Franz Benno Delonge

Publisher: Zoch 2004

Awards: none



G@mebox author Marco Klasmeyer writes about the game:


Besides the 2004 award winning game Zug um Zug this nice tactical economical game named Goldbräu of the publisher ZOCH has raised my interest at the SPIEL 2004. The players take the role of bartenders and beer fabricants in a fictive countryside village where tourism booms in summer times. For three weeks the beer gardens become very popular and the money which can be earned here raised the interest of some tough business men. The players take an active part in the beer producing and selling business. They have to purchase shares of the beer gardens and breweries, sign delivery contracts and also maintain the beer gardens with the most attractive sights (like a beautiful waitress or the best and sunniest tables in place). At a hot summer day many thirsty people will not only fill their throats with lots of cool beer, they will also flood your briefcase with money! Somehow this reminds of a gold rush - Bavarian style.


The game board contains a large place in the center of a town, where the beer gardens with their public houses are settled. Around this central place six public houses (pubs) are arranged and in the outer four corners of the board the four local breweries are located. Goldbräu consists of 60 share-cards (6x6 for the beer gardens and 4x6 for the breweries) and each five cards with "beautiful waitress" and "drunken fellow", 48 fences (for the beer gardens) and last but not least money. Each public house has to maintain one beer garden whose size can vary in the course of the game. Each pub is under the contract of one brewery whose beer will be sold in the beer garden, so that the brewery receives a share in the profits of the pub.

Each pub or brewery may consist of several share holders represented by the players and each is managed by a chief (director in case of a brewery and publican in case of a pub). Each building possesses six shares in total which can be purchased by the players in the course of the game. The number of shares distributed among the players influences the success and income of the related company. For instance the income of a pub or brewery is distributed relatively to the number of share holders among the owners (a player with two or three shares gets more than a player with only one share). Or the nomination of a new chief for a pub or brewery can be only prohibited if the player representing the old chief has the majority of shares of that business.

The game is divided into three rounds. One round represents a week and consists of seven turns (days). A player can perform the following possible actions per turn:

  • Buy one of the two face up share-cards OR draw one hidden share-card from the supply stack. The price is determined as shown below.
  • Nominate a chief or director in either a pub or a brewery OR sign a delivery contract between a brewery and a pub, if the player provides both chiefs this turn, the publican and the brewery's director.
  • Extend or change the size of a beer garden of a pub by one field. The player must be chief of the pub. If the extension of one beer garden reduces the size of another - well, that's business.
  • There is a tricky mechanism for exactly determining the amount of activity of a player. Each player has three action cards with the symbols of the three possible actions. At the beginning of a turn each player decides secretly what he wants to do during this turn. Then all players show their decisions. If action 2.) or 3.) has only been chosen by a single player, he is allowed to perform this action type twice, otherwise all players can only make a single action. For the action of purchasing shares the number of players who have chosen this action type determine the price they have to pay, the more players the higher the price. So it is possible in one turn for instance to change the publican and let him sign a contract with your brewery with this double action. Or this single player can extend beer garden of his pub by two fields instead of one.


    After seven turns (days) a week has passed and it is pay day. Then all pubs collect their income according to the size of their beer gardens. Normal fields earn 4 Dollar and sunny fields earn double. The "beautiful waitress" adds 20 Dollars to the income of the pub and the "drunken fellow" reduces the possible income by 12 Dollar (no one likes to sit next to him...). Each pub is evaluated separately. After all pub have got their income cash check is performed for each of them. Half of the income has to be paid for the beer to the brewery currently under contract. The other half is divided among the share holders of each pub, an undividable rest is given to the current publican as a tip. After all pubs and beer gardens have been evaluated the income of the breweries is distributed in the same way.

    Business life is tough also in the countryside: As soon as the sixth (and last) share of a pub or brewery is purchased all share holders who only have one share are thrown out of the building ("squeeze out", you can call this economical "Darwinism"). So it is a good advice to hold at least two shares, if you want to participate up to the end.


    After reading the rules for Goldbräu I was a little bit confused because I could not get a clear idea how this game works. But this soon clears up during the game and the quite well designed distribution mechanism for the income of the beer gardens and the breweries makes Goldbräu also very interesting. Additionally the "double turn" advantage makes it quite tricky to estimate the other player's choices. Sometimes one might be tempted to act anti-cyclic, but finds himself in the middle of all other players having met the same choice. Like in common business you want to be innovative and you want to do what no one does and suddenly you find out that everyone is doing this same thing. The game is a good compromise between an economical simulation and tactical building and conquering game.

    Besides all that theory Goldbräu means real fun while playing it and it is best with 4 players. There are possibilities to make joint ventures for a short term and to suddenly kick the other players out when revealing the sixth share. There is the nice possibility with the double turn of naming a new Publican and sign a beer contract within the same turn. It costs the other player very likely two turns to revert this change, but what if pay day comes in the meanwhile? It is all about laying obstacles in the way of the opponents and trying to get all possible advantages, so Goldbräu never becomes boring because every game will be a new challenge. The competition of extending beer gardens, moving the beautiful waitress to your own pub and give the drunken fellow to a very close opponent all are nasty obstacles in Goldbräu beer business.

    A nice gimmick also are the beer mats with the Goldbräu logo where the players should hide their money from the excited glances of the others. But no one forbids another (may be more natural) usage of course…

    Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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    Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany