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Subject: Beer Tycoon rss

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Jens Stenström
Finland
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Goldbräu is a different kind of financial boardgame which at first hand draws in gamers because of its' theme; beer! The players are trying to make the most profit out of the popular beerfestival in Germany, Seehausen am See, by buying shares in breweries and beertents at the festival square.



THE BOARD
The board is lavishly illustrated yet simple and practical. You get a good overview very quickly and it works for all purposes in the game. In the middle of the board there's the festival square which conveniently is divided into squares. There are three kinds of squares on the festival square; normal tables (worth 4 thalers), tables with parasols (worth 8 thalers) and 'forrest' which is impossible to build on.
Around the festival square there are six beertents and at the outskirts, in the corners of the board, there are four breweries.


OTHER COMPONENTS
The game is mostly card driven, so the deck of cards is the main component. Each player recieves, at the beginning of the game, three actioncards which are used over and over again through the game - these cards are used to determine what your action will be for the turn. Then there's a big deck of cards which includes sharecards for the breweries and beertents, the pretty waitress-cards and the drunken bum-cards (which also have one marker of each).
Each beertent has a fenced area of control on the festival square and standard wooden sticks are used to mark where the fences are. Every brewery has tree chits with that brewery's symbol on - these are used to mark which beertents the appropriate brewery is supplying. The papermoney (thalers) is the only components which I always exchange; for pokerchips, because it makes payday much more easier (more about that later). Then you have your usual wooden cubes in four different colours (one colour for each player) that represent shares, every colour/player has six pawns which represent 'bosses', there's a round disc that is the first player-marker and one that's the 'payday'-marker. The components are of good standard quality. One thing that I would like to point out about the components, just one more time, is the illustrations; this is a really beautiful, though subtle, game!



THE BEGINNING OF THE GAME
At the beginning of the game each player recieves 25 thaler and 16 (4 player game) or 18 (three player game) sharemarkers (those wooden cubes). They also take eight sharecards from the drawdeck and the six boss-pawns in their respective colour.
Before the first round begins, each player will use six of their sharecards to place sharemarkers on beertents and/or breweries (I'll explain how this works in detail soon). The two cards left over are kept in hand and are not shown to the other players. After this, the 'pretty waitress'-cards and the 'drunken bum'-cards are shuffled into the drawdeck with the sharecards. Now every player, in clockwise order places one boss onto any brewery or beerstand that does not already have a boss, until everybody has placed two of their bosses onto the board. The delievery-tokens (showing which brewery supplies which beertent) are then distributed at random to the beertents.


GAMEPLAY
The game is played in rounds with each one representing a day of the week. Every seventh day, Sunday, is payday and the players recieve their profits. After three weeks (21 rounds) the game ends and the player with the most money wins the game. One player takes the 'first player'-disc and the player opposite that player takes the 'payday'-disc. The top two cards from the drawdeck are placed face-up beside the board at the beginning of each round.
Each player then chooses one of his/her actioncards and places it face-down on the table and all players turn them face-up simultaneously. The three possible actions each turn are;

1) Expand the fenced area at one beertent. The player that chooses this action can expand the fenced area at one of the beertents where he/she has a boss. If only one player chooses this action during this turn then he/she can expand one area two spaces or two areas one space. If multiple players have chosen this action then all players that have chosen the action can expand one area one space as long as they have a boss in the corresponding beertent.

2) Place a boss/change contract. These are actually two seperate actions which, again, depends on how many players choose to take this action. If only one player chooses this action the he/she can do both actions, while if multiply players have chosen then only one action is chosen for each player.
Place a boss. The player may place one of his/her bossfigure on any empty brewery/beertent or can try to replace another players boss with his/her own in one brewery/beertent. A player has to have the majority of shares in the brewery/beertent where he decides to replace another players boss with his own. Also, when the player announces which he will try to take over, both players, the present boss and the new boss, can play cards from their hands to 'quickbuy' shares trying to get the majority.
Change contract. The player may change the supplier (brewery) for one of the beertents as long as that player has a boss in the beetent and the brewery that gets the new contract.

3) Buy a sharecard. The player may buy one of the two face-up cards or then the top card from the drawdeck. If the player opts to buy a face-up card then it must be used immediately. If the player buys a card from the drawdeck then he can decide if he wants to use it right away or keep on hand. Exception; if the card drawn is a special card (pretty waitress/drunken bum) then it has to be played immediately. When a players plays a special card then he may move the pretty waitress or the drunken bum (depends on which card it is) 1-2 beertents clockwise or counter-clockwise.
If the player is the only one to buy a share-card then it costs two thalers, if there are two players buying then it costs four thalers and if there's three to four players buying shares then it's eight thalers per player.

Other rules:
When the sixth share of any brewery/beertent is placed on the board, then all the players that have only one share in that place will have to remove them. There is only six shares up for graps for each brewery/beertent.
The cards that player have in hand can be played at any time and shares are put on the board according to the card.



PAYDAY
As said, every seventh day which is Sunday will be payday. The day when some players rejoice in their newfound riches and some say bad words because their broke. Before the payday begins all players have the opportunity to play as many cards from hand as they wish. The paying of profits works as follows:

1) You count the profits for each beertent; for every normal table inside the beertents fences the beertent recieves four thalers. For every table with a parasol inside the fenced area the beertent recieves eight thalers. Also; the beertent that has the pretty waitress recieves a twenty thaler bonus and the beertent with the drunken bum loses twelve thalers (note: a beertent can never make a negative profit).

2) Half of a beertents profits go to the supplier (the brewery).

