Beer & Bread

RRP: £31.99
Now £29.95(SAVE 6%)
RRP £31.99
Expected Restock Date 30/04/2024
[yith_wcwl_add_to_wishlist]
Backorder Item Notice

Please note the expected date shown above is a guideline only. Backorder items will typically arrive within the next 2 months, however, in some instances they may take longer. Any orders that contain a Backorder Item will not be dispatched until all items in the order are available. Please keep this in mind before you place any orders that contain both in-stock and Backorder items. Please place a separate order to receive in-stock item(s) sooner! For more information please see our Backorder FAQs.

Nexy Day Delivery

You could earn

2995 Victory Points

with this purchase

Beer & Bread is a multi-use card game for two players. Its clever structure of alternating rounds puts a fascinating twist on player interaction, card drafting, and resource management. Founded on the fruitful lands of an erstwhile monastery, two villages have held up the dual tradition of brewing beer and baking bread. While sharing fields and resources, they still find pride i…
Read More
Tags , SKU ZPG-57809E Availability Backorder
Share
Share this

 

 

Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Feels like a big crunchy Euro game but in just 30 minutes
  • Brilliant multi use of cards
  • Components are lovely
  • Super easy to build a good engine
  • Great final scoring mechanism

Might Not Like

  • Where’s the Solo mode
  • The last few turns can feel like an anti-climax if you can’t use any more of your cards
  • Passing your perfect card to your opponent during the fruitful years is annoying
Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Related Products

Description

Beer & Bread is a multi-use card game for two players. Its clever structure of alternating rounds puts a fascinating twist on player interaction, card drafting, and resource management.

Founded on the fruitful lands of an erstwhile monastery, two villages have held up the dual tradition of brewing beer and baking bread. While sharing fields and resources, they still find pride in their friendly rivalry of besting each other’s produce.

Each of you represents one of these villages. Over the course of six years - which alternate between fruitful and dry - you must harmonize your duties of harvesting and storing resources, producing beer and bread, selling them for coins and upgrading your facilities.

However, in order to win, you must maintain the balance between your baked and liquid goods. Because, after the sixth year, you only score the coins collected from the type of good - beer or bread - for which you earned less. The village with the higher score wins.

 

Two player only games have become one of my go to purchases of late. There are some amazing examples such as 7 Wonders Duel, Patchwork, Lost Cities, Hanamikoji, and Mandala. I could do a whole blog about all of the great two player only games. They normally tend to be a bit lighter on the complexity but every so often a two player game dares to dip its toes into the murky waters of the Euro style game. Beer & Bread from designer Scott Almes certainly looks like a Euro but does it play like one and is it any good? Read on to find out.

I Will Get The Next Round

The game is actually a lot easier than you would expect after your first glance. Essentially you will play cards from your hand one at a time to either harvest resources from the fields, sell resources for points, or upgrade your actions. You play five cards per year and the game ends after the sixth year, so that will be thirty turns in total.

All of the cards in the game have three uses. The top third of the card is used for harvesting, the middle of the card is used for recipes to sell beer and bread and the bottom third is used for upgrades.

Happy Harvest

When you use a card for harvesting you place it face up in front of you. You then collect the resources along the top of the card and place them in your storage. If you play another card on top of this first one you place it so that the resources of the first card are still visible. You then collect all of the resources on the new card and also of any of the previously played cards resources if they match the new card.

Positive player interaction is quickly becoming one of my favourite gaming mechanisms and this game continues the trend. When you harvest resources if you do not have enough room for them you must offer the overflow to your opponent (you may switch out your own resources first). They must then decide if they want them and if they do they must consider their storage availability (they cannot take them if they have no room and they are not allowed to switch out their resources at this point).

Selling Your Wares

To sell a recipe you must have all of the available resources ready in your storage. You then place the card face down on either the brewery (for beer) or the bakery (for bread). These spots are then occupied until cleared or you upgrade your abilities to hold more than one card.

It’s Time To Upgrade

When you use the upgrade function you slide the card under the player board at the equivalent space for the upgrade.

All of the upgrades serve useful purposes from increasing the amount you can store, getting bonus resources when you harvest, bonus points at the end of the game, getting bonus resources when you clear your brewery and bakery, etc. There are so many upgrades that I couldn’t mention them all here, thankfully at the back of the rule book there is a full list of upgrades and how they work.

One other benefit of using the upgrade option is it clears your brewery and bakery ready for more cards to be played there. The cards removed are placed to the side of the board so all players can see how many of each type you have completed.

