Category Archives: Scoville

Scoville will be my first published game. It will be published by Tasty Minstrel Games and will be on Kickstarter over November and December of this year!

Monday Brews 2-17-14

Hi everyone! Thanks for visiting. Before we get to the Monday Brews I wanted to take this opportunity to once again point out that Scoville is on Kickstarter. The campaign ends on Friday and is flying it’s way to the last stretch goal. At $80,000 Tasty Minstrel Games will put pepper shaped components into the game instead of cube-based components. Here’s an example of how much more awesome things will look when we hit that goal with your help:

Wow! Those peppers really spice up the art!

So go check out my game on Kickstarter! Thanks!

Okay. Now to the Monday Brews. I realized that I was getting a little monotonous with my descriptions of beers that I’ve had numerous times. So I’m changing up the way I do the Monday Brews articles a little bit. Instead of writing out a little blurb for each beer and each game I’m going to feature one of each and simply list the rest unless it was new to me, in which case I’ll write a little one-liner type thing. This saves all of us time since you don’t have to read the same boring descriptions each week and I don’t have to type them.

So let’s check out the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed this past week…

The Barley:

I thought it was a weird spelling of “Sudoku” at first.

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT: Toppling Goliath Pseudo Sue Pale Ale

I’ve found I am starting to enjoy Pale Ale’s more and more recently. Typically they are where I draw the line for hops in my beers. This one was fairly hoppy, coming in at 50 IBUs. Fortunately it didn’t have a lingering bitter aftertaste that is common among IPAs and more potent Pale Ales. So I enjoyed this one.

The Boards:


A near-endgame field condition from a recent 6 player game of Scoville.

A near-endgame field condition from a recent 6 player game of Scoville. (Prototype copy)

I was honored at a recent game night when people requested to play Scoville. I had my copy along to show some people the awesome artwork, but I wasn’t expecting to play it. But we got in a tight 6 player game. I was able to pull out the victory with a big final move to get a 24 point recipe.

My favorite thing about Scoville is how the map (planting/harvesting) mechanic works. There are so many interesting decisions of which pepper to plant, where to plant it, and which direction to move your meeple when harvesting. I can’t wait to play it again!

If anyone has any questions about Scoville, please let me know by posting a comment at the bottom of this blog post. Thanks so much!

And here are the other games I played this past week, including two new games.

Designer’s Corner:

As you can imagine I’ve been spending quite a bit of my time focused on the Scoville Kickstarter campaign. That means I haven’t really been doing too much with my current game designs. This was an interesting game in that it plays quickly and there is a fair amount of strategy, but it definitely takes more than 8 minutes.

The one game I have been doing some work on is Brooklyn Bridge. One thing that was pointed out to me was that the worker placement locations will have to change based on player number. It seems like such an obvious thing when I think about the design, but it was something that I just hadn’t thought of. So I can use that information to start to put together a prototype where it will work with anywhere from 2-5 players. That’s what is currently in my design queue.


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


Scoville and Me

Scoville - Where dreams come true!

Scoville – Where dreams come true!

I was thinking the other day about how strange all of this Kickstarter stuff is and that people are pledging money toward a game that I designed. It’s all been a really wild ride and it’s awesome to see a dream come true like this. If you are reading this, you are likely a backer, and for that I thank you.

On the flip side, I run this blog and it hasn’t exactly been running like normal while Scoville has been on Kickstarter. For that I apologize. Today won’t be like normal either. I realized that the truth is I may never have a game on Kickstarter again. So I’m trying to enjoy all of the stuff going on around the campaign, both good and bad. I’m taking the perspective of just enjoying it.

So today I thought I would share with you all the awesome opportunities that people have presented me with. These are the interviews and podcasts that I’ve had a pleasure of being a part. But first, for those who have not seen it, Undead Viking has a video review of Scoville for you visual and audible pleasure.

