Category Archives: Monday Brews

Monday Brews – 3-30-15

Welcome back to Boards and Barley. It’s been 20 days since I last posted anything. Why? Because board gaming stuff is a hobby and not a job (Though if that changed it would be pretty sweet). I love blogging about board game stuff, but when things get really busy this hobby falls to the back seat before anything else. Never-the-less, I’m going to adjust my schedule so that I can continue blogging and sharing tips about homebrewing and designing board games.

One of the first things I want to do is to renovate (i.e., create) a Game Design Page that compiles all of my articles about the game design process. I’ve posted stuff about game design from concept to publication and I think having all that in one place would be really useful.

I also want to start a regular Tuesday article about beer that focuses on a Beer of the Week. I like to try as many new beers as I can and I’d like to share my thoughts about the beer and its style with you.

Another thing that I’ve missed doing are the “Design Me” game design exercises. These are relatively easy to post so I think I’ll try to get back into those. Plus, they are very beneficial for game designers as they help flex your game design muscle.

But today is Monday so let’s check out the Boards & Barley I’ve been enjoying!

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The Barley

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Ale Asylum HuMMMane India Brown Ale

I bought a six pack of this brew at my FLBS (Favorite local beer store) because they were giving away samples and because the proceeds would go to support the local Honor Flight. For those not aware of the Honor Flight program, it is a program that takes war veterans to Washington DC to visit their respective war memorials. Then there are usually nice crowds to welcome the war heroes back home when their airplane lands. With a father who was in the military and with a brother who has served tours of duty in places I would never want to go I am very happy to support the military whenever possible, and the honor flights are a great way to do so.

New Beer Count for 2015: 22

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The Boards

My sister beat me and become the Harbour Master!

My sister beat me and become the Harbour Master!

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Harbour

There is a lot of game in this little box. In Harbour players try to manage their resources, ship goods, and buy buildings. There are a lot of interesting decisions to be made while hoping your opponents don’t modify the market and sweep the rug out from under your feet. I’m glad I backed this Tasty Minstrel Games project on Kickstarter.

  • Scoville
  • NEW! Fidelitas I thought this game was pretty clever. I played a 2 player game and I enjoyed it. Playing it a second time will be even better know that I have a better idea of how the game is played and what combos exist.
  • Crokinole
  • Concordia (Half of a game)
  • Dungeon Roll
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Ziggurat Playtest

New Board Game Count for 2015: 15

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So those are the Boards & Barley that I’ve been enjoying. What have you been enjoying?

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Monday Brews – 3-9-15

It’s gonna be 48 degrees here in Wisconsin today so that’s pretty awesome. Also awesome is that the college basketball tournament is approaching. I love the tournament because the kids playing college basketball put so much heart into it compared to professional sports where it’s more about money. But this website isn’t for writing about sportsball.

So let’s see what Boards & Barley I’ve enjoyed over the last week:

The Barley:

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Snake River Vienna Lager

My friend Jeremy brought these back from a recent trip out west and graciously shared them with us. It was a very enjoyable beer and was characteristic of Vienna Lagers. I’d love to visit the brewery someday. By the looks of their website they’ve got a great brewpub.

New Beer Count for 2015: 19

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The Boards:

Unfortunately you still can’t turn lead into gold.

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Alchemists

I had been wanting to play this game by Czech Games Edition for a while and was able to get it to the table at Board Game Night. Alchemists is like Clue except instead of having to figure out three things you need to figure out 8. And instead of having turns where you roll a 1 and move one space through the mansion you can do great stuff every turn. And instead of having the game end by someone making a lucky guess you play 6 rounds.

Alchemists was a ton of fun. The gameplay is great. The theme works really well. The deduction is intense. I lost badly but I seriously enjoyed the game. The only downsides for me were that there’s a pretty steep learning curve. The first play took us three hours. That included the time it took to teach, though. The bottom line was that I thoroughly enjoyed the game and I can’t wait to play Alchemists again.

