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Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game

I don’t drink beer.  It’s foul, nasty, and leads to all sorts of problems…physical and legally, to name a few.  Have a mixed berry smoothie with a scoop of whey protein instead.  I’m having one right now, in fact.  It’s okay to be jealous, I won’t hold it against you.  “Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game” is a lighter version of the board game “Brew Crafters” (which I admittedly haven’t played) that tasks players with earning reputation points by brewing beer. I’m okay with that, seeing as how I don’t have to drink any of it after the fact.  Blech.

 

Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game - 2-4 Players, Ages 13+, Average Play Time = 30 Minutes

Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game – 2-4 Players, Ages 13+, Average Play Time = 30 Minutes

 

Setup & Gameplay

It’s worth noting right out of the gate that you’ll have to pair off into teams if you have four players and the rules will be slightly different.  To keep things simple, I’ll opt to overview the 2-3 player standard game.

Each player gets a scorecard and token for tracking rep points.  The deck is shuffled and each player gets four cards to form their starting hand.  Then, five are dealt face-up next to the deck to form the draw pool.  Be sure to leave room for a face-up discard pile stack next to the deck.  The person who most recently consumed a beer gets the start player card and goes first.

On a player’s turn, they’ll first draw two cards from either the face-down deck or from the available face-up pool.  After drawing two cards, they’ll replace any taken from the pool by drawing from the deck.

After that, they can either play one card in front of them for its special effect (which persists for the rest of the game), discard cards to brew beer and earn rep, or pass.  Players may substitute two matching ingredients to replace one ingredient they’re missing.  The special effect on cards played for brewing are ignored.

At the end of a player’s turn, they’ll discard down to seven cards and play proceeds clockwise. The game ending condition is triggered when someone gets 21 points.  Turns proceed until everyone has had an equal number of turns and whoever has the most after that, wins!

Editor’s Note: The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you an idea as to how the game is played.

The Review

“Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game” is fairly simplistic as travel games go, though there was a small amount of strategy to the game.  I was always debating whether or not to brew beer or to lay down cards so that I could receive some sort of passive benefit for the rest of the game.  For example, having an ale and porter specialist in front of me early on would probably be a good idea if I kept seeing the ingredients necessary to craft either beer come up in the pool.  Some cards, like the employee manager, score you bonus rep at the game’s end.

This clearly opens the door for multiple ways to play.  One might opt to brew as much as they can, dedicating all of their cards as ingredients in the hopes of climbing the rep ladder like Speedy Gonzales.  On the other hand, having a bunch of passive abilities will make brewing and earning points easier over the long haul.  It’s up to you to determine which strategy is more effective as you’re playing the game.

I personally think that this game is simply OK for two or three players…not so much for four.  I’m just not a fan of team games and I wish there were enough cards so that four people could play without the need for teams.  The card effects are also few and far between, meaning that players will more than likely end up with the same cards in front of them by the end of the game.  That aside, the art is pretty good and the price reasonable at about $15 on Amazon as of 2/22/16.  While I haven’t played the board game to know if this travel version stays true to the formula, I somewhat enjoyed playing it nonetheless.  There are certainly other card games out on the market that do fillers better and support more players.

Final Verdict: 5/10

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