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Monday Brews: 9-9-13

It’s another Monday. Bummer. But I’m here to help. If you didn’t get to play any games or drink any beer this past weekend, then please feel free to live vicariously through me. Not only did our group have the first board game night of the season, but my wife and I also had company over that love to play games and enjoy beer.

So here’s the list of the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed this past week:

The Barley:

Vintage Oktoberfest: During our softball team’s banquet I enjoyed this Oktoberfest. Our team won our league and we were able to hand out some very cheap t-shirts from the league as a prize. They didn’t even mention what sport we won or what year we won it. For all we know the league bought a thousand t-shirts back in 1986.  But I digress… This was an enjoyable beer on a night of celebration. I’d drink it again!

Vintage Cat’s Pajamas: After I had the Oktoberfest I followed it up with the Cat’s Pajamas. This is a nitrogen conditioned North English Style Brown Ale. And it was quite delicious. Plus, I love the name! So I’d probably get this beer again as well.

Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA: My first selection at our group’s game night was the Flipside Red IPA. I’m not normally an IPA kind of guy since I feel like brewers often just throw a bunch of hops in and label it as “special.” I’d rather have a different beer style where a brewer actually has to work for something special. Never-the-less, this was a decently enjoyable beer. It didn’t possess an overabundance of hops, which left room for some real flavor.

"I'm only gonna have one beer... I promise!"

“I’m only gonna have one beer… I promise!”

Hofbrau Oktoberfest: I only bought one beer for game night. But fortunately it was the big beast you see on the right. This 5 liter behemoth was enough to treat everyone accordingly at game night. And it was delicious. And it was only $20. That’s a way better deal than throwing $15 at 30 PBRs. Just sayin’.

Potosi Gandy Dancer Porter: This is a beer that I’ve wanted to try for a while and never had the opportunity because I haven’t been buying a lot of beer. Fortunately my game playing compadres for the weekend threw down and snagged a sixer. So I was able to have one of these funnily named brews. For those unawares, a Gandy Dancer was someone who laid and maintained railways before the work was done by machines. And for those interested, I may or may not choose to design a game of the same name and thus try to earn a part of the train game market. Oh, and the beer was okay. I probably wouldn’t go out and buy it myself, but I’d enjoy it if someone else bought it. An interesting fact about Potosi Brewing Co.: It is home to the National Brewery Museum.

Title Town Jolly Roger: This was my second IPA of the weekend. Can someone check my temp? Well, this is about the least IPA-ish IPA that I’ve ever had, so it wasn’t too obtrusive for my palate. My friend brought some in his growler and I enjoyed Title Town beer during the Packer’s disappointing game. Oh well.

The Boards:

The Little Prince: I almost had the victory in our four player game. But the Baobabs caused me to fail. Beware of the Baobabs!

Rialto x2: It turns out that the demo we did at GenCon was taught to us incorrectly. That’s annoying. We were not taught the correct use of the Gondola cards. We were taught the highest bid puts out the gondola tile, and no one else did anything. The correct rule is that when you play a gondola card you take councilman from the general supply and place them into your personal supply. This changes things a lot and makes the game more enjoyable. So I got to play it twice over the weekend and despite losing both times, thoroughly enjoyed it.

7 Wonders x2: (Once base only and once with Leaders & Cities): Our group loves 7 Wonders. The first time I played it over the weekend I scored an absolutely miserable 35. That was with the base game only. The second time I played it we included the Leaders and Cities expansions, which makes the game quite a bit deeper. Unfortunately I had some bad leaders that only netted me 4 points.

I had almost as much fun trying to pronounce the city names as I did playing the game.

I had almost as much fun trying to pronounce the city names as I did playing the game.

Trains x2: My friend Jeremy picked this up at GenCon and I was finally able to play it. First things first: I’d now rather play this than Dominion. I thought the game was really enjoyable. While basically being a Dominion type game I thought it offered enough interesting new stuff to make it enjoyable. I would probably buy this if I had any sort of budget for buying new games right now. My only question about the game is how can they trademark the very basic common word “Trains”?