  • NEW! Robinson Crusoe – We got beat so badly that I’ll have to play again just so I can feature it as the BOARDS SPOTLIGHT without feeling like we played so poorly.
  • Roll for the Galaxy

New Board Game Count for 2015: 14

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Designer’s Corner:

Ziggurat is coming along nicely. I have been working on it feverishly so that I can have it ready for Protospiel-Milwaukee in April.

The problem that was mentioned about the game in it’s previous form was that if you weren’t building you were falling behind. And the first to build got the better bonuses so they could build better and faster and become a runaway leader. That was a bummer.

So I’ve come up with a new, more “Euro” system of playing this game. It will turn the game into more of a point-salad, “Feldian” type game, but those are the types of games I enjoy.

The solution I came up with changes the game slightly in that it is mildly less accessible since the learning curve is steeper. However, the game play should be much improved as there are more things to consider on each and every turn. The scoring conditions are also improved. In the previous version the win would all but be known when the game ended. I prefer that players not know who is going to win before the end of the game. This gives all players hope that they might somehow sneak out a victory. So I’ve changed it so that there are a lot more points counted at the end rather than during the game.

Overall I’m really excited about where this is going. I think there’s a lot of potential here. But ultimately, this game is a lot of fun to design.

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So that’s what I’ve been up to. What Boards & Barley have you been enjoying?

Monday Brews – 3-2-15

It’s been two weeks since I posted anything. Yikes. Life is busy when you have three kids. But no excuses. I have four articles in draft form that i just need to polish off. Hopefully that will happen soon.

But today is Monday, the day we celebrate the awesome Boards & Barley we’ve been enjoying over the past week or so. I’ve played some good stuff lately and even had an enjoyable IPA. So let’s start, as usual, with the Barley…

The Barley

That dude is freaky, but the brew is good!

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Revolution Anti-Hero IPA

My friend Mark from Chicagoland brought this over when they visited a couple weekends ago. I have been trying to become more of an IPA drinker to mild success. This IPA, however, has a very nice and subtle sweetness to it that makes it more enjoyable for me. Thanks, Mark, for bringing it over!

  • Homebrew – Rolling Dubbels Belgian Dubbel
  • NEW! Valkyrie Big Swede Swedish Style Imperial Stout
  • NEW! Lumberyard Flagstaff IPA
  • NEW! Lakefront New Grist Sorghum Beer
  • Tyranena Sheep Shagger Scotch Ale
  • New Glarus Cabin Fever Honey Bock
  • Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga Substitute

New Beer Count for 2015: 17

The Boards

Better than Race for the Galaxy, imho.

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Roll for the Galaxy

I picked this up at my FLGS (Favorite Local Game Store) when I was demoing Scoville. I’ve always like Race for the Galaxy but I’m not sure I’ve ever totally understood it. There are so many icons and it’s not totally straight forward to me. Roll for the Galaxy is much more streamlined and understandable. I love how they incorporated the dice for choosing and completing actions. The dichotomy of developments versus worlds is much more clear than in Race. Overall I thought this was great and I imagine it will be hitting the table quite a bit!

  • NEW! Terra Mystica – Whoa… there’s A LOT of game here. This is a very good and enjoyable Euro game where you can’t ever do as much as you want but you can still feel good about what you can accomplish. It takes a long time to play but I enjoyed it enough to want to play again.
  • Scoville
  • Mutiny Playtest
  • Imperial Settlers
  • NEW! Cinque Terre – I got this in a local Math Trade and played a 2p game. It’s pretty fun, very colorful, and I’d like to play with more than 2.
  • NEW! Among the Stars – This is much better than I expected. This was also a 2p play so I’d like to try it with more, but I really enjoyed it. Plus, there are already a bunch of expansions so it’s got a lot of replayability.
  • Wits and Wagers
  • Sushi Go
  • Camel Up
  • Unpublished Prototype – Nuke it from Orbit

New Board Game Count for 2015: 12

Monday Brews – 2-16-15

Welcome back from a busy Valentine’s day weekend. I hope you all treated each other with love! My wife was out of town most of the day Saturday so I took part in a local Math Trade (where I received a Dixit expansion, Splendor, and Cinque Terre). Then we grabbed a pie from a local diner as a gift for my wife. Then some friends came over and we played Deus, which is inspiring me to build a deck-based engine builder game utilizing similar but unique mechanics.

