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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:

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!


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: 3-3-14

It’s awesome that March is here! It’s not awesome that it was -7 degrees this morning. Anyone else ready for warmer weather?

It’s Monday, which means it’s time to recap the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed last week. Let’s start with the Barley

The Barley:

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT: Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

The Vanilla Porter from Breckenridge Brewery is my favorite vanilla beer. It has a great smooth and subtle vanilla flavor that adds a great layer of sweetness to the porter. I like to drink it as a slightly warmer temperature to help bring out even more vanilla. This is a highly enjoyable brew that I plan to enjoy again sometime before Winter is over.



My friend Jeremy, the same one mentioned above, made his own Crokinole board. (I am hoping to have him write a guest post about his process). He finished up his “test board” the other night and so we played it a bunch during our board game night. It’s just a lot of fun to play, especially when you can make a board rather than paying over $100 for one!

  • NEW! Il Vecchio: My friend Adam got this one to the table. It felt and looked and played very Euro-y, which is good for our group. Most of the time I didn’t have a good idea of why I was doing anything. I think the other guys felt that way early on as well. I snagged a 10 and 8 point location in one of the provinces and that helped propel me to victory in a tight game. We were all separated by 10 points total. It was one of those games where I wanted to play again right away so that I could do things a lot better.

Designer’s Corner:

I have been working on Brooklyn Bridge for some time now and it is like a big puzzle. There are some gameplay elements that are currently not fitting together. So I am toying with a few ideas to get them to work while not sacrificing fun or theme. I am still hoping to have this ready for Protospiel-Milwaukee later this month.

My current objective with the design is to put together a prototype and start solo playtesting it. That should help me find out how the gameplay elements will really fit together. I think I can put together a board and an objectives deck tonight. I may have to have an impromptu game night at some point this week to get my Level 1 playtesters to try it out.

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So those are the Boards & Barley I enjoyed last week. What beer and board games did you enjoy?

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