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In The Quacks of Quedlinburg board game, each player brews a precious potion with selected ingredients. Crow’s skull, mandrake root, ghost’s breath – who can mix the perfect potion without everything exploding and blowing up in their face?.
When we opened the game box, our eyes lit up and we immediately felt like trying out the new The Quacks of Quedlinburg board game from the game publisher Schmidt Spiele. Because it is incredibly lovingly, richly detailed and beautifully designed. Even rats and spiders peep out of the game box, which is actually just packaging. And they have also thought of empty plastic bags for the game accessories, so that everything can be stowed away easily after playing. And that saves a lot of time already during the second set-up of the game, because the equipment of the game is rich.
So far, so good. But great design is not everything and we were curious to see whether the spring novelty from Schmidt Spiele would also score points with us in terms of long-term fun, excitement and originality. It is a so-called bag-building game for small and large players – a family game in which luck plays an important role. Does The Quacks of Quedlinburg have what it takes to become one of the best board games of 2018?
Note on transparency: We kindly received a review copy of The Quacks of Quedlinburg board game free of charge from Schmidt Spiele. However, this review is unpaid and reflects our honest opinion.
At the market of Quedlinburg, the best quack players meet and each brews his own potion. For this purpose, each player – pardon quack – is equipped with a pretty cauldron for his brew and a little black bag into which he puts his ingredients. At the beginning, each player starts with the same ingredients. He marks the first bubble with a drop token, then everyone draws from the bag at the same time and places the ingredients one after the other on the ascending numbers, thus brewing their potion with them.
As soon as a quack thinks that this is now the perfect potion, he puts his black bag down next to him, signalling that he is done. But beware! If more than 7 firecrackers get into the cauldron, the potion explodes and is ruined!
Experienced cranks and natural talents therefore estimate when it is time to stop and rather make modest potions first instead of pushing their luck to the last drop. Because at the beginning there are still a lot of explosive bangers in the bag in relation to good ingredients.
The more precious the potion – i.e. the more ingredients are brewed in it or the more bubble fields are filled with ingredients – the more ingredients the quack is allowed to buy and fill his bag with. And of course there are all kinds of ingredients that cost different amounts, some even bring bonuses – so you need a clever strategy when acquiring the right ingredients.
You also get victory points for each potion – unless it explodes, in which case you have to decide whether to get credit for victory points or go shopping for ingredients. The player who has brewed the best potion of the round may roll a special die and gets a reward: he may advance his drop marker in the cauldron one, gets victory points, ingredients or even rubies (with rubies you can buy achievements, e.g. to advance your drop stone). The quack with the most victory points after the 9th potion brewed is indisputably the greatest quack of Quedlinburg and has won.
On the game board with the victory point bar, each player can see where he or she is first. There, a drop stone moves one forward as each new potion is brewed, marking the turn you are in and when the game is over. There is also another ingenious component that comes into play from the second game round at the earliest: the rat! It ensures that a player who has been particularly lucky when rolling the dice does not immediately lose the game, but that there is still a good chance of catching up.
And then there are also fortune cards, which are drawn in turn before each round and provide surprising twists and turns, and beautifully designed ingredient books, which tell which ingredient has which value and which special feature. A big plus: there is not only one ingredient book for each ingredient, but for the variation there are different ones with different degrees of difficulty and advantages.
In short, the game principle is simple and can be mastered quickly, but with many possibilities and variations that ensure that The Quacks of Quedlinburg board game does not lose its appeal when played several times.
Clearly, luck and chance play an important role in brewing and scoring victory points. Because each player draws the ingredients randomly from the bag one after the other and hopes that as many ingredients as possible end up in his cauldron before he has drawn too many banger peas or stops in time. Another random element are the fortune-telling cards that are drawn before each new round and, of course, the luck of the dice of the best quack after each round.
But The Quacks of Quedlinburg board game also has a strong strategic component. Each player should decide wisely which ingredients to buy at the market, and there are various possibilities, all of which can be decisive for victory! Since the ingredients are also gradually emptied, it is also important to pay attention to how the other quacks are proceeding – and to adapt or change one’s strategy!
Due to the mountain of different ingredients and the variance of ingredient books, The Quacks of Quedlinburg board game does not lose its appeal even after many games at a stretch. Roughly speaking, there are about 2,000 different ways to play the game!
The game material is of high quality and includes beautifully printed game boards, ingredient books, potions and ingredient tiles made of thick cardboard, rich red rubies made of plastic, cloth bags as well as wooden game pieces, cards and a dice.
In addition to the game instructions, there is also an almanac of ingredients – an overview of the ingredients.
Graphics and design are beautiful and very detailed.
The Quacks of Quedlinburg board game offers the perfect combination of suspense, risk, luck, strategy and fun!
Every round you eagerly await the perfect potion, cursing as the firecrackers slowly reach a critical number and weighing up each time anew: Do I take the full risk or am I sensible and stop? One of our players was quite risk-averse and it backfired. But he still experienced the fun and thrill of the game.
Luck is an ingredient that gives the Quacks of Quedlinburg its unpredictable factor! After all, a potion can end surprisingly quickly even with a bulging bag full of precious ingredients. We particularly celebrated the rat, because in our case one player was incredibly lucky from the start and pulled away. Thanks to the rat, the game didn’t get boring until the last potion, as the players behind still had the chance to rush ahead with a few perfect potions with victory points.
Strategic considerations also come into play when choosing ingredients and deciding what to do with your rubies. The simple rules of bag-building are quickly grasped and yet there is great replay appeal. This is due to the many variants that you can choose yourself and in which you can play the game differently each time. And also because of the high-quality and consistently beautiful design of the entire set, which comes across as very extensive.
Another plus: in The Quacks of Quedlinburg tboard game here is no waiting time – because all players move at the same time. So no one can gain an advantage by waiting and each player is on the move the whole time and you watch each other. Only when you yourself decide not to move on do you watch the other quacks draw the last ingredients. You root for them, are naturally gleeful, and follow intently as one ingredient after another forms an enormously valuable potion – which explodes with the next fateful, greedy reach into the bag.
We groaned at first at the 8-page thick closely described and illustrated game instructions. The detailed instructions suggest a very complicated game, but this is not the case at all! In fact, the rules are so simple that you can play through the game after reading them once.
An original, fast-paced, multi-variant game of chance with a strategic twist and beautiful artwork that is a hot contender for favourite game of 2018 for us!
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