Well, I am on week 5 of working from home. I work for a hospital, so I am still really busy; I am just busy from my den. My favorite boardgaming event that I look forward to all year was cancelled, and my other boardgaming vacations for later in the year are looking more and more unlikely. However, I am trying hard to stay positive and look for the good things still happening in my life. For example, I am married to a gamer, so I have a built-in game group, and we had recently received a case of beer from an excellent local brewery, thanks to a friend. We can’t go anywhere, so why not stay home, drink some beer and play some games? Normally I specifically look for beers that will match a game we are going to play, but now we’re getting a little bit more creative.
BLACKOUT HONG KONG, PAIRED WITH BROOKLYN BREWING BLACK OPS STOUT
This bottle has been sitting in our wine rack for a few months now; it was purchased by my husband, and I just assumed it was a bottle of wine. He pulled it while we were thinking about what we could pair with a game, and we both immediately thought of Blackout Hong Kong, a game I had been wanting to get back to the table. (You can read our full review of the game here.)
I didn’t get a chance to try this one until several months after it had been out. I am a Pfister fan in general, but it didn’t have a great reception with my usual group and copies had been traded away before I got a chance to try it. I seized my opportunity at a game con and was immediately intrigued. I liked the first play enough to buy it. This was play number 4. I still like the game quite a but; the card mechanics combined with the other unique elements is still an interesting puzzle, and I clearly have not yet solved that puzzle, since I once again lost. I think I am still trying to do everything there is to do in the game, rather than pick a path and focus on that strategy alone. It wasn’t a complete crushing this time, though, so progress!
Black Ops Stout is a delicious, roasty stout that is aged in bourbon barrels. It is chocolatey, with a little bit of vanilla bourbon at the finish. At 12.4% I am very glad we were sharing it; it was definitely boozy.
LAS VEGAS, PAIRED WITH NIGHT SHIFT BREWING CHANCE THE DIPA
For a while, Las Vegas got played as the last game of the night at our game group. It’s been a while since I’ve played it, and I’d never tried it with just 2. I was a little sceptical that it would work, but with a beer called Chance, I definitely need a luck-based game so we pulled it out. (Check out our review here for a full description of the game).
It turns out it works just fine; the game plays in much the same way, but each player gets 4 neutral, white dice that they place in the same manner they place the dice of their color, which adds to the competition of winning each number. I had forgotten the amount of strategy involved in trying to maximize your placement, balanced with the luck of rolling the dice. It held up well, and I will add it back into the rotation when our full game group gets back to meeting.
It’s also a rare game in which the oldest player goes first, so that was pretty exciting.
Chance the DIPA is a New England-style double IPA made with Mosaic and Azacca hops. It was on the sweet side, but with a nice balance of citrus and piney notes. It was delicious.
SEASONS, PAIRED WITH HONEST WEIGHT ODD SEASONS BELGIAN IPA
I bought this beer because I have yet to have beer from Honest Weight that wasn’t delicious, and I figured I would find a game I could pair it with. While perusing the shelves I came across this old gem, dusty and tucked away on a bottom shelf. We played it a bunch when it first came out in 2012, but then it got pushed aside in favor of newer and shinier things. (You can read our review of it here.)
I am happy to report that it has held up quite well. Is it a drafting game? A hand management game? A resource management game? Why yes, it is. At the start of the game you receive a hand of cards; you pick one and pass the cards to the next player, continuing to do this until all cards are distributed. You are looking for cards that work well together, but you are dividing those cards into 3 piles, so you don’t have them all available to you. What resources you get to choose are dependent on the die rolls, so you need to plan for that and to have some flexibility so that you can trade for what you need while remembering that you want to score points along the way. It didn’t feel dated at all, and I am keeping it in the current rotation to be played again soon.
The beer was very interesting and was a good pairing on two fronts. The name is an obvious match, but it also paired well as it is also a mix of styles. It looks more like an IPA with a pale copper color . It has a hint of belgian funk, but then it turns more lemon-y, which balances it out. It was quite refreshing, and would make a good summer beer, although it worked well on a chilly spring afternoon as well.
I hope you are all well and safe during this crazy time, and enjoying some board games with the people you live with or online.