Category Archives: The Barley

If you like beer, I’m glad you’re here. All of my posts about beer are here!

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

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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?

Monday Brews – 1-26-15

Welcome back to Boards & Barley. I hope you had a great weekend! My weekend was pretty slow. I didn’t play any games over the weekend, though I did work on some game design stuff. But since I skipped the Monday Brews last week we at least have a few games to cover! Let’s start with the Barley…

The Barley

Not terrible at all, until the bottle is empty!

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Unibroue Terrible

I bought one of these for my uncle as a Christmas present so that I could joke with him and say that I bought him some terrible beer. Alas, he didn’t attend our Christmas celebration so I failed to deliver the joke. I did, however, get to try this beer for the first time recently and it is anything but terrible. In fact it is quite tasty, which is usually the case for anything coming from Unibroue!

  • NEW! – Orkney Skull Splitter Scotch Ale
  • NEW! – Karben4 Fantasy Factory
  • NEW! – Ale Asylum Mercy Grand Cru
  • You’ve Been Wheated – Homebrew Hefeweizen

Woo hoo! Four new beers! Not bad at all.

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The Boards

Can you catch the mutineer?

Can you catch the mutineer?

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT
Mutiny

I do not possess good social gaming skills. That is why I have a strong love/hate relationship with Mutiny.The game is so excellent. The social deduction aspect is hilarious. Make accusations, charge other people as the mutineer, use your special abilities, and watch out for knives flying at your back!

For those unfamiliar with Mutiny, it is a 10 minute social deduction game for up to 8 players by Moon Yeti Games. We handed out about 100 copies of the 4-player business card edition at last year’s Gen Con. I imagine we’ll have a few more to give away this year. 🙂

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Thanks for reading! What Boards & Barley have you been enjoying?

Monday Brews – 1-12-15

Scoville can heat up your frigid winter!

It’s a glorious Monday morning! Scoville is burning up twitter. The feedback so far from people on Board Game Geek is overwhelmingly positive. I’ve very thankful that people are enjoying the game. If you like it, head over to BoardGameGeek.com and rate it or write a review.

Side note: I haven’t yet received my Kickstarter copy. So if you haven’t received yours yet, you’re not alone.

One complaint I have been reading is that people seem to run out of the peppers. This was a very rare occurrence when playtesting the game, though my prototype did have slightly more peppers than the final production. But if you run out, please feel free to download and use this image to help keep peppers in the supply.

Use these multiplier tokens when you have a bunch in your stash and the supply is running low.

Use these multiplier tokens when you have a bunch in your stash and the supply is running low.

As we start another week I am feeling inspired. I chatted with my mom a little bit yesterday after the Green Bay Packers game. We were discussing game design and how it wasn’t ever one of my goals in life as a kid. She reminded me that I wanted to be a Police Sketch Artist when I was little. It’s funny to me that only five or so years ago I wasn’t that big into gaming (or “real” gaming). But I met some awesome people along the way and started to think I could design a game. And here we are, with Scoville about ready to hit retail. So amazingly exciting!

Anyway, enough of the touchy-feely stuff. Let’s get onto the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed over the last week…

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The Barley:

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT:
Tyranena Sheep Shagger Scotch Ale

After having the McEwan’s Scotch Ale last week I didn’t think I could ever enjoy a different brand. Obviously that’s not true, it’s just a way of stating how enjoyable the McEwan’s was. But I enjoyed the Tyranena Sheep Shagger quite a lot as well. It has a wonderful taste and nice body which makes it quite enjoyable on a cold winter night.

  • Capital Winter Skal
  • Deschutes Red Chair NWPA
  • NEW! – Perennial Dual Artisanship – I picked this up because I had heard awesome things about Perennial and Prairie Artisan Ales out of St. Louis. It is a Belgian style brewed with Brettanomyces yeast. It was lovely, though I doubt I’d get another one since it was $13.
  • Capital Supper Club

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The Boards:

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! – Caverna: The Cave Farmers

“I’ll never play Agricola again.” ~ Tom Vasel

Me either, Tom! Playing Caverna was an amazing experience. There is so much going on in the game that it is easy to lose track of things. However, the improvements over Agricola make this game far superior to me. Feeding your family is no longer a singular focus. Adding the Adventuring reduces the importance of Family Growth. There are numerous paths to victory. And the components! There are so many components. Literally tons. And they’re great components. Sticks. Dogs. Rubies. Donkeys. I cannot wait to play again.

  • Machi Koro
  • NEW! – Abyss – The board is a bit unnecessary since this is basically a card game. However, the artwork on everything is truly epic. The game was enjoyable with interesting decisions, quick play, and feel-good moments. I’d play it again and enjoy the beautiful artwork.

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Designer’s Corner

I’ve been pretty lax with my design efforts lately as the Scoville roll-out has been ongoing. But I did sit down the other day to work on Ziggurat. I thought of a fantastic way to ditch the singular path to victory while making the game more interesting, more intense, and more enjoyable. Now it’s time to put all that stuff together into a new prototype and get it to the table.

Horizontal RuleThanks for reading. What Boards & Barley have you been enjoying?

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