We're Blowing Up Again: Quacks - The Alchemists


I broadly agree with Matt’s conclusion in this one. I played with the witches twice and I won’t be excited to again. The decisions they added were super obvious and sort of took the edge off the risk which makes the game fun.

I think where I feel was missed though is that the Herb Witches are worth getting for the extra rules of the base game ingredients as well as the 6 pumpkins and more cards. I’m yet to play any of the Alchemists due to Pandemic Times largely, but I was deflated by the herb witches so haven’t gone for it.

I also would like to promote The Legend of the Cherry Tree That Blossoms Every 10 Years. Last time I played with @lalunaverde we agreed in some ways it’s superior to Quacks as it’s faster to get the hubris/ecstasy hit and the communal bag add some extra oomph to proceedings. Personally I have room for both in my collection as there’s just enough difference that I’ll play both and enjoy it.



I’ve played with Herb Witches once and enjoyed the Witches as well as the extra ingredient; Alchemists not yet. I can’t help remembering Taverns of Tiefenthal, for which some people said “base game is great” and others said “only play with all optional rules turned on”. I wonder whether it may be a matter of finding the level of complications that feels right to wrap round the core game. (I know @EnterTheWyvern tends to prefer heavier games than I do, and so does Matt, so maybe there’s a feeling of “want the light game to be light and not pretend to be a heavy game”? But it can’t be just a luck exercise, because I’ve won most of the games I’ve played.)

My Quacks Big Box is fully blinged, acrylic tokens and everything.


Have you played enough to say it’s not luck for sure? You could just be a lucky human… :rofl:

On a serious note I like Quacks for being almost a pure strategy game. The lack of tactical decisions means you’re leaning in to a strategy and it’s either coming off or not so the quality of the strategic decisions is what counts in how your bag builds. i believe your strategy includes the risk tolerance with your white chip values as well as the chip combinations you purchase. I too have a strong hit rate of wins so I don’t see it as a low skill game at all.

With the witches I used 2 had uninteresting powers that didn’t seem to do much and one had an uninteresting power that was amazingly powerful. I think some sort of anti-bust power. It took the tension out for large swathes of the game. It allowed me to get an extra high score but also removed a lot of the drama, tension and excitement from the play for me. Adding an irrelevance and a safety net was a net minus. I’d be all on adding some complexity if I felt it enhanced game play somehow.

With the review I feel Matt overstates the luck aspect but is right that it is a feature of the game. It does allow the comforting feeling of winning through skill and losing through luck for those who like that.


Quacks is the only game so far we always play with all of the expansions. For every other game so far, we’ve reverted back to base game only.

The witches are worthwhile if only for the new ingredients, and the alchemists add an extra layer that really clicked for us.

So essentially, I disagree with Mr. Lees. And that’s okay, of course! :grinning:


This is Quacks for me. Base rules, Witches variety.

None of the extra rules.

But that variety was worth the extra $25.