I had heard some good things about the board game Brew Crafters, designed by Ben Rosset and published by Dice Hate Me Games. Brew Crafters is supposed to be a heavy euro style worker placement game where you manage a brewery, trying to produce the best beers. As I am fond of beer and board games, I thought it would be something I was likely to enjoy. So, I placed it on my wish list to try out when I had the chance. Then, I came across the travel version, Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game. This game, also designed by Rosset, is much smaller in size and takes about 30 minutes (much less than the 90 minute supposed play time of Brew Crafters). But the reviews I found seemed to indicate that despite its size, BCTC still captured the feel of managing a brewery. So, I grabbed it. I’m glad I did.
BCTC can play up to 4 players, but a 4 player game must be played in teams, which I have not yet done. For for 1-3 players, each player takes turns drawing cards and either playing them into their own brewery for continued benefits, or discarding sets of them to brew batches of beer, trying to score 21+ victory points to win the game. Each card in the game has a special ability in the form or a worker or equipment which can provide certain benefits, making it easier to brew certain kinds of beer or providing scoring bonuses. In addition, each card has a symbol of a single ingredient – hops, malt, yeast, fruit, or coffee. Fruit and coffee are the rarest, and the prime ingredients of the most expensive and highest scoring beers. When you wish to brew a batch of beer, you simply discard a number of cards with the required symbols. However, these discarded cards cannot be played into your brewery, and their special abilities cannot be used to provide benefits. So, while it is a simple concept, there are interesting choices to make as to whether to score points now by brewing, or to play a card into your brewery to enhance your chances going forward.
For a quick game, there is a lot of different stuff (ingredients) in here to provide a solid gaming experience, especially if you like beer. The art in the game is interesting and the theme is ever present throughout. By the end of the game you should feel pretty proud of what you’ve built. Did you go worker heavy? Equipment heavy? Or did you balance it out? Maybe you specialized in ales. Maybe porters or special brews. Since I picked up my copy, I have played BCTC several times in my local beer garden and no one has been disappointed. I doubt you will be either. Cheers!