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Subject: Value? rss

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Andy Miller
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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I just learned about this game from the Opinionated Gamer preview. It looked interesting, and I dug the theme, especially the references to real craft beers. When I went to see about purchasing it, though, I was a little surprised to see that it's $50, especially given what I saw of the components (cards and bottlecaps).

I certainly understand that the cost of a game is not merely a function of the raw materials that go into it. However, the Opinionated Gamers preview and some other reviews noted that it's a pretty light game. Given that the similarly themed (and apparently deeper) Brewcrafters game is about $45 online, I'm just concerned about getting value out of this one.

What are other people's take on this? Does Brewin' USA give good value (in terms of enjoyment at the table, art and graphic design, strategic depth, and replayability) for its cost?
 
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Barry Miller
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I am a beer lover and a home brewer, so getting Brewin' USA was a no-brainer for me! And if you are the same as me, and a gamer, then I think I just answered your question.

However, on the very rare, off-chance that you aren't the same as me , then I'd say $50 is a lot to pay for this game.

Do NOT get me wrong! I LOVE this game. When I put it out with non-beer loving players, they all enjoy it (or IOW, they don't complain about it). I set it up at Geekway to the West this past year and all who sat down also liked it. So it's a really good game, for what it is.

But unless you're really into the theme, I just don't think it's worth $50, is all. If I wasn't into the theme, and knowing that I'd enjoy it regardless, I'd be happy paying perhaps $35 for it. Maybe $40.

And I also own Brew Crafters (if course). Actually, I backed both games on Kickstarter. They are two entirely different games! So if you are into the theme and already have Brew Crafters, there's certainly room on your shelf for both!

But if you have to choose... go back and study again the mechanics of both games... watch a gameplay video for each, then decide which to go for, as again, they each scratches a different itch.

And finally... Yes, 'Brewin' USA' is lighter than 'Brew Crafters', but unless game weight is your discriminator, then that shouldn't matter. A light game can easily be worth $50 as well as a heavy game can. It's just that with 'Brewin' USA', the entire experience (contents & gameplay) isn't worth $50 to me unless I was into the theme.

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Adam Rehberg
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Hey Andy,

I'm the designer of the game and I wanted to outline some of the additional components and replayability factors of the game that you might not be aware of.

Replayability Factors:
* Game map is inspired by Beer Coasters and has 16 tiles (32 cities). Each side offers a unique flavor preference and bonus and each side belongs to a different region. This allows the game setup to change area control dynamics as you can play with 2, 3, or 4 total regions and sometimes with as little as one city per region up to 6 or 7 cities per region.
* This game shines 3-5 but also shines as a 2-player game. I am an avid 2-player gamer with my wife, and I have a pet peeve against "2-5 player games" that do not hold up as a strong 2-player experience.


Component List
* Just under 4 decks of cards (82 beer, 100+ ingredient, 10 player aids)
* 16 Beer Coaster inspired map tiles represents 32 cities
* > 100 Bottle Caps
* 7-wonders style score pad.
* Auction Tracker that visually tracks the auction and allows for players to get up, grab a beer, and sit down knowing exactly what is happening.

Component Quality
* As this was my first production, Panda Games was the manufacturer we went with and I have had a lot of great comments about component quality.

Delivering a Unique Experience
* The licensing approach with 79 real craft breweries as well as taking the risk of adding real bottle caps vs chipboard punchouts definitely sets this game apart from anything else in the board game space. This might not be important for all gamers and that's something I definitely accept. I felt these design choices were worth the added game cost and MSRP to stand out.

Game Weight: 3lbs
If you're looking for a 3-hour cruncher, then brew crafters is probably the beer game for you. If you're looking for a game that will be a hit with gamers and non-gamers, then Brewin' USA will deliver.

Cheers!
Adam
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Barry Miller
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Adam forgot to add the unique box shape to his list, above. It's definitely a conversation piece, and I don't mind it.
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Dave Ross
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werdnam wrote:
I just learned about this game from the Opinionated Gamer preview. It looked interesting, and I dug the theme, especially the references to real craft beers. When I went to see about purchasing it, though, I was a little surprised to see that it's $50, especially given what I saw of the components (cards and bottlecaps).

I certainly understand that the cost of a game is not merely a function of the raw materials that go into it. However, the Opinionated Gamers preview and some other reviews noted that it's a pretty light game. Given that the similarly themed (and apparently deeper) Brewcrafters game is about $45 online, I'm just concerned about getting value out of this one.

What are other people's take on this? Does Brewin' USA give good value (in terms of enjoyment at the table, art and graphic design, strategic depth, and replayability) for its cost?


Brewin' USA is a good value at about $10-$15. As you've probably seen on some reviews, the replayability is a problem. We played tons of games of this game and after about 10, we realized that it's showed us all its tricks (we still played many games after, trying to push it to its limit). It then ends up being a slog through the same thing each time, with nothing new. There's not a huge variety of paths to victory, which is a hallmark of many highly replayable games.

Also, be warned that there is a ton of negative player interaction in this game (chances to steal, backstab, manipulate the board, etc). If you enjoy this, then this may not be an issue. As you've also probably seen from others, the box is polarizing to say the least. We disliked it.

For the pros, its got a great rulebook, and it's got a solid luck-mitigation factor to it. Overall, the game plays pretty quick and I would absolutely consider it a light. There's no variety in alternate paths to victory. I wish I had read this post sooner as we ended up giving our copy away (we didn't want to sell it). We are very light/light-medium gamers (we are happy between 1.00 and 2.50, ideally, but also we have played some heavier games as well). We thought this game would fit perfectly in our home, and we played so many games of it, but ultimately, we tend to agree with the negative critiques others have posted on this game. It was created with love, and is very solid in that regards!

We have most of the major Beer-themed games, and we love Brew Crafters. It is absolutely a different game but it has multiple paths to victory, no major negative player interaction, the mechanic/theme integration is beautiful, and I have played the game with people familiar with modern board gaming as well as a variety of people who are brand new to modern board gaming. Once you get the game down, it flows very quickly (we get through a full game in about 1.5 hours at 2P). We also have it put away in the box so it sets up super easy, as well as the ingredient upgrades from MeepleSource (with the actual coffee, hops, spices, etc). I found a copy of BrewCrafters (with the GameTrayz insert) for $50 on Reddit's bazaar. As well, it's pretty easy to come by NIS as well as second-hand. We also love the BrewCrafters card game, which is really straightforward light fun. After maybe 60-70 plays, it's still fun, fresh, and provides a nice medium (maybe a bit on the lighter side of medium than the heavier side) game. I have taught this game very easily, and still find myself enjoying playing it.

You may also want to check out Beer Empire, which just opened a late pledge. It's a mixture between BrewCrafters and Vinhos (sort of), and it is a more economic take on the brewing theme. It includes some brewing, but also a dynamic market aspect. The art is solid (though many dislike it), but it's shipping in April and I've played about 25 games of it already and we're just scratching the surface. My SO who is not a huge gamer has been enjoying it as well! We make it through games in about an hour now, and the ruleset is very easy to get down and to teach.

As well, perhaps the current Dragon's Brew on kickstarter may be more your style, which has the typical brewing mechanics with some extra quests and takes on the theme. I haven't played this at all (we are backing it), so I can't comment too much on it.
 
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Andy Miller
United States
Nashville
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Thanks for the great in-depth response, Dave! I've already late-backed Beer Empire (after it was recommended on the Heavy Cardboard podcast) and will give Dragon's Brew a look.
 
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