Nigel Kennington
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Game Name: Microbrew

Designer: Sarah and Nigel Kennington

Overview: Microbrew is a medium-weight worker placement / puzzle game hybrid for two players: The Tiny Tin Brewery have challenge YOU - leaders of their two most skilled brewing teams to a brew off! Who will create the tastiest beers and win the most loyal customers? Only one way to find out - Ready! Set! Brew!

# of Players: 2

Game Summary: In Microbrew, players will take turns sending brewers to work stations to mash, brew, bottle and serve their own beer recipes to a stream of thirsty customers. Work stations aren't locked out like most other worker placement games - if you really want to push someone out - you can, but their worker goes back to be reused this turn! This means rounds are very dynamic and require careful thought to not just optimise your little team but also to predict where your opponent wants to be so you can ride their wave!

Brewing isn't just worker placement though - each player has their own "Copper" brewing kettle where their brewer's actions can let them play a simple but fiendish puzzle game to reorganise their kettle and complete a perfect recipe. Or not! Will you try to make each customer's perfect beer and win their loyalty, or will you flood the market with average brews and let the marketing money do its thing?



Suggested Play Time: 45 - 60 mins

List of Components:
Printable:

* 2 x 2 “Copper”/Kettle Biz Cards (forms 2 kettles)
* 2 x “Brewery” Biz Cards (forms one scene with all 8 brewer jobs on it)
* 2 x Turn Order / Scoring Biz Cards
* 22 x recipe bottle Micro Cards
* 12 X Customer Biz Cards
* 2 upgrade tokens


Need sourced:

* 48 Wort tokens
- 16 Light
- 16 Medium
- 16 Dark
* 6 Malting tokens
* 6 brewer tokens
* 1 Brewmaster token
* 6 Brewmaster's Favour tokens
* 4 cash cubes


Pictures - Proof of Concept
(Playtest Version 6)


Link to Tabletop Simulator Version
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=120208...

Link to Files (Rules & Components)
** Contest Ready Files and Rules **

Notes:
* This is a Google Drive folder containing the 3 PDF files for the cards and tokens, the rules PDF formatted for the tin and a separate PDF should you want the logo for a tin cover.
* If you wish to save ink, you can just print the first page of each of the component pdf and not lose much. The backs are to give what type of card is coming next but not the exact information.
* The double sided rules are intended to be "concertina folded" and then folded in half - please make sure your printer is set to "flip on short edge" when printing the rules pdf (the others are the normal "flip on long edge").
* The margins have been set to print full resolution on both A4 and Letter and all backs include a good bleed size to allow for shifting during double sided printing so when cutting, use the sizes from the card fronts - not the backs.
* For the tokens, the disease cubes from Pandemic Legacy work (and look) great - We used the black, red and yellow as the dark, medium and light worts respectively and a few of the blue ones as the maltings.
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Lazy Mountain

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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Idea Phase]
Vocabulary suggestions:

Drain - transfer, lauter, rack, filter
Perfect/ smooth/ coarse/ dirty - world-class/ iconic, competitive/ quaffable/ easy drinking, drinkable/palatable, harsh, infected/ spoiled/ soured
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Tuomas T
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Idea Phase]
Sounds like a fun idea! Could be great served with some friends and beer. Too bad its only two player game Count me in if you want somewhat casual playtesters.
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Idea Phase]
Lzmountaingames wrote:
Vocabulary suggestions:

Drain - transfer, lauter, rack, filter
Perfect/ smooth/ coarse/ dirty - world-class/ iconic, competitive/ quaffable/ easy drinking, drinkable/palatable, harsh, infected/ spoiled/ soured
Thanks! I like the Drain alternatives.

The smooth/course/dirty are actually terms from actual brewing so I reckon I'll stick with them for now for that authentic feel.
 
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Idea Phase]
Slimgineer wrote:
Sounds like a fun idea! Could be great served with some friends and beer. Too bad its only two player game
Yeah, I think it would be fun up to 4 players, but with the number of wort tokens you'd need, I cant see us being able to fit it in a single tin and I kinda like it as a couple-at-the-pub kinda game too.

Slimgineer wrote:
Count me in if you want somewhat casual playtesters.
Will do! It's going through some major shifts right now, as we're not happy with the activity balance yet and that's affecting the components. We should have something "component ready" by the weekend, or very close to it!
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Idea Phase]
Updated the submission with pictures from playtest 3. Many changes and the gameplay is solidifying nicely. Need to tidy up the components for distribution but we're very close to component ready now which will be playtest 4.
 
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Idea Phase]
OK, so Playtest 4 broke more than it fixed, so that wasn't the Component Ready release and it took until PT6 to get the issues sorted - so that is going to be the Component Ready version instead.

All feedback welcome!
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
TODO:

More testing and tweaking numbers
Come up with a damn logo!
Adaption to Feedback
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Brendon Soltis
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
Nigel_hmg wrote:
TODO:

More testing and tweaking numbers
Come up with a damn logo!
Adaption to Feedback

Looks really neat - if I can find enough tokens, I'll give it a shot this weekend.
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
Thanks!

