4.3 inches of snow fell overnight. But that won’t stop this from being an enjoyable recap of the games I played and the beers I savored last week. And since I was part of a Board Game Day, which my group does twice a year, I was able to play some games that I normally do not get to play.
Here are the Boards and Barley I enjoyed last week…
Ommegang Abbey Ale: I don’t normally buy beer in any size other than 12 ounce bottles, but I made an exception. This is an exceptional beer worth making an exception for. I was exceptionally well pleased with my making of an exception.
Tyranena’s The Devil Made Me Do It Imperial Chocolate Oatmeal Porter: So thick and creamy and rich and flavorful. So delicious! The name speaks for itself.
Hinterland Oktoberfest: If you want an oktoberfest that tastes unlike an oktoberfest, then might I recommend this one? I won’t be having this oktoberfest again. It has a really weird farm-y flavor/aftertaste.
Granite City 8 Beer Sampler: On Friday my wife and I enjoyed a meal apart from the kids. We chose Granite City since it was close to the area where we were doing some Christmas shopping. As my dinner beverage I chose the beer sampler, which came with 8 different beers. What’s nice about Granite City is they have their own craft beer. What’s not nice is that I don’t particularly enjoy any of their beers. What’s also not nice is they serve ONLY their own beer. On the upside I was able to try 8 different kinds of beer!
Sierra Nevada Porter: I’m not a huge fan of their Pale Ale, but that’s mostly due to the fact that I’m not much of a pale ale kind of guy. However, their porter was most enjoyable. I’ll definitely drink it again.
Anchor Brewing Old Foghorn Barleywine: This potent behemoth of a beverage weighs in at 9.4%abv. I had only had one other barleywine before this one and that first was was not enjoyable. But I figured I should try another. This barleywine was actually quite enjoyable. I would have preferred to have enjoyed it sitting around the fireplace enjoying a plate of Christmas cookies rather than during Board Game Day where it threatened to knock me out. It’s a beer that I will try again.
Leinenkugel’s Snow Drift Vanilla Porter: I enjoy this Wisconsin brew. I am sure there are better vanilla porters out there (I’m looking at you, Breckenridge Brewery!), but this one was a nice final beverage for Board Game Day.
Le Havre (iOS): I wondering if I should include iOS games in this list. My temporary conclusion is that I won’t list them anymore since I only ever play them solo and that’s not what board games are all about for me. Board games are about hanging out with friends, beating them to a pulp, and being humble in victory. And also being bitter in defeat.
Asara: This game is all about erecting structures. That’s all I’m gonna say.
Qwirkle: This may be my favorite abstract game. Though I don’t normally like to play abstracts, this one finds its way to the table quite often.
Viticulture: We played a learning game of Viticulture at Board Game Day and quit after we realized we were playing it incorrectly. The game seems like a lot of fun though and I’ll have to give it another try before I really form an opinion.
Guildhall Job Faire: I love the interaction of the cards in this game and its predecessor, Guildhall. The art doesn’t strike me as being awesome, but the gameplay works really well. Overall Guildhall and Guildhall: Job Faire are enjoyable games.
Bruges: I got Bruges to the table for the first time. We played one rule incorrectly in the first two rounds, but since everyone had done it incorrectly we simply carried on. My first impression is that this game seems to be really good. I love how you can make combos of cards to build a little engine. I love how nothing comes without a cost. There are tough decisions to make. And the best part is that this feels Feldian without being a huge point salad.
Skyline: It was cool that I showed the guys the picture of David Short on the back of the rules and could tell them that I had met and played games with David at BGG.con. Skyline is a really fun filler game that I think I will add to my Christmas list. It’s so simple, yet can be so rewarding. If you haven’t tried it, go find it at your FLGS (favorite local game store) and pick up a copy.
