Incorporating feedback from PnP

Categories:Brewin' USA, Design Blog
Adam Rehberg

First, thanks for downloading the Brewin’ USA Print and Play!

In the spirit of Print and Play, Kickstarter, and the Board Game Community, I was fortunate to have a few of the downloaders already reach out with feedback about the game.  There was one point of feedback in particular that was coming up often as polarizing.  The Blind Bidding Auction mechanic.  I was even able to have a Skype call with a Johnny C from Menomonee Falls, WI and we discussed the design basis about where a blind bidding system can shine and where it can falter.
 <Johnny C> The PnP looks great and I can’t wait to play it with my group.  I do have some concerns over the Blind Bidding mechanic of the game.  A blind bid really benefits a game when you’re looking to create randomness.
<Adam> Interesting, I’d love to hear more.  My goal in the auction was to create interesting decisions for the player and forming a unique auction each round helps accomplish that.
<Johnny C> Oh yea, I wouldn’t change that part.  I just think Blind Bidding that depletes resources is frustrating to new players and can leave people feeling sour.  Have you ever heard feedback from a player feeling frustrated or disadvantaged as a result of a blind bid auction?
<Adam> Yes I have, though not every game.  I have started teaching a low, average, and high bid when demoing the game which helps.  Players typically ask for this information if I forget it.  I also created a refund mechanic to counteract that from happening and give players a way to regain bidding resources, but it is clunky in principle and can break down if players choose to low-ball auctions.
<Johnny C> Interesting… Seems like a lot in place to counteract the effects of a blind bid.  How about this.  Instead of a refund and a blind bid, use a turn based bidding system.
<Adam> Okay I can definitely try it out and see the impact to the game play.  I also have a goal of keeping the play time short, around an hour or possibly less.  Any ideas how to generate bidding resources for players?
<Johnny C> Hmm… instead of a refund, allow some way earning back bottle caps that also promotes fun aspects of game play.  Maybe an end of round profit for each beer occupying a city.
<Adam> Love it, sold.  It fits the theme really well and will help get players on the board quickly.

Introducing Brewin’ USA v1.1

Have no fear though, your hard work cutting out cards is not affected!  For a 5 players game, you will need an additional ~35 bottle caps to allow beer cards to earn profits.

I took this feedback and very quickly revised a rule-book based on a more user friendly auction mechanic, but one that still consistently delivers interesting decisions to game-play.  Having already play tested this system 4 times  since creation, I am very happy with the result – Namely players can more quickly get up to speed without guessing what a high, low, and average bid will be.
I have uploaded a new v1.1 How to Play video and Rule-book.

Brewin’ USA v1.1 Patch Notes

  • Turn Based bidding vs Blind Simultaneous (Thx Johnny C)
  • Removed Refunds from auction (clunky)
  • Removed “Linen Bag” and thus need to hide bottle caps (clunky)
  • Removed Side Pot from game (clunky and potentially game breaking)
  • Added end of round Profit Generation to Beer Cards when they occupy a city (Thx Johnny C)
  • Player starts with option to change out Beer Cards at start of game (strategy boost)
I apologize for the changes and I really hope you enjoy!

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