Welcome to the world of Distilled, where the enticing aromas of carefully crafted spirits waft through the air and the clinking of glasses echoes in the background. In this immersive and strategic board game, you are transported into the heart of a long-forgotten distillery, inherited from a distant relative. As you dust off the cobwebs and polish the copper stills, you embark on an exhilarating journey to restore your family’s legacy to its former glory.
1-5 players, ages 14+
Playing time: 30 min/player
Designer: Dave Beck
Artwork: Erik Evensen
Publisher: Liberation Game Design (Dutch version of the game)
Distilled is a game that invites players to step into the shoes of distillery owners, all vying to attain the prestigious title of Master Distiller. Throughout seven rounds, players acquire ingredients, items, recipes, and upgrades to produce a variety of spirits, racking up Spirit Points (SP) along the way. The player with the highest number of SP at the end of the game takes home the coveted title of Master Distiller.
The game unfolds over seven rounds, each consisting of four main phases: Market, Distill, Sell, and Age.
🧑🌾 During the Market Phase, players take turns purchasing recipe cubes, basic and premium ingredient or item cards, and distillery upgrade cards. They can make multiple purchases, one at a time, and must pass when they have completed shopping for the round. Once all players have passed, the market undergoes a clean-up and gets restocked in preparation for the next round.
🧪 In the Distill Phase, players carefully prepare their ingredients in the washback, aiming to match the requirements of one of their known spirit recipes. To do so, they must place at least one card in their washback’s yeast, sugar, and water slots. Additionally, alcohol cards can be included in the yeast or water slots. After adding the ingredients, players shuffle the cards, creating a spirit stack. They then remove and reveal the top and bottom cards of the spirit stack, simulating the removal of heads and tails in distillation and returning them to the pantry for future use. The remaining cards in the spirit stack represent the result of the distillation, and a successful match with a recipe allows players to claim a spirit label.
💰 The Sell Phase offers players the opportunity to sell the spirits they have just distilled and any spirits aging in their warehouse. Selling spirits involves calculating their sell value and SP, followed by collecting the appropriate amount of money and advancing on the SP track. Players can only sell one spirit per turn, and some spirits must be aged for at least one round before being eligible for sale.
🍷 Lastly, the Age Phase enables players to age their spirits, increasing their flavor and earning more SP. Aging is performed by placing the spirit stack in a warehouse space and adding a face-down flavor card to the bottom of the pile. Spirits with the age icon must be aged for at least one round before being sold.
🧊 As each round concludes, players check for fulfilled spirit awards and distribute them accordingly. If a player did not sell a spirit during that round, they could also offer tastings at their distillery to gain income. The game then moves on to the next round, and after the seventh round, endgame scoring commences.
🏆 Once the game concludes, players earn additional SP from various sources, such as spirits remaining in their warehouse, bottle collections, distillery upgrades, achieved distillery goals, and leftover money. The player who amasses the most SP emerges victorious, claiming the esteemed title of Master Distiller.
Distilled is an economic eurogame that transports players into the captivating realm of craft distilling. With its straightforward, familiar mechanics and a complexity rating of 2.84/5 on BoardGameGeek, the game is easy to learn and accessible to a diverse audience. Even though it’s considered a light eurogame, Distilled still provides strategic depth, resulting in a rewarding gaming experience. The harmonious blend of theme and mechanics ensures an engaging and immersive journey for all who delve into the distilling world.
🍸 The production of Distilled is exceptional, showcasing meticulous attention to detail and a thoughtful design. High-quality cards, tokens, and a fantastic Game Trayz insert demonstrate the creators’ dedication to delivering a top-notch gaming experience.
🥃 Distilled not only entertains but also educates players about the distilling process, thanks to the rulebook’s additional information on this fascinating craft.
🍹 The game boasts a wealth of variety, with numerous cards and strategic options at players’ disposal. Deciding which recipes to pursue and which awards to target ensures each playthrough feels fresh and engaging. Although luck plays a role during the distilling phase, Distilled offers sufficient ways to mitigate this randomness through upgrades, items, or purchasing extra ingredients. Players are faced with intriguing choices, like creating spirits that need to age or those that can be sold immediately for profit. Uncovering the results of aged spirits by flipping over flavor cards adds a fun element of surprise to the game.
🕒 Distilled strikes an excellent balance in gameplay length, spanning seven rounds. This well-paced structure keeps the game from becoming repetitive while allowing players enough time to develop strategies and enjoy the distilling process.
🍶 The game adapts well to different player counts, but it’s best enjoyed with 2-3 players due to the limited player interaction. The main interaction points are purchasing cards from the same market, competing for a limited number of spirit labels, or racing for awards. A smaller group size ensures a more manageable game length and fosters engaging gameplay despite the low interaction.
💼 One drawback of Distilled is its considerable table space requirement and the time it takes to set up and clean up, even with the well-designed insert. However, these minor inconveniences are overshadowed by the game’s entertaining and educational journey into the world of craft distilling.
In conclusion, Distilled is an exquisitely crafted game that effortlessly brings the distilling world to life. Its immersive theme and well-designed gameplay mechanics make it easy for players to become engrossed in this fascinating sphere. If you’re intrigued by the art of creating spirits or simply seeking a unique, thematic gaming experience, Distilled is the perfect opportunity to explore this enthralling universe.
*Disclaimer: We received a review copy of the game from the publisher