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Do not despair, young potion makers! For Guild of Alchemists is here to bring you all things awesome. In Alchemists, another deck of cards is added and players can select cards from that deck as well. However, in addition to bringing new spells and components, it includes long chains to complete a “Magnum Opus” and create one of three philosopher’s stones. A completed opus ends the game early. Otherwise, it ends when both decks are depleted.

Creating a philosopher’s stone is not easy, but it is lucrative. And the most recent stage can’t be stolen from you. You have to make seven different items in succession (though not necessarily back to back) in order to finally claim the philosopher’s stone. This gives the players an interesting goal to work toward, and it feels like an epic quest line.

Best yet, the seven stages require items found in both the base deck and the Alchemists deck. This requires players to go searching through both stacks for the items that they need. Along the way, they will create other items as well. Creating precurser items can cause paranoia as other players may try to steal them away to stop your progress on the opus. But it provides a great source of points and a wonderful and thematic method of directing play.

The spells in the Alchemists Guild are all designed to help you toward your opus. Some very specifically, others are helpful whether you’re working on your opus or not. Other than trying to use someone else’s items to prevent them from building up their opus, the game does not add any additional spite. Plus, with three different opus paths, it’s not all that difficult to avoid the other players.

Overall: 4 of 5. Guild of Alchemists adds a little bit of playtime, but it also adds a little bit of awesome. All of the additions – especially the opus – are worth the increased playtime. Plus, with the completion of the opus ending the game, you do not necessarily have to run through both decks. This is an interesting and fun addition to the game that really helps to carry the theme. If you’re going to get an expansion for Potion Making Practice, this is the one to get.

(A special thanks to Right Games for providing a review copy of University Course and Guild of Alchemists)

(Originally posted, with pictures, at the Giant Fire Breathing Robot)
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Paul Agapow
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Glad to hear. I'm a little disappointed that it lengthens the game - for my tastes, the base game runs a shade too long for what it is - but if this deepens the actual gameplay, it could be worthwhile. Is this like the first game in that you have to get familiar with the cards so as to know what combos are possible?
 
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Yes. Some familiarity with the cards will definitely help.
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