Metersteiner Beer Manager is a very well designed but little-known shareware business game from Germany that tackles an attractive market that is rarely depicted in a PC game. Mark Silva of RealBeer.com says it all about this fun underdog in his review:
"Metersteiner Beer Manager, a new brewery-oriented, SimCity-type PC game from Germany, the birthplace of lager beer, challenges you to build a brewing empire with your wits, several virtual decades of time and enough starting capital to give Paulaner or Spaten a run for their money.
Start with $4,000,000 and a line of credit and grow the mythical Metersteiner brewery set in 1950 Germany. You must build brewing facilities with top-quality beer, facilitate transportation to your retailers while managing the cash flow and fending off the three computer-generated competitors. The game keeps track of your sales, cash reserves, line of credit and, most importantly, time. Exceed your line of credit for a period of three months and bankruptcy will force you to quit.
Gamers that have come to expect Hollywood-style graphics may have to wait for another version of MBM. Clearly, the developers focused on developing the artificial intelligence component of the game above the use of video and 3D-rendered graphics. The navigation is clean and engaging. The game opens with a screen showing a map of the German countryside with icons depicting towns, and potential brewing sites. Select a brewing site, begin to add breweries, warehouses, administration buildings, loading docks, and laboratories. Each addition will have a direct effect on your cash flow and the overall operation of your brewing empire. The main game screen provides you with all of the information you need, though I do highly recommend that first time users take a the time to read the on-line manual, even though I'm not much of a manual reader myself. This one only takes five minutes to read but definitely enhances the experience.
The overall objective of the game is to build the Metersteiner brewery to the highest possible level in the time allowed. Beating the computer-generated competitors is the first step. Advertising is required in every town where brewers expect to sell product. Depending on the city, brewers can use television, radio, poster or movie theater advertising. Each form of advertising has associated start-up and maintenance costs. With advertising you can now take over retail distribution sites. The more retailers, the greater the sales revenues.
The game is at its best when competitors come to town. This is where many factors affect your strategy. The loyalty of your customers is based upon the quality of the beer which you manage through quality control laboratories that you build. The more loyal your customers are, the more expensive it is for the competition to take over your retail locations. There may be towns you really don't want but that are vital to your competition. Take them over and raise your competitors' costs. It's a dog eat dog world out there.
This is a wonderful game that constantly challenges the player. With its single-minded objective of building net worth, Metersteiner Beer Manager is easy to play; but with its deceptively complex strategies, the game is immediately addictive and has some long-term value."Reviewed by: Underdogs