Beer Pioneers is a worker recruitment game by Thomas Spitzer (illustrations by Harald Lieske), published this year (2023) by Spielefaible. The game was realized as a crowdfunding project as part of the offensive game and is within the scope of the connoisseur due to its complexity.
What awaits you at Bier Pioneers?
Beer Pioneers looks a bit old at first glance. Everything is cohesive and clear, but it lacks a bit of sparkle to stand out among the huge amount of new releases. The topic of beer brewing in the Ruhr region doesn't attract everyone behind the stove either. If you don't let that hold you back, you'll have a game that's as refreshing and soothing as a fresh beer on a warm summer evening. Beer Pioneers seems to be a niche game and anyone who has followed the work of Thomas Spitzer will put it there. That's a shame, because Pioneer Beer is definitely suitable for the masses.
How are beer pioneers played?
Basically everything is very simple. Players use workers to start and run their own beer production. They all started with Altbier, but will soon be able to expand their offerings to include export, pilsner, lager, wheat, and stout ales. Through various expansions and improvements such as: b. Cooling systems or malt plant, individual supply is increased and production is improved. By playing cards, players earn rewards, fulfill delivery orders, and can hire master brewers or do some board building to boost production.
This in itself leads to a comprehensive process, but it can also be found elsewhere. Of course, there are some funny tricks, such as production wheels for each type of beer or the clever use of the brewery's cellar, and the combination of the use of workers and cards with multiple usage options also has charm.
In addition, valuable bonus promotions are available. You can get it this way: Your workers have a value printed (initially 2 or 1). Next to the actions there is also a numerical value (4, 3 or 2). If the total of the factor and action is at least 6, the player gets an additional action. Over time, workers can gain experience and increase in value, making bonus actions more common.
Up to this point, Beer Pioneers is a good game. However, there is another area of work that is more interesting. All players can take a special action once per round, which not only provides attractive payouts (draw one to three cards, an additional delivery truck, an additional worker, etc.), but also determines the new player's ranking.
This is a real dilemma, because the background actions are really good, but it definitely puts us in last place in the new round. The forward actions are somewhat weak, but it puts us squarely in first place. Deciding when to perform a special action often racks players' brains. What if I wait a little longer? Then maybe I can do valuable major work and with a little luck, no one will compete with me for the top spot. But I definitely need this action next round! Maybe it's better to play it safe and give up the best in this round?
Administrative procedures and the end game
The administrative actions on the player board, of which you can gradually unlock more, are the icing on the cake. The end of the game is announced when the first person at the table gets 20 victory points. This is not a lot and makes every decision very convenient. There's not much room for bad planning.
Instructions and game materials
The instructions are clearly written and its clear design makes it easy to learn the game quickly. All the game pieces and markers are made of wood and everything is easy to identify. There is no accessory, but this can be compensated for with a good bag sorting system.
As far as the design is concerned, the game leaves room for improvement for a possible additional release, the colors corresponding to the different materials don't exactly match and the instructions are unfortunately too big for the box. The two missing slots for the six potential expansions are also a bit of a shame.
Conclusion: How good are beer pioneers?
There are many worker jobs in the expert games area, Teletum or viticulture It comes to mind while playing Beer Pioneers. There is a note from the author himself that viticulture It was his starting point for developing the game. Beer Pioneers also has the usual central game board on which workers are deployed, along with player boards on which players get individual improvements. At Beer Pioneers, the theme is implemented with great attention to detail and the different activities on the way from a small brewery to a large company feel harmoniously executed and super connected.
With a minimal luck factor, randomly available cards, and a high level of complexity, strategic players will definitely get their money's worth here. Many different worker actions and expansion options provide different strategies on the way to victory and ensure good replay value. Wilden Zuckerei was well received by beer goers.
Information about beer pioneers
- Title: Beer Pioneers
- Publisher: Spielefaible
- Author: Thomas Spitzer
- Number of players (from to): 2-4
- Age (from or to in years): 12
- Duration in minutes: 75-100
- Vintage: 2023
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