I had the opportunity to play the video game Beer Tycoon this morning and am here to report that it’s a very good time and definitely could be added to the top holiday gifts for beer lovers post I wrote a few days ago. Beer Tycoon, which was released in the US in 2007 as another installment in the now famous “Tycoon Games” series — including such well-known games as RollarCoaster Tycoon, Railroad Tycoon, Prison Tycoon, etc. — let’s you build a world-wide beer franchise from humble beginnings as a “microbrewery” with a small plot of farmland, a regional brewery in a suburban setting, or a large industrial, “urban” brewery.
Each brewery can consist of up to 21 different brewery building types — including brewhouses, fermentation buildings, casking & bottling facilities, storage barns, pubs, visitor centers and more — each with a number of different options to outfit the building (size of the brew and bottling lines, storage capacity, etc.). As far as the beer is concerned, there are 50 some odd ingredients you can brew your company’s beer from, including various kinds of hops and malts (most with fictitious names), and even adjunct ingredients like fruit and chocolate.
The game was a little on the difficult side to figure out at first, since there a lot of options for each building, most without clear instructions. And I personally went a little overboard, adding too many brew lines, not enough fermentation facilities (so all my beer spoiled before it could ferment) and building up the brewery grounds before I had actually figured out how to transport and sell the beer. So my budget was entirely spent after a few minutes and I quickly lost the game (which happens when your budget goes into the red).
But now that I think I understand how to play, the next time I try it, I’ll be much smarter about what I’m doing, scale the brewing process correctly and hopefully figure out how to move product. I think then the game will be a blast to play (I’ve always been a big fan of the “Tycoon Games” and spent many, many hours dominating RollerCoaster Tycoon back in the day).
It’s really up to you whether or not you want your kids to play a game like this. I think it’s a great concept that would foster entrepreneurship in really anyone who plays it, regardless of their age. But it does, of course, deal with adult content and adult beverages. But if you’ve got some people on your Christmas list who, like me, are adult beer drinkers who never grew up and still play video games (or maybe you’re one yourself… no shame in that), than for less than $10, Beer Tycoon is a great pick up.