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Life Update Plus Dwarven Beerfest Redesign


I haven't posted in a while, but I should be a bit more active going forward. There have been two bits of news in my life recently:

  1. My wife and I have decided to split up. It is amicable, but still stressful trying to sort everything out. Hence why I haven't posted since April, as I have had my mind on other things.

  2. The rights to Dwarven Beerfest have reverted back to me.


Dwarven Beerfest

The options for what to do with Dwarven Beerfest are:

  • Tighten up the rules and pitch it to a publisher

  • Tighten up the rules and self-publish it, either via Kickstarter/Gamefound, The Game Crafter etc.

  • Just be happy that I got a game successfully published, with decent feedback from everyone.


Pitching to a Publisher

I can't think of a reason not to pitch the game to a board games publisher, apart from that I don't want to :)


Self-publishing

Self-publishing via crowd funding would be a no-go - in addition to the outlay for marketing and research into all aspects of delivering a game to people, I would need a significant outlay for the art. Dwarven Beerfest is quite an art heavy game, and art is (rightfully) expensive, I am not in a position to do this at the moment.


The other option would be to put it on somewhere like The Game Crafter. I would still have to pay for all of the art, but I wouldn't need to pay for anything else. Due to my impending divorce, I cannot justify spending money on things like art for a project that might not make any sales whatsoever.


Dwarven Beerfest Redesign

However, as I haven't done any design for Spaceship 47 for months, I am going to ease myself back in to game design by doing a re-design of Dwarven Beerfest to get my creative juices flowing.


Eliminating After Drinks Cards

The first thing I did was look at all of the action cards that you can play. Each action card denotes which of the four phases of the game (Order, Pre-drink, After-drinks and Quaffing) that it can be played in. There were only two cards in the entire deck (it is actually one card, repeated once) that can be played in the after-drinks phase. In addition to this, it is an annoying card. Once the dice that everyone uses to calculate their drink score have been rolled, the card allows you to re-roll a dice. So, everyone who had just used that dice to calculate their drink score has to now recalculate their score.


These cards don't seem vital to the game, so I will eliminate the "Not Finished Yet" card and the After-drinks phase. This makes the game simpler and should move the game along quicker.


Actually, now that I think about it, you could fold all of the Pre-drink cards into the Orders phase. Looking at them, there is no reason that they need to be in a separate phase. This would simplify the game to three parts:

  1. Drawing drinks cards and playing action cards.

  2. Rolling all six dice and seeing whether the sum of the two dice that you are using exceeds the quaff value of the drink cards in your order.

  3. Playing post-drinking action cards.

This has reduced the game from 5 phases of the game to 3 without making it worse in any way, shape or form.


Changing the Drunk Symbol on the Drinks Cards

Dwarven Beerfest is a push-you-luck game. However, there is a 1 in 4 chance that your Dwarf becomes Drunk without you pushing your luck. This feels wrong to me.


The reason that this happens is that you have to draw at least one drink card on your turn. One in four of the drink cards have the drunk symbol on it (see below image).


A uniformly red face icon with a sad mouth and crosses instead of eyes.
The Drunk Symbol from Dwarven Beerfest

If there is a drink card with the drunk symbol on it in your order, then you automatically become drunk at the end of the round, even if you pass your drink roll.


I would fix this by cutting the symbol in half. Some cards would have one half of the symbol and some cards would have the other half. Cards that have the left-hand side of the symbol, would have it on their right side. Cards that have the right-hand side of the symbol, would have it on their left side. Then if at any point, during ordering, your line of drinks makes a Drunk symbol (see the image below), then the payer will become drunk at the end of the round.


This means that it would be the player's decision to push on and possibly get drunk, knowing that this is a possibility.


Bursting

Currently, you burst if the quaff value of the drinks that you have drawn so far from the drink deck exceeds the maximum possible that you can roll. This means that you automatically fail your drink roll and cannot draw any more cards. This rule was introduced because during play testing, somebody knew they were in front as they were the only person to have banked any drinks, so they just drew the rest of the deck. Game over. They won.


However, as implemented, there are some problems:

  1. The player has to work out what the maximum value their dice can roll is. This is not a difficult calculation, but as the dice being used can change during ordering, this seems unnecessary.

  2. If you play the Two Chickens card, theoretically, your drink score can be more than the maximum that you can roll, therefore having the maximum of your quaff score be based on the dice you need to roll, seems odd.

I would change this to "if the quaff value of your drinks is greater than or equal to 20, then you bust". This is a nice round number that would hopefully be easy to remember and doesn't mean people have to recalculate if they play cards during their turn. This one would definitely need play testing to see if people can abuse it.


Favourite Drink

Each Dwarf has a different Favourite Drink. If their Favourite Drink is in their order when they calculate their drink score, they use the orange d8 instead of the orange d6 like usual.


This works fine at the moment, but I thought it would be interesting to try something different. Instead of it increasing the size of the die you use to drink, you would just ignore everything on the right-hand side of cards that are your Favourite Drink. The right-hand side of drinks cards would include the quaff value meaning that your Favourite Drink essentially has a quaff value of 0 for you. The right-hand side of the card may also include half of the drunk icon, so you can ignore that as well, meaning that you know you cannot get drunk from the drunk icon when drawing the next card.


Wine Sets

If you have a set of Elven, Gnome and Halfling wine, then you get bonus renown points at the end of the game. There is also Dark Elf Shadow Wine which is used as a wild card when calculating your wine sets at the end of the game.


It seems strange to have set collection in a push-your-luck game, but welp, it's there. The trouble with this is that as there are so many different drink cards, you can't really push your luck in the hope of getting more wine for your sets, as there is only a 1 in 5 chance of getting any of the wine cards, the one you actually want will be an even smaller chance. I am not sure what I would do about this though as I think that you ned a variety of drinks that do different things to keep the game interesting. I'll leave this in at the moment and see if anything comes to me at a later date.


Dark Elf Shadow Wine

The Dark Elf Shadow Wine card is one of the drinks whose quaff value is not fixed. For the Dark Elf Shadow Wine, its quaff value is whatever the value of the d4 that is rolled is. The d4 is also used to calculate your drink score if you are "taking it easy". It seems that it is used as both increasing the difficulty and also used to calculate the score of overcoming that difficulty.


I would change the way this works by putting random numbers from 0 to 3 on the backs of the drinks card (see image below). The Dark Elf Shadow Wine quaff value would be equal to the value displayed on the card that is the top of the deck. This is one less thing to work out when rolling the dice to drink.


A card illustrated with a wooden barrel that takes up the entire size of the card. The letters DB are stylised and in a circle in the middle of the card. The number 3 is in a circle at the bottom of the card.

Conclusion

That sounds like a lot of changes, but I really am not bitching about the game. It is a fine, fun game. But I just think with a few small tweaks it could be even better. I guess creative endeavours are never completed, just abandoned.

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