Blog Archives

Monday Brews – Christmas Edition

Welcome back to Boards & Barley! If you’re new here, have a look around. I post about homebrewing and board game design. Feel free to leave comments anywhere you please.

Each Monday I blog about the beer (Barley) and board games (Boards) that I’ve enjoyed over the last week. Sometimes I also post about my recent design efforts as well. Today will be my last blog post of the year so I’ll try to make it at least slightly interesting. To accomplish that I wanted to share this awesome tweet of Scoville in the wild:

Pretty exciting! For those who don’t know, Scoville is my first published game and will be hitting retail stores in January. Kickstarter backers are beginning to receive their copies (at least in the EU). I can’t wait to hear what people think about it. Now, let’s move on to the Barley

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The Barley:

Delightful!

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT:
Central Waters Brewers Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout

I had this twice over the last few weeks and it was awesome. Many bourbon barrel beers are overwhelmed by the bourbon characteristics. That often makes it feel like you are drinking bourbon instead of beer. This one, however, had a perfect balance of bourbon and beer. The bourbon character was present but it partnered with the beer rather than drowning it. Central Waters created a wonderful brew with this one and I’m looking forward to having another.

If you’d like to follow along with my Barley consumption, find my profile on UnTappd (Username: EdPMarriott).

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The Boards:

Cover art is a little weird but the game is quite fun.

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT:
Maharani

The theme is a little weird and the box cover probably wouldn’t draw me in at a game store, but the gameplay itself is fun. You basically draw and place a tile on the board. But the locations of the tiles you choose are different from your opponents. This is because the tile selector in the middle of the board physically rotates. And the region from which you draw a tile matters. The tiles are placed to earn points by connecting like colors together, or using your meeples to score. I had fun and I definitely want to play it again.

Monday Brews – 11-24-14

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the US and my schedule has me in the office only two days this week! Since I didn’t post a standard Monday Brews last week we’ve got a lot to cover! Let’s start with the Barley…

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The Barley:

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT:
Sixpoint Global Warmer Imperial Red Ale

I had never had an Imperial Red Ale before. It was quite enjoyable. Sixpoint produces pretty hoppy beers, but I found that the “Red” style complemented the hoppy character quite well.

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The Boards:

Mutiny Card Reverse V1 - 822 - CutBOARDS SPOTLIGHT:
Mutiny

I have a love/hate relationship with Mutiny. I hate it because I’m terrible at lying and you have to be sneaky in this game. I love it because it’s SOOOO good, and just got better!

We tested a new version with new roles for the game. These new roles added a lot to an already terrific game. I’m very excited for the future of Mutiny!

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Normally I also share a “Designer’s Corner” update but there’s too much to discuss here briefly. So I’m planning on having a Game Design Debrief after Thanksgiving. I’m sure you’re looking forward to that!

Monday Brews – 11-3-14

It’s November. We’ve already woken up to snow on the ground once. It’s dark by 5pm due to the shift from daylight savings. You know what all that means? It means we’re entering peak Board Gaming Season!

When it’s too cold and too dark to go outside I recommend snuggling up to your favorite board games and grabbing a brew with your friends!

I was too wiped out from Protospiel two weekends ago to post a Monday Brews last week so this week will have a nice long list for you. I also was able to sample 5 different beers one day at a local grocery store, so the Barley list is slightly inflated. Never the less, it’s been a good two weeks in terms of Boards & Barley. Here’s what I enjoyed over the past two weeks:

The Barley:

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT:
Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

With a delicious addition of vanilla, this smooth brew is a delightful friend during the cold winter months. I prefer enjoying this at temperatures slightly above fridge temps so I recommend leaving it out a half hour before enjoying it.

If you’d like to know more of my opinions on the beers I enjoy, friend me on UnTappd (username EdPMarriott)!

The Boards:

Design by Matt Loomis and art by Rob Lundy!

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT: DragonFlame

I played a nearly full art prototype at Protospiel-Madison and I absolutely loved it! This game is designed by Matt Loomis, has artwork from Rob Lundy, and will be launching on Kickstarter soon by Minion Games. The gameplay was engaging and interesting from the very first turn. The artwork was vibrant, colorful, and it really drew me in.

In DragonFlame you are trying to burn down villages and earn points. The gameplay revolves around a fun way of gaining cards. Each player is dealt a hand of cards and in turn order you will place them either face up or face down into new piles. Then each player will choose a pile and those will be the cards they use for that turn. Cards include treasures for scoring points, DragonFlame cards which let you burn villages, and relics that give you special abilities.

Overall I thought DragonFlame was a great game and I recommend you consider backing it when it launches!

Designer’s Corner:

Leading up to Protospiel-Madison I was scrambling to get either The Grand Illusion or Armada Galactica playable and ready. While I had tested The Grand Illusion 4 times I realized that it wasn’t the gameplay experience that the theme deserved. So I basically scrapped it. With my focus solely on Armada Galactica I thought I had something that could come together. I ended up making a few prototype components. I ultimately threw in the towel on that one as well since I had no idea how to actually play the game. I’ll revisit it since I think there’s something there. I just didn’t have enough time to put together a fun working prototype in time for Protospiel-Madison.

