To say The Quacks of Quedlinburg was a bit of a hit in the board gaming world would be an understatement. Using a ‘bag building’ mechanic with push your luck and a theme that fit the whole shebang to boot. It really cemented designer Wolfgang Warsch as one to watch, particularly for approachable games. Quacks was already considered quite friendly to new comers but Warsch has further simplified the essence of Quacks into Quedlinburg Dash.
A family weight race game that uses the same bag building mechanism. Only this time you aren’t brewing potions but feeding farmyard animals in order to encourage them to race further and faster.
Build It, They Will Run
Bag building is similar to deck building. Each player has a bag with the same starting tokens in it. Over the course of the game, they will attempt to fill that bag with tokens that fit their gameplay and give them the best chance of winning the game. Starting tokens are generally quite weak and some games allow you to get rid of tokens too.
Quedlinburg Dash doesn’t let you thin your bag but it plays so quickly that this isn’t needed anyway. Instead, you will choose how to increase the tokens in your bag, depending on the powers assigned to them in this game. Each colour token has a tile which tells you what its action is. These tiles are double sided giving you a surprising amount of variety for a family game.
The Donkey And The Cow, And The Pig And The Sheep
Each player will select an animal, its bag and the player board and load up their bag with the starting tokens. As well as a colour and fruit or veg, each token has a number. The number dictates the amount you move and the colour/type of what action you take. These go 1,2,4,5 and 8. The 8 tokens are sweet beets which have no extra action but let you move a massive 8 spaces!
Other tokens have various actions depending on the set up for that game. These can be extra moves, gaining gems, letting you grab a free token, rolling a bonus dice and so on. However, there is another type of token in your bag, the annoying dream weed. When drawn tokens are placed on your player board.
Dream weed has 3 special dream spaces and when you draw one you place it in one of these. Draw three and you get to buy another token from the box, using gems you have collected. You can buy multiple tokens but only if they are different colours.
Unlike Quacks in Quedlinburg Dash you take turns. On your turn you draw one token, place it on your player board, move your animal and take the appropriate action. If you end up buying a token or more due to dream weed you put all your new tokens and the ones on your board into your bag, yes, including the dream weed!
The game plays out how you might expect mechanically. Players draw their token and take their turn and this is usually fairly rapid. The only time it really slows down is when players draw their third dream weed and have to choose which token to purchase. The higher the number on the token the more gems it will cost. With two of the tokens only available for 4 gems and the sweet beet costing 5.
The pace of the game suits the racing theme, as strange as it is to be racing farmyard animals! The board is double sided offering a shorter race or a longer one. The only other interesting part of the board is some of the spaces have spirals on them which can trigger better actions. But that is it. There aren’t any other interesting aspects to the board, which seems like a wasted opportunity. Shortcuts, interactions and so on could have been used fairly easily on one side of the board.
The other components are good with large player boards, wooden animal meeples and thick tokens. Really thick tokens in the case of the ones that go in the bags anyway. There are some other tokens that are used depending on if you play the basic mode without two token types, that are a little bit thinner.
To be honest I wouldn’t ever play without all the tokens as the game is wafer thin as it is. That is in no way a criticism. I don’t need all my games to be deep long battles of wits and tactics, some light and airy games that play fast without hurting my brains.
In that sense, Quedlinburg Dash is a winner. The fact that each token has two different powers adds variety and means that expansions could be small, cheap and have a big effect on the game. However, just like the board, it feels like some more could have been included to make this an even more enticing proposition.
Despite these niggles Quedlinburg dash is a fun race game that produces exciting finishes that get everyone willing players to draw dream weed or tokens with the number 1 instead of ones that move them further. It is a lot of fun. It might not be the main course but it is a nice starter!