# Games to play with coffee beans

When we were in Costa Rica we ate several of our meals at the hotel restaurant. Each table had a decorative bowl of coffee beans on it. The service was very friendly at the restaurant, but it was a little slow, so to pass the time, my family and I invented games to play with the coffee beans. Some of the games were fun, others were interesting failures. The more entertaining games included:

1. Nim. (We didn't invent this one.) To play Nim, you arrange coffee beans (or other small counters) into piles. On your turn, you can take as many beans as you wish from any one pile. The object is to take the last bean from the table. We played lots of variations of this basic game.

2. Guess the Total. Each player puts between zero and four beans in his/her hand. Then each player guesses the total number of beans being held by all the players. Whoever is closest wins.

3. Tower of Beans (as seen above). Everyone starts with three beans. On "go" everyone tries to be the first to stack all three beans. Variation: who can make the highest stack of beans? (We couldn't make a stack higher than three.)

If you know of any good counter games suitable to play while waiting for dinner, please post them in the comments!