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The Quacks Of Quedlinburg: The Alchemists How To Play

Quacks of Quedlinburg Alchemist Expansion

Welcome back to Quedlinburg, a fine town where the potions are sold freely and definitely work. There are no quacks here, only Alchemists, who can absolutely turn lead into gold (and not Lord Percy Percy’s “green.” Shout out to the Blackadder fans who like that reference.) Yes, having had the Herb Witches come along to shake things up, the Alchemists expansion adds even more to the Quacks universe. We’ve already reviewed it here at Zatu but for those of you getting it to the table for the first time, I’m going to help you learn how to play.

A quick aside, my copy of the Quedlinburg Alchemist expansion comes as part of the Mega Box. This makes zero difference to the components and gameplay but I figured it was worth mentioning! I’ve also assumed that you, dear reader, already know let’s get to it.

Set Up

Set up for the usual base game of Quacks of Quedlinburg with the following changes:

  1. Shuffle in the new fortune teller cards in with the ones from the base game. Some of these cards have a symbol on them, indicating which expansion they belong to, either a witches hat if it belongs to the Herb Witches expansion or a flask if it’s for the Alchemists. For the cards that have no symbol, they can be used in the base game without any issue.
  2. Give each player the alchemist flask board extension, essence marker and essence cards of their colour.
  3. Randomly choose three patient markers from a bag and place their matching charts, picture side up, for all players to see. Return the other charts and all eight markers to the box.
  4. Each player then must choose which of the three patients they want to treat and place that essence card on their alchemist’s flask board. Multiple players can select the same patient. After each player has chosen, return all other essence cards to the box.

Gameplay

The gameplay follows the usual Quacks game but with one new phase: The Essence Phase. This occurs after everyone has finished the Preparation Phase but before we score. Thematically, we are distilling extra essences from the potion, salvaging the bubbling mass and gasses to make another concoctions.

As the start of the Essence Phase, the essence marker is placed on the 0 spot. Nothing is kept from a previous round, so just like in the Prepare phase, you’ll start from the beginning every turn. Next, you look at the following three steps:

  • Count the number of different colour chips in your cauldron, ignoring white chips. Move the essence marker to that number.
  • Total up your white chips in the cauldron. If it is exactly 7, the marker can move forward one space.
  • If the player to your left or right has exploded this round, move your marker forward another space for each.

Once you have moved your marker, follow the glass tube below to the bonus on your essence card. This could be a rat stone, victory points or a special action which you can take during the next Preparation Phase. You may choose to take a benefit from a lower spot on your track, in which case, you may move the marker back to the spot you wish to take. You can only go backwards though, never forwards in this way. If the tube ends in an oval glass on the essence card, the patient chart will tell you when your bonus will be received.

In the ninth round, there is a final Essence Phase. In this phase, you do not gain the benefit on your essence card but instead gain a number of points equal to how far the marker moved along the track.

The rulebook of Quedlinburg has a glossary of the different essences and the bonuses you will receive when you reach certain thresholds.