Kingdom Builder x2: (With Nomads & Crossroads): I love Kingdom Builder. I love how simple it is in terms of mechanics and how deep it is in terms of strategy. So I jumped at the chance to pick up the Crossroads expansion at GenCon despite the Queen Games booth never offering discount pricing. This is another GenCon purchase within our group that I finally got to play over the weekend. (Note: I still have yet to play Targi.) I thought the Crossroads expansion added quite a bit to the game without changing the overall concept of the game. I’m looking forward to playing again!

Castles of Burgundy: Since this is one of my favorite games I was happy when it was selected over the weekend. I was unable to claim victory but I sure had a lot of fun trying. This game, once you get over the learning curve, is a truly excellent design. My only problem with the game is that they chose the Papyrus font.

Dominion: While I’ve lost a little of my love for the game, it’s still enjoyable every once in a while. We played with a mix of cards from the Dark Ages, Prosperity, and Intrigue expansions. It was a strange mix of cards though. After playing Trains a couple times over the weekend I realized that I enjoyed the lack of “Attack” cards in Trains, and disliked them in Dominion.

Cave Troll: I hadn’t even heard of this 2002 Fantasy Flight game until I saw it in the bag of games that my friends brought over. I played a two player game of Cave Troll and was able to win the game. It seemed to me like an interesting take on chess with a fantasy theme. While it was interesting I probably wouldn’t suggest the game above others like Trains or Kingdom Builder.

Hanabi: I also had the opportunity to teach the recent SdJ winner to the visiting friends. We scored 19 out of 25, which is pretty decent for having two new players. We were hindered by discarding both white number 3 cards without realizing it. That cost us a few points. This game is pretty fun and I’ll play it again if for no other reason than it is simple to teach but deep to strategize about.

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So those are the Boards & Barley I enjoyed this past week. You can see that it was a pretty good week of games and beer! What did you play or drink that you enjoyed this past week?

The Monday Brews: 8-5-13

Another week has left us.  And what a glorious week we have upon us. Just as we are gearing up for GenCon it turns out that I have a birthday this Friday! So of course this week will be a good one. I suppose I should try to get some playtesting in so that I’m not taking garbage to GenCon. But we’ll worry about that later.

Here’s a recap of my boards and barleys from the past week…

The Barley:

Capital Brewery Supper Club: This is an excellent beer to enjoy when you’re not worried about anything. Sit back, put your feet up, and realize this beer’s “not bad.”

O’So Big O: This was another decent beer to enjoy while relaxing. It had a little tanginess, but that didn’t hinder the enjoyment. This beer is from the wonderful town of Plover, WI.

Ben Franklin’s Honey: I again enjoyed some of my own homebrew. However, I have a big problem. I am almost out of my own beer and I don’t have a batch currently fermenting. We are approaching mission critical here. I’d better start brewing!

Here’s glimpse of a cooler I was able to rummage through at a party I attended this weekend. Some of the better beers were in a different cooler.

Some excellent Wisconsin beers. One not-so-excellent Wisconsin beer.

Some excellent Wisconsin beers. One not-so-excellent Wisconsin beer. And then there’s Corona.

Horny Goat Watermelon Wheat: Rule #1: No fruit in beer unless it’s a Lambic and it’s done correctly. Rule #2: If you’re using fruit in beer, please just not watermelon. Yeah… I didn’t care for this beer and won’t be having it again.

Pabst Blue Ribbon: Out of reverence for fellow game designers that I had the privilege to meet at Protospiel-Wisconsin, I hoisted a cold PBR this weekend. And I realized that it wasn’t that bad. I’d have another, especially if it was available at GenCon!

The Boards:

Unfortunately I didn’t get to play as many games as I had hoped. Here’s the three that I did manage to play:

Tsuro: My friend’s $1.20 thrift store find has made the table a bunch lately. And we got it out again this past week. This is a great filler game that doesn’t take much though, has minimal downtime, and is also fun to play. unlike last week we didn’t have a three-way tie for the win.

