Monthly Archives: March 2014
As we start another week it is great to know that the weather will be warming soon, the grass will reappear, and we will all be able to spend more time outside. The downside is that often means less gaming. The upside is that it means more grilling and drinking beer, which is awesome on a warm summer day. I can almost smell some brats sizzling right now.
Alas, there is still over a foot of snow in my yard and I’m still cold. Fortunately it’s almost “Game Design Season!”
What is Game Design Season? Well, for me it is book-ended by Protospiel-Milwaukee in March and September. But doesn’t game design happen year round? Certainly. I work on game designs throughout the year. But from March to September I am presented with more awesome opportunities like Protospiel and GenCon. It is those opportunities, and the awesome people who attend them, that really make it Game Design Season for me.
So Protospiel-Milwaukee is a couple weeks away and I’m in hurry-up mode trying to get a few games/expansions prototyped and playtested. Designer feedback at those types of conventions is some of the most valuable feedback you can get. I’ll be attending Protospiel-Milwaukee and I hope to see you there.
Now let’s get to the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed last week…
BARLEY SPOTLIGHT: Capital Maibock
Nothing makes it seem more like Spring is right around the corner than enjoying a Maibock! Well, maybe daylight savings or March Madness, but you get the idea. Capital Brewery, in my own city, produces a very enjoyable Maibock.
I had my first Maibock of the year while chatting with a Level 1 friend about game design. I was sharing with him my ideas for Brooklyn Bridge. It was an enjoyable conversation with an enjoyable spring beer… as it was snowing.
- Capital Amber
- NEW! Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale: My friends know that I’m not a huge fan of hoppy beers. But they recommended this one to me because it wasn’t too hoppy. I agreed and I quite enjoyed this beer, from a company known for being hop-forward.
- North Coast Brother Thelonius
- Fleming’s Scotch Ale (Homebrew)
BOARDS SPOTLIGHT: Tokaido (Antoine Bauza)
I finally had the chance to play Tokaido. While the game isn’t the best game I’ve ever played, I would say that it definitely was enjoyable. The idea of taking a journey through the mountains and trying to maximize your points while others are taking the spots you wanted seems to work really well. The game is simple enough yet presents interesting enough decisions.
But the real “selling point” for me is the artwork. Everything about the game looks good. It has a very clean look with well defined artwork. The cards are beautiful, the money looks great, the board looks nice and the box cover blows me away. I’d play it again just to see all the amazing art one more time.
- Dungeon Roll x4
- Crokinole x3
- Backyard Astronaut: This is not a published game… yet. It is a friend’s design that is awesome and enjoyable. It is a tile based game where you are building a rocket from scraps found in a junkyard. Community scoring conditions guide your decisions in this 2-5 player game. I am looking forward to playing it again at Protospiel-Milwaukee!
I currently have two active projects that I am trying to get ready for Protospiel-Milwaukee. One of them is the oft-mentioned Brooklyn Bridge and the other is a possible expansion for a different game with which I am associated. I won’t say anything about the latter, but the former is coming along nicely. I almost have a prototype completed and I think I should be able to get in Playtest #1 this week! Hopefully it will work and not seem totally broken.
So if you are going to Protospiel-Milwaukee you’ll be one of the first to see/play either of those projects! I hope you can join me there.
So those are the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed last week. What did you enjoy? Play or drink anything new that was really awesome?
I don’t really ever upgrade my games by adding cooler components or by painting minis or anything like that. But every once in a while there is a product that can add enough to the game to make it worth it. Today I want to introduce you to Meeple Source.
I wrote about Meeple Source in my Sourcing Game Components: Meeples article last September. They make fantastic custom meeples with a ton of character. Today I am mentioning them because they have a campaign currently running on Kickstarter (KS Link). I have personally met the fine folks behind Meeple Source and they are great people with a great product.
I brought back a few of the character meeples from BGG.Con and my kids (ages 4 and 2) loved them. I wish I had bought more of them for my kids, and for my own games and game designs.
The campaign they are running has ten days remaining. They are over $70,000 and they have more stretch goals to go.
So far they have added some awesome stuff to the campaign. They added custom character meeples for a few games, like Tiny Epic Kingdoms, Lords of Waterdeep and Pandemic. They have three custom meeples from other companies like Miniature Market, Board Game Geek, and Tasty Minstrel Games. These are free to people who pledge $9 or more. They have also added cool viruses, germs, or plagues for Pandemic.
Here are just a few of the MANY meeples you can get:
I won’t get into the pledge tiers for the campaign because there are a ton of them. But go check it out and choose some sweet character meeples for yourself, or your kids, or your parents, or to hide in your co-workers office. I’m backing to get a fresh set of 10 different meeples, but since they keep adding awesome content I have no idea which 10 I’ll choose in the end.
It’s awesome that March is here! It’s not awesome that it was -7 degrees this morning. Anyone else ready for warmer weather?
It’s Monday, which means it’s time to recap the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed last week. Let’s start with the Barley…
BARLEY SPOTLIGHT: Breckenridge Vanilla Porter
The Vanilla Porter from Breckenridge Brewery is my favorite vanilla beer. It has a great smooth and subtle vanilla flavor that adds a great layer of sweetness to the porter. I like to drink it as a slightly warmer temperature to help bring out even more vanilla. This is a highly enjoyable brew that I plan to enjoy again sometime before Winter is over.
- NEW! New Glarus 20th Anniversary Strong Ale: I enjoyed this with my friend Jeremy while watching the third and final episode from this season of Sherlock. It was a perfect accompaniment to the show!
- Potosi Belgian Abbey
- NEW! Shipyard Longfellow Winter Ale: I thought this was a pretty good winter beer. I would drink it again. But perhaps that’s because I love their logo.
- Wisconsin Brewing Amber Lager
BOARDS SPOTLIGHT: Crokinole
My friend Jeremy, the same one mentioned above, made his own Crokinole board. (I am hoping to have him write a guest post about his process). He finished up his “test board” the other night and so we played it a bunch during our board game night. It’s just a lot of fun to play, especially when you can make a board rather than paying over $100 for one!
- NEW! Il Vecchio: My friend Adam got this one to the table. It felt and looked and played very Euro-y, which is good for our group. Most of the time I didn’t have a good idea of why I was doing anything. I think the other guys felt that way early on as well. I snagged a 10 and 8 point location in one of the provinces and that helped propel me to victory in a tight game. We were all separated by 10 points total. It was one of those games where I wanted to play again right away so that I could do things a lot better.
I have been working on Brooklyn Bridge for some time now and it is like a big puzzle. There are some gameplay elements that are currently not fitting together. So I am toying with a few ideas to get them to work while not sacrificing fun or theme. I am still hoping to have this ready for Protospiel-Milwaukee later this month.
My current objective with the design is to put together a prototype and start solo playtesting it. That should help me find out how the gameplay elements will really fit together. I think I can put together a board and an objectives deck tonight. I may have to have an impromptu game night at some point this week to get my Level 1 playtesters to try it out.
So those are the Boards & Barley I enjoyed last week. What beer and board games did you enjoy?