Undead Viking Video Review


I had the pleasure of being involved in three different interviews. The #BoardGamersAsk was a live interview on Twitter where anyone could ask me anything. It was pretty awesome!

indiecardboardIndie Cardboard: January 26, 2014

#BoardGamersAsk via Ministry of Board Games: January 31, 2014

Cardboard Republic: February 14, 2014


It turns out that the guy who runs My Board Game Show lives in my town. So I was able to go over to his house and record the podcast live with him. And I had the pleasure of joining the Dice Hate Me crew, who are always fun to chat with. Here’s the four podcasts I had the privilege of being on:

My Board Game Show – Scoville & Mob Town: February 4, 2014

Dice Hate Me State Of Games: The one about the hot games of 2014: February 7, 2014

Let’s Level Up: February 11, 2014

G*M*S Magazine Boardgame Review Room: February 11, 2014

In the meantime…

Thanks for checking out Scoville on Kickstarter! It really means a lot to me. I’ve got other games I’m working on that I hope will end up as awesome as Scoville.

Monday Brews: 2-3-14

photo(7)I’m back from my Florida vacation and I’ve got two weeks of Boards & Barley to report on, which includes a gaming weekend with my friends Brad & Kendra from Green Bay. So there is a lot to cover.

But first I want to remind you that my game, Scoville, is currently live on Kickstarter! Go check it out by clicking the link:

Scoville on Kickstarter!

Now that I got that out of the way I can resume life as normal. While there’s no “Designer’s Corner” this week since all my focus has been on vacation and the Scoville campaign, here are the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed over the last two weeks:

The Barley:

Boddington’s Pub Ale: I enjoyed this from a nitro tap at The Mucky Duck on Captiva Island in Florida while watching the sunset (see image above). Does it get better than that?

Will you ride the wave?

Kona Big Wave Golden Ale: I bought this to try something new during our trip to Florida. It wasn’t very enjoyable and the housekeeping crew was rewarding with three of them that I left in the hotel room fridge.

Red Stripe: I enjoyed this one at a beach-side restaurant in Fort Lauderdale before sitting on the beach in 80 degree weather. I didn’t have to add in that last part, but it helped make the Red Stripe more awesome.

New Glarus Spotted Cow: I don’t recall when I enjoyed this, but this is a common beer to appear on the list.

Stone Arch Vanilla Stout: Brad and Kendra brought this excellent brew for the weekend. It is out of Appleton, Wisconsin. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Estaminet: I got this with my dinner in Fort Myers since it was a Belgian beer that I had not had before. After drinking it I think it is to Belgium what Miller & Budweiser are to the US.

New Glarus Cabin Fever Honey Bock: And then there’s my current beer crush, which will continue to be on this list because it’s so good!

Redhook Winterhook: I chose this Seattle beer during the game Sunday night because I thought it would be a good beer. It was. And Seattle went on to dominate.

Left Hand Sawtooth Ale: I chose this Colorado beer at halftime to see if it would change the fate of the game. It did not. But the beer was pretty good.

The Boards:

The Little Prince: Airplane Version.

The Little Prince: Airplane Version.

The Little Prince x2: My wife and I got this to the table, sort of. The tables were really tiny and were at 37,000 feet. But The Little Prince worked pretty well in the airplane. This is a fun game for 2 players so it worked well for us to bring it on our trip.

Cribbage: My wife and I love playing cribbage and it is often a refreshing escape from meaty Euros. Unfortunately she pulled out the victory in the end.

Timeline x5: I have been wanting to play this game because it seems like a fun and light game that accessible to a lot of different gamer types. I wasn’t disappointed. We played five times with two expansions and rarely saw the same cards come up. It’s a fun, light game.

Tenzi x10: We also did some serious dice rolling with Tenzi. Tenzi is a game where each player has 10 dice and you roll them to try and get the same result on all of your dice. It’s like trying to get a Yahtzee but with 10 dice and unlimited re-rolls.

Boss Monster x2: I had not played this game before but it was a lot of fun. In the game you are trying to build a dungeon with different rooms that will destroy any hero that tries to enter. If you take too much damage you will lose. If you kill enough heroes you will win.

Kingdom Builder x3: It’s such an elegant and simple game with deep strategy, while at the same time possessing enough luck to make it frustrating when you get the wrong cards. But we love it and we’ll keep playing it.

