Saturday, July 11, 2015

Unboxing Week Post Part VI: Brew Crafters

Here we are, day six of my “Self-Imposed Unboxing Week” and we are in the thick of things! Before I move on to the unboxing of the day, please check out my previous five posts and give them a little look-see. You can find them at the links below. 

Unboxing Post I: Star Wars: Imperial Assault

Unboxing Post II: Tokaido

Unboxing Post III: Roll for the Galaxy

Unboxing Post IV: Elder Sign

Unboxing Post V: Dice Brewing

Yesterday I posted on Dice Brewing which is a dice-rolling game where you use the dice and tokens you get to brew different beers. Obviously, the person with the most points at the end wins. I decided to continue on with the brewing theme and move on to a game published by Dice Hate Me Games (now under the Greater Than Games umbrella) called Brew Crafters. This is a game by Ben Rosset and uses classic mechanics like worker-placement and action-selection much like other Euro-styled boardgames like Agricola and Puerto Rico. While this game has some similar mechanics, Rosset did a wonderful job in meshing it with a brewing theme and making it his own. I will just say that my wife and I absolutely love this game and enjoy it even more with each subsequent play

Okay, enough of the gushing, on to the unboxing! This game is going to be an interesting and possible long unboxing due to the sheer amount of components that are included in this box. I think I’ll start off with the box. It seems that this will be the easiest starting point! This box is the same size as the “Euro-style” box. It will fit perfectly on your shelf next to any of the Uwe Rosenberg games such as Agricola, Caverna, La Havre or Fields of Arle. It isn’t the square box (i.e. Ticket to Ride) that has become popular in modern boardgaming. I will say that this box is just the right size to fit the incredibly large amount of components! Also, the box cover is just great! 

Next we’ll move on to the rulebook. I just have to say that this is an absolutely amazing rulebook! Ben Rosset did an exceptional job on this book. It is sixteen pages of rulebook perfection. From the front to the back this is how a rule book should be done! It starts with all of the components of the game and then goes on to show you how to set up the game. Along with the wonderfully done text are big, beautiful pictures. The graphic layout of this book is spot on from cover to cover. Rosset (and whoever else may have worked on this) did a great job of the feel and direction of the rules. After giving a setup it goes into the gameplay, which is deceptively simple. At the end he has setup for some advanced play additions for those who have played it enough to feel comfortable with the core game. Then, to top it all off there is an FAQ section and the back cover gives a simple layout of the flow of the game so you don’t need to flip through the book if you forget. This is a rulebook done right! 

After a ridiculous amount of gushing over the rulebook let’s move on to a component of the game. There are 57 total cards that are included in Brew Crafters. There are 24 recipe cards that have the names of the beers and what components that you need to brew them. These are all beautifully done with cool pictures and names depicting the different beers. Then you have 24 different cards that are the skilled worker cards. These are all pictures of people and they are the cards you get special powers when you take them during an action. Then we have the 4 local partnership cards. You can also take these during an action and they allow you to change materials for other materials and give you a greater variety during your turn. Finally there are 5 player aid cards that give the different buildings/equipment and what you receive when you build them. All of these cards are good card stock and have the linen finish that I prefer in cards. 


Next up on the component list are all of the wonderful wooden bits. Being a Euro-style game you just know that there have to be meeples and wooden cubes, and wow, are there a bunch! To begin we have 15 meeples. There are 5 pink meeples which stand in for interns that can be hired and then there are 2 meeples of each player color (black, white, magenta, blue, and natural) that are used for player actions on the market board. Along with the meeples there are 150 different wooden cubes! First of all there are 4 each (20 total) of the five player colors that track research on the lab board. Then, there are 130 total cubes that are the materials that the players collect for their beer recipes. There are 50 brown (malt) cubes, 30 green (hops) cubes, 20 yellow (yeast) cubes, 10 orange (spice) cubes, 10 black (coffee) cubes, and 10 red (fruit) cubes. Lastly, there is an overproduced and awesome wooden first player marker that is in the shape of a pint of stout. It is one of the coolest first player tokens I’ve ever seen! 

