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Monday Brews 4-7-14

Welcome back to another awesome week on Boards & Barley. Don’t worry… I won’t fool you with that whole Hexes & Hops thing again. Two days ago, Saturday, was Table Top Day! I played no games on Table Top Day. Does that mean I have to turn in my gamer card? Instead I took my kids to my parent’s house and we all colored Easter eggs a couple weeks early. My kids loved it! And I found one of my first brews leftover at my parents house. It was one of my Alberti Ambers! I’m excited to try it a year after it was brewed and see if I still like it as much as I did a year ago!

Well I imagine many of you DID play games on Table Top Day. If so, let me know what your favorite game was!

Did you know that today, April 7th, is National Beer Day? From Wikipedia:

  • National Beer Day is a celebration of the Cullen–Harrison Act being signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on March 22. That law went into effect on April 7 allowing people to buy sell and drink beer again as long as it was < 3.2% (4% ABV).

I did happen to have a few brews last week, though, so let’s start with the Barley.

The Barley:

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT: New Glarus Spotted Cow

This is one of the most popular beers in my locale. It is a farmhouse ale that is naturally cloudy. It reminds me of a cream ale or a Hefeweizen in its characteristics.

One of the reasons it is popular is because it is a really good beer. Unfortunately for you non-Wisconsin folks you’ll have to come to Wisconsin to get it.

Honorable Mention: 4 Brothers Sibling Rivalry

The Boards:

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT: Jaipur

This was the only game I played last week and I played it twice with my wife. The first time I dominated her. The second time, a few days later, she had thought about a new strategy and it worked as she dominated me.

In the game you are trying to collect sets of the same color which can then be turned in for points. A round lasts until two piles of point tokens are gone. Then you total the points you have and the winner gets a token to mark their victory. This is a best out of three game, so the first person to win two rounds is the overall winner.

For those who haven’t play Jaipur, it is a great two player game that is light yet fun. My wife and I enjoy it and I would recommend it!

Designer’s Corner:

I didn’t really do all that much in terms of design this past week. I did, however, put more thoughts together for that space/sci-fi game I mentioned last week. The most interesting thing about this current concept is that it has a terrestrial theme as the basis for the mechanics and I’m going to apply them to space instead. I normally don’t use mechanics from a theme without using the theme itself. The tentative title is Armada Galactica.

I’m actually really excited about this game. I think I’m gonna try to make it about a 1 hour game with an Ameritrash feel rather than my standard Euro feel. That means I’ll have a heavy Euro and a medium Ameritrash design going at the same time. That should keep things interesting.

Horizontal Rule

There you go. Those are the Boards, Barley, and Design Efforts I enjoyed last week. What awesomeness did you enjoy? Did you dominate Table Top Day? Try any new brews?

Monday Brews 1-6-14

It is -16 degrees out (as of 7am) and I’m happy that I don’t work outside. I think I’d rather have a foot of snow than -16 degrees. Never the less, today is Monday, so I am reporting on the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed last week, which sadly were few.

The Barley:

Redhook Game Changer: I had the privilege of a private tour (my wife and I were the only guests on the normal tour, so I can refer to it as a private tour) at Redhook in 2010. It is a really awesome brewery in the wine country region northeast of Seattle. They also have a restaurant, which was greatly enjoyable. At the time they did not offer The Game Changer. But I am glad to have tried it. It is a “sessionable” ale according to the website, with 25 IBUs and 4.6% abv. I’d get it again if it happens to be present.

New Glarus Cabin Fever Honey Bock: For a New Year’s party we were hosting I chose to purchase an assortment of local New Glarus beer. This Honey Bock may be one of my favorite beers. It is very clean and has an excellent taste. The honey presence is very mild, but adds significantly to the beer. I wish this were offered year round, though it is probably good that it isn’t.

New Glarus Snowshoe: The other seasonal New Glarus brew I purchased is the Snowshoe Ale. It is an Irish Amber and is deeper in color than the Honey Bock. It is also a very enjoyable brew. New Glarus’ two winter seasonals are outstanding!

The Boards:

Kingdom Builder: We played this on New Year’s Eve with 8 people. And it was pretty awesome. We played with teams where you would site opposite your teammate and you would both play at the same time. We also expanded the board to have 8 sectors instead of 4. I got some cubes from my design supply for the extra players. Overall it worked pretty well with 8. Since the scoring conditions are public knowledge there isn’t a huge disadvantage to any player in the game. And, as with all games of Kingdom Builder, it does sort of come down to the terrain cards that you get.

Balderdash: With the right group Balderdash can be really fun. We had the right group on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately I am terribly bad at being the reader. I laugh way too hard and people can tell that when I’m laughing it’s not the right answer. But overall, this game can be a lot of fun.

Designer’s Corner:

It was a pretty low key week for me overall. On the design front I came up with two new ideas, neither of which I really want to pursue. One was about a game themed around the White Pass & Yukon Route but focused on how many horses you can keep alive. The other was about the Phoenix and the game would revolve around the idea of the Phoenix dying several times in the game and being reborn, which would change what you can do in the game. So you would have to maximize what you accomplished right before the Phoenix died.

While I think those are both awesome game design concepts, you will recall my article last week about my goals for the year. I’ve already got 6 games that I want to “finish” in 2014. If I start to take on new game concepts then I’m afraid I wouldn’t end up completing any of them.

This week I plan to incorporate some bonuses to Quantum Orcas that will help incentivize players to visit the wormhole locations. If that works well enough, then it will be time for 20 playtests. After 20 playtests, if the game works and is enjoyed by players, then I’ll put together the artwork and post it to The Game Crafter. That is my path forward with Quantum Orcas.

Also this week I plan on moving ahead with a full Trading Post redesign. A while ago I tweeted an image for the redesign:

What I want to accomplish is to make the game centralized on the concept of obtaining goods and trading them. So i now have different areas of the board where your workers can go to obtain different types of goods. They then bring them back to the trading post and trade them for points/abilities/bonuses. Also, the trading portion of the game is now extended to player-to-player trading, which is something that should have been in the design from the beginning. So I’ll sit down and work on the overhaul of Trading Post and see if I can turn it into something fun and awesome!

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So that’s what I’ve been up to. Did you enjoy any Boards or Barley last week?

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