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Board Game Spotlight: Alchemists


In another of our regular board game spotlights, Zatu Games confidently slips off its gel-filled eye mask to reveal well-rested, undulating light receptors, both pointed squarely at Alchemists, the 2014 release from publisher Czech Games Edition and Designer Matúš Kotry.

The Game

Alchemy is a practice that aims to transmute simple metals into valuable ones and, in more extreme cases, find an elixir of immortality. Alchemists is a game that aims to transmute simple alchemy into a cardboard-based playable format and, in more extreme cases, something.

2-4 players must compete to try and figure out formulas by combining 8 different ingredients in a variety of ways. First to figure it out wins, but to out-alchemise your opponents requires at least a smidge of guesswork.  There are several actions a player can take: gathering ingredients; mixing them to see what they make; testing the result by selling it, testing it on a student or self-administering; publishing your theories; or refuting the claims of your opponents.

Those early guesses can come back to bite you in some non-descript area when an opponent proves them wrong. The game lasts six rounds. Success brings you reputation and points. Failure doesn’t do those things.

The game caused a very minor and well-tempered controversy, like bumping into someone in the herb section of Waitrose, over the fact that it uses an Android/iOS app as part of play. Once you’ve laid out your ingredients in your chosen order, the app scans the cards and reveals whether you’ve successfully brewed something useful or gently toasted your own face. You then use this knowledge to bring you ever greater attention from the alchemical community. There is a carboard app equivalent in the box, but using it requires one member of the group to sit out each game.

The Publisher

Czech Games Edition was founded in 2007, when it published the successful Galaxy Trucker. They pride themselves on publishing games from Czech and Slovak designers, and all their releases are manufactured in the Czech Republic.

Since then the company have released more than 20 different games and expansions. All of the games that they create are developed, play-tested and manufactured in the Czech Republic.

Other top titles in the Czech Games Edition library include the popular party game Codenames, along with Codenames: Pictures, and the Tash-Kalar collection.

The Designer

Matúš Kotry is a game designer best known for his work on the Alchemists board games - and what a great job he has done!

If the historical refutation of Alchemical principles didn’t sit well in your antiquated brainbox, buy this game from Zatu today!