Same Game, Different Rounds

The first, third and fifth rounds are called fruitful years during which more resources will be available to be harvested from the fields and after you have played a card you pass the remainder of your cards to your opponent face down. They then play a card from their hand and pass the remainder of their cards to you. This type of drafting mechanism has been used in many other games but never before have I been so sad to see my perfect cards passed to an opponent. Two emotions could then follow being either the sheer joy of seeing the card come back to you or the horror of watching your opponent play the card you wanted back so desperately.

The other benefit of the fruitful years is any cards you play to harvest resources will come back to your hand in the next year (called the dry years which are years two, four and six).

During the dry years the amount of resources available to be harvested is reduced but you no longer pass your cards to your opponents, so with careful planning in the fruitful years you can load up your hand with cards you know you can play during the dry years. The dry years also introduce a card exchange of three cards which you can swap cards from your hand to use immediately.

How Much Is That Bread Worth In The Window

Throughout the game of Beer & Bread, you will be selling your resources to make the best beer and bread. But you cannot let one be better than the other as your final score is your lowest scoring beer or bread total. So, if your total score for bread was twenty three and your total score for beer was twenty eight, your final score would be twenty three. Quite a few other games (especially from Reiner Knizia) have used this mechanism to great effect and it is one I like as it makes you balance your efficiencies for all of your scoring opportunities.

Look At The Rise On That

The components included in Beer & Bread are excellent from the beautifully illustrated game board and cards to the cute resources and first player token. The artwork feels like it has been taken from a game that came out a few years ago. This is not a complaint as I really like the artwork by Michael Menzel, but just an observation that this looks like a Uwe Rosenburg classic.

The Rule Book is clear and concise and gives good examples of all of the possible actions. I only tripped up on one rule (Harvest & Store) but with a quick re-read I was ready to go.

No Soggy Bottom Here

Apologies as I have a lot of final thoughts for this two player game.

One of my favourite mechanisms in games is engine building. Beer & Bread allows you to build your engine very quickly and easily but that could be to your downfall because there is nothing worse than having a storage full of resources when your opponent has an overflow. At this point you are not allowed to ‘sort’ your resources. Very frustrating when they are offering exactly what you needed.

Everything in this game screams resource / card management from the limited storage to the upgrade spots. A great example is how the sold beer & bread cards remain at either the brewery or bakery until you do the upgrade option at which point they are cleared from the board and you can sell more goods again.

It is very unusual but also quite clever designing a game with two different turn structures depending on whether it is a fruitful year or dry year. Very careful planning in the fruitful year can pay big dividends as the cards you play in your harvest will come back to you in the dry spell.

Re-playability comes from the efficiency puzzle of how best to collect and spend resources whilst keeping your beer and bread scores as close as possible. However, you see a vast majority of the cards by the end of the game so there won’t be many surprises on future play throughs. This does not stop you from wanting to play again and again.

The last few turns can seem pointless if you are not able to sell any more beer or bread or play any cards that will effect final scoring. This is especially annoying if you watch your competitor play one final scoring point card on their last turn.

Overall I really like Beer & Bread and look forward to teaching it to as many people as possible. The turn structures are fun and the limited space for resources make you think as efficiently as possible whilst trying to plan for future turns. I would have liked a solo mode but I can understand it might have been too fiddly to implement.

A game called Solenia was released a few years ago which gave a very similar vibe to this but I would much rather play Beer & Bread.

At the end of the game you feel like your brain has had a good work out similar to playing a Euro style game but you will be pleased and surprised to find you have only been playing for 30 minutes.

One final drink for the road.

Scott Almes is a designer that does a lot with not much. And by that I mean, he packs in lots of fun brain-squeakiness in small packages. His solo range for Buttonshy games is a fine example – think Insurmountable, Food Chain Island and more. So seeing his name on the two player game, Beer & Bread, instantly got my attention. And I am very glad it did. Because, whilst I don’t drink beer, I now have an overwhelming ongoing desire to brew it! And I never need an excuse to surround myself with yeasty, deliciously doughy goodness. After all, my diet is predominantly beige thanks to my special 5 per day regime (sourdough, rye, granary, seeded, and good old thick sliced)! But now, having played Beer & Bread, I say “to hell with Marbs; I never wanted to go there anyway. Give me carboard carbs every night for tea!”

Why this sudden need to focus on ferments? Well, this modest box promised a lot of special-sauce game play for us; 2 player, multi-use cards, strategic drafting, forward planning, munchy-crunchy decision making, tension, sneaky-scoring, and clever resource management. And friends, I can confirm that the promises were kept!

