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     " A great way for adults to sit around a table and have a beer. "

      Title: BrewMaster: The Craft Beer Game by Cold Creek Publishing

      Format: Party Card Game

      Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo

      The Hype: Home beer brewing has been on the rise for the last several years and, thus, it was only a matter of time before someone produced the first game that lets "the exciting world of microbrewing and craftbrewing come alive". BrewMaster is that game. But will it go down strong and smooth or be a bitter lump in our throats? Read on, my monkeys…lead on.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Playability: I can honestly say I had no idea what to expect when I opened up BrewMaster. I mean, hell, how best would a game about brewing work? Well, it turns out it's by "setting" the game among the numerous annual beer brewer's competitions and having the player with the most trophies (from their beers winning the competitions) at the end of the game win. If it sounds complicated, it's not, it's just my inept chimp-like expositions that make it seem that way.
          In short, the game is played like any run-of-the-mill party card game. Working from a hand of 6 cards, players attempt to "build" beers by combining cards representing the 3 key elements to beer: malts, hops, and yeast. Each type of ingredient must be compatible with the type of beer your brewing (i.e. must all be able to be used to brew a stout) and, once done, you submit that beer to the appropriate type of festival which gets you fans of that type of beer (ale, lager, stout, porter, wheat, and Belgian). At various points throughout the game, contest cards will come up and a dice will randomly choose a festival type- with the player having the most fans on a festival taking that trophy and the most trophies at the end of the game winning.
          Though incredibly simple we found that it was a helluva lot of fun as a nice and easy party game (there are absolutely no complications or confusing ad hoc rules) and as a drinking game it's da bomb. Our only minor complaint was the lack of any real "spice" to the game-even though there are "Event" cards to add a random element geek gamers will feel the absence of ground shaking random events. Still, for a lot of people, a straight card game without addendums and contradictions is a welcome addition to their libraries. 4 out of 5

      Aesthetics: BrewMaster comes with a nice laminated, though obviously cost saving, placard board and lush full color cards. The board indicates the festivals and turn order along its borders (always a nice touch) and the cards depict stock images of the type of ingredient in question. All in all, it's obviously a canned affair but at the same time is still nice and easy on the eyes and has a very professional quality and feel to it. 3.75 out of 5

      Value vs. Cost: Though nicely colored and head and shoulders above a lot of the indy games out there, BrewMaster's $29.99 price tag may be a bit much to ask for a party game. The pictures on the cards, though nice, are stock and are repeated on each of the card types, the counters are nice and well made but generic, and the board is soft laminate. I think a $19.99 retail would have been a bit more appropriate. 3 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       All in all, we really enjoyed playing BrewMaster and definitely will do so more in the future. Its fun, fast paced theme games are a great casual time-killer for beer lovers everywhere and may even contribute to your knowledge of beer brewing. Our only real gripe is the slightly high price point, but it's a game that will last and, if you think you'll play it, will likely be worth the investment.

      The Good: Fun, easy, and requires no adjunct thought.

      The Bad: A little pricey and uses generic card images.

      The Overall Ugly: A great way for adults to sit around a table and have a beer.

      What it's Worth: See if you can find it on sale for 20 bucks.

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