Gather the best ingredients, brew the best beer and take over as many markets as you can. That’s the mission of Brewin’ USA, a board game developed by Minneapolis packaging designer (and homebrewer) Adam Rehberg that’s nearly reached its full Kickstarter goal with three weeks left to go. The game, which combines territorial dominance with decisions about ingredients and beer styles, should be accessible to both seasoned beer enthusiasts as well as newbies. Even real breweries are on board, lending their name to cards within the game.
It was inspired by the conclusion many have come to: board games are better over a pint or two.
“A lot of bars, breweries and taprooms are stocking board games because they see it as a way to spend time with others while drinking,” says Rehberg. “I set out to create something that wasn’t Risk- or Monopoly-level, but one level more complex.”
Players compete to control the most and best beer markets—think of areas like Boston; New York; Asheville, N.C. and Grand Rapids, Mich. To do so, they must first bid at auction for ingredients like grains and fruit that they need for specific beer styles, then decide where to distribute those beers. Rehberg says the game mimics real stylistic guidelines and regional preferences.
“I did a lot of research in terms of what taste profiles stick in certain locations and, as a homebrewer, what ingredients go into a style.”
As anyone who’s ever been mired in a three-hour Risk deadlock knows, some board games can drag. But Rehberg thinks Brewin’ USA’s 40-60 minute time frame is just the right length to comfortably sip a beer or two.
“It’s sessionable, right?” he says. “I’ll win one game and then my brother comes back to the table with a six pack and says ‘Oh, we’re playing again.'”