A Crowd Sourced Beer Game
Kickstarter is an amazing platform for special niche projects. From bike helmets to 3D printers, from cookbooks to video games, Kickstarter allows not only creative minds to publicize cool projects, but also welcome the public to be a part of it all. I’m a huge fan of Kickstarter and the caliber of creativity I commonly find there. It’s always exciting to watch the finished Kickstarter turn from concept to reality, following updates, trials, and tribulations on the way.
This last year, actually during our very own Kickstarter for Los Angeles Ale Works, I came across a project for a beer themed video game called Fiz: The Brewery Management Game. The concept was pretty simple: create a brewery and manage your way to success while navigating the retail marketplace. Like other business sims (like Lemonade Stand), Fiz, pits you up against the challenge of negotiating a supply and demand chain, while simultaneously managing random special events. The Fiz Kickstarter was a success raising over $8,700 and the team behind it, Bit by Bit Studios, helmed by Sean Sanders and Kelly O’Donnell, delivered their fully completed game on December 12, 2013. Bravo!
As someone who is navigating the actual beer retail scene, this game was especially topical for me. In Fiz, you make beer in your brewery, sell the beer in a retail marketplace to different stores, and then use your profit to upgrade your brewhouse. Some stores buy a high volume of low quality goods, while others buy only the best at a crazy markup plus stocking fee. Keeping up with production, while also preparing for seasonal beer competitions that earn notoriety along with timed events relating to the story (yes, this game has a story, and it’s great) is really rewarding. If you like business, you’ll probably love this game.
There’s a particularly engaging scenario where you must brew beer for a German beer venue that changes the types of beers it wants/needs every few months to match realistic German production schedules. You’ll have to time your brew days, quality, quantity, and speed to sync up precisely or you’ll end up losing money. You’ll start in the garage with a few low level employees and eventually be purchasing pro brewing equipment and hiring experts. You’ll have to adopt both a craft brewery mentality and macro brewery mindset at certain times to meet various challenges which enhances the variety.
A Beer Lovers Must Buy!
Fiz is chock full of great information, fun facts, and very high production value. The art direction is reminiscent of a Japanese RPG with a nostalgic focus on 8/16-bit pixels. The music is a well laid out whimsical loop, though I found myself playing the game on mute most of the time mostly to hide the fact that I was playing it at all hours of the day. The experience and progression system in the game is also a very nice touch. One thing I really appreciated was the omission of addictive in-app purchases. You don’t need to buy fake money with real money to play the game. Everything you need to have fun is built in, and it doesn’t cost you anything extra.
If you couldn’t tell, I really like this game. It has both great niche and mass appeal, it’s educational, and it’s fun. The folks at Bit by Bit Studios did a fantastic job running a successful Kickstarter and delivering on their goals. The game, available now on mobile, is only $1.99 and is well worth your money. Support this great small app developer, and with any luck, we’ll see a Fiz 2 in the near future.