Finally, we’ll talk about the cardboard components, and this is really where the game shines! We’ll split them up because there are a ton of cardboard pieces in this game. To start with I’ll go over the “miscellaneous” tokens that are included in the game. You have 15 total meeple shaped tokens (3 in each of the five player colors) that stand for shift workers that the players use on the brewery action board. You start with one of these shift workers and then can buy more during the game. Another one of the “random” tokens included are the collaboration tokens. There are 4 of these and they stand for one of four different materials that players can collaborate in but are only used in 3-5 player games. Then you have 3 community farm tokens that show who has put materials into the farms so they can share the wealth later on. Lastly, of the miscellaneous tokens you have 1 market help token (used with a market helper skilled worker card) and the season tracker token. 

Next on the cardboard components list are the different tokens that are used during the game. To begin with you have 75 different money tokens. There are 45 $1 tokens and 30 $5 tokens. You then have 25 resource counters in 2x and 4x which you can use when/if you run out of the cubes. The materials are infinite so these resource counters stand in if there aren’t enough cubes for the game you’re playing. Then we have the 54 reputation tokens. There are 29 1-point tokens and 25 5-point tokens. Next up we have the 21 gold label tokens. There is 1 token for each of the 21 advanced recipes that are included in the base game. Lastly, in the token during the game player, are 15 loan tokens that the players must take if they are unable to pay for upkeep during the winter months. 

The next cardboard component (and the final of the tokens) are the beer recipe tokens. There are 215 total beer batch tokens that are included in this game! These are spread out among the 3 starting recipes and the 21 advanced recipes and are very cool 6-pack shaped tokens with the beer label on the front. On the back of these tokens are the reputation points that you get when you brew them. If you are counting at this point that means that there are 429 tokens that are included in this game and that isn’t even counting the building tokens that I’ll talk about in the next paragraph. With those added in you have over 450 tokens/buildings/equipment that are included in Brew Crafters. I will just say that this was the best game ever to punch out, and I love punching the tokens out of the cardboard sprues! 

Next on the cardboard component’s list we have the player boards. There are 6 different types of player boards that are included with Brew Crafters. First of all (and the coolest) are the 5 personal brewery boards. These have a schematic of a brewery on them and spots that you can add different building/equipment tokens (that we’ll talk about later) which add to the look of the board and give the player different upgrades. Next on the list we have 5 double-sided research lab boards. On one side you have the basic research board and on the other side there are five different research labs for advanced games. Next up we come to the main market action board. This is the main place where the player takes their worker placement actions. 

Along with this there is also a double-sided market action board. This is used for 3-5 player games and is flipped depending on the number of players. Then, there is the brewery action board. This is the action step where the players use their shift workers in order to take actions that can be used by all of the players. These include doing market research, brewing beer, and adding buildings/equipment to the brewery. Lastly we have the season round board. This keeps track of the 12 turns that are taken throughout the game. There are 5 tokens that aren’t included in every game that I’ll mention here. These are advanced actions spots that can be added to the market boards for players who are ready to take on a more advanced game. My wife and I are ready to start using these tokens. They look like they add some great additions to the strategy of the game! 

We have finally come to the buildings/equipment tokens that are included in the game. There are 5 of each of these tokens (and 15 of the hops infusers) and they are used to place on the personal brewery boards. These all add upgrades to the player’s abilities during the game. These buildings/equipment are the oak barrelhouses, the mash tuns, the storehouses, the yeast labs, the double batch brewing systems, the tour & tasting rooms, the farms, the brewpubs, and the hops infusers. These are put on the boards when the player obtains them and make those breweries look even cooler throughout the game. 

Phew, there you have it, Brew Crafters unboxed. If you can’t tell by this post, this is a wonderful game and has a ton of great components that add to the cool factor of the game. I have my components in bags (check out Ben Rosset’s video on BoardGameGeek to see how he suggests organizing it) but if you check out you will find a great insert that I may buy one day. Okay, enough of day six. Just one more and I’m done with Unboxing Week! Come on back tomorrow to see what the final game unboxing will be. Until next time, game on!

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