Sometimes when I go to a brewery, I just want to hang out and enjoy the atmosphere, particularly if it’s a new location (to me). Other times, especially when I frequent a location, I like to bring a game or two with me. This can give our group some focus, while still keeping it light and social.
What sort of games come to mind when thinking about playing at a brewery? What sort of features come to mind when selecting a game?
Here are five games that I keep in my “Brewery Go-Bag”:
Secret Hitler / The Resistance
5-10 players, 30 minutes
Secret Hitler and The Resistance are both team-based social deduction games in which the “good guys” are trying to figure out who the “bad guys” are and stop them, and the “bad guys” are trying to score points without being discovered by the “good guys”. Sound chaotic? It is! And it’s a ton of fun! What makes this game perfect for our spot is the big tables with long benches at our local brewery. The tables lend themselves perfectly to a group 10-player game. For sure the bystanders will be asking “what are you guys playing” with all of the accusations and back-stabbery flying around at your table. Don’t be afraid to invite them to play for the next round!
2-6+ players, 15 min
Rhino Hero is a dexterity game in which players compete to build a structure out of cards without causing the whole thing to collapse. Sound like a game from your childhood? It totally is, except this one has an adorable rhinoceros in a cape who is obviously present to save the day. The only tough part is the wooden rhino climbs higher and higher each turn. This can cause the balance of the structure to shift and inevitably fall. The big advantage to this game is that it comes in a tiny box, it only requires a small space on the table, and anyone can join in – it only takes about 30 seconds to explain the rules. You can think of it as a card-based Jenga… minus the splinters.
2-7 players, 15 min
Pairs is a classic push-your-luck card game (a self-proclaimed pub game) in which there is no winner – only a loser. The deck is comprised of cards numbered 1 to 10 – inside the deck there are 1x 1, 2x 2s, 3x 3s … 10 x 10s. During the setup, each player is dealt one face-up card. On your turn, you may either “hit” and take another card from the dealer or “pass” and take the penalty. The goal of the game is to NOT get points. If you get a pair, you get points according to the number of your pair (ex. 6 points for a pair of 6s). Once a player reaches the agreed-upon point threshold during the course of the game, they lose! That’s it!
This game is great because it’s quick, it encourages people to push their luck (which in the pub environment can be pretty funny), and it’s just a deck of cards. You basically have no excuse for not carrying this one with you all the time.
4-10+ players, 20 min
Codenames is a team-based word-association game in which the team leader (a.k.a Spymaster) is trying to get his team members (a.k.a Spies) to guess their team’s pre-assigned word cards based on a hidden map of the cards face-up on the table. The catch is that the Spymaster can only communicate with his team using one-word clues. Some of the funniest moments in this game involve a team arguing with each other about what they each think the Spymaster meant when they said, “green.” Codenames is a very rewarding small game with small setup time and minimal learning curve. Yes, it’s a word game, but the team aspect makes it totally worth it.
Ca$h ‘n Guns
4-8 players, 40 minutes
Ca$h ‘n Guns (2nd ed) is a player elimination/bluffing game in which players seek to shoot and wound (or at least intimidate) other players with fake foam guns and then grab a portion of the loot. The goals of the game are simple: stay alive (don’t get 3 wounds), and get the most loot! Let me tell you – when innocent folks in the pub see a table all aiming foam guns at each other and yelling “BONZAI” (which is required, by the way), they are immediately interested! Some may wander over and ask what’s going on. Not only is Ca$h ‘n Guns fun for your group, but also for everyone who is watching your table.
What’s in your Brewery Go-Bag? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
Matthew Majeika is a proud husband, father, gamer and drinker who chronicles his adventures on his Instagram page!