Then yesterday I had the privilege of demoing Scoville at a local game store. A 13 year old loved Scoville and his grandpa ended up buying it for him. I hope it inspires him to become a gamer!

But you aren’t here to read about my weekend. You’re here to see what awesome Boards & Barley I’ve been enjoying! So let’s begin with the Barley…

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The Barley:

Dubbel-y delicious… compared to my previous homebrews, at least.

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT:
Homebrew Belgian Dubbel

Despite having several new beers this past week I had to make my homebrew the spotlight this week. It is by far my best homebrew yet and finally one that I’m not at least mildly gun-shy about offering to people. It is really excellent. My colleague requested the recipe after I gave him a six-pack. And my friends actually enjoy it.

NEW BEER COUNT FOR 2015: 13

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The Boards:

Sort of fun.

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Madame Ching

There is a neat and interesting card mechanic where you utilize the cards in your hand to move your ship across the sea. Using a similar color as your previous card moves you straight across. Using a different colored card moves you diagonal down and across. The goal is to earn points, which is done most regularly by completing objectives, which are earned based on how far your expedition traveled across the sea.

I thought the artwork was nice and colorful. But the gameplay seemed really dependent on the cards you were able to procure. I found it difficult to put together a nice expedition. But I’d like to play it again to see if it was just a case of bad luck.

NEW BOARD GAME COUNT FOR 2015: 8

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So what Boards & Barley have you been enjoying? Are there any games or brews you would like me to try? Just let me know!

Monday Brews – 02-09-15

It’s Monday. The day that always gets people in a grumpy mood. So you’re back at work… sipping your coffee… thinking about all the fun you had over the past weekend. Maybe you tried some new-to-you craft brews. Perhaps a new-to-you board game hit the table. Well, the weekend is over, so get to work (after you finish reading, of course).

Before we jump into the Boards & Barley I needed to share this with you. It’s Tom Vasel’s Dice Tower review of Scoville, and it ends with a bang!

It already has been viewed 6500+ times since being posted on Friday! I will not admit how many of those views are from me.

And now let’s check out the Boards & Barley I’ve enjoyed over the last couple weeks…

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The Barley:

Beautiful can art – Image via binnys.com

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Destihl Abbey’s Single

I cannot recall ever drinking a Belgian Single before. I’ve had Dubbels, Tripels, and Quadrupels, but never a single that I’m aware of. So when a friend cracked a can of this I thought I would enjoy it as well. It tasted very nice and had a more crisp character than the other Belgian beers I am used to. It was light in color and simple in character while possessing a Belgian flavor and style. I’d drink it again. Also, the can looked beautiful!

NEW BEER COUNT FOR 2015: 8

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The Boards:

Makes me wish I had a beer!

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Brew Crafters

My friends and I played this one in prototype form at Gen Con 2013 and really enjoyed it. It has an Agricola feel without the stress of feeding your family. The other main difference is that each round has two portions. The first utilizes workers to gather ingredients and the second utilizes brewers to brew beer or upgrade the brewery.

The thrust of the game is about brewing beer. Each game has nine different brews available, but they are different every time. Hooray for replayability! Players try to obtain ingredients so they can brew those to the best of their ability. Each brewed batch of beer provides the player with points. The winner is the player who brewed the most points!

  • NEW! Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy  – I really enjoyed the game. The engine building was very interesting because rather than being a game-long engine I found I built a few round-to-round engines instead
  • NEW! Deus  – Another “engine builder” of sorts with interesting use of cards. I thought the game was good but I didn’t love it. I’m not sure why. I’ll have to play it again to get a better feel for it.
  • Qwirkle
  • Kingdom Builder
  • Imperial Settlers
  • Le Havre

NEW BOARD GAME COUNT FOR 2015: 5

Horizontal RuleSo what Boards & Barley have you been enjoying? Anything new that really hit the spot?

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