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Monday Brews 2-10-14

Welcome to another Monday. I’m hope you are having a fantastic day! I am. That’s because over the weekend Scoville funded on Kickstarter! Woo hoo! Now we are on to the stretch goals!

Before we get into the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed last week I wanted to inform you that Tasty Minstrel Games has posted a contest to Board Game Geek. Go check it out for your chance to win a copy of Scoville: BGG Scoville Contest.

Okay… now let’s get on to the good stuff. As usual we’ll start with the Barley.

The Barley:

New Belgium Folly Pack

New Glarus Cabin Fever Honey Bock: Again… because it’s so good!

Cisco Brewing Grey Lady Witbier: My friend Ben had some of these. I had not heard of this brewery before. They are located in Nantucket

St. Francis Sloth Brown Ale: I had not heard of this brewery/restaurant until Friday. They opened in 2009 in Milwaukee, WI. It was a pretty good beer and I’m looking forward to a stop at their brewery the next time I’m in the area!

New Belgium Mighty Arrow: I bought a variety 12-pack that had a revival beer called Mighty Arrow. It was a very decent pale ale and the bitterness did not linger. The other cool thing about it was that it had the old label on it.

New Belgium Trippel: I really like the clean and simple approach for the new labels for New Belgium brewing. They still maintain the New Belgium character but now look much better. Nice move on their part. Also, their Trippel was pretty good.

North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout: My wife and I hosted a Winter Olympics party and I was planning to buy the large plastic 2-liter type bottle of crappy Russian beer that costs about $2. Alas, my FLBS (Favorite Local Beer Store) did not have any. So I went with a Russian Imperial Stout. While it’s not a Russian beer, it at least had the word “Russian” in it. People didn’t complain.

The Boards:

X-Wing: I think X-Wing is great! It’s a lot of fun flying through space trying to take out your opponents and trying to figure out what they are going to do. My biggest problem, however, is that my friend’s wallet is hurting a little from all of the stuff that you must have. Okay… maybe you don’t “need” to have it all, but you should!

Awesome Awesomeness!

Belfort + Expansion Expansion: We got to try out the new Expansion Expansion, which features the best name for an expansion ever! I thought it was an awesome addition to the game. With the expansion you choose one of the characters in a reverse draft each round. That character can provide you with a bonus ability during that round or they can be used to let you expand one of your properties. Expanding a property gives you another scoring opportunity, which can be really useful. Overall I am glad to have backed the project. The Expansion Expansion adds a great level to the game and gives you a cool way to build an engine in the game. I’m looking forward to playing again!

Ingenious: This is one of those stupidly simple games that I wish I had designed. I mean, line up similarly colored components for points. That’s the game in a nutshell. It’s so simple, yet also challenging and fun as well. My only beef with the game is that it is possible to end with 0 points by the bad luck of never drawing a certain color. I wish that wasn’t possible. Oh well. I guess I should design my own stupidly simple game that fixes that problem.

Designer’s Corner:

With all this Scoville stuff on my mind I’ve been able to come up with what I think will be a really interesting expansion to the game. I’m not going to give away any details just yet but I’m pretty excited about it.

In other design news, talking on podcasts lately a lot of people have been asking me what I’ve got in the pipeline. The big game in the pipeline is Brooklyn Bridge. It’s my time-based worker placement game with a twist. I’ll eventually make a post all for the game, but the idea is you have a crew that is working on the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s your job to send your workers to purchase resources and utilize them as best as possible. The crew that has contributed the most to the bridge at the end will be the winning crew.

With only 11 days left for the Scoville Kickstarter campaign I can say I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to designing again. The last few weeks have been pretty devoid of design efforts. Go back Scoville so that we can get pepper components rather than cubes!

***

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

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Board Game Review: Belfort by TMG

Gnomes, Dwarves, and Elves. But no Pixies… yet!

It’s Friday, which means it’s Board Game Review day! Today I’m reviewing Belfort by Tasty Minstrel Games, which currently has an awesome expansion available on Kickstarter (KS link) for only $20. So since the Kickstarter campaign is live I figured now is as good a time as ever to post this review!

In Belfort players take on the role of a builder who has been hired to build the castle Belfort. Unfortunately, other builders were also hired in a mix-up. So you are tasked with being the best builder of the castle.  To do that you have to make effective use your elves and dwarves with a worker placement mechanic in various spots throughout the city.  Leftover elves and dwarves can be used to claim wood, stone, metal, or gold. Decisions in this game get tough and heavy. But that makes it awesome. The other part of the game involves building the buildings of the castle to claim a majority of a district. That’s how players can obtain points, which are needed for victory. When you’re ready to visit the Pub for some Master Dwarf action, or the Blacksmith to get some metal, then grab your friends and sit down for a game of Belfort!

Here’s a look at all of the awesomeness that is Belfort (image from BoardGameGeek.com):

This game is awesome!

I’ve played this game a bunch and I totally love it. But the real question is who can find the Ton Ton from Hoth on the game board first?

The Upside:

  • ARTWORK: I must start with the artwork. This game is so visually stunning that I sometimes set it up just to stare at it (not true). It just looks so good that I must give a shout out to artist Joshua Cappel! Excellent work!
  • STRATEGY: This game looks too fun to be a heavy strategy game, but that’s exactly what this is!  There is a lot of strategy behind each decision from the first turn throughout the whole game.  Players have to optimize their workers capabilities and then optimize which building to build and where to build it.  There’s a lot to think about in this game!
  • THEME: The theme of building a castle with your hired elves and dwarves is a lot of fun.It is easy to get immersed in this game and feel like you are really putting your elves and dwarves to work. And everything works together thematically, which always makes a game better!

The Downside:

  • ANALYSIS PARALYSIS PRONE: While I am a player that enjoys heavy strategy and tough decisions, there are some players that I play games with that would struggle mightily with indecision throughout this game.  There would be times where they wouldn’t know what to do or why they are doing it. Beware that this can lead to long games.
  • SETUP TIME: This game has a ton of components. Thus, it requires a higher than average setup time. If you know you’re playing this game during your board game night perhaps you should set it up beforehand!

Designer Perspective – What I Would Change:

Belfort is a brilliantly designed game of worker placement and area control. The upcoming expansion looks like it will enhance the game greatly, so I won’t offer anything that the expansion is already doing (or at least that I know of it doing). If I were to change anything I think I’d add the ability of players to swap buildings between districts. This would add a huge “screw-you” factor to the game, but might also unbalance the game. By being able to swap my Inn in district 1 with you Inn in District 2 I could gain the majority in both! Bonus!

Beer Pairing:

I would normally pair this game with a heavy beer since the game is a heavy game. However, I just can’t imagine the worker elves and dwarves sipping a heavy, gentlemen’s beer after a hard day of work on the castle. So my preferred beer pairing is one that drinks easily, tastes great, and would work perfectly in the hands of elves and dwarves. And that beer is New Glarus‘ Cabin Fever Honey Bock. It is a very tasty beer brewed with clover honey, but not too much. And it goes great with brats, BBQ, and Belfort!

OVERALL RATING:

This was at the top of my Christmas list a couple year’s ago and it has lived up to that! Belfort is a great game that is a ton of fun to play. There is deep strategy, awesome artwork, and a lot of tense decisions. I can’t wait for the expansion to come out! I will rate Belfort 9 out of 10 on the BoardGameGeek rating system!

Excellent game.  Always want to play it.

Excellent game. Always want to play it.

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