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Monday Brews 9-29-14

10 gallons of beer that I didn't have to bottle!

10 gallons of beer that I didn’t have to bottle!

I totally missed out on National Drink Beer Day yesterday. I’ll redeem myself by enjoying one of my two kegged beers shown in the picture. I’ll write about my first kegging experience tomorrow. (Spoiler: I never want to bottle again!)

But today is Monday, so it’s time to cover the Boards & Barley that I’ve enjoyed over the last week. With a Board Game Night and a date night with my wife where we played games I was able to get a nice assortment to the table. But let’s start with the Barley.

The Barley:

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT: New Glarus Staghorn

My friend Jeremy describes this as the best domestic Oktoberfest. I agree with him. This is a very excellent beer and I’ll often choose it over the German Oktoberfests. Is that beer heresy? Doesn’t matter to me. New Glarus has produced a truly fine Oktoberfest. Next time you’re in Wisconsin in September or October, make sure you try it!

The Boards:

Don't worry. He wasn't lonely for long!

Don’t worry. He wasn’t lonely for long!

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small

This game is my Spotlight game this week because I was able to get my wife to play it. She graciously learned a new game and when it was done said she’d play it again! That’s a big win for me. I’ve wanted her to learn Agricola for a while so introducing her to ACBAS seemed like a good intro. The gameplay feels roughly the same and the pasture/animal elements emulate those in the full game. So I think she got a feel for how Agricola would go. I’m excited about that.

Designer’s Corner:

This past week was a good one. I finished up prototype art (haven’t done that in a long time) and I got The Grand Illusion to the table for it’s first two playtests (It had been a long time since I put a new game design on the table).

It'll be magic if I can find time to read these.

It’ll be magic if I can find time to read these.

Since the playtests were successful (I should write an article on what makes a playtest successful because I think that can mean a lot of different things) I thought I’d do a little more research into magic and the late 1800s-early 1900s magicians. I picked up a few books. I have no idea when/if I’ll have time to read them.

I think the playtests were successful for two main reasons:

  1. Both played to completion.
  2. It was fun (Or at least I had fun playing).

Playing to completion is a big metric for me. If you can design a game on paper or in your head and bring it to the table such that it can be played in full, that is a big accomplishment. Of course, that doesn’t matter as much if the game stinks.

So I had the two successful playtests and I’m ready to implement some good initial changes to things that were obviously not perfect. I think there are good things ahead for this game.


Monday Brews: 9-16-13

First things first: Happy birthday to my good friend Jeremy (@JeremyVanMan). I hope you have a great day!

Second, it’s Monday, which means you’re probably having one of the worst days of your week. And that’s why I present The Monday Brews to you weekly. Hopefully by reading what I enjoyed over the past week you can forget about work for a few minutes and remember the fun games you played this past week.

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

The Barley:

Have you ever tried to kick a pumpkin???

Ben Franklin’s Honey: I was able to enjoy my second to last of this homebrew while homebrewing. As Charlie Papazian says, “Relax and have a homebrew!” There’s nothing better than enjoying one of your hombrews while you’re homebrewing.

Leinenkugels Oktoberfest: Now that the temperatures are dropping this seems like a more appropriate beer choice rather than like two weeks ago when it was 90 degrees. I love the oktoberfest style and attending Oktoberfest in Germany is definitely near the top of my Bucket List.

New Belgium Pumpkick: Now that fall is nearly upon us it’s time to start enjoying spicy pumpkin beer. The New Belgium approach to pumpkin beer was an excellent one! Some pumpkin beers are just too pumpkinny, but this one was very nicely done with a subtle presence of pumpkin. Nicely done, New Belgium!

Great Dane Stone of Scone Scotch Ale: The scotch ale style is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I used to consider Belgian styles as my favorites, particularly Tripels, but my palate is changing. This was brought to my house in a growler and was thoroughly enjoyed.

New Glarus Staghorn: This is a local Oktoberfest style brew that the aforementioned Jeremy considers the best Oktoberfest there is. I cannot disagree. This is an excellent beer and I look forward to Autumn so that I can enjoy this particular beverage.