Ticket to Ride – Netherlands: I really like the anxiety caused by the Netherlands expansion. Players have bridge toll tokens that must be paid for each connection you build on the board. Then if someone plays the same connection they have to pay you the same amount of bridge toll tokens. So there are incentives to playing your connections first, which is not the normal way I play. I love that they mixed it up!

Scoville set up for 4 players during a Gaming Weekend of Awesomeness!

Scoville set up for 4 players during a Gaming Weekend of Awesomeness!

Scoville: With Brad and Kendra in town it was fun to put my “final art” copy of Scoville on the table for us to play. They were both involved with Playtest #4 just over a year ago so they saw how far everything has come along. I ended up winning but only because Kendra didn’t realize that my wife and I each had a Platinum pepper left. So fun!

Village: I played this game over a year ago and remembered it being a little disjointed. You collect goods to use for different things, but all the resource collection and usage felt circular to me and then your people die and it didn’t seem that great of a game. Well I gave it another shot and it still felt the same way to me. I think the death mechanic is really the driver for the game. I’d like to play it one more time before I officially rule it out, but it’s on the fence for now.

Farmageddon x2: I love this game even though it can be infuriating! Players plant and try to harvest beautifully artistic crops to earn money. But other players are lurking to hinder your progress. Can you be the best farmer and earn the most money? And a new expansion should be coming soon! I’ll be picking that one up.

Targi: I bought this at GenCon from the Cool Stuff Inc booth for $20 and I finally got it to the table. It was worth the wait. This was a lot of fun and the decisions were dramatic and tense. I really enjoyed the back and forth concept of blocking your opponent. I’m looking forward to playing this again.

Eminent Domain: I got my copy through Kickstarter and we got it to the table. It is a very fun take on the deckbuilder genre. Each card has both an ACTION and a ROLE. So depending on how you build your deck you can start to tailor your game. I’m very excited to try out the expansion!

Compounded: My wife finally got to play this and she really enjoyed it, which says a lot! We all had a great time playing this. It’s such great game. It was a bit unusual though since we played with the lab fire cards randomly located in the compounds deck. And twice the came out stacked. So the lab was pretty safe after that. I need to learn to shuffle better.

And I probably forgot a few games because we wrote them down on paper instead of recording them on my phone. Never the less, it was a great two weeks of gaming for me!


Those are the Boards & Barley I enjoyed, what did you enjoy?

Scoville on Kickstarter!

I was originally planning on posting an article about Decision Space in game design but certain events have caused me to postpone that article. It’s still coming at some point and I think it’s a pretty good article, but today I can’t help but share about Scoville.

Scoville has Launched!

If you are interested in the game and seeing the art or watching me in a video, then head over to the campaign page. The first 24 hours of the campaign saw 498 backers pledge $20,876. I am truly amazed at the response so far for Scoville.

Also, if you are a backer or are on Twitter, feel free to use this image as your avatar! The more we can spread the word, the more likely we will be at hitting our funding goal and the stretch goals.


Designing vs. Publishing

On the Kickstarter page you’ll notice that two of the stretch goals are to add a 5th and 6th player. While some people might grumble that the Print and Play files have always had the capability for 6 players, why does the Kickstarter version only have 4 players out of the gates?

This is a great debate between designing games and actually producing games.

As a designer I could add whatever I wanted into my designs. It could have 2000 wooden bits, 500 cards, 100 modular boards, and so on.

A publisher would never sign a game like that.

So there comes a time when designers must start to think like publishers. In order for Scoville to be up to a 6 player game, it would require more Market Orders, more Recipes, more Player Screens, More Pawns, More Coins, and more Bonus Action Tiles. Each of those elements are things I could easily produce for the few prototype copies that I made. But their are actual cost considerations for a publisher to produce them.

So while it is easy for a designer to add whatever they want into a game, it ultimately takes real money to make it happen.

That’s the case with the 5th and 6th player stretch goals for Scoville. I hope you all understand.

Go Check It Out!