Guillotine: This is a fun card game where players try to get the most points over the course of three days. During each day different cards are placed on the table. On a player’s turn they can play a card from their hand, and then they must take the card closest to the guillotine. The card they played hopefully allowed them to put a better card in that spot so that they didn’t have to take a bad one. It’s a pretty fun game despite some dude’s butts on some of the cards.

The Settlers of Catan: We always have fun when we play this game, even with 6 players. When we play with 6 I get to use my two different versions and the table looks pretty funny. But it’s always a fun game, even if I know I’m going to lose after the initial placement phase. Here’s a picture of our setup:

Mish-mash at its best!

Mish-mash at its best! Excuse the blurriness.

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Another week under the belt. What Barley or Boards did you enjoy this past week?

The Monday Brews: 7-29-13

What a splendid week we had last week. I ordered prototype cards for Conclave. I playtested new components for Scoville. And I enjoyed a few beverages.

Here’s a recap of what I drank and what I played last week:

The Barley:

Here are the tasty beverages I was able to enjoy last week:

Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss: This was an easy choice since we were camping. It’s a pretty easy-drinking wheat and honey beer from Wisconsin brewer Leinenkugel’s. We needed something in a can (Not Pabst!) that would be enjoyable around a campfire. I had requested Leinie’s Summer Shandy, but my wife choose Honey Weiss instead. No complaints there.

Ben Franklin’s Honey: This is my second homebrew and is rather enjoyable. Perhaps I have something for honey beers. This was enjoyed while working on game design. A perfect combination!

New Belgium Fat Tire: This fine beverage was enjoyed after our softball game where we won and became the first half champions of our league, thus locking in a spot in the championship game for our team.

Lake Louie Warped Speed Scotch Ale: This delicious scotch ale from nearby Lake Louie Brewery was also a post-game celebratory beverage. It is probably my favorite scotch ale and I hope to visit and tour the brewery someday.

Pearl St. Mills Pils: This was the last of the celebratory softball beverages and unfortunately also was my least favorite. It was a typical pils and nothing about it really stood out. Or it could have been because I had two before this one, it was late, and I was really tired. I guess I’ll have to give it another attempt.

Alberti Amber: This is my first homebrew and I only have a few of them left. I saved the very first bottle and it will remain in my basement/man cave forever! I was able to enjoy this during a game night last Friday. I think it’s pretty decent for a first go at homebrewing.

The Boards:

Here are the delightful games I was able to enjoy last week:

Conclave: This prototype of mine is still very rough. I solo tested it and learned that it needed some mathematical tweaks to make sure things are balanced for all players, and so that it can actually be played the way I want it to be played. I’ll likely have this with me at GenCon if anyone is interested.

Scoville: Four of my Level 1 friends were willing to test some new components for this game. The components are bonus abilities that let you do things you normally can’t do. But you can only do them once per game. If you use an ability, then you sacrifice the four points that it is worth. If you do not use them, then each is worth 4 points at the end of the game. This is like the train stations in Ticket to Ride: Europe.

Tsuro: This tile-laying game plays quickly and can be frustrating. We played twice, but the finish to the first was quite memorable. This picture shows the final tile placement, which resulted in all three remaining players being eliminated at the same time.

The grand elimination/victory moment for the Red, White, and Blue!

The grand elimination/victory moment for the Red, White, and Blue!

Gentlemen Thieves: This is a competitive game where you are trying to earn your own character the most loot from participating in different robberies throughout the game. On your turn you place a piece of evidence onto one of the five locations. If a location then has at least one of each of the five different types of evidence, then that location is robbed. The evidence tokens are flipped over to the loot side and divvied up between whichever team robbed the location. The team that robbed the location is the one with more evidence of their player colors in that spot. The game ends when the Brigadier makes a showing, and the player with the most loot wins. This is a fun light-ish game with a large mental aspect. I’ve now played twice (Once 2p and once 5p). I enjoy it, though it feels like my brain wants to explode each time!

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So what Barley or Boards were your favorites from this past week? Anything you’re hoping to enjoy this week?

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