But I am not here to give you my views – the epic blogger, Neil P aka Board Game Happy, has done a fabulous job and you can read and watch that here. Instead, I am going to tell you how to play the game. Not win. I rarely do that at any table. But at least give you the run down of a game in play!

A Brew For Two

So, in Beer & Bread, each player plays a neighbouring village that loves to brew beer and, yep, bake bread. Not exactly vying for space as the no.1 superstore of old, there is nevertheless some competition brewing. The villagers are willing to share the raw materials, but what they do with them is where bucolic pride bubbles over!

Set Up

Setting up is simple; unfold the board, shuffle the cards into a single deck, and place the wooden resource tokens in close proximity. Then first player (windmill token in front) takes 5 off the top of the deck, followed by player 2. Boom. Ready to brew and bake!

The game takes place over 6 years (rounds), and each year is either fruitful or dry. The year marker begins on a green spot representing the first year which is fruitful and move along until you reach the money spot. Then it’s pans and barrels down ready for scoring time.

Each year has the same phases. But what you do in those phases can depend on whether it is a fruitful or dry year.

Seeding – this is where you fill the fields on the board with resources for later taking. Very handily indeed, the board shows how many of each resource is to be laid on the fields in both types of year. Fruitful has more of everything, but the river always contains as many drops as are available to “seed” the board with. If there aren’t enough in the supply to seed fully, use what you’ve got.

Cards and actions – these go hand in hand, so I’ll cover them together.

In fruitful years, each player has 5 new cards. First player chooses one from their hand and does one of 3 actions:

  • Harvests that card for the resources shown on the top of the card – these go into the 9 box store show on the main board, and the card is placed to one side. Importantly the card is kept because resources will multiply if you lay another card on top which shows an identical resource (note: the resource has to show on the newest card to benefit from the multiplier effect of any existing resources;
  • Produces the beer/bread by paying the recipe’s requires resources from their personal stone (which maxes out at 9 unless you have an upgrade that increases storage space – see below; or
  • Upgrades by placing the card under the matching slot on their side of the board.

Once they have collected, made, or cashed in, the second player gets to do the same with one of their cards. Then it’s pick and pass in fruitful years with each player using a card to take an action until there are no cards left.

If a player produces beer or bread, that card is slid into the bakery/brewery slot face-up. The resources are returned to the general supply, and then the card gets flipped face-down. It will stay in that slot until clean up.

What is clean up? Well, remember upgrading? When you choose to use a card to upgrade, you’ll get ongoing bonuses that either give you in game bonuses and powers or end game point boosts. Upgrading also acts as your opportunity to clear out your bakery and brewery slots. This is important because, unless modified by an upgrade, you can only hold one of each at a time. And you can’t produce anything else (or gain the points for it), if your bakery and brewery are barley blocked!

At the end of the card phase in fruitful years, keep hold of the cards you harvested.

In dry years, the card phase is a little different; you collect any cards you harvested in the previous fruitful year and draw back up to 5 from the deck. 3 cards also go into the exchange slots. Now, instead of picking and passing, you can exchange a card with one on offer. But if you do, you must carry out an action on that card immediately – it can’t be saved to be used on a later turn.

Windmill – When all the cards are used in either phase, it’s the windmill phase. The player with the fewest stored resources gets the windmill meeple (signifying that they will go first in the next year). Then you re-seed the fields with the required number of resources depending on whether you are moving into a fruitful or dry year.

If you’re ending a dry year, any harvested cards are discarded as are those in the exchange slots. Each player then gets 5 new cards starting with the first player ready for the next fruitful year to begin.

Scoring… Simple As Sliced Bread

Once the 6th round is over (i.e. the 3rd fruitful year has come and gone), it’s time to find out just how much of a brewing boss and baking baron you are. And even though you tot up your totals for both beer and bread, your final position is your lowest scoring commodity. You can’t prioritise panini at the expense of porter. You can’t gun for stout and leave sourdough on the shelf. You’ve got to be busting both out to protect your position! You can look at your produced cards at any time (they are turned over for the duration of the game), but your opponent will only know whether you have produced bread and/or beer,, and how many of each.

You might also have upgrades that add coins to your totals so don’t forget to check through modifiers before putting pen to paper on the scoring pad!

So there you have it. A run down of the blooming brilliant Beer & Bread! I hope this helps you brew up a storm in your first game and satisfies your hunger for fast playing crunchy game play!

