Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over 18 months and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every other Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Card game or beer mat selection?:- Brewcrafters: The Travel Card Game



GameBrewcrafters: The Travel Card Game

PublisherDice Hate Me Games

Designer: Ben Rosset

Year2014

We started back in 76, if you could call it a start, one of those one-stop home brewing kit. At the end we had a plastic barrel full of ale, terrible ale that burned its way down and yet was somehow was barely alcoholic. It’s safe to say we’ve come a long way from there, now we have 9 different ales in regular production along with our “Ale of the year”. We challenge our finest brewmasters to produce something truly special that we will only make for the year. Now if you’ll follow me to the barrelhouse we have a few samples for you to try.

Brewcrafters: The Travel Card Game is a 2-4 player in which you set up your own brewery. You’ll hire staff, build brewing equipment and, of course, brew beer. Ultimately making the different beers is the way you win the game, but without investing in infrastructure you’ll struggle to rack up those points and increase production. Interestingly the 4-player game is actually a 2v2 co-op game where 2 players build the same brewery.

The game play is fairly simple, each turn you draw 2 cards, either from a selection of 5 face up cards or blind from the deck. Then you either play a card into your brewery or brew a beer by playing the ingredients. Each card in the game is both an ingredient and a brewery upgrade, though you can only have 1 of each upgrade in your brewery at any one time. Different drinks you brew are worth different amounts of points depending on the rarity of the ingredients you use.

A game in progress, scores and beer recipes are at the bottom of the player areas, their brewery is a little higher up and the cards available are in the middle.
Brewcrafters is simple, sure, but that’s what you expect for a travel game, the fact that you can fit it into a pocket (it wouldn’t be comfy, but you could) and it can play 4 players is a strong selling point. I feel like 3 players is the sweet spot as it gives you all separate breweries to run, but the game is fun and playable at any player count. There are some surprising complexities that you can use, for example if you play all the fruit cards as upgrades then you remove them from the deck and therefore making special reserves will be harder as the ingredients are rarer, although you can always play 2 of 1 ingredient type to count as 1 of any other (enough hops tastes like apple... right?).


A selection of cards, the ingredients are in the top left. Note that sometimes the same bit of equipment have different ingredients so you might want to be careful about what you remove from the ingredient stock.

However the simplicity does take away from the replayability, in a 2-player game you’ll be seeing the same brewery upgrades multiple times which takes away from the excitement and reduces the choices you make, you really want to be making the choice between having the upgrades or using the card for ingredients but it soon becomes a no-brainer. The art is nice and the cards are solid, but one of the biggest niggles I have is the score counters which are far bigger than needed to mark your score, I just don’t understand why that happened! I do recommend this game, but don’t expect the most depth and replayability from it, most games will feel pretty similar.

6/10

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