Friday, October 7, 2022

Seeing how Six Sided Stour has aged

Since I have been reading the Comic Book History of Beer (a fun but clearly biased read), I decided to revisit Six Sided Stout, a solitaire Roll and Write about home brewing.

Six Sided Stout got an honorable mention in the 2017 GenCan’t design contest. That contest jump started my interest in Roll and Write games and made me realize that Roll and Write games could go a lot farther than Yahtzee. And it’s been a fun journey that shows no sign of ending.

But, wow, it’s a surprise to realize that that was five years ago. I didn’t think it had been that long.  I’ve tried out a lot of R&Ws in that time.

Anyway. Six Sided Stout. It’s been five years since I last played it. It’s both simpler and more interesting than I remembered it lol

In the game, you take on the role of a home brewer who has ten days to new a stout for a contest. Each day, you either go to the market to get ingredients or roast malt that you gotten on an previous turn.

The actual use of dice comes in getting resources. You roll two dice to see how much you get from the marker. Rarer ingredients involve dividing the number. (Yeast, the rarest ingredient, has you divide by three so snake eyes  is a bad roll) You get four dice manipulations to add a third die and take the best two. (One for each ingredient and one wild) 

The core of the game is adding ingredients to a grid. It’s a nifty grid, tilted 90 degrees so it forms a diamond. There a big water drop in the middle so there is a jagged inner perimeter.

Coming back to Six Sided Stout after exploring a lot of different R&W ideas, I was surprised at how simple and slight it is. In fact, I suspect that the most reliable way to get a high score is get as much of the darkest roast of malt on the board and add the minimum amount of yeast and hops. In other words, I think you can brute strength your way over the puzzle aspect.

The best part of Six Sided Stout is easily the theme. While just mixing water, malted barley, yeast and hops together is a massive over simplification of beer making, it works for a five minute R&W. I wouldn’t have remembered the game, let alone gone and played it a few more times, if it wasn’t for the theme.

Six Sided Stout is an okay game. The fact that’s it’s free, uses little ink and has a short playing time helps its case but there are a lot of games that fit that bill. The beer brewing theme is what makes it interesting and a game I might play once a year or so.

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