The Quacks of Quedlinburg Buyer’s Guide

The Quacks of Quedlinburg Buyer’s Guide


Not unlike the potentially explosive potions players brew in-game, The Quacks of Quedlinburg has managed to bottle contained chaos into a mystifyingly unique tabletop experience. The award-winning board game has drawn comparisons to the Mario Kart franchise due to its sheer wackiness, approachable gameplay, and the fact that Quacks’ ingenious rules (and occasionally dumb luck) can catapult players from the basement to the front of the pack at a moment’s notice.

With each expansion, the Quacks series adds another ingredient—often both literal and metaphorical—to the cauldron and somehow comes out tasting fresh rather than overstuffed or watered down. Still, it doesn’t take a fortune teller to understand why Quacks of Quedlinburg has become one of the best family board games. The simultaneous gameplay and simple yet addictive risk-reward aspects blend perfectly to create a pitch-perfect concoction.

While there are a couple of different potential entry points into the series, most players will want to begin with the title that started it all, The Quacks of Quedlinburg.

The Base Game

The Quacks of Quedlinburg

MSRP: $49.99 USD

Age: 10+Players: 2-4Play Time: 45 mins

The Quacks of Quedlinburg is a competitive board game where each player takes on the role of a medieval charlatan looking to brew the most valuable potion. The beginning of the round asks players to pull ingredient chips blindly from a bag, each containing a numbered value – the higher the total value, the more the potion is worth. Tucked away in each bag of ingredients, however, are several cherry bombs; adding too many will result in an explosion, meaning player actions will be restricted later in the round. Of course, reaching the highest number value possible is the goal, but this needs to be weighed against the risk of the cauldron exploding. The trick here is that the player can stop pulling ingredients at any time. How far you choose to test your luck is really up to you. In a sense, Quacks of Quedlinburg plays out as a sort of bizarre fantasy version of Blackjack.

Thanks to the money players received for their potion in the earlier phase, they can now purchase up to two new ingredients to add to their bag in the next round. These ingredients are each accompanied by their own set of unique rules that can affect scoring or reward the player with items. Additionally, the fortune telling cards drawn at the beginning of each round that apply to all players are a fun and wacky way to keep things interesting. These cards may ask players to draw certain ingredients, increase scoring, or even reward the quack in last place. Cleverly, several mechanics reward players who fall a bit behind, giving Quacks of Quedlinburg a sense of parity and ensuring the leader doesn’t run away with the victory.

While several expansions were later introduced that add various wrinkles to the core mechanics, The Quacks of Quedlinburg base game includes a double-sided player board and several double-sided ingredient cards that can tweak playthroughs significantly on their own. Between the variable rules and the randomized fortune teller cards, it is as if The Quacks of Quedlinburg already includes a small expansion from the jump. Even before moving on to full expansions like The Herb Witches or The Alchemists, there is enough replayability packed into Quacks to keep players busy for a while, leading to some worn-out game pieces.

The Expansions

The Quacks of Quedlinburg – The Herb Witches

MSRP: $39.99 USD


Components for a fifth playerNew locoweed ingredient8 new ingredient books12 herb witch cards and 15 witch pennies5 overflow bowlsNew higher-value 6 pumpkin chip

One of the biggest selling points of The Herb Witches expansion is its ability to accommodate a fifth player. Due to its simultaneous play, The Quacks of Quedlinburg excels at higher player counts and doesn’t take up a ton of extra time. So, for those looking for a great five-player title, The Quacks of Quedlinburg along with The Herb Witches expansion is a no-brainer.

Additionally, the introduced locoweed ingredient is a fun new chip with no set value. Depending on the ingredient book played and other factors, locoweed can vary in value – serving as a sort of wild card. Speaking of ingredient books, several new double-sided cards are included for even more variability. And that is all before even mentioning the titular herb witches themselves. Like the ingredient books, the herb witch cards can be switched out during each new game, giving players a wealth of options. Each witch affects a different phase, but they can only be activated once per playthrough. Players can even choose not to activate the witches at all during a playthrough in exchange for additional points.

Outside of gamers looking to add a fifth player to their Quacks experience, The Herb Witches isn’t an essential add-on. That said, for those who simply enjoy The Quacks of Quedlinburg and have exhausted the base game’s variations, this expansion adds even more fun to an already great tabletop experience.

