Gameday First Play – Alchemists

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble…

…Worker Placement, Deduction, Apps and Struggle.

Mandrake root and scorpion tail; spongy mushroom and warty toad — these are the foundations of the alchemist’s livelihood, science, and art.

But what arcane secrets do these strange ingredients hide? Now it is time to find out. Mix them into potions and drink them to determine their effects — or play it safe and test the concoction on a helpful assistant! Gain riches selling potions to wandering adventurers and invest these riches in powerful artefacts. As your knowledge grows, so will your reputation, as you publish your theories for all to see. Knowledge, wealth, and fame can all be found in the murky depths of the alchemist’s cauldron.

After recently playing XCOM: The Board Game, I was ready for more app based tabletop gaming. This one though, uses the camera in a QR Code-esque way to read cards and provide you with a result.

In this game, you’re trying to work out which of a bunch of symbols relates to which ingredient and gain reputation by doing so.

This is your play area, showing the outcome of the various ingredients you ‘test’. You either test on yourself, or an apprentice.

Alchemists Player Screen

Above that you place the cards in your cauldron and use the camera to find out the result of the test. the app syncs using a pass code across iOS, Android and Windows phones as well as a web based version so the game will have a different outcome each time.

Alchemists Mixing Potion on App

Then it gives you the outcome for this combination for this game…

Alchemists Potion

With this result, you know which of those ingredients possible combinations you can cross off your sheet.

But, this is a worker placement game behind all the cool stuff and you forget this at your peril.

Alchemists Main Board

As well as testing and gathering new ingredients, you can sell ingredients, sell potions to adventurers.

You can also stake some reputation (points) by publishing a theory… or basically guessing which ingredient does what…

Alchemists Board

Also, and my favourite part, you can debunk someone’s theory if they messed up but of course, you might be wrong too!

I went into this game just wanting to play it to say I’ve played it, but I came away quite enjoying it.

It’s still a deduction game but the turns are so fast over 6 rounds that you don’t have much down time… but the little downtime there is is spent keeping one on the results of tests from other players and the other eye going over your notes.

One I will play again for sure.

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