“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Obviously Paulo never played this game or would have realised that the universe was, as expected, indifferent to my plight.
Alchemists is a like a crazy inventors machine. All confusing levers and dials or more accurately, mysterious spots on the board to place workers upon that make no sense until you’ve played it at least once, better still if you’ve played it once with with someone who has a clue how to play the game. I’m lucky I didn’t have to read the rules and if I had to I would still be doing so now I’ll venture. More than likely incorrectly
The first time you play this game you will lose. You’re not within an asses roar of coasting in on beginners luck. This game has to be test driven hard before you can begin to understand it
Alchemists is both a worker placement and an investigation game. Having played if a couple of times I’m very impressed. There are quite a few mechanics going on here and yet it works as a seamless whole and it holds the theme together perfectly. Someone’s put a lot of thought into this game and I salute their design skills.
If you’ve ever played dungeon lords or dungeon petz you’ll be in familiar territory. The artwork and components are top notch. The app is excellent.
I look at the design and I’m amazed how so many different elements have been woven together without any of it feeling tacked on or herniated. I also look at it and think there could never be an expansion for this game it’s too well formed.
Up to four players duke it out to be the best potion maker in the kingdom. To do this they need to figure out which ingredients (different each game) make up which potions. Expound theories on ingredients. Disprove others. Sling potions to adventurers, earn cash, make a good showing at the final expo but above all do it before your opponents do. So all in all it’s medieval breaking bad
The old adage of if you can’t convince them confuse them applies here and it is possible to win the game by faking your way through, just not with my group. There was an incident with diplomacy some years back (I forget the details*) that branded me as untrustworthy, but hey you shag one sheep and suddenly you get a name.
The app is absolutely integral to the game (although there’s a GM set of rules should you be on desert island) and it’s very slick. It allows you to test out potions secretly on yourself or on your capitalistic apprentice and hopefully not poison him or you. Expect many curses and shouts as you discover the herb world doesn’t always work as expected.
The game plays out over around eight rounds with the last ones having you in the spot light showing off your wares at the final scoring expo.
There’s a lot to this game. Not so much in the rules. They’re fairly straightforward but a clear path to victory is not obvious. There are numerous ways to score points and they all add up making for neck and neck racing from start to finish. Constonopolis had a lot going on, this has a lot more, but it never feels overpowering or anything other than fun.
I really like this game. It’s different. It’s worker placement for sure but with a lot more than your normal Fare. The app really makes it, as do the funky player screens and wild looking main board.
We Will have this at KNAVECON and I recommend a test drive If you want something challenging and different
I won my first game; just saying.