The Boards:

6 Player Kingdom Builder Variant of Awesomeness!

6 Player Kingdom Builder Variant of Awesomeness!

Kingdom Builder x3: I’ve been loving this game since I bought the Crossroads expansion at GenCon. I think that the new expansion is a very nice addition to the game. And we also made a 6 player variant that would also work for 8 players. The picture shows the setup we used for 6 players. We played with three teams of two. You would work together and the final scoring would be done based on your two teams colors together. Yet the adjacency rule only held for your own color. I may write this up as a session report on BGG because it worked so well.

The Little Prince: I can’t get enough of this game. We taught another new player and he enjoyed it despite not doing very well. It’s just so clever. On the flipside, I wouldn’t mind a retheme. Get on that, internets!

Skyline: When looking for fillers, this game has been our pick of the poison lately. It’s simple. It’s quick. And it’s fun. My only complaint is that I wish the base dice, middle dice, and top dice were different colors. That would make it just a bit easier to see what dice you are actually using. But it’s a very fun game.


So that was the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed last week. What did you enjoy??

The Monday Brews: 8/26/13

Here we are… either recovering from con crud (thankfully I wasn’t struck by that beast) or desperately looking forward to Spiel (alas, I will not be able to attend). Never-the-less we keep pushing forward in our consumption of barley-derived beverages and cardboard creations.

It’s Monday, so it’s time to recap the Boards and Barley that I enjoyed last week:

The Barley:

Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss: With the summer coming to an end since I live in Wisconsin, I have to finish off the Honey Weiss that I have. So I enjoyed one of these while participating in a Fantasy Football draft. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear to have helped my draft choices.

Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest: I know, it’s a little early for Oktoberfests. But it’s one of my favorite beer styles, so I enjoy it when I can. I liken it to drinking Egg Nog in November even though it’s really a Christmas beverage.

New Glarus Spotted Cow: This one is a staple for many Wisconsin beer enthusiasts. It’s technically a farmhouse ale, but I would almost put it in a class with cream ales. It’s easy to drink and it’s delicious.

That’s it for the Barley this week. Let’s see what I played:

The Boards:

Hanabi: My level 1 friend Jeremy and I taught Hanabi to our wives. Mine was bored with the game. But she admitted she’d be willing to play it again. I think we ended with 19 points, though, which is pretty decent.

Giving new meaning to “Push Your Luck!”

Via Appia: This was a GenCon purchase of Jeremy’s and I was particularly excited to play it. There is a really cool pusher mechanic where you can try to push stones off and earn the corresponding stone tiles. This game wasn’t a very complicated game, but I had fun with it. I’d like to try it with 3 or 4 players rather than just two. Image from

Scoville: On Saturday I visited with some friends in the Chicago area and they requested to play Scoville! So it hit the table and I was able to try out a newish variant with bonus abilities. They enjoyed the game though one player ended with a really low score. And the bonus abilities worked well enough for me to add them into the rules as a variant.

The Little Prince: If you read my review of the game last Friday then you already know that I really enjoy this game. It is so much fun and I love the little intricacies of the strategy.

Dungeon Roll: I went on a nice solo delve for the first time and was pleased with my result. Using the Archaeologist I was able to score 26 points. My big success was slaying a dragon in Level 2 of the dungeon. I love the whole presentation of the game. It felt like I was actually delving a dungeon and using my heros to defeat enemies. I’m looking forward to my next delve.

So that’s the Boards and Barley I enjoyed last week. But I need to mention one other thing today…

It’s Time for a Giveaway! Almost…

I hit 400 followers on Twitter over the weekend. I can’t believe so many people follow me and read my blog. You all are awesome and I’m inspired by you guys every day. So as a way to show my appreciation for the Twitter game design community I’m giving a game away. I haven’t decided which game to give away, or how I’m going to do it, but later this week I’ll post an article all about it. That will likely be on Thursday. So keep tweeting and enjoying the boards and barley!

Thanks for reading!

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