So Thursday night before Protospiel I was sitting on the floor in my living room with a ton of prototype pieces and blank cards and tiles and scissors and glue and carte blanche. My new goal was to come up with a brand new game design and prototype it so I could test it during Prototspiel.

Whoops... Should be Sumerians!

Whoops… Should be Sumerians!

So I stole a mechanic from The Grand Illusion, made it 3D, and the design came together. The theme is Ziggurats and you are building one. It has a spatial element and some resource management, but it is basically a points race.

So on Friday afternoon when I arrived at Protospiel I took out my tiles and my sharpies and my blank cards and threw together the prototype. Over the course of the weekend it was tested 4 times to generally positive feedback. I was super pumped by how well the game worked and I’m eager to continue working on it.

Monday Brews 10-20-14

I had meant to post a game design article last week but failed to find the time to write it. I’ll be posting that tomorrow instead. But today is Monday so it’s time to recap the Boards & Barley I’ve enjoyed over the last week.

The Barley:

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT: No spotlight this week.

The Boards:

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT: Scoville + Unnamed Expansion

I recently designed a small expansion module for Scoville. I plan to design two or three more such modules. But I had the privilege to test it the other night. It was a lot of fun to work on Scoville again. The module adds another layer to the spatial element of the game, which is already awesome. There were a few interesting things that came from it and I’m pleased with how well it worked. A little tweaking and I might have to send it to TMG!

Apparently I’ve been playing some games with my kids!

Designer’s Corner:

This coming weekend I will be attending Protospiel-Madison. I will have the Scoville expansion with me and I am rapidly working toward having another prototype with me as well. It’s not Quantum Orcas, so breath your collective sigh about that.

It’s a version of Armada Galactica that I think could have some potential. I still have a ways to go to get the prototype ready, but I think it could be a fun game.

I’m also excited to see numerous game designers at the convention. It’ll be nice to see what people are working on.

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That’s it for the Monday Brews. What Boards & Barley have you been enjoying? Stay tuned tomorrow for a fresh game design article!

Monday Brews 10-13-14

Welcome back to Boards & Barley! It’s been a while since I posted and I blame it all on my kids. I’ve got three little rugrats and they often find ways to fill all of my “free” time. But I’m back today with a recap of the Boards & Barley that I’ve enjoyed over the past couple weeks.

Before that, however, I’d like to mention how awesome it’s been with having kegged beer. I put the kegs into my basement refrigerator and I now have cold beer on tap. I need to thank my neighbor once again for loaning me the equipment. I wouldn’t have been able to afford two kegs, regulator, gas lines, taps, and CO2 tank otherwise. If you want a beer on tap without having to pay $5 for it, head on over and I’ll pour you a cold one!

The Barley:

Don't be sad, little guy. You tasted pretty good!

Don’t be sad, little guy. You tasted pretty good!

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT: Nobody Plays Brown – Homebrew

I brewed this “Northern Brewer Caribou Slobber” kit back in May and let it age (unintentionally) in my basement for four months. This was a kit that my older brother gave me as a Christmas present last year. It’s fun to get a beer kit as a Christmas present. So the other night with some friends over I took some glasses down to the basement fridge and filled them up from the tap. It wasn’t the best brown ale I’ve ever had, but I’m not disappointed to have 4 more gallons of it either.

The Boards:

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT: Unpublished Prototypes

The Wealthy Lazeabouts by Jeremy Van Maanen can best be described as an auction game about bidding on who will win the auction. When I originally heard about that theme I cringed a little. It seemed boring. But we played the prototype the other night and other than a balance tweak and art upgrade I’d buy this game! It was highly enjoyable, provided for interesting choices, included a LARGE amount of player interaction, and was plain fun to play!

Super Ego by Adam Buckingham is all about Super Heroes who are more interested in glory and honor than in actually rescuing innocent victims. In the game you are one of those super heroes. During the game you’ll collect skill cards and use those skills to perform rescues and earn honor. Sometimes you may be able to earn honor that you can post on your timeline on your HeroBookFace account for all the other super heroes to see and envy. This game was full of intriguing choices, options to hose the other super heroes, options for revenge, and fun gameplay.

Both of these games were amazingly successful for their first playtests. If you are interested in playing either of them they’ll both be available to play at Protospiel-Madison in a few weeks.

Designer’s Corner:

After playing The Grand Illusion 4 times in the past two weeks I’ve decided that the game needs to be redesigned. With a theme of magic and illusion it really needs to have awesome magical elements in the game. With the players representing illusionists I want the gameplay to feel like you are being sneaky and pulling things over our heads. I want there to be magical elements, common tricks, and other things that are generally associated with magic and illusions. So I’m turning it into less of a card based game and more of a classic Euro game. Imagine being the magician and having a few assistants to help you gather the equipment you need, market the show you’ll put on, and help you practice. Also imagine the assistants utilizing magic to help you out. Your objective is to begin as a street performer and work your way up to performing a Grand Illusion in a theater. I’m excited about upgrading this design significantly. Since the mechanics of the old design worked I think I may utilize them with a different theme.

Also on the design front I designed an expansion for Scoville. It took about three hours to scheme up the design, create the art, and make 36 new cards. I’m super excited to try it out. Also, I have three other expansion ideas for the game that I’ll try to mock up before Protospiel-Madison. It was fun to work on Scoville again, but now I’m desperately wishing the real copies would arrive!

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