I stumbled upon Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game semi-accidentally. I was after a copy of the board game Brew Crafters but was unable to get my hands on it as it was out of stock at the time. In my search, I noticed that Dice Hate Me Games had also published a smaller travel version of the game. Dubbed "rabbit" sized, in comparison to the full board game's "tiger size," I decided to give the game a whirl as I am a fan of craft beers, and the beer brewing theme is what originally put me on the hunt for Brew Crafters in the first place. What I got was a fun set collection game at a low price point that has me even more eager to lay my hands on a copy of the board game.
Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game - A Compact Edition
Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game is a set collection game that sees two to four players competing against each other to brew beers, hire workers, and install equipment in their brewery in an attempt to earn the best Reputation. The game is played until one player earns 21 reputation points, after which total scores are tallied, and the player with the highest total Reputation wins.
Game-play in Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game is fairly simple. Each player keeps a hand of cards and can draw cards from a known pool of face-up cards or from the deck on their turn. Players can play one card on the table as a worker or equipment and can brew a beer if they manage to gather up the needed ingredients. Cards played onto the table generally make brewing easier or allow for certain beers to gain that player more Reputation.
A Dash of Strategy With Your Hops and Barley
The different abilities gained from playing cards add a fun bit of strategy to what would otherwise be simply a matter of waiting to collect the ingredients for the most reputable brews. Players need to balance the desire to gain the benefit from a card versus their need to use that same card as an ingredient to brew a beer. Porters and Ales, for example, aren't worth the Reputation gains that Lambics and Coffee Stouts offer, but this changes when a player hires an Ale & Porter specialist. Smart players can take advantage of various different card interactions in order to make brewing beers not only more lucrative but also cheaper and easier to brew. Additionally, the fact that each card can be used in different ways means that it is very rare for a player to run out of options on a turn, and it keeps the game pace flowing nicely.
The beer brewing theme is fun and unique, although the connection between the theme and the mechanics is light. The card interactions and consistent art do help to keep the theme tied to the game, and it is especially fun to play the game while drinking a pint of good craft beer. The game plays quickly and can be easily carried in a pocket to the pub, meaning that it fits the "filler" niche very well.
A Few notes on Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game
A note on player count
Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game has the option to play with more than two players, although the game plays best when the player count is kept at two. Players looking for a multiplayer game, first and foremost, should look elsewhere.
A note on “chrome.”
The cards in Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game are good quality, and the art is consistent and attractive. The rules are easy to learn and teach, and the game's small form makes it easy to stick into a pocket and take on the go. The small poker chips used to keep track of players' scores on the scorecards are a little too big for the purpose they serve but are easily replaced and are functional, if not ideal if players choose to use them.
Is Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game worth my Money?
Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game is a quick, fun, and interesting set collection game. Fans of craft beer and home brewing should really take to the theme, although knowledge of beer brewing/drinking is not necessary to enjoy the game. The small form of the game makes it easily portable as well as easy to teach. For the price point, and as a lover of craft beers, I can easily recommend it as a fun "filler" game.
The copy of Brew Crafters: The Travel Card Game used for this review was purchased by the reviewer.