We found that the disease cubes from Pandemic Legacy work (and look) great.

We used the black, red and yellow as the dark, medium and light worts respectively and a few of the blue ones as the maltings.
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Claud
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
Hi Nigel, I would not call this game light! It looks very deep to me. I really like it.
I was wondering how to increase the interaction between the players. What about competing for the clients: the thirsty client are shared and each player can choose which one to serve, before the opponent does.
In this way the choice of the customer depends also on the potential decisions of your opponent. This is just an hypotetical rule change, as I do not have a way to try it myself: my playing group is made of me, myself and I!
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
Thanks Claudio,

I might not have made that clear in the rules but the thirsty customers are shared. It's only the loyal customers that are "private". Or did you mean that the loyal ones should be accessible by both too?

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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
Sorry, I did not understand that thirsty customer were shared. I should have better read the rules.

The goal is to have the higher number of loyal custormers. Why should I serve them? To score money in case both players have the same number of loyal customers at the end? This is a secondary objective, chosen only if the available beers do not allow to achieve the primary objective.
Maybe this mechanics that obliges you to go for a secondary objective can be frustrating after a few turns, when you see that you opponent is scoring loyal custormer.

What about changing the victory conditions based only on money.
Loyal customers could then give an extra payment if served. In this way I have to choose if I want to have more money (serving the loyal customer) or increasing the possibilities to get more money later (perfectly satisfying a thirsty client to make it an additional loyal client). I could also decide to serve the opponent's loyal customer: when served, the opponent player cannot serve him/her anynore on this turn.
Stealyng loyal customers does not seems to be a good idea to me, as it will increase too much the playing time, adding just repetitions rather than real gameplay.
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
Added Tabletop Simulator version to make playtesting easier. (And also to avoid having to come up with a logo...)
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
Hi Nigel,

I was re-reading my message and find it a bit harsh. I am not going to update it, but I want to say that I like your game and my input were meant to be helpful. I know you tested the game thoroughly, so maybe my suggestions are breaking the elegant game equilibrium.
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
Not at all!

I have been meaning to reply, but wanted to take the time to write out a proper one, so I couldn't do it immediately.

It would be the easier route to set the victory condition as money accumulated. (Well not now as the systems and balance are, as you correctly note, built around the loyal customer victory conditions - but originally it would have been.)

I chose to go for the loyal customer thing for a few of reasons. Here's some of my thinking:

1. Thematic: It feels more true to the mood I wanted. We're small craft brewers - we're more in it for the love of beer-making, not to grind out as much cash as possible, so I wanted it to feel more like we were building a little community of customers. I toyed with having a "reputation" resource and having that as the victory instead, but it just made more sense to represent building a customer base by actually building a customer tableau in front of you. (Look at their happy little drunk faces!)

2. Goal Diversity: The primary interaction with the game is "fill bottles - sell bottles". If that was also the victory goal it would (for me) place too much emphasis on optimising that loop. I like to have secondary goals that are really important too. So I wanted the money to be about buying your extra brewer, upgrading your Copper, buying recipes etc while the actual victory is about making the perfect beer.

3. Perverse Stubbornness: I like to make games that have something more than the "who has the most victory points at the end" thing. So I did. Even if it would have been better the other way. Because I'm as stubborn as a game designing donkey!

I hope some of this makes sense and thanks for the feedback!
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
Indeed I was concentrating on the mechanics of the game. Your objective, as you explained in the first point, is much better that accumulating points/money..

Personally, I find very difficult to balance mechanics and theme to create a complete and immersive playing experience.
But you got it well, you should definitively go for it!

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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
Nigel_hmg wrote:
Thanks!

We found that the disease cubes from Pandemic Legacy work (and look) great.

We used the black, red and yellow as the dark, medium and light worts respectively and a few of the blue ones as the maltings.

Thank you for the tips! All printed and cut, found the components and will report back soon!
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
bmsoltis wrote:
Nigel_hmg wrote:
Thanks!

We found that the disease cubes from Pandemic Legacy work (and look) great.

We used the black, red and yellow as the dark, medium and light worts respectively and a few of the blue ones as the maltings.

Thank you for the tips! All printed and cut, found the components and will report back soon!

Got Microbrew to the table this weekend! Here are some of my thoughts:

1. This is a pretty thinky game for such a small footprint! Overall, I enjoyed it very much.

2. I was first concerned about bumping workers out of spaces and how it could create a very long / endless round, but bumping out gives your opponent an extra action so it actually is a hard decision. Could there potentially be an endless cycle (Mash->Bottle)?

3. I like how there is different paths to victory - a player may choose to create perfect brews for customers or gets lots of money to buy loyalty.

4. Love the puzzley aspect of trying to get cubes into the right position.

5. Brewmaster's favor is super valuable. +1 action can make all the difference.

6. It seems like customers come out really fast, especially when the Brewmaster action also brings a customer out. Is this too fast for pacing?