The artwork for Scoville was done by Josh Cappel, who is a pleasure to work with. I love his style and it is clear that he really brought the town of Scoville to light in the artwork for the game. Here’s a picture of the box:

Will you be the best pepper farmer and win the Scoville trophy?

Will you be the best pepper farmer and win the Scoville trophy?

I’ll be sharing more art with you here and on Twitter as the campaign moves forward. Thanks so much for checking out my game.

Monday Brews 12-30-13

Welcome to the final Monday Brews of the year! Oh what a year it’s been. Last year this blog didn’t even exist. And now I have tens of readers a day. The three of you who keep refreshing the page are awesome!

But seriously, this blog has been a lot of fun to write and I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read it. I only hope that you’ve learned something about board games and beer. I’ll have a “2014 Goals” article later this week which will cover my big plans for 2014. But today is Monday, so let’s see what Boards and Barley I enjoyed in the past two weeks (I was traveling last Monday):

The Barley:

Have you ever had a smoked beer?

Alaskan Smoked Porter: I enjoyed this beer and the Paulaner while listening to bluegrass at an awesome local establishment. I think a full glass of a smoked beer is about twice as much smoked beer as I can handle. It was a pretty solid smoked beer, though.

Paulaner Salvator: I used to think I liked this beer, but I didn’t care for it during the bluegrass. I’m wondering, now, if the smoked beer beforehand wrecked my palate.

New Glarus Fat Squirrel: A local brew that was brought to a game night, this brown ale is an excellent cold weather beer.

Gray’s Bully Porter: Didn’t I mention a few weeks ago that I thought I was all Portered out? Oh well. This was also available at game night so I gave it a try. It was pretty good.

Central Waters Mudpuppy Porter: I love the name Mudpuppy. And the beer was pretty good, like the Gray’s. Unfortunately all these porters I enjoyed are all blending together and I can’t quite recall if one was better than the others.

Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter: Well, this one stands out from the other porters since it has the vanilla flavor. It also has a nice crispness to it. Or perhaps it stood out in my memory because I enjoyed it with my in-laws during our Christmas morning. Newton’s Oatmeal Stout: This homebrew of mine will sustain me over the winter. (4.2% abv)

I love the bottle label!

Fleming’s Scotch Ale: This homebrew of mine will make me tipsy over the winter. (6.6% abv)

Sierra Nevada Celebration: They love a good IPA or Pale Ale over at Sierra Nevada Brewery. But this IPA isn’t so IPA-ish. It doesn’t seem as hoppy as some of those hop-forward breweries who push the limits of the IBUs in their beer. I think I liked it, but I’m not sure I would drink it again.

Monk’s Stout DuPont: The typography on the bottle is awesome! The beer inside in interesting. Made in Blegium at Brasserie DuPont, this is the first beer I’ve had from the brewery. I think I need to try it again before I really form an opinion, but I think I liked it.

The Boards:

Too awesome to NOT make a game about them!

Sequoia Grove: This was supposed to be an entry into the Dice Hate Me 54 Card Challenge. The premise is that you are a researcher of trees, otherwise known as a Dendrologist. Your goal in the game it to grow the largest, widest sequoia tree possible. You can add height and girth to the tree during the game. My entry worked and was playable, but wasn’t up to the high quality expected in the Dice Hate Me line of games.

Backyard Astronaut: This is my friend Adam’s entry into the 54 card challenge and it IS up to the high quality of the Dice Hate Me line of games. It is a fantastic game and I believe it has a real shot in the contest. Nicely done A-Game!

Viticulture: Other than some cards being more valuable than others I think this is a pretty enjoyable worker placement game. It won’t take the place of Stone Age, but this is definitely a game I’ll play again. I like how you have to “save” some workers for the winter phase of the game.

Qwirkle: This game has made many a showing in 2013 and I imagine it will be the same in 2014. It is easy to teach and understand. It plays quickly. And if you have the travel size you can take it just about anywhere!

Compounded: I’ll write more about this game in tomorrow’s article. Over Christmas I was able to teach this to a new player and she won the game. It is easy enough to understand, it has a lot of awesome interaction and the theme is great! If you haven’t played it I highly recommend picking up a copy.

