Friday, August 18, 2017

It's a free PnP about brewing beer. What more can you want?

GenCan't Roll and Write Library - Six Sided Stout

In Six Sided Stout, you are a home brewer brewing up a stout for a beer contest. It's designed as a solitaire game but, for reasons I'll go into, I suspect it will be the more fun as a multi-player.

The centerpiece of the game is the beer grid, a six by six grid of diamonds with an open space in the middle that contains water. You will be filling the diamonds in with malt, hops and yeast that you gather throughout the game.

The game lasts ten turns and on each turn, you can do one of two things. Go to the market or roast malt.

The market is where you get your malt and hops and yeast. You don't start with anything but a blank grid. To buy malt, you roll two dice and place them in your pale malt storage. To buy hops, you roll two dice, divide by two and then immediately write that many hops in on the grid, one per square. Yeast, same deal but you divide by three _and_ yeast must either touch the water in the middle or another yeast.

Roasting is simply moving two dice worth of malt from pale to caramel or from caramel to chocolate. And you can move malt onto the grid after any market or roasting action.

There are some restrictions. Because everyone is trying to get ingredients, you can't go after the same ingredient at the market two turns in a row and you can only roast two turns in a row. All the ingredients on the grid have to be connected. And you will score zero points if you don't have all three ingredients.

But you also get some special powers in the form of experts. There are four, one-use experts who can let you roll three dice and take the best two at market. One for each game ingredient and one who can work for any of the three ingredients. 

(I'm not sure why a home brewer knows and has easy access to all these guys. I bet there's a story involved. Maybe you actually work professionally at a brewery and your work is also your hobby. If that's the case, I bet the other home brewers hate your guts)

After ten turns, you score your grid. It's actually pretty interesting. Each malt is scored based on its roast, with pale being only worth one but chocolate worth five. Hops' score is based on the malt it is touching with the paler roast being worth more. Yeast is based on the malt it's touching, multiplied by the yeast's contact with water. (Which means it could be zero)

Six Sided Stout is a very quick playing game, seeing as how it's only ten rounds. At the same time, it has a surprisingly high number of decisions. Even by solitaire standards, it's very much putting a puzzle together but the pieces are going to be different every game.

The one thing I do wish was that there was some kind of rating for scores. While I can always try to improve on my last score, it would be nice to have a yard stick. I can understand why there isn't because both yeast and hops add some real deviance in scoring.

And that's why I think Six Sided Stout would be best played as a multi-player game. Yeah, there would be no interaction but you would have other people to compete with. Yeah, there could be some serious point deviance but it's a short enough game that it would still be fun.

In the current incarnation, there are two boards per sheet. I am thinking of blowing it up so there's one board on a single sheet to make it easier to play with dry erase markers.

While I do wish there was a better way to measure how well I'm doing (although keeping track of my score will eventually do that), I like the process of playing Six Sided Stout. 

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