Multiuse cards? A Scott Almes’ design? 2 Player only game? Where do I sign?? Beer & Bread is filling me up like a triple layered chocolate cake!

Now, I won’t go into set up and gameplay in huge detail as I have covered that in the How to Play (see tab). And my incredibly talented pal Board Game Happy has already given his thoughts on this box of bubbly loveliness (here). But, there’s no harm in having a second opinion when contemplating your next game purchase so here’s what we thought of Beer & Bread!

Two Please, Barman

In Beer & Bread, each player plays a neighbouring village that loves to brew beer and, yep, bake bread. Not exactly vying for space as the no.1 superstore of old, there is nevertheless some competition brewing. The villagers are willing to share the raw materials, but what they do with them is where bucolic pride bubbles over!

Taking place over 6 years (rounds), the game gives and takes away. Fruitful years pay out resources aplenty on odd-numbered rounds. Wheat to waste?! Well, not exactly, as your opponent always gets what you can’t use! And during the even-numbered dry times, you need to survive on what you’ve collected before (or can beg from your opponent). Suddenly, those friendly hand-outs start to dry up and you’re left wishing you had planned better!

The years play out over the same 4 phases (seeding, cards, actions, and windmill). But what each of those phases actual entails differs depending on whether you are in bountiful or brassic times!

When it’s a fruitful year, you get to add lots of resources to your fields, grab beer and bread cards, swap cards with your opponent, as well as harvest, store, produce, or sell. Note that overproducing also brings out your charitable side as you must offer those goodies you can’t store to old loaf lover next door!

Multi-Grain Bread

And very, very interestingly; remember I mentioned multi-use cards right at the start? Well, beer and bread cards also serve as upgrades! So you can instead use them to give yourself continuous benefits that pay out over the course of the game as well as some end game coin boosts. Plus that triggers a clean-up phase where your completed (sold) beer and bread cards get swept off the board and placed next to you for end game scoring. I really like that twist in the tiger loaf!

Dry years are an altogether leaner affair. This is where previous round planning comes into the fore. Did you plan well when wheat and barley were plentiful? Did you harvest heaps of hops and rye?

Once the 6th round is over (i.e. the 3rd fruitful year has come and gone), it’s time to find out just how much of a brewing boss and baking baron you are. But! Scott hasn’t finished throwing surprise ingredients into the mix yet. Because, even though you tot up your totals for both beer and bread, your final position is your lowest scoring commodity! And I think that’s brilliant! It essentially forces you to maintain a balance between producing both products. You can’t prioritise panini at the expense of porter. You can’t gun for stout and leave sourdough on the shelf. You’ve got to be busting out both to protect your position!

Final Thoughts

Scotty, my boy, you’ve done it again! You have packed a baker’s dozen of brilliance into a small, neat package. And we are having an excellent time with this one. A bit like Oh my Goods from Lookout; the small box and easy rules belie a cardboard onion that has strategy and balance behind each layer. Everything you do in each year has an effect now and later on in the game.

And I love how the type of year changes the game play – subtly on paper but significantly on the table. Even the upgrade powers change depending on whether you are rolling in rye or begging for barley.

The gameplay for Beer & Bread doesn’t look mean on the surface. You have to give extra resources up which might not sit well. But there’s a chance that you’ll be able to do it when your opponent can’t use them. And that turns a sour ale into something much more palatable!

The close drafting, card swapping is great too – I always enjoy the agonising tension that comes with having to pick cards and pass the rest on. With blue and yellow card backs, you’ll know the type of cards coming your way of course, but not the details. And as you go through the game selling your wares, you’ll also have an idea of how each other is gaining coins. But again, not knowing how many coins each card is worth keeps you on your toes. Quality not quantity, my friend!

Component quality is lovely – I’m a sucker for a wooden token! And the iconography on the cards is clear and cute – again it has a Lookout vibe. There’s a little bit of in-game script so it’s not language independent, but the symbols on everything eliminate colour vision advantages.

We have loved our first few games of Beer & Bread. It doesn’t outstay its welcome, and in fact I want to invite it back for an ale and an arepa right now! I just wish it had a solo mode so that I could brew and bake whenever I like!

 

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Feels like a big crunchy Euro game but in just 30 minutes
  • Brilliant multi use of cards
  • Components are lovely
  • Super easy to build a good engine
  • Great final scoring mechanism

Might not like

  • Wheres the Solo mode
  • The last few turns can feel like an anti-climax if you cant use any more of your cards
  • Passing your perfect card to your opponent during the fruitful years is annoying