Toc Toc Woodman (Click Clack Lumberjack) x2: I have a love/hate relationship with Toc Toc Woodman. I love the premise. I hate how bad at it I am. We played twice during Board Game Day. The first time I ended with about -7 points. The second time I had 2 points. I won’t quite my day job to join the Toc Toc Woodman tournament circuit.
Kingdom Builder: This has been one of my favorite games in the past two years. It plays quickly. It is easy enough to teach. And since it is a game my wife will play that makes it even better. I’ve been really loving the Crossroads expansion lately. But that’s mostly because I love the cards that give you other scoring objectives.
Merchants & Marauders: This is perhaps my favorite pirate game out there. While the gameplay isn’t necessarily the best, what the game does well is immerses you into pirate-dom. I love how it seems I’m sailing around in the Caribbean trading goods or looking for someone to plunder. Unfortunately we only played a few rounds, but I still had the full experience as I was the only captain to die.
League of Six: I love Vladimir Suchy’s game Shipyard. This one wasn’t so loveable. It wasn’t a bad game by any means, but I just didn’t enjoy it all that much. That may have been due to the fact that I was hoping to play a different game about an expedition to the western portion of the country that may or may not have been launched by Thomas Jefferson, but I guess I’ll have to play that game some other time.
Last week I shared a design update so I don’t have much to add in this week’s Designer’s Corner. However, I did finally come up with a theme and some of the mechanics that I want to use for Dice Hate Me’s 54 Card Challenge. So I consider that major progress!
I had a pretty good week in terms of Boards and Barley. What did you enjoy last week?
It’s a good news – bad news Monday here at Boards and Barley. First, the bad news: the Scoville Kickstarter campaign is being moved to mid-December. We’ll all just have to be patient a little longer. Now the good news: I’ll be at BGG.con demoing Scoville and meeting a lot of you awesome people this week!
That’s right. It’s gonna be a slow week on Boards and Barley because I’ll be down in Dallas enjoying some full on boards and barley with fellow designers and gamers and publishers. It’s gonna be awesome!
Never-the-less, today is Monday so I present to you the Boards and Barley that I enjoyed last week:
Newton’s Oatmeal Stout: My own oatmeal stout is a decent homebrew. However, it is gonna have some competition soon as I recently bottled my scotch ale, which will be named after Sir Alexander Fleming.
Lost Coast Eight Ball Oatmeal Stout: This is a pretty good oatmeal stout, expecially since it doesn’t have that “homebrew” characteristic that my beer possesses.
Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout: A straggler from the 6-pack I purchased was thoroughly enjoyed. I find this double cream stout to be very drinkable.
North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout: It was a strange week for me barley-wise. I only had stouts. A few years ago that would never have happened. I do believe my beer palate is maturing! Unforunately I enjoyed this brew after those other stouts and so I only went for half the bottle. But if you want something potent then I would recommend anything that says “Russian Imperial.”
Cable Car: This is one of the best games to get a game night started. The strategy is light. The decisions are few. The screwage is immense. It has everything to get people into the gaming mood. And since it plays quickly, Cable Car makes it to the table relatively frequently. Fun game!
Last Will: I played this at our board game night as well. And I lost badly. I am usually pretty good at this game, but I made a HUGE error on the very first turn and really botched things. Plus, the Old Friend wasn’t available for me as the first player in the first round. That really hindered my game. But despite my pitiful performance this is a game that I love playing. It is a really awesome design.
Compounded: I taught Compounded to four family members over the weekend and the consensus was that they loved it. One of them is a chemist so it was right up her alley. My older brother, who isn’t really a gamer, dominated everyone by getting some compounds completed really early. If you have yet to check out Compounded, maybe it’s time to pick it up!
Kingdom Builder: We played Kingdom Builder with the Crossroads expansion. It is a great expansion and I love the new “objectives” to strive for during the game. This is a really enjoyable game for me as it is light enough to keep my wife interested, yet deep enough to make me care on every turn.
