Full discloser here. I love Chai. I got to play a demo copy before talking about the original Kickstarter. I personally backed it, and have gone to a handful of events demoing it.
The High Tea expansion sort of came out of nowhere. My understanding is that it was in development for some time, but got bumped up when the pandemic caused delays in finalizing Steeped Games’ originally planned project. On top of that, the incredible success of the deluxe edition of Chai means it will need a reprint before next year’s conventions. So, ultimately this was probably a good choice all around.
The new expansion is pretty simple, which for a lighter-weight game like Chai is exactly what it needs be. There are six, double-sided, ability boards, each with a unique optional player action. When the player uses that ability, they flip the board over and will have access to the ability on that side. There are also a pair of transparent dice used for some of the new abilities.
Pledge levels start interestly. Virtually every campaign has a $1 open pledge level. For this campaign, if you pledge $3 (USD) or more in the open pledge you receive the High Tea Print and Play files. At the straight $8 level you get both the original Chai and the Chai: High Tea Print and Play files. Physical rewards start at $20 for the High Tea expansion, $65 for the deluxe edition of Chai, or $79 for both. I rarely talk about the extra-high end ($450) pledge levels, but I’ve seen the original Tea Master edition personally, and it’s nothing short of insanely high quality if you want a true showpiece for your gaming table.
Chai is honestly one of my favourite games of the year, and the difference in price of the deluxe edition compared to the eventual retail release makes backing this a no-brainer. There is a gorgeous playmat that will be available later as an add-on in the pledge manager. While it’s not “necessary” but it definitely adds to the play experience, and I regret not picking one up one initially.