3) The profits from each beertent and brewery is divided amongst the shareholders in proportion. If the profit can't be evenly divided between the shareholders then the boss takes the leftover profits after dividing.

ex. A beertent has a profit of 14 thalers. Red has two shares, Blue has two shares and Green has one share. The boss is Red's. You divide the profit with five ( = five shares ). As this is impossible, you divide as closly as you can while giving the leftovers to the boss -> Red gets 8 thalers (2 shares x 2 thalers + 4 for the boss), Blue gets 4 thalers (2 shares x 2 thalers) and Green gets 2 thalers for his one share.


END OF GAME
After three weeks and the third payday the game is over. The player with the most money wins the game!



COMMENTS AND OPINIONS
Let's go straight ahead with the two bad things in the game, which actually become bad when they are combined. I've always hated papermoney and this game is no exception, it's actually worse since the other bad thing is the complexity of paying the profits. These two factors combined causes a big headache for me. But, there's a solution. There's a way to completely erase this problem from the game; pokerchips. The pokerchips isn't just a great way to get rid of horrible paper money, but they also fasten the payday-calculating immensly! You just sort in to stacks and deal and sort and after a couple of round you won't even notice that there is any calculating. You see, the problem is that the payday-system is really great and it works fine and by using pokerchips you actually take away the only backside from that one mechanic. I would never, I repeat, never, play this game without pokerchips!
The biggest thumbs up for Goldbräu is that it's so different from any other finansegame I ever played and it really feels like you're a businessman buying stocks and changing bosses and trying to earn the most cash by doing as little work as possible. Yes, it's really abstract, but I would never call the theme pasted on, becuase it fits so well and seemlessly.
The actioncards are a simple yet elegant way of moving the game forward. There's hardly any downtime and you really have to try to read your opponents, because you want those bonuses for being the only one doing that one action. This also means that it's not always a good thing to go diving for that one sharecard face-up on the table that is worth so much (could be a share in a brewery that supplies three profitable beertents), because you can almost be sure that everyone else will... or are they thinking the way you are?
This is one of the first games I bought and has been one of my all time favourites since. I must admit that I bought it purely for the theme and I had no idea of what the game was really about. But I'm so happy I did because this is one of those games that I can say is almost made just for me.

Btw. we usually play with a houserule concerning beer;
Everytime we play this game we buy four different kinds of beer to drink while playing. Then we decide which brewery makes which of our 'real' beers. The only way a player can enjoy a beer of a certain kind is by being the boss in the corresponding brewery - this makes the game more "heated up" since the players will go more aggressivly for some of the breweries...
arrrh

So that's it; Goldbräu. One of my favourite games. I'm sorry for all the grammatical and spelling errors and the fact that this is really chaotic - it all makes sense in my head. Cheers!
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Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
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Excellent review, Jens. Goldbrau is also one of my favorite games.

Regarding the paper money, you (like many gamers) obviously prefer poker chips, and they probably work very well. But I must say that we haven't had a problem with the paper money in our games, so I wouldn't want readers to get the impression that the pay-out calculations are too hard without chips.

Thanks for the very thorough review.
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Aaron Gelb
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Quote:
Btw. we usually play with a houserule concerning beer;
Everytime we play this game we buy four different kinds of beer to drink while playing. Then we decide which brewery makes which of our 'real' beers. The only way a player can enjoy a beer of a certain kind is by being the boss in the corresponding brewery - this makes the game more "heated up" since the players will go more aggressivly for some of the breweries...
arrrh


Thats cool, i like that idea. When we play Axis and Allies, I go and buy beers from the specific countries in the game. You can only enjoy a beer from you or your allies country. Its fun to see your buddy sippin on his Sopporo while your chuggin your Boddington's as he invades your factory in India!
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Mark Crocker
United States
Westland
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Nice review! I've had this game for nearly 2 years, and for the life of me cannot get my gamer friends to play. Could it be the fact that I'm the only one of us that drinks beer (at least openly...who knows what they do in the "closet"). I mean I've spilled more beer in my life than all of my gaming friends combined, have ever imbibed.

Geeze I wish this was on SpielByWeb.
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Peter Marchlewitz
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Nice review! I'll have to take this game out and play it again. I enjoyed it the first time.!
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Jens Stenström
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Quote:
Regarding the paper money, you (like many gamers) obviously prefer poker chips, and they probably work very well. But I must say that we haven't had a problem with the paper money in our games, so I wouldn't want readers to get the impression that the pay-out calculations are too hard without chips.


Well it's true that I have personal issues with paper money and prefer pokerchips every time and you're right about the pay-out calculations; it isn't too complicated, but it still a lot easier with pokerchips and as I said; we drink beer while playing this game, so the calculating at the end of the game becomes quite difficult at the end of the game

But yes, I prefer the pokerchips but the game itself isn't any less worth if you play with the paper money.
And thank you for the kind words.
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Jens Stenström
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Crockerdile wrote:
Nice review! I've had this game for nearly 2 years, and for the life of me cannot get my gamer friends to play. Could it be the fact that I'm the only one of us that drinks beer (at least openly...who knows what they do in the "closet"). I mean I've spilled more beer in my life than all of my gaming friends combined, have ever imbibed.

Geeze I wish this was on SpielByWeb.


Well, one problem with the game is one I failed to mention; it's only for three to four players. Mostly when we've played this we've had to make teams, because we've had more than four players.
I think you should try to get this on your table, 'cause you don't have to like beer (shame shame shake ) to love this game...
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Steven D
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Great review... Just added it to my wish list!
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