Quarantine is loosening up here in Texas, and so our usual gaming friends gave us a call and said, “How about a board game night?” We, of course, said, “Yes, what are we playing?” They had gotten a few new games since we’d last played together, a couple of fun fast games that are more luck and less strategy which sounded perfect for a fun afternoon of games. It was definitely a fun game night or a great addition to your gameschooling.
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Idea behind Quacks of Quedlinburg game
Every year the city of Quedlinburg holds a potion competition. Everyone gets together and brews up as many potions as they can. Your goal is to make the best potion with as many different ingredients as you can get.
How does that work for gameplay?
The game happens over seven rounds. Each round you’re making potions by pulling ingredients out of a bag and putting them in your cauldron. You’re trying to get the most ingredients total without getting more than seven white flowers (????? We couldn’t agree what they were).
How to play Quacks of Quedlinburg
You have an individual board that you are playing on. To start off the game you get 9 tokens in your bag as explained in the bottom lefthand corner. You also have a ruby.
Each player chooses a color. The drop shape is where you start placing your tokens, and then there is a rat token that gives you an advantage if you are behind the leader in points (this is all explained in the rules).
Once you have your teardrop token and rat token (in later rounds) put down, then you start pulling tokens out of your bag and placing them on your board.
When everyone has decided they’ve pulled out as many tokens as they feel lucky then you score the round.
This is your scoring board. It’s later in the game so the score is a bit further apart, which actually will work for explaining stuff.
So, at the end of the round you look and see who has the most ingredients in their pot and hasn’t blown up their pot from putting in too many white flowers. Whoever has the highest number gets to roll the white die and get the results. If everyone is tied, then everyone gets to roll. This can get you victory points for winning or maybe a new ingredient to add to your bag, maybe a ruby, or maybe move your teardrop forward.
Then you look at what ingredients you drew out of the bag. Some of the ingredients you can buy will give you special abilities. So a purple ingredient can give you victory points and a ruby, and maybe even moving your teardrop if you have enough of them.
Next, you figure out if people can earn a ruby. This is where strategy comes into play. You see how each circle you put your ingredients on has two numbers, and some have a little ruby next to it?
The bigger number is how much “money” you have, the smaller number is the amount of victory points you earn, and the ruby is whether you would earn a ruby that round. Your round is scored based off of the next empty space.
In the example up above, I had covered through space 27 and would earn 10 victory points, but not a ruby.
If you did not blow up your potion then you can get both the victory points and the money. If you blew up your potion, you have to decide between victory points OR money to buy more ingredients. I always went with more ingredients, but that’s one of those strategic decisions.
Once that has all been figured out you spend your money to get more ingredients. You may buy up to two ingredients a round, and they HAVE to be different colors.
You can also spend your rubies to move your teardrop further up or replenish your “don’t explode my cauldron bottle” that I think no one used once in our game.
Ingredients for your potions
The Quacks of Quedlinburg game has lots of ingredients you can buy. Each color has different abilities. The more powerful ingredients cost more than others.
Yellow lets you put back the last tile you pulled out if it’s a white flower. You get to keep the space you are in, so it’s a powerful tile.
Blue lets you not explode your potion if the tile right before (or 2 or 4 depending on the blue tile) is the one you draw after. I never timed it right for this tile to do me any good beyond decreasing the odds of drawing those white flowers.
Red are powerful. When you draw it out you can choose to place it then, OR put it to the side and place it later in the round, OR another round. These can mean the difference between points or getting that ruby or not.
I don’t remember what green does, which tells you how often I bought it.
Purple were my favorite. Depending on how many you drew out of the bag was what they did. Up to three can really change the results of your round. They’re also one of the most expensive ingredients.
Black tiles were an arms race. You got results based on having more than the players next to you. But if you had less than the other players, than you got nothing form those tiles.
The number on the tile explains how many spaces you move over. So a one means you just put it right next to the last tile, but the 2 leaves an empty space. Those tiles were a lot more expensive.
As you can see, later in the game you’re going to get a lot of ingredients out before your Quacks of Quedlinburg blows up their cauldron. Or before you feel like you’ve gotten too close to blowing up and you choose to stop.
Strategy in Quacks of Quedlinburg game
I learned the rules as I went along, so there are some things I definitely would have done differently if I’d known all of the rules.
The first big thing to know, rubies are a big deal. They allow you to move your starting point further up. You want to get as many rubies as you can. It is actually more to your advantage to have a lower number and still get that ruby than a higher number and not get the ruby early in the game.
Next, blowing up your cauldron is not as big of a deal as I was afraid of. Also very important to note, you have to get MORE than 7, not 7 exactly. That cost me a round because I misunderstood that rule. Early in the game if you blow up your cauldron take the money. Money is a bigger deal, and the weighted scale they give you for being behind can really make up for the lack of points.
Every turn you want to buy two ingredients if you can. I did choose one round to only buy a purple ingredient because I thought the chance of getting more purple to draw was more important than a few random ingredients.
How Quacks of Quedlinburg game would be great for gameschooling
This is a great game to work on probability. I remember learning about probability with M&Ms or something similar where we put in a fixed number of each color, and having to calculate the odds of a color being drawn.
This game does that, but you are building your own odds. After you’ve drawn out a few ingredients, you are starting to calculate the odds of the white flowers left in your bag pushing you over 7.
You start glancing over at how many ingredients the other players have pulled out to see where you stand in relation to them for rolling the white die (which I rarely got to roll).
Sometimes the odds can be in your favor, but you still have that bad draw. That’s the risk you run, and it’s a fun risk.
More fun ways to learn
- Tiki Topple game
- Using File Folder games for school
- Ex Libris game
- Creation Bingo game
- Mysterium game