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An Introduction to… Wolfgang Warsch | Board Games | Zatu Games UK

Video Wolfgang warsch games

Quacks of Quedlinburg

Right. Enough messing now. This game exploded (literally… well, contextually/figuratively) into my life earlier this year. Having snuck in under my ‘wot no spaceships/dragons/elder gods/superheroes’ radar. I’d heard its name mentioned with reverence. but thought ‘why do I want a game about ducks?’ Silly boy. So when a gaming friend of mine turns up at a games night and says ‘here, try this’, I was somewhat surprised by the absence of ducks but utterly seduced by the presence of GAME.

In case you hadn’t heard, this game got GAME. (I don’t really know what this means, but if I write it often enough. I can imbue it with meaning, right?). Each player is a quack/mountebank/snake-oil salesman. They are trying to make the best potion. You do this by taking ingredients blindly from your bag and placing them on a spiral track in your ‘cauldron’. Different ingredients have different effects, but the ones to really watch for are the cherry bombs. Too many of those and your potion explodes, which can have severe (well, irritating) consequences.

When everyone has either blown their cauldrons or decided to be prudent and stop, points are scored. And/or ingredients are bought (you can only do one of you blew your cauldron). Gems can be obtained and used to move your start place forward. If you fall behind on the scoreboard, rats’ tails can be used to give you a head start. Also, each round has its own set event and a random fortune teller effect card. This can give everyone some extra ingredients. These help the laggers or just make everyone’s life a bit easier. After nine rounds, whoever has the highest score wins.

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The great thing about this game is the balance and the versatility. You push your luck too far, you at least get something for your troubles. Those rats tails really help when you’ve not scored for the last three rounds. The fortune teller effect allows you to push things just a touch further and in the last moments. You win the game – just. Not only that, but every ingredient has at least two possible effects. The ‘cauldron’ boards have two different sides to play. Enough permutations and combinations to keep you going for a while.

Okay, everyone played against their own board, but there’s always that “she’s still drawing… I’ve got to keep drawing,” which often ended in disaster, plus every game ends with a round where everyone draws simultaneously in a Mexican/German potion stand-off. It looks great, there’s plenty to do and plenty of game to play. Wolfgang’s leap to the world of big box games was a huge success, earning him nominations for ‘games of the year’ (and wins) across the board. In fact, 2018 saw Ganz, The Mind and Quacks often running against each other – it was the year of the Warsch. So, no pressure on his next game then…

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