Dungeon Roll: I played this solo and had a decent game… or so I thought. I fought hard to get those 19 points only to learn that that only makes me a Village Hero. I must be doing something wrong since I barely ever score in the 20s. Oh well. Also, if you haven’t seen it, there is a Winter Heroes promo pack on Kickstarter right now for a super low price. But hurry up since there’s less than 24 hours to go!
As I mentioned last week I’ve been in the designer doldrums lately. This time of year is usually so busy for me that I brain rarely gets a spare moment to work on hobby stuff. However, since I’ll be down at BGG.con this week I’m going to bring my notebook and idea box to see if I can come up with anything for my current games or possibly to come up with a few new games. I’ll keep you posted.
So those are the Boards and Barley that I enjoyed last week. What did you enjoy? And will I see you at BGG.con?
Happy Monday everyone! It’s supposed to be snowing here today. The Green Bay Packers lost yesterday. And I lost my voice over the weekend. So it’s not really a happy Monday. That’s why I bring you the Monday Brews each week here on Boards & Barley. I’m going to skip the Designer’s Corner section of the article today since I did no design work whatsoever last week, what with the Scoville campaign on Kickstarter launching soon.
Never-the-less, here are the Boards and Barley that I enjoyed last week:
Capital Supper Club: I enjoyed this while bowling. It’s a “not bad” beer from a local brewery that is easy to drink and is quite enjoyable.
Spaten Optimator: I also enjoyed this one while bowling. It was on tap but it sort of tasted like it made a stinky and long trip overseas from Germany. I’ve definitely had better Optimator.
Bell’s Two Hearted: This beer, also enjoyed during bowling, is about where I draw my hop line. I am not a fan of overly hoppy beer, but this Pale Ale toes that line nicely.
Bell’s Double Cream Stout: When they say “Double Cream” they mean it! This is a smooth and creamy concoction of deliciousness that was worth purchasing. Very enjoyable.
Tyranena The Devil Made Me Do It: This is a special beer from their Brewers Gone Wild series. It is an imperial Coffee Porter and it is awesome. Though it is an imperial, it doesn’t pack the alcohol punch that many imperials possess. The best part is the smooth coffee nature of the beer. It was an all around enjoyable brew.
Newton’s Oatmeal Stout: I enjoyed another of my own homebrew. Thankfully it doesn’t suck.
Lost Coast Eight Ball Oatmeal Stout: Here’s another oatmeal stout that I enjoyed. I had it back to back with my homebrew and was pleased that they both tasted pretty similar. The Lost Coast had a better finish and felt more refined, though. Pretty good brew.
Star Wars X-Wing: I continued my streak of winning while playing a 125 point battle that included the Slave I and the Millenium Falcon. I was part of the Imperial Force and was in control of a Tie Bomber and a Tie Fighter. My team mate was in control of the Tie Interceptor, a Tie Fighter, and the Slave I. Overall we had a really great space battle that took a while to play. But in the end my team was victorious and I am not 4-0 while playing X-Wing. It’s a super awesome game!
Settlers of Catan: I had the privilege of not only teaching the game to a new player, but I also had the privilege of playing the game with three women. That’s not a very common occurrence, unfortunately. Two of them love Catan and were very competitive, which might have helped the new player. The new player ended up winning as she was able to steal the longest road at the end for victory.
Quantum: My level 1 friend, Jeremy, had the privilege of making his first ever appearance at the Spieltage at Essen. Quantum is one of the games he picked up and we were able to play it on Saturday with our friend Ben. WHile I’d like to say it was utterly and completely awesome, I can’t. Jeremy beat us in about 14 minutes. “Beat” is actually a pretty weak way to say it. He completed crushed us. He was able to get all four of his quantum cubes out there before Ben or I got our second cube out. It was pretty embarrassing, really.
