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Interesting game from Essen 2014


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Alchemists (be careful as there is also an Alchemist game, singular, which is not the same)


As I understand it, this was on Kickstarter a while back but I can't find reference to it.  Guy from a gaming group I play with sometimes had a copy from Essen (not available here until later this month) and so we played it on Saturday.


Feels like a combination of Clue and a Euro worker-placement game.


Boardgamegeeks topic at http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/161970/alchemists


Publisher site at http://czechgames.com/en/games/


Players are budding young alchemists who are trying to make a reputation for themselves.  Publish or Perish is the mantra.  You have to go out and collect reagents (or hire someone to do it for you) and then combine them and see what you got (either getting a student to try them for you or by trying them yourself).  From the results you learn things about the reagents you combined.


Publish a treatise on your findings or lie and publish something misleading to see if you can cause problems for your fellows.  Either way, you get a reputation boost...  At least until someone demonstrates that you are full of it.


The game uses a computer (smart phone, web browser or tablet) to referee the reagent combinations.  By sharing a 4-character seed you can use multiple devices for the same game.  The simplest means of playing is using a smart phone with a camera as the app can actually recognize the reagent cards and so you essentially take a picture of the reagents you are combining and the app tells you what potion you made.  Without a camera you can enter things by hand, etc.  The app referees all the reagent combining steps (testing on a student or yourself or making a potion to sell to an adventurer) giving only the appropriate amount of information.


The design is solid.  It lists as 2-4 players and I played it with 4 which is their recommendation.  Much to my surprise I spent more time interacting with the other gamers and playing the publish/refute game more than experimenting on things.  Includes two levels of difficulty and can be played at both levels at the same time to level the playing field between new and experienced players (or adults and children if needed?).  Suggested ages are 12 or 13+ with a playtime of 2 hours for experienced players (with 2 new players I think our game took closer to 4 including time to teach).

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I know others were having problems with the app as well.  The secret I found was to get the cards on the same level surface (not across a joint on a table) and then hold the camera high and level over the cards.  Really enjoyed my one run at it so far.  Hoping to get another chance next weekend.

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