For this week’s Table Kicker I’ll be putting the spotlight on the strategy intensive resource management game: Cauldron: The Game of Competitive Alchemy by Altema Games with Artem Safarov as its lead designer.
From the looks of it, this game is accessible enough to be fun for players of all ages but not so simple that more seasoned players will be tempted to put it back on the shelf. I’m a bit reluctant to ever call a game “fun for the whole family” but Cauldron seems to offer enough of a balance in simple concepts for younger players and a demanding interactive strategic framework to truly be a game for all ages.
The object of the game is to become the greatest brewer in the land, The Grand Infusionist. To do this you must collect resources such as spider-webs, snakeskins, and lava crystals and use them in order to brew potions. These potions will increase your magical power, thus taking you one step closer to becoming the premier alchemist in the kingdom.
While earning magic will get you closer to your goal you will also need to spend magic to ensure victory. Magic allows you to purchase more powerful potions, buy cellars to protect your ingredients from being stolen or add new land to the game board to produce the resources you need. It’s not only a matter of managing your ingredients, but also a matter of distributing your magic thus the strategic variance of the game is incredibly high.
For example, a player may choose to be laid back spending only the necessary amount of magic to ensure a gradual progression to victory. Meanwhile another player may be more aggressive during the market season phase of the game by spending a large amount of their magic early on in order to gain a serious advantage over their opponents. While these concepts offer a good amount of variability on their own, Cauldron also features seven classes such as the witch, the Shaman and the Alchemist each with their own unique abilities that give Cauldron high replay value.
Honestly this has just about everything I look for in a board game. It features simple rules that are easily explained so that players can just jump right in and start having fun. Yet there’s enough of a strategic requirement in the game to make it interesting. Furthermore, the game calls for player interaction something so many games lack that. It’s that intimate bonding interaction with friends that makes tabletop games such an enjoyable enriching experience, and Cauldron appears to be designed to uphold that concept. Finally, this game has an air of familiarity to anyone interested in the fantasy genre but it offers enough uniqueness and variability for it to not be stale.
Great games like Cauldron won’t exist in all their glory without our support. If you would like to support the production of Cauldron: A Game of Competitive Alchemy please head on over to their Official Kickstarter Page. If you don’t have the money but you would still like to support this project I’m sure Mr. Safarov and Altema Games would greatly appreciate you telling your friends and getting the word out to as many people as you can. There are so many fascinating and downright cool projects out there and far too many of them never see their time surrounded by people on game night. Don’t let Cauldron become another statistic, show your support!
Every week Mystic Potluck will spotlight a KickStarter project that I feel deserves more recognition. There are a lot of great, interesting projects that never come to fruition simply because they don’t get the funding or the attention that they deserve. Table Kicker is my way of trying to help make more of these awesome projects a reality.