Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Another microgame: Burgoo

I met with an old friend from BGDF, Dan Manfredini, at BGG.con last November so he could show me his wares. He had a couple of games with him, one of which had an interesting theme...

It's called Burgoo, which is a term I wasn't aware of. Burgoo is a community made stew, and apparently it's a common thing in the Midwest and Southern US.

In the game of Burgoo, there are 6 different ingredients, and as a player you start with a line, or "batch," of 2 of each ingredient in random order. You also start with 1 of each ingredient hidden in your hand. Any leftover ingredients are placed in a communal pot in the center of the table.
On your turn you have 3 options:
1. Sample the stew: take an ingredient of your choice out of the pot and put it into your hand.
2. Split a batch: return an ingredient from your hand to the pot and split one of your batches either above or below an ingredient matching the one you returned.
3. Add to the stew: return an ingredient to the pot and call "top" or "bottom" - EACH PLAYER may take that type of ingredient from the top (or bottom, whichever you called) of any/all of their batches and throw it into the pot.

The goal is to get rid of all of your ingredients first. Since you can split your batches, its possible to add multiple ingredients to the pot at the same time... and that's obviously a good thing. It's really important to watch what ingredients other players put on the top/bottom of their batches so you can take advantage of their plays and add to the stew during their turns!

If you add to the stew and it causes your neighbor to add the LAST ingredient from one of their batches to the stew... you CAPTURE that ingredient - putting it into your hand instead of the stew! This is a big deal because while the goal is to be the first to get rid of your ingredients, there are often ties, and the tiebreaker is number of ingredients in hand!

I really enjoyed playing Burgoo, but at first I wasn't sure this game would be TMG material. I informed Dan that I would tell Michael about it, but that I didn't think it would fit into the business model Michael was shifting toward. We were playing with wooden vegetable pieces (from At The Gates of Loyang) and a little physical pot for the stew - this was too small for a "big box" TMG game, and too big for the microgames Michael has been looking for.

But when I was telling Michael abut the game, it occurred to me that it could be done with cardboard tokens and a physical pot isn't really necessary, so perhaps that would fit the microgame model after all.

Indeed, Michael thought so too, and as of today Burgoo is live on Kickstarter as another Pay What You Want ($3 minimum, $5 recommended) TMG microgame!

And it's off to an impressive start. As of this writing (midnight AZ time) there are 1,176 backers pledging a total of $6,483 for between 1589 and 1919 copies of Burgoo! That's an average of about $4 a copy.

In my not-so-humble opinion, as microgames go Burgoo is a REALLY good deal! The art is good, the game really is fun, and you can get 2 copies for less than the price of my Arby's lunch today. So check it out!

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