tapiru game instructions

Last updated on November 24, 2019.


Place cards to create cups of bubble tea in order to win scoring tokens. The first player who can spell out TA-PI-O-CA with their scoring tokens wins the game. A quick guide is available here.

Game Contents

・Rule sheet

・Paper tokens (total of 20)
 » 1 max capacity token
 » 3 preference tokens
 » 16 scoring tokens

・Cards (total of 63)
 » 10 lid cards
 » 10 brand cards
 » 30 tapioca cards
 » 3 straight milk tea cards
 » 10 bottom cards

Setting up the Game

Shuffle all scoring tokens into one stack and place the stack face down to the side of the playing area. Then draw three scoring tokens from the stack and set them in the center of the table. (As illustrated below.)

Place one preference token next to each of the previously placed scoring tokens. The request tokens should have the “more” side facing up. In addition, place the max capacity token in a place where both players can see it.

Separate the lid cards and shuffle them. Deal three lid cards face up in front of each player.

Separate the bottom cards and shuffle them. Deal three bottom cards face up in front of each player.

Shuffle the remainder of bottom and lid cards with the rest of the brand and tapioca cards to create a stack. Deal two cards to each player’s hand (they may view their cards but they should keep them hidden from their opponent). Place the stack face down on the table.

Decide who goes first by whoever drank bubble (or bubble-less) tea most recently.

How to Play

A turn consists of a player drawing one card from the stack into their hand so that they hold three cards. They must chose one card from the three to play onto the board to form one of the three cups on their side. Each of the three cups on a player’s side ultimately consist of one lid card (already placed during setup), one brand card, three tapioca card, and one bottom card (already placed at setup).

Skipping a turn is not allowed — however any card from a player’s hand can be placed on top over a previously placed card of the same type. Once a card is covered by another, it no longer exists in the scheme of the cup.

For example, if a tapioca card with three tapioca pearls on it is covered by a tapioca card with five tapioca pearls on it, only the uppermost card of five tapioca is counted towards the cup’s tapioca amount and the total max capacity limit. In the case of bottom cards, placing a card on top of another triggers a special event. Players must flip the center preference token for the column to its opposite side (less/more).

Covering up existing cards not only allows players to adjust the contents of their cups; it also allows them to delay ending a round until the right moment. (See ‘End of a Round and Scoring’ for more detail.)

After a player has placed one card, it is now their opponent’s turn. A player should end their turn with two cards in their hand. This repeats until the end of the round.

Branding Bonus

Good branding is important. In order to receive a Branding Bonus for a cup, the straw color for all cards of that cup (excluding the bottom card) must be the same color. There are 5 possible colors (blue, red, green striped, yellow, & grey) and all colors are evenly distributed.

If a player’s cup aligns all cards of one straw color, the player draws one scoring token from the scoring token stack at the end of the round. The Branding Bonus does not affect the outcome of which cup wins the column’s scoring token. For example, a player may receive the Branding Bonus for his or her cup when all cards have a red straw but lose the center scoring token for the column to his or her opponent based on the amount of tapioca in his or her cup. (As illustrated below.)

In the above diagram, the preference token is flipped to “more” meaning the player with a greater amount of Tapioca wins the center scoring token. Player 2 has a greater amount of tapioca and therefore wins. Player 1 receives a Branding Bonus because all cards in his or her cup include a red straw and therefore can draw one scoring token from the stack as a reward.

A player can score a maximum of three Branding Bonuses (aka three additional scoring tokens from the stack) per each round.

Brand Cards

A brand card should be placed for each cup, directly under the lid card. A player may place tapioca cards without a brand card in place — however, at the end of the round, if a cup lacks a brand card, the player will automatically forfeit that column to the opposite player. If both players lack a brand card for a column, no one receives the center scoring token.

Of course, brand cards contribute to the overall branding of the cup. In order for a player to acheive a branding bonus, the straw color of the the brand card must match the straw color of all other cards of that cup.

Straight Milk Tea

Although the winning cup for each column is to be determined by the amount of tapioca in each player’s cup according to the preference token, there is one exception to this rule.

If a player is able to create a cup with absolutely no tapioca pearls, their Straight Milk Tea will defeat their opponent’s cup to win the center scoring token regardless of the preference token. Straight Milk Tea is the ultimate combo but it never receives a Branding Bonus nor can it affect an opponent’s possible Branding Bonus.

Preference Token

The preference token dictates whether the winning cup for a column should have less or more tapioca. At the beginning of each round, all tokens should be flipped to 多め (oome = more) as the default setup.

Bottom Card Special Event

When a player places a bottom card to cover up an existing bottom card, the preference for that particular column is changed by flipping the center preference token to the opposite side. For example, if the current preference is 少なめ (sukuname = less) than the token should be flipped to 多め (oome = more).

(Stomach) Max Capacity Token

There is a limit to just how much boba you can stuff in your stomach. Players must constantly keep in mind the max capacity of their stomachs. For standard play, this number is 20. If a player goes over the max capacity at the end of the round, they will not be able to score and all scoring tokens will go to his or her opponent. If both players go over the max capacity, no one scores and the scoring tokens are shuffled back into the scoring token stack before the next round begins. Branding Bonuses are not available to a player who has gone over the max capacity.

End of a Round and Scoring

A round ends when either of the following A or B events occur.

A) A player draws the last card available from the card stack.

After he or she places a final card from his or her hand, the round is finished. His or her opponent may not make any further moves. Both players should have a remainder of two unused cards in their hand.

B) A player places the last card needed to complete all three cups on his or her side.

This means that all three cups have one brand card and three tapioca cards each. Their opponent may then take his or her final turn by drawing a card from the stack and placing a card from his or her hand. The round is then finished. Both players should have a remainder of two unused cards in their hand.

When the round is finished, scoring for the round begins. Determine the winning cup for each column based on the amount of tapioca (depending on the preference token) and give the center scoring token to the column winner — except in the case of Straight Milk Tea which automatically receives the center scoring token. A cup can consist of three or less tapioca cards but it must have a brand card to be valid. Once all three columns have been resolved, players should draw additional scoring tokens from the stack if they have achieved a Branding Bonus.

Winning the Game

A player wins the game if they can use the scoring tokens they have acquired at the end of the round to spell out タピオカ (TA-PI-O-CA). If neither of the players can successfully spell out TA-PI-O-CA then one more round is played. In general, a maximum of two rounds is normal but in the case that both players repeatedly exceed their stomach max capacity an additional round may be neccessary.

The first player to spell out TA-PI-O-CA (i.e., collect all four scoring token types) wins the game. If both players can spell out TA-PI-O-CA, then the player with the greater amount of scoring tokens wins. If at the end of two rounds neither player can successfully spell out TA-PI-O-CA, then the player with the greater amount of scoring tokens is the winner.

Warning: Choking hazard. Contains small parts. Not for children under 3 years old.