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Brew Review

Brew Review

Brew Review

Have you ever dreamed of being a master potion brewer? Now you can with the board game “Brew” from Pandasaurus Games. Players compete to create the most valuable potions using various ingredients in a strange world where the seasons happen simultaneously. If you’re new to the game, this guide will explain the rules and strategies to help you brew your way to victory.

Game Overview

Brew is what’s known as a dice drafting game. Each player gets their own set of dice that they roll at the beginning of each round. This is called the dice pool, and players alternate turns by drawing dice and placing them on one of the forest cards or in the Village. Players gain the ingredients needed to create potions, block their opponents from controlling a forest, or gain special abilities in the village. Players can also use their dice to train the creatures of the forests. At the end of the game, the players add up the victory points they’ve gained through brewing potions, claiming forests, and releasing creatures, amongst other methods.

Game Components

When we first looked at “Brew,” we noticed the art style is quite different from other games we’ve played. The illustrations are beautiful and you can tell that a lot of effort went into the overall aesthetic of the game.

There are four sets of color-coordinated forage player dice, each with unique symbols on them to denote the type of forest feature they represent. Additional white “element” dice are also given to each player.

Along with the dice, there are a ton of ingredient tokens and energy berries for you to collect.

The game’s core is the forest, potion, and creature cards. The design of each of these was easy to read and understand. We love the special abilities that specific cards provide. We also loved the illustrations of the forest creatures. They almost looked real! (not really, but fun to say!)

Game Setup

Before starting the game, the players lay out the village board with the “Day” side up. The village board has two sides on it that get flipped after every round.

Then they lay out random forest cards based on the number of players. After shuffling the potion cards, they used 4 of them to create the initial market. Finally, the players shuffle the creatures into their four suits and create faceup piles next to the board.

A two-player game is set up like the above picture, with players sitting opposite each other.

Player Setup

Each player draws a random character to play. Each character has a special ability that allows them to break a game rule… They also take the corresponding colored dice to their character, along with 2 white element dice and one energy berry. Then you are ready to play!

Gameplay

The game takes place over four rounds in which all players use their 6 dice and place them in forests or in the village. The round starts with the players rolling their dice to form their dice pool.

They then alternate turns, which have them take one of their colored forage dice and place it on a matching space in the forest. They may also choose to play a white element die which acts as a wild (in place of any specific forage symbol), to gain the ingredient. Players can “forage” for ingredients or train a creature using these dice. Placing dice in the forest helps gain victory points at the end of the game by controlling the forests. Alternatively, players can place the dice in the village to gain one of the special abilities there.

Players gather ingredients and take one matching ingredient token from the supply. Players may select a creature from the faceup display when using their die to train it. Each creature grants either one-time or persistent abilities that your player now gains.

When a player decides to use their die on the village, they can either use a matching element for two of the particular abilities or any die to gather one ingredient or train a single creature. The village board is double-sided, and between each round, the board is flipped from day to night and back today. Each side of the board offers different special abilities for using the elemental dice.

After placing a die, the player may choose to brew a potion. To do this, they spend the required ingredients, return those tokens to the supply, and take the potion into their hands A player’s hand of potions is hidden from other players, so after a player draws a potion, its special ability can be used at any time to catch your opponents off guard.

Throughout the game, players will gain energy berries. These are wild ingredients and can replace any other ingredient in a brew.

Finally, you may drink a potion to gain its power. Once drunk, the potion card is placed beneath the player’s character card, and it remains there through the rest of the game and grants additional victory points at the end.

At the end of each round, players claim forests and use their creature’s powers.

To claim a forest, a player must have the most dice of their color in the forest (no ties) over their opponent’s colored dice, and a player must have more of their own dice than element dice in a forest as well.

If no forest cards are left in the deck, the game ends and moves to score. If forest cards are left, the players take back all their dice and remove any remaining forest cards from the display. They then flip the village board, draw another set of forests and put them in the display.

A note about creatures, players may only have three trained creatures at a time. Once they reach that limit, they must release one of their creatures back into the forest. When a player does this, they lose the ability to use the special power but still get the victory point. If you have claimed a forest that is of the same suit as the creature, you may release that creature into the forest, and you gain three victory points by flipping the creature card facedown. Only one creature may be released into a single forest.

At the end of the fourth round, Players add their Victory Points gained from Brewed Potions, Claimed forests, released creatures, and leftover ingredients.

Some additional rules include forcing dice into forests. So say you want to control a forest but don’t have the correct forage die face on any of your dice. Well, you can spend the ingredient shown and place the dice down. Another tactic to gain a forest is to scorch one of the empty slots so that no one can get it. Lastly, some powers allow players to stack dice on top of their opponents. Only the top die counts for controlling the forest.

Overall Impressions

Now did we like this game? Half of us did! (there are two of us playing to be clear). One of us thought it was a fun and unique dice drafting game that kept them engaged. The other was more like, “What’s the point?” The “Why” was missing, like why are we doing this?

We both feel Brew is a fun and engaging game that requires strategy and planning to master. By carefully managing your ingredient tokens and choosing which potions to pursue, you can brew your way to victory. Whether you’re a seasoned board gamer or a newcomer to the hobby, Brew is worth checking out. So grab your potion cauldron and get brewing!

 

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