The Quacks of Quedlinburg – The Alchemists

MSRP: $39.99 USD


5 alchemist flask board expansions8 patient cards and patient markers20 new fortune telling cards2 new ingredient booksAdditional chips

The Quacks of Quedlinburg – The Alchemists adds patient cards and alchemist’s flasks to create the brand-new Essence Phase. The ins and outs of the Essence Phase add some complexity to a relatively simple game, but the bottom line is this: The Alchemists expansion incorporates an additional scoring track that rewards players with even more points and items. Aiding in this new mechanic are fun patient cards that build out the game’s wacky theme with a wide range of ailments ranging from a man with a musical worm stuck in his ear to a woman who suffers from a case of nervousness. Each patient is accompanied by their own set of rules but essentially offers players more options for scoring with new risk-reward choices.

The big knock against The Alchemists is that the expansion takes up quite a bit of space. Not every table can accommodate four or five players each with their own board and alchemist’s flask add-on. That said, those who don’t mind the additional footprint are treated to even more Quacks goodness. Even those who don’t want to pop on the giant flask each playthrough can still enjoy the added fortune teller cards and ingredient books with the base game. These components can simply serve as a mix-and-match sort of hodgepodge that can be altered to your preferences. So, while neither The Herb Witches nor The Alchemists are considered essential purchases, they’re both beloved by fans because they add more variability to an already replayable game. Because of its easy-to-teach ruleset and addictive gameplay, Quacks of Quedlinburg is the type of game that can get to the table quite often, and for that reason alone, it’s nice to have options.

The Quacks of Quedlinburg: Mega Box

MSRP: $79.99 USD


Quacks of Quedlinburg (base game)Quacks of Quedlinburg: The Herb Witches (expansion)Quacks of Quedlinburg: The Alchemists (expansion)

If all the above sounds great and you’re ready to hop in with the full Quacks of Quedlinburg experience, the Mega Box is a relatively inexpensive way to purchase the base game and various expansions. Sure, $79.99 is nothing to sneeze at, but the package saves roughly $50.00 when compared to purchasing each component separately. Not to mention, these packages can often be found for well under MSRP at retailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart. If you’re looking to get the best prices possible, make sure to bookmark our continuously updated board game deals coverage.

Other Versions

Quacks & Co.

MSRP: $49.99

Age: 6+Players: 2-4Play Time: 25 mins

While The Quacks of Quedlinburg is already a family-friendly title, Quacks & Co. simplifies the game even further for a younger audience. Rather than brewing potions, players move with their colorful animal companions from one side of the board to the other. That said, Quacks & Co. is similar to the original game in its simultaneous chip-pulling phase. As with the base game, the simultaneous gameplay eliminates the downtime players might face in other games. Kids don’t have to wait for their friends’ turns to be over to get back into the action; they’re simply always playing.

The biggest difference outside of the theme is that Quacks & Co. ditches the original’s risk-reward mechanic. Rather than busting, players simply move on from the token-pulling phase to the ingredient (or animal feed) purchasing phase. Like The Quacks of Quedlinburg, Quacks & Co. is a game kids can grow with thanks to a double-sided board and an optional set of rules for advanced play.

The Quacks of Quedlinburg – The Duel

The Quacks of Quedlinburg – The Duel is an upcoming standalone, two-player version of The Quacks of Quedlinburg. Like the original, games will play out in roughly 45 minutes and the title is aimed at players ages 10 and up. Unlike the original, The Duel is designed for just two players. Expanding upon The Alchemists release, The Duel will emphasize patient care, but it will not be an expansion to the base game. The main bag-building mechanic from The Quacks of Quedlinburg remains the same, but The Duel mostly plays out on a shared competitive board, increasing player interaction.

Bottom Line

The Quacks of Quedlinburg is a fan-favorite press-your-luck game that has delighted audiences since it debuted in 2018. While neither of the current expansions are essential, they both add depth and character to an already charming game. The base package contains ample options for replayability, but The Herb Witches and The Alchemists offer even more. As often as this game tends to get to the table, any additional customization is welcome. So, if Quacks of Quedlinburg sounds like your sort of thing, perhaps consider purchasing the Mega Box bundle to save a few bucks. For younger gamers, Quacks & Co. serves as an even more accessible entry to the series with room to grow.

For a look at more games targeted specifically at younger audiences, check out our recommendations for the best board games for kids. If you’re looking for more titles that play well with a group, we have you covered there as well with our list of the best four-player board games.

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