|Ages:||Publisher:10+ We think: 8+|
|Playtime:||Publisher: 45min We think: 45min|
The Quacks of Quedlinburg has been one of the hits of the last few years, winning the Kennerspiel and also the acclaim of many reviewers, so with that I decided that it was time to give it a go.
Context of review: I have played Quacks 5 times, in addition to teaching, with 2-4 players. Most plays have been with family and children aged under 10yo. The copy of Quacks is the reviewers own.
The game, in essence, is a bag building push your luck style game. You are Quacks who are competing to have the best potion at the end of the day (Round). Pulling ingredients from your bag moves you up the score ladder, but be careful not to pull too many white ingredients as this will cause your potion to explode and you are out of the round.
I like to look at games in terms of ‘feel’ rather than the mechanics or theme too much and The Quacks of Quedlinburg feels just right. From the catch up mechanism (below) to the more complex spells for more strategic play, the game just flows so well. Quacks is one of those games that you can read the rules and never have to refer to them again, making it an incredible game for both family gamers and as a gateway game for modern board games.
Quacks has equal parts strategy as it does silliness, ‘What ingredients will you guy to boost your potion in the next round?‘ is balanced against ‘Can I pull just one more piece and not have this blow up in my face?‘ The game really is a joy to play and in a household that has differing ages and abilities it really seems to bridge the gap between all ages and abilities.
I have to say that I really love Quacks, it has been one of the stand outs of the playing year for me (along with games like 7th Continent, Nusfjord and Clans of Caledonia). Before playing I had the thought that it would be too easy, or that the push your luck element would knock people out too easily, but boy was I wrong.
Catching up with friends
One of the hardest things about playing board games with kids is being able to aim your strategy so that there is no runaway leader. Beating a kid by a ton of points is definitely not something that is going to encourage future plays by the little people. This is one of the reasons that I really love Quacks, as a push-your-luck type game you could really streak ahead, but the ‘rat tail’ mechanism allows all players to stay in touch. Simply put, count the amount of rat tails between you and the current leader each round then add that number to your starting figure.
I have found that this catch up mechanism has been one of the best things about the game, younger players always feel like they are close and will therefore take more risks with their play style over time, meaning that everyone stays ‘in’ the game and not using strategies that will be safe.
Quacks comes highly recommended from me, whether in a 2 player scenario or with the family it is a great experience and will bear out repeated plays. Make sure to get on this one!
You may also like
For something push your luck – Port Royal. This is a lot lighter than Quacks of Quedlinburg, but is more accessible to a younger audience
For something at same level – Azul is at around the same difficulty level as Quacks, although more abstract so caters to a little older audience.