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Episode 89: Alchemists, What’s He Building in There and 4X and Civilization Board Games

The gang is on the road to Origins Game Fair as this episode releases but you can’t stop the signal! In episode 89 the Founders review the worker placement euro with app integration, Alchemists. Then the guys look back at their review of What’s He Building in There one year later. Tony T reads the news like the professional news man he is while the rest interrupt with nonsense. Finally the Founders discuss theme, mechanics and complexity in 4X and Civilization board game.

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Games We've Played

  • Nations the Dice Game
  • Empires of the Void
  • Stockpile
  • Murano
  • Settlers of Catan
  • Concept

Alchemists

In Alchemists, two to four budding alchemists compete to discover the secrets of their mystical art. Points can be earned in various ways, but most points are earned by publishing theories – correct theories, that is — and therein lies the problem. The game is played in six rounds. At the beginning of the round, players choose their play order. Those who choose to play later get more rewards. Players declare all their actions by placing cubes on the various action spaces, then each action space is evaluated in order. Players gain knowledge by mixing ingredients and testing the results using a smartphone app (iOS, Android, and also Windows) that randomizes the rules of alchemy for each new game. And if the alchemists are longing for something even more special, they can always buy magical artifacts to get an extra push. There are 9 of them (different for each game) and they are not only very powerful, but also very expensive. But money means nothing, when there's academic pride at stake! And the possession of these artifacts will definitely earn you some reputation too. Players can also earn money by selling potions of questionable quality to adventurers, but money is just a means to an end. The alchemists don't want riches, after all. They want respect, and respect usually comes from publishing theories.

What's He Building in There

Now that you've got some experience as an Evil Doctor, it's time to move onward and upward. Where's the place to be in the Evil Doctoring World of the late 1800s? London. What's your plan? Find a cheap warehouse somewhere to build your Doomsday Machine. Scotland Yard is on your trail, however, so in addition to your Doomsday Machine, you'll have to build an Escape Plan. In the worker-placement style game What's He Building in There?, players use their Doctors and three henchmen to acquire resources at the available shops, acquire gold, visit the black markets, provide the "Genius at Work" labor (GAW), provide "Manual Labor" (ML), improve the Doctor's social standing, and invent things. You must complete both a Doomsday Machine and an Escape Plan, with higher level Doomsday Machines and Escape Plans garnering more victory points, and you need to do it quickly. Scotland Yard is getting suspicious, after all, so you have to do what you need to do in 15 turns. Players can earn additional victory points for fitting in with society, eccentricity, security and inventions.

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