What is Brew Crafters?
Brew Crafters is a Worker Placement game where players represent the owners of small craft breweries striving to have the best reputation after their first 3 years in operations. Through improving their production lines, making the right connections and hiring the right Skilled Workers, they will produce a variety of different types of beer, earning them money and (most importantly) reputation along the way.
Image originally by BGG user ckirkman – https://boardgamegeek.com/image/1601585/brew-crafters
The easiest comparison to make for Brew Crafters is to Agricola, the well-established and much loved game of running a farm in medieval Europe. While Brew Crafters does have several mechanics to differentiate itself, the setup featuring several boards, a plethora of wood and cardboard pieces along with the overall feel of “I just don’t have enough time!” make for an easy comparison. Unlike Agricola, the round actions of Brew Crafters don’t change from game to game, however there are various different Recipe and Skilled Worker cards that do, somewhat taking the place of the Occupation and Minor Improvement cards. In addition to their own Brewery board, each player has their own Brewery board as well as a secondary Research board which will allow players to take different strategic approaches every time they play.
As players collect resources and improve their breweries, they will be able to hire on additional Shifts and Skilled Workers, however each will increase the amount that they will be required to pay at the end of the year. This payment step in the game only occurs 3 times throughout the entire game and gives players much more of an opportunity to move their engine forward, rather than potentially being blocked and forced to make hugely sub-optimal moves just to meet this goal. Similar to Agricola, not being able to pay fees at the end of the year results in players having to take Loans that cost negative points at the end of the game.
Why Brew Crafters?
So, why exactly do I feel like I need yet another Worker Placement game? Well, for one thing, I don’t own Agricola and am planning on holding off until the “deluxe” edition is released in 2016 that contains a number of the available expansion decks. While I realize that Brew Crafters and Agricola are considerably different games, there is already someone who attends my current gaming group who has a copy of Agricola, giving me yet another reason to hold off getting it for now. That being said, I do want to own a game in this style prior to 2016, and while Caverna initially caught my eye, the price on it combined with the sandbox-y nature pushed it further down my list as it really seems to be the type of game that needs to be played repeatedly with the same group of people.
Brew Crafters is of particular interest to me because it has a more unique and interesting theme, at least when it comes to Worker Placement games. Viticulture is another WP game in my collection that we love and has a similarly unique theme, but Tuscany expansion aside, it’s not quite as meaty as Brew Crafters. In a nutshell, I’m looking for a game that’s close to Agricola without actually being Agricola, which is where Brew Crafters has caught my eye.
Header image by BGG user ckirkman – https://boardgamegeek.com/image/1811155/brew-crafters