Compounded: After the pummeling in Quantum we decided to play Compounded. I really enjoy this game. It is such an elegant design and is so much fun to play. I love the theme and how well everything is integrated together. Darrell Louder (designer) and Dice Hate Me Games (Publisher) really have a great game and great production here. I just wish it came in a bigger box, because the amount of game in the design is definitely worthy of a big box.
So those are the Boards and Barley that I enjoyed last week. What did you enjoy?
Well, Halloween is over and it’s now November. The leaves are just about all off the trees in my neighborhood. With the time change it’s dark when I get home from work. So you know what that means? It means that we might as well settle inside and play more board games! (and maybe enjoy some nice cold-weather brews!)
So here are the Boards and Barley that I enjoyed in the past week…
Belhaven Scottish Ale: A delicious, smooth, enjoyable ale. If you’ve never had one, try it this week!
Tyranena Painted Ladies: At game night I grabbed one of these since the pumpkin ale season is ending and I figured I better enjoy one while I could. It’s nice that it’s not overly pumpkin flavored.
Newton’s Oatmeal Stout: I enjoyed more of my own homebrew. I think it’s pretty good. While it won’t win any awards, it’s definitely an enjoyable brew.
Wisconsin Brewing Amber Ale: I visited this brand new brewery on their Opening Day last Friday. This is a new brewery pretty close to where I live and my visit last Friday will certainly not be my last to the brewery. It’s not every day that a new craft brewery opens so close. I enjoyed the Amber Ale, but they also offered an American IPA, a Session IPA, and a Brown Porter.
Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout: Potent. But not more potent than a typical Imperial beer. This was pretty good, but I’m glad I only had half a bottle.
Tyranena Sheep Shagger Scotch Ale: On Saturday I participated in a beer run at a brewery. I ran the 1/6th Barrel distance (4.37 miles) with a bunch of my friends. This is a fantastic event that sells out every year. With the entry you also get a great meal of lasagna, salad, and breadsticks. And you also get two beer tickets. I chose the Sheep Shagger because I love scotch ales and I can’t find this one in stores.
Tyranena Three Blondes Honey Ale: For my second beer ticket I chose the Three Blondes since I needed something lighter. However, I wish I had chosen the Imperial Coffee Porter since it was delicious (I got a sample).
Overall it was a pretty good beer week!
Compounded (x2): This recent Kickstarter arrival is a fantastic game. I have played it twice (once 4p, once 2p). The game itself is a compound composed of elements of science, fun, and awesomeness!
Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures: I got to play X-Wing for the third time. The third time went about the same as the first two. In each of those I had incredible dice results. In this case I finished off the game by rolling 6 hits from my last 7 dice. Beware if we ever match up on the X-Wing field!
Carcassonne: While I was at the Tyranena Beer Run waiting for the race to begin we got a 6p game of Carcassonne on the table. I must have been distracted because I played a pretty terrible game. I tied for 4th place, but only three points ahead of last.
Dungeon Roll: I played a couple games of Dungeon Roll with my kids this weekend. They are 4yo and 2yo. They absolutely love rolling the dice and grabbing the treasure tokens. My son chooses the treasures based on the color, which normally means he grabs blue ones. It’s a fun game and a great way to get my kids interested in gaming! Side note: Tasty Minstrel just launched a 14-day Kickstarter campaign for a Holiday promo pack for the game. You can check it out here: Dungeon Roll Winter Promo Pack.
Designer’s Corner: (Scoville Update)
I did not do any game design this week. I’ve simply been getting more and more excited about the Scoville Kickstarter project coming up in the next few weeks. While I don’t have a solid date for the KS campaign it is sounding like it will be up during BGG.con.
Speaking of BGG.con, I will be there demoing Scoville. If you haven’t played it, Tweet at me and stop by for a demo. I’m super excited to introduce it to more people. I’m also super excited that artwork is being done in advance of the KS campaign. In case you don’t subscribe to Tasty Minstrel‘s newsletter (you should!) then you probably missed the announcement that Joshua Cappel is on board to do the artwork. If you are not familiar with his artwork, take a look at Belfort since it is simply amazing!