Dam It! Redux: You can learn more about my beaver game on it’s page. I tried reducing the game for the Dice Hate Me 54 Card Challenge and I succeeded… sort of. I successfully reduced the game to 54 cards. The game worked and the few playtesters that I played with said it was fun. But as a designer I knew it just wasn’t quite there. So I didn’t send this in. On the upside I do think this is something that I can finalize and put for sale on The Game Crafter.

Le Havre – The Inland Port: I received this for my birthday back in August and finally got to play it. It is a very interesting game of resource management that I royally lost. I’ll probably trade this game since it doesn’t get played very often. It just seemed like it was an abstract game in the Le Havre theme.

Agricola – All Creatures Big and Small x2: This game, however, had the awesome feel of Agricola. It was tight. It was nerve wracking. It was a nice mental battle. And it has the nice elements of Agricola without the fiddly cards and the need to feed your family. I’ll be keeping this one and I hope to play it again soon.

Kingdom Builder x2: I was able to set up and play a 6 player game of Kingdom Builder. The house rule for this is to add two more kingdom boards so that it is a 2 wide by 3 high board. Since all the scoring conditions are shared there is no real disadvantage to anyone by bumping it to six players. I hope that Queen Games has a few more expansions up their sleeves for this one.

Missing 14 years worth of cards.

Ultimate Outburst: My mom got me this game for Christmas because 1) I don’t own it, and 2) it’s not like all those thinky games I have. We played it together as a family and it was actually quite fun. We played men vs women and the women won. The big downside to the game was that its from 1999 and the information on the cards reflects that.

Tenzi x20: A while back I bought Farkle Party at a thrift store but it had no dice in it. (It had jewelry). I wanted the dice for prototyping purposes. My mom bought me Tenzi because instead of just 40 dice, it is also a game. You must roll your dice so that they all come up the same value. First person to get all their dice the same wins. It was a very thoughtful gift and I am happy to have the dice for design purposes. Thanks mom!

Carcassonne – The Discovery: This is an interested take on the Carcassonne world. You only have four followers and you don’t get them back right away when something is finished. That’s because you can remove them before their thing is completed, or simply wait and never remove them. I’m not sure if I liked it so I’ll have to play it again.

Scoville: I played with my family and was able to play with “final” artwork that I had printed out. While I didn’t have all of the final artwork I had enough to realize that it’s gonna be awesome! Hopefully the art can get wrapped up so we can launch the Kickstarter campaign in January, but at this point I’m not holding my breath.

The Little Prince x2: This is one of those game I was happy to get at GenCon this year. The gameplay is awesome. However, I have no nostalgic connection with the book on which the game is based, so I would prefer a retheme. Make it about colonizing Mars or something like that.

Euphoria: The second Stonemaier Game on the list and another worker placement game. This time your workers are dice and their values matter. I’ll definitely play this again as the first play was steep with learning. Overall I thought it was fun and I think that will be the case after a second play.

Designer’s Corner:

Quantum Orcas is getting there!

I have recently been making excellent strides in the design department and I owe it all to the 54 card challenge. That challenge really lit a fire under me and I tried as hard as I could to come up with something worthy of the challenge. I now have a new mechanic that I plan to utilize to the fullest in a future game design. It may or may not be awesome, but it is at least innovative.

Also I designed a card game version of Scoville that plays quickly and has the feel of Scoville. I already have it prototyped and I’ve soloed it twice. The next step is to put it in front of my friends for their analysis. I’m really excited about it.

I also worked on Quantum Orcas. It is now a better game, which wasn’t hard to achieve. I added oceanic wormholes (think of them as eddy currents) that open up the game quite a bit. I also changed things up a bit to eliminate the All-or-Nothing nature of ties. I’m hoping to submit my friends to this one as well. This is a game I would probably put up for sale on The Game Crafter, but probably not pitch to publishers. We’ll see where it goes.

And I’ve got big plans for 2014. I’ll have an article on the 1st about my Boards & Barley goals for the year, so you can look forward to that.


There you have it… the final Monday Brews of 2013. What Boards and Barley did you enjoy over Christmas?

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