Welcome to the final Monday Brews of the year! Oh what a year it’s been. Last year this blog didn’t even exist. And now I have tens of readers a day. The three of you who keep refreshing the page are awesome!
But seriously, this blog has been a lot of fun to write and I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read it. I only hope that you’ve learned something about board games and beer. I’ll have a “2014 Goals” article later this week which will cover my big plans for 2014. But today is Monday, so let’s see what Boards and Barley I enjoyed in the past two weeks (I was traveling last Monday):
Alaskan Smoked Porter: I enjoyed this beer and the Paulaner while listening to bluegrass at an awesome local establishment. I think a full glass of a smoked beer is about twice as much smoked beer as I can handle. It was a pretty solid smoked beer, though.
Paulaner Salvator: I used to think I liked this beer, but I didn’t care for it during the bluegrass. I’m wondering, now, if the smoked beer beforehand wrecked my palate.
New Glarus Fat Squirrel: A local brew that was brought to a game night, this brown ale is an excellent cold weather beer.
Gray’s Bully Porter: Didn’t I mention a few weeks ago that I thought I was all Portered out? Oh well. This was also available at game night so I gave it a try. It was pretty good.
Central Waters Mudpuppy Porter: I love the name Mudpuppy. And the beer was pretty good, like the Gray’s. Unfortunately all these porters I enjoyed are all blending together and I can’t quite recall if one was better than the others.
Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter: Well, this one stands out from the other porters since it has the vanilla flavor. It also has a nice crispness to it. Or perhaps it stood out in my memory because I enjoyed it with my in-laws during our Christmas morning. Newton’s Oatmeal Stout: This homebrew of mine will sustain me over the winter. (4.2% abv)
Fleming’s Scotch Ale: This homebrew of mine will make me tipsy over the winter. (6.6% abv)
Sierra Nevada Celebration: They love a good IPA or Pale Ale over at Sierra Nevada Brewery. But this IPA isn’t so IPA-ish. It doesn’t seem as hoppy as some of those hop-forward breweries who push the limits of the IBUs in their beer. I think I liked it, but I’m not sure I would drink it again.
Monk’s Stout DuPont: The typography on the bottle is awesome! The beer inside in interesting. Made in Blegium at Brasserie DuPont, this is the first beer I’ve had from the brewery. I think I need to try it again before I really form an opinion, but I think I liked it.
Sequoia Grove: This was supposed to be an entry into the Dice Hate Me 54 Card Challenge. The premise is that you are a researcher of trees, otherwise known as a Dendrologist. Your goal in the game it to grow the largest, widest sequoia tree possible. You can add height and girth to the tree during the game. My entry worked and was playable, but wasn’t up to the high quality expected in the Dice Hate Me line of games.
Backyard Astronaut: This is my friend Adam’s entry into the 54 card challenge and it IS up to the high quality of the Dice Hate Me line of games. It is a fantastic game and I believe it has a real shot in the contest. Nicely done A-Game!
Viticulture: Other than some cards being more valuable than others I think this is a pretty enjoyable worker placement game. It won’t take the place of Stone Age, but this is definitely a game I’ll play again. I like how you have to “save” some workers for the winter phase of the game.
Qwirkle: This game has made many a showing in 2013 and I imagine it will be the same in 2014. It is easy to teach and understand. It plays quickly. And if you have the travel size you can take it just about anywhere!
Compounded: I’ll write more about this game in tomorrow’s article. Over Christmas I was able to teach this to a new player and she won the game. It is easy enough to understand, it has a lot of awesome interaction and the theme is great! If you haven’t played it I highly recommend picking up a copy.
Dam It! Redux: You can learn more about my beaver game on it’s page. I tried reducing the game for the Dice Hate Me 54 Card Challenge and I succeeded… sort of. I successfully reduced the game to 54 cards. The game worked and the few playtesters that I played with said it was fun. But as a designer I knew it just wasn’t quite there. So I didn’t send this in. On the upside I do think this is something that I can finalize and put for sale on The Game Crafter.
Le Havre – The Inland Port: I received this for my birthday back in August and finally got to play it. It is a very interesting game of resource management that I royally lost. I’ll probably trade this game since it doesn’t get played very often. It just seemed like it was an abstract game in the Le Havre theme.
Agricola – All Creatures Big and Small x2: This game, however, had the awesome feel of Agricola. It was tight. It was nerve wracking. It was a nice mental battle. And it has the nice elements of Agricola without the fiddly cards and the need to feed your family. I’ll be keeping this one and I hope to play it again soon.
Kingdom Builder x2: I was able to set up and play a 6 player game of Kingdom Builder. The house rule for this is to add two more kingdom boards so that it is a 2 wide by 3 high board. Since all the scoring conditions are shared there is no real disadvantage to anyone by bumping it to six players. I hope that Queen Games has a few more expansions up their sleeves for this one.
Ultimate Outburst: My mom got me this game for Christmas because 1) I don’t own it, and 2) it’s not like all those thinky games I have. We played it together as a family and it was actually quite fun. We played men vs women and the women won. The big downside to the game was that its from 1999 and the information on the cards reflects that.
Tenzi x20: A while back I bought Farkle Party at a thrift store but it had no dice in it. (It had jewelry). I wanted the dice for prototyping purposes. My mom bought me Tenzi because instead of just 40 dice, it is also a game. You must roll your dice so that they all come up the same value. First person to get all their dice the same wins. It was a very thoughtful gift and I am happy to have the dice for design purposes. Thanks mom!
Carcassonne – The Discovery: This is an interested take on the Carcassonne world. You only have four followers and you don’t get them back right away when something is finished. That’s because you can remove them before their thing is completed, or simply wait and never remove them. I’m not sure if I liked it so I’ll have to play it again.
Scoville: I played with my family and was able to play with “final” artwork that I had printed out. While I didn’t have all of the final artwork I had enough to realize that it’s gonna be awesome! Hopefully the art can get wrapped up so we can launch the Kickstarter campaign in January, but at this point I’m not holding my breath.
The Little Prince x2: This is one of those game I was happy to get at GenCon this year. The gameplay is awesome. However, I have no nostalgic connection with the book on which the game is based, so I would prefer a retheme. Make it about colonizing Mars or something like that.
Euphoria: The second Stonemaier Game on the list and another worker placement game. This time your workers are dice and their values matter. I’ll definitely play this again as the first play was steep with learning. Overall I thought it was fun and I think that will be the case after a second play.
I have recently been making excellent strides in the design department and I owe it all to the 54 card challenge. That challenge really lit a fire under me and I tried as hard as I could to come up with something worthy of the challenge. I now have a new mechanic that I plan to utilize to the fullest in a future game design. It may or may not be awesome, but it is at least innovative.
Also I designed a card game version of Scoville that plays quickly and has the feel of Scoville. I already have it prototyped and I’ve soloed it twice. The next step is to put it in front of my friends for their analysis. I’m really excited about it.
I also worked on Quantum Orcas. It is now a better game, which wasn’t hard to achieve. I added oceanic wormholes (think of them as eddy currents) that open up the game quite a bit. I also changed things up a bit to eliminate the All-or-Nothing nature of ties. I’m hoping to submit my friends to this one as well. This is a game I would probably put up for sale on The Game Crafter, but probably not pitch to publishers. We’ll see where it goes.
And I’ve got big plans for 2014. I’ll have an article on the 1st about my Boards & Barley goals for the year, so you can look forward to that.
There you have it… the final Monday Brews of 2013. What Boards and Barley did you enjoy over Christmas?