As more information about Scoville becomes available I will keep you posted.
Happy Monday everyone! Well, Spiel at Essen is over and from what I’ve seen it looked pretty awesome. Some day I’ll make it over there. Some day. But since I didn’t attend I can’t provide you with an awesome recap about the convention. So it’s another typical Monday Brews article today.
However, I am adding a new section to the Monday Brews articles called The Designer’s Corner. This is a small area where I can discuss the design efforts I’ve made in the past week. Often there won’t be much in this section and I often work piecemeal on design. But it will at least give you a chance to see what I’ve been up to.
So without further adieu I present to you the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed last week…
Point Oktoberfest: Sadly this is likely my last Oktoberfest of the year. It’s been a good run as I had numerous varieties of Oktoberfests and even attended an Oktoberfest festival with three fellow game designers. Until next year, Oktoberfest!
Lake Louie Reserve Scotch Ale: I love Lake Louie’s Warped Speed scotch ale so I figured I’d try their reserve scotch ale that is only seasonally available. I wasn’t disappointed. This was stronger and more full of body than the Warped Speed and was highly enjoyable. Nicely done Lake Louie!
Homebrew Black Ale: I was also able to enjoy a fellow homebrewer’s Black Ale. It was delicious.
Tyranena Rocky’s Revenge: This is a bourbon barrel aged beer, but unlike last week’s episode with the Kentucky Ale, this one was actually enjoyable. The bourbon effect on this beer is pretty mild and doesn’t overwhelm the beer. The Rocky’s Revenge is a beer with a hint of bourbon, rather than the Kentucky which is more like bourbon with a hint of beer.
Newton’s Oatmeal Stout: This is my third homebrew and I was finally able to have one last night. And I was not disappointed. It had excellent character. It was mildly smooth and malty. It was not overly bitter. And coming in at 4.2% ABV I know I can enjoy a few without feeling the effects. I’m looking forward to more.
Settlers of Catan: I finally got to put my Catan Board to use. The verdict: it was nice. The reality: It’s not necessary. Sure, it keeps the board nicely in place. It lets you move the board if you need to. It helps prevent roads from being moved. But I wish I hadn’t spent $35 on it. Oh well. That’s partially due to the fact that I have an older version of the game and the ports in my version are still the hex tiles rather than the little chits that drop nicely into the Catan Board.
Keyflower: I was pretty excited to play Keyflower since it sounded like a game right up my alley. There is worker placement in the game, but it’s not used in the usual way. It’s more of a placement auction mechanic where players are placing workers as bids for buildings. Unfortunately we had a long gap in our play where we were having a discussion about awesome stuff. So when we got back to the game we had sort of lost track of where we were. I suppose that means I’ll just have to play it again
The Designer’s Corner:
I had a pretty good design week for two games: Quantum Orcas and Brooklyn Bridge.
QUANTUM ORCAS: On the QO front it was less about the game and more about the artwork and, potentially, how I might post it on The Game Crafter. I knew that the logo needed revising and so I sat down for a while and threw this together:
I’m pretty happy with that, especially compared to the previous version, which can be seen in my Twitter photo roll. The game is coming along. There just seems to be something missing. When I have the breakthrough it requires I’ll be sure to let you all know.
BROOKLYN BRIDGE: I decided to change my approach slightly, to great results. I was pondering creating a quad-fold board for the playtesting. That would have been pointless. Instead I utilized some blank jumbo cards that I got from The Game Crafter at Protospiel-Milwaukee and turned each card into one round in the game. Each card then shows all of the worker placement locations available during that round. I think this will make playtesting much more accessible and I’m excited to get it to the table. I want to add another resource to the game so that I can make some interesting interaction between the goods and then it’ll be hitting the table!
So those are the Boards & Barley I enjoyed this past week, and the game design progress I made. What did you enjoy last week?