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Monday Brews 7-21-14

Welcome back to Boards & Barley. I’m so glad you’re here. Today we’ve got a standard Monday Brews article but I’ve got some good stuff in the pipe for this week. I’ll have an article about game design regarding when/how to chip away at your game. I’ll also have a Grand Illusion article. And I’m hoping to have one other article for you all on Friday. Not sure of the content yet, but I have a few ideas. It’s about time that I started making this blog rock again, don’t you think??

As a reminder, I want to point you to my article about the new board game publishing company that several friends and I are starting: “It’s Time for a Mutiny!” The company is called Moon Yeti and we are going to be giving away about 100 copies of a sweet microgame called Mutiny at Gen Con. Will you be there?

Now, let’s get on to the Boards & Barley!

The Barley:

You and me goin’ fishin’ in the dark!

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT: Capital Brewery, Fishin’ in the Dark Imperial Schwarzbier

This was a quite enjoyable beer from Capital Brewery. They are located in Middleton, WI and have branched out a bunch since the previous brewmaster left to start Wisconsin Brewing. Capital are brewing some really cool beers. This one seems a fine addition to their lineup.

The Boards:

Lovely artwork, enjoyable game.


This game is pretty legit. The theme is cool and unique. The gameplay is tight. And in the end you find yourself with your own little theme park. That’s pretty sweet.

The game lasts 6 rounds. Each round players roll 6 dice (over and over again) until they get the results they want. Then in turn order (based on who stopped rolling first, second, third, etc.) players will resolve their dice. The dice allow for building rides or stations, finding visitors, cleaning your park, or fulfilling bonus cards.

There is a good amount of forethought necessary when trying to optimize your dice. And there is also a bunch of different ways you could try to win. Players win by having the most money. If your park is too dirty at the end, you will lose money.

Overall I felt the game was a lot of fun. It’s a game I definitely want to play at least one more time.

Horizontal RuleThere you go. I made no game design progress last week, which was extremely disappointing as I am really hoping to get Brooklyn Bridge to a better state prior to Gen Con. It will be a big focus for me this week and I try to hone the design and infuse more fun, more interesting decisions, and more long-game strategy.

What Boards & Barley have you been enjoying?


Monday Brews 3-10-14

At Protospiel-Milwaukee your dreams can come true! (Photo from

As we start another week it is great to know that the weather will be warming soon, the grass will reappear, and we will all be able to spend more time outside. The downside is that often means less gaming. The upside is that it means more grilling and drinking beer, which is awesome on a warm summer day. I can almost smell some brats sizzling right now.

Alas, there is still over a foot of snow in my yard and I’m still cold. Fortunately it’s almost “Game Design Season!”

What is Game Design Season? Well, for me it is book-ended by Protospiel-Milwaukee in March and September. But doesn’t game design happen year round? Certainly. I work on game designs throughout the year. But from March to September I am presented with more awesome opportunities like Protospiel and GenCon. It is those opportunities, and the awesome people who attend them, that really make it Game Design Season for me.

So Protospiel-Milwaukee is a couple weeks away and I’m in hurry-up mode trying to get a few games/expansions prototyped and playtested. Designer feedback at those types of conventions is some of the most valuable feedback you can get. I’ll be attending Protospiel-Milwaukee and I hope to see you there.

Now let’s get to the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed last week…

The Barley:


Nothing makes it seem more like Spring is right around the corner than enjoying a Maibock! Well, maybe daylight savings or March Madness, but you get the idea. Capital Brewery, in my own city, produces a very enjoyable Maibock.

I had my first Maibock of the year while chatting with a Level 1 friend about game design. I was sharing with him my ideas for Brooklyn Bridge. It was an enjoyable conversation with an enjoyable spring beer… as it was snowing.

  • Capital Amber
  • NEW! Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale: My friends know that I’m not a huge fan of hoppy beers. But they recommended this one to me because it wasn’t too hoppy. I agreed and I quite enjoyed this beer, from a company known for being hop-forward.
  • North Coast Brother Thelonius
  • Fleming’s Scotch Ale (Homebrew)

The Boards:

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT: Tokaido (Antoine Bauza)

So beautiful. I wish I had a poster of this box cover!

So beautiful. I wish I had a poster of this box cover!

I finally had the chance to play Tokaido. While the game isn’t the best game I’ve ever played, I would say that it definitely was enjoyable. The idea of taking a journey through the mountains and trying to maximize your points while others are taking the spots you wanted seems to work really well. The game is simple enough yet presents interesting enough decisions.

But the real “selling point” for me is the artwork. Everything about the game looks good. It has a very clean look with well defined artwork. The cards are beautiful, the money looks great, the board looks nice and the box cover blows me away. I’d play it again just to see all the amazing art one more time.

  • Dungeon Roll x4
  • Crokinole x3
  • Backyard Astronaut: This is not a published game… yet. It is a friend’s design that is awesome and enjoyable. It is a tile based game where you are building a rocket from scraps found in a junkyard. Community scoring conditions guide your decisions in this 2-5 player game. I am looking forward to playing it again at Protospiel-Milwaukee!

Designer’s Corner:

I currently have two active projects that I am trying to get ready for Protospiel-Milwaukee. One of them is the oft-mentioned Brooklyn Bridge and the other is a possible expansion for a different game with which I am associated. I won’t say anything about the latter, but the former is coming along nicely. I almost have a prototype completed and I think I should be able to get in Playtest #1 this week! Hopefully it will work and not seem totally broken.

So if you are going to Protospiel-Milwaukee you’ll be one of the first to see/play either of those projects! I hope you can join me there.

Horizontal Rule

So those are the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed last week. What did you enjoy? Play or drink anything new that was really awesome?

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