7. Are there two worker placement spaces for the 'Brew" action?

8. Sometimes I felt it was very challenging to make a perfect brew (luck of the draw) for a customer and actually it was easier to buy loyalty.



Thank you again for sharing your design!
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
bmsoltis wrote:

1. This is a pretty thinky game for such a small footprint! Overall, I enjoyed it very much.
Thanks! I'm really pleased you enjoyed it. We were actually aiming for something much lighter when we started, but it's turned out to be a nice weighty surprise.


bmsoltis wrote:

2. I was first concerned about bumping workers out of spaces and how it could create a very long / endless round, but bumping out gives your opponent an extra action so it actually is a hard decision. Could there potentially be an endless cycle (Mash->Bottle)?
It was something we were worried about but we've not encountered it yet and that's why we drip feed the customers and bottles - the new round is usually triggered because there's no bottles left or all the customers are flipped or loyal. There's been some long rounds, but they seem to balance with quick ones that follow and I quite like that flexible round length given that the total play time seems to remain fairly stable. It think really depends on the play style of the opponents too, whether they are willing to give their opponent a brewer back to get on their spot. We wanted to include that mechanic because as a "couples" game, we wanted the mechanics to allow for players anticipating each other as they learn each other's play style, so that when you're certain that a player is going to brew, you brew first, even if that's not the optimal move because you'll get your brewer back anyway!

bmsoltis wrote:

5. Brewmaster's favor is super valuable. +1 action can make all the difference.
It is! It was a really late addition too, but I think its really good.

bmsoltis wrote:

6. It seems like customers come out really fast, especially when the Brewmaster action also brings a customer out. Is this too fast for pacing?
This seems to again depend on the play style. I've played a couple of playtests where there's 5 or 6 thirsty customers out before people have got their second loyal one, but this has mostly been on new players, and its been OK in the end game.

bmsoltis wrote:

7. Are there two worker placement spaces for the 'Brew" action?
Yes, there is. But we might take it out for the final release - the brewer's favour kinda overlaps with that now so it's less needed. Or not, again it's a brake on the round over extending. Hmm.

bmsoltis wrote:

8. Sometimes I felt it was very challenging to make a perfect brew (luck of the draw) for a customer and actually it was easier to buy loyalty.
Yes. We wanted the other mechanics to sometimes seem like the easier option. The perfect brew is great, but it's more strategically interesting if the option to go for the "quick and dirty" sale is sometimes the more viable.

bmsoltis wrote:

Thank you again for sharing your design!
Thank you for playing and your excellent feedback!
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
Playtest 7 is up!

Minor rebalancing of the cash from some bottles, cleaned up the art, extended the "powers" of the brewmaster tokens and the "flavour contaminants" to enhance the "perfect brews" vs "lots of cash" victory paths, grammar and art fixes in the rules, added the "in-tin" rules.

This will probably be the Contest Ready version unless I spot something wrong tonight!
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
Nigel_hmg wrote:
Playtest 7 is up!

Minor rebalancing of the cash from some bottles, cleaned up the art, extended the "powers" of the brewmaster tokens and the "flavour contaminants" to enhance the "perfect brews" vs "lots of cash" victory paths, grammar and art fixes in the rules, added the "in-tin" rules.

This will probably be the Contest Ready version unless I spot something wrong tonight!

The new components and tweaks look great!


One thing I forgot to say in my post last night:

I found that the front and back did not align when I printed out (v6 I think?) - just a minor graphical thing.
 
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Re: [WIP] Microbrew - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest [Compoent Ready]
bmsoltis wrote:
I found that the front and back did not align when I printed out (v6 I think?) - just a minor graphical thing.
Was it on everything or just the lager cards? I caught (and fixed) the lager card error, but I'm not sure what to do about the rest generally:

The art is lined up correctly (now, I think), but people's printers have different shifts particularly when doing double-sided and I can't compensate for that. It seems to be mostly a shift vertically on a portrait printout, but there is also some shift (om mine at least) left to right.

I've added a 4mm bleed to all the backs so that some shifting will be OK and we won't see bare paper or anything, but it can still knock things off kilter.
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OK, final changes are up and we're Contest Ready!

Found a missing icon, increased the bleed sizes for alignment issues caused by double sided printing, tweaked the turn tracker, added (hopefully) cute beer quotes to the card backs with logos and added printing guidance to the rules pdf.
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Nigel_hmg wrote:
bmsoltis wrote:
I found that the front and back did not align when I printed out (v6 I think?) - just a minor graphical thing.
Was it on everything or just the lager cards? I caught (and fixed) the lager card error, but I'm not sure what to do about the rest generally:

The art is lined up correctly (now, I think), but people's printers have different shifts particularly when doing double-sided and I can't compensate for that. It seems to be mostly a shift vertically on a portrait printout, but there is also some shift (om mine at least) left to right.

I've added a 4mm bleed to all the backs so that some shifting will be OK and we won't see bare paper or anything, but it can still knock things off kilter.

I had issues on all the cards - a shift left/right. But that could just be my printer. Looking forward to play the contest ready version!
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