Kickstarter Review – Cauldron: Bubble and Boil

Magic Circle Games

Age Rating: 12+

Players: 2-4

Timeframe: 45-60 minutes

MSRP: $50.00 (Special Kickstarter price- $39)

Style: Resource Management

It’s time for your coven to select a new leader! Prove that you deserve to be chosen as the greatest amongst the other talented witches by creating the best gardens to gather the components needed to brew the most powerful potions. Don’t forget to use your powers to hex your competitors while you work on brewing your potions. The witch with the most wicked potions and victory points wins!

Introduction

Cauldron: Bubble and Boil is a game designed by Robert Booth that will be available as a Kickstarter on July 25, 2017. The theme of the game is a lot of fun and lets you explore your evil side while still encouraging friendly competition. This game uses some familiar mechanics such as resource gathering, set collection, objective completion, and a bit of “take that!” play which all combine to make a really unique game.

Contents

Rules Booklet
1 scoreboard
8 player markers (2 for each player)
4 cauldrons
80 cauldron cards
30 crone tokens
30 corruption tokens
128 garden tokens (32 red, 32 orange, 32 yellow, 32 green)

The artwork on the box, the cauldrons, and the cauldron card design really invoke the wicked witch feel and add to overall fun of the game.

Gameplay

Each player starts the game with a hand of five cauldron cards, a cauldron containing 1 of each resource type, and a diablerie track. On their turn, players may use their cauldron cards to cast a hex, harvest resources from an existing garden, plant a new garden, or record potion recipes to their recipe book.

If a player chooses to play their cauldron card as a hex, they pay the cost described on the card, follow the action (which can be good or bad for the player and opponents), and move their token on the diablerie track (hexes count in scoring in the end game).

A player can also choose to play their cauldron cards to plant a garden. Gardens require 2 or more cards with matching resource cubes in order to be planted. Players may only have 2 