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Distilled... A beverage of Leisure is a serious business!

Distilled is a game all about distilling, ageing and selling spirits from moonshine to brandy, soju to whisky and Grappa to tequila. Compete for the title of master distiller by carefully concocting your spirits, upgrading your distillery and purchasing better bottles and barrels.

Image of the Distilled game box and partial market set up of cards for the game Distilled. The box art for the game features a copper still with barrels stacked up behind and a woman tasting a variety of spirits in the forefront of the image

As someone who would much prefer a small glass of whisky or a G&T over a glass of wine or a pint of beer, this game immediately caught my attention. We love playing Viticulture and to be able to play a creation game about a theme I enjoy more, was too tempting to resist!

First Impressions

The game comes in a fairly large box and is rather heavy. (Although it is nothing compared to Everdell: The complete collection!) The artwork has been really well designed and the detail continues inside the box. The inserts have been designed really well and even have space for the expansion. There's a lot of components (even compared to games of similar complexity) and the rulebook is quite lengthy, however they feel really good quality and at a first glance, the rulebook looks like it explains everything quite well. It was dissapointing however that the 'learn to play' style booklet required 1 player to have read the full rulebook beforehand.

Game Play Overview

The game is played over 7 rounds, with each round consisting of 4 phases plus the end of round refresh. Players begin with the market phase whereby they take it in turns to purchase ingredients, recipes and upgrades from the market until all the players pass. At which point the last card from each row in the premium market is discarded, the cards move along and the spaces are refilled. You then move on to distilling, where you will now place water, yeast and sugars into the washback (the huge barrels used for the priamar phase of distilling), add alcohol for each sugar you've added, shuffles them altogether and then remove the top and bottom cards and replace them into your pantry. The remaining cards are then revealed and you can establish which spirit you've managed to distill, you'll take a label and find the correct barrel type from your storeroom and add them to the stack of ingredients. Once all players have completed distillation, it's time for the selling phase. During this phase, any spirits that don't need to be aged or that have previously been aged in your warehouse can be sold for money and points. Each spirit sold will need to be bottled first before calculating how much it's worth. Once all players have sold any spirits they wish to sell, you move onto the ageing phase where any spirits that require ageing must be placed into your warehouse if not already there and then a flavour card will be added to each one. These cards are kept hidden until the spirit is sold and aren't always good flavours! The game is then prepared for the next round and once seven rounds have been played, you move onto final scoring and the player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Set up of the Distilled game including the central score board, spirit awards and the player board set up.

Pros and Cons

The game is a heavier weight game and has alot going on, with lots of abilities and awards to keep track of, however the actions themselves are relatively simple. The rulebook felt quite daunting initially but once I started reading it, it was actually very detailed and explained the game well (it even gave a few facts about the industry and why they had designed certain elements the way they had, it made it really interesting to read). Once we got into the game, it felt very immersive and I was fully invested in making the best spirits I could in a bid to become the master distiller. It didn't matter too much what my oponents were doing as the characters have all got their own playstyles and agendas, meaning that you didn't feel like you were being screwed over all the time by everyone else. It may be a slightly more expensive game, however it is certainly worth the money as the components are a really nice quality and the way the game has been designed has been done really well.

Final Verdict

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this game and can't wait to play it again, however being a heavier weight game, it probably won't get as much table time as I wish it could! It was such an immersive experience which I haven't felt in a while from playing games, that I can definitely see it being chosen over other games of a similar weight in the future.

In conclusion, we would rate this game a 9/10


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