I’ve had a preview copy of MicroBrew since I went to Airecon, after I spoke to Nigel from One Free Elephant; a board game company based in Scotland. We spoke for a bit about their release last year of the cute mining game, Ore Some, along with their most recent venture at the time, Carcosa. Nigel very kindly offered me a chance to beta test MicroBrew and now that they have gone live with their Kickstarter, it’s a great time to tell you all about it.
- Number of Players: 2-4 (requires 2 tins)
- Approx Playtime: 45-60 mins
- Age advisory: 14+
- Cost for a copy of the game: £15
- RRP: £20
- Kickstarter end date: 01/10/2018
- Estimated Delivery: March 2019
- Status: Funded!
- Board Game Geek link
- Kickstarter link
The game is designed for two players, but if you have a second box you can play with up to four. Microbrew revolves around each player starting their own brewery. Each player gets their own equipment, ingredients and workers in order to make a beer for either their loyal customers, or a pool of other customers. The aim of the game is to have the most loyal customers. You gain loyal customers by making a perfect beer for them. If this equates to a draw by the end of the game, then the person with the most profit wins. The game itself is a mixture of worker placement and puzzle matching mechanics.
Setup & Gameplay
Each player gets issued two brewer tokens, an initial recipe, a loyal customer and a copper to brew in. This is then filled with three different coloured worts (light, medium and dark,) drawn randomly from the tin. The hops are always filled from bottom to top, starting with the bottom left space. There is also a communal pool of three beer recipes and other customers that you can use throughout the game. Finally, each player removes one wort and replaces it with a contaminant token. Gameplay is broken down into two main phases.
During the work phase, you put your brewers to work. You can move wort around in your copper so that you can then bottle it. You bottle a beer by selecting a column that matches a recipe; the closer you are to the required recipe then the better the beer you make but you must then allow it to ferment. Your workers can serve any beer that is ready to any thirsty customers, therefore earning you money. Customers who consume a beer that is not brewed perfectly are then not able to drink another, until either the next round or you take the “Break” action. This adds an element of strategy to the game, as customers are a limited resource and a major source of income. You need to keep your copper nicely full, so that you can create more beer and it takes a worker to do just that; or you can flush your copper and remove any wort or contaminant and again refill your copper.
Your workers also help you advertise your products which get you more loyal customers, taking away some of your hard earned cash. You can also use your cash to get a bigger workforce, build a bigger copper or buy a new recipe. The final thing you could do is give your workers a break, which also earns you a small amount of money and resets any customer who has already had a drink.
The rest phase is simple, things get reset, your workers are returned to you, any customer that has had a drink becomes thirsty again and ready for the next work phase.
For those people who want to try out before investing, there is a complete Print and Play copy of the game available. From what I have played you tend to spend most turns either reorganising the wort tokens into the right order, so that you can plan to make a beer and/or waiting for the beer to mature so that you can serve it to your customers. The company have laid out a great set of stretch goals and considering they are, at time of writing, already over £15,000 in backing funds, it’s likely some of those stretch goals will be fulfilled. It’s a great game, made even better because it comes in such a small package at such an awesome price bracket. It’s by no means a difficult game to understand, but I did manage to mess up a few of the rules the first time I played but it looks like they have addressed this before heading to Kickstarter. I’m certainly going to drop £15 onto the project myself.
We would like to thank One Free Elephant for the opportunity to test out their game, and we wish them the best of luck with the release. You can keep an eye on their Twitter or Facebook page for more information. Does this kind of game appeal do you? Would you buy this game for travelling? What sort of price would you be willing to pay? Give us your feedback via our comments section or you can send us feedback via our Facebook or Twitter pages.