can as a 1920s socialite, all before someone plays the elevenses card. Through various cards of delicious pastries and tea acutromonts, your aim is to place the correct cards into their places to provide the most successful tea party possible.

In Elevenses, each of the two to four players are given a stack of cards, a grid of 8 being placed face-down in front of them at random and three placed in their hand. You cannot look at the cards placed face-down in front of you, but can look at your hand. All of the cards each player receives are a different color to start with. You’ll also receive a display card that shows how your tea party needs to be laid out and point scoring on the back.

These 8 cards face-down in front of you need to become specific cards that are face up for you to score, with each effectively showing your guest the tea party that you have to offer. They need to be placed in a specific order, with the Tea Card (labeled one) placed outside of the grid on the top left hand side, followed by a card numbered two, placed over the first faced down card on the grid, allowing you to pick up that card.

You do not need to place down the cards from your hand in a number order, starting at one. You just need to place them in their designated spot, as shown by your display card. Placing down a card in your grid will allow you to pick up the face down card that was previously in its spot, and then add that card to your hand. This means that if you lay card one or ten you shrink down your hand, a large gamble as card one secures you a point toward overall victory, and card ten secures you three spoons toward a round victory.

Many of the cards you will be placing have actions — lower number cards which have less value have actions that primarily benefit you, while higher number cards, which are worth more, have actions that can harm you. And thus, strategy begins on this very posh-seeming tea party. Using these actions you can flip back over people’s cards, you can force yourself and others to pass cards from your hand, and force others to show their hand, which is called a pantry in this game, to other players, etc.


As you start passing around cards, you’ll notice you that you end up with more than one of the same cards. You cannot place more than one of the same type down onto your tea party grid, so you’ll need to get rid of these duds.

When it comes to the face-down cards on your turn, instead of placing a card onto your grid, you can take a look at two of the cards that are face down, and move these two cards around. This, for example, might allow you to notice that the card in the seventh slot is meant for the fourth slot. You can put the card face-down in the fourth slot, and then on the next turn you have, you can just flip up the card in the 4th spot. You can flip up these face down cards as long as they are in the correct spot.  

Once you get the hang of placing cards down for your tea party, the game continues until someone plays the Elevenses card. This card, with an eleven on it, ends the game. Once the game has ended everyone counts up the number of spoons displayed on their face up cards, which will show the score they have received. The person with the highest score, depending on the number of players within the game, will receive a number of sugar cubes. The first player to five plastic sugar cubes wins the game! However, if you placed down your number one card, the tea trolley, then you gain an extra sugar cube too.

Along with the basic version of the game, each player can also select a secret special guest that only they can see. This guest will request specific cards to be placed at the tea party. You’ll need to place these cards, as well as any others you’d like, to make the best tea party for them. Once you have placed all of the cards to satisfy your guest, you must place your guest card face up, so that the rest of the players can see. They can then attempt to make your guest unhappy by flipping around your cards, however, if you can make it to the end of the game with a pleased guest, you will receive a bonus of two spoons!

Elevenses looks like a really cute, easy tea party game — however, there is a lot of strategy behind its adorable exterior. The amount of times you can mess up another player or ruin a tea party all depends on how well you play with the cards in your hands. I have always been one to enjoy food-based games, but Elevenses was super well received by tea drinkers and coffee drinkers alike. I played this game with an entirely new group of people, and we all got along great and had a lovely time both playing and destroying one-another’s tea time. Elevenses doesn’t take very long to set up, is easy to learn once you start to play it, and the special guest challenge adds even more fun.

You can pick up a copy of Elevenses on Amazon.

Love board games? Check out our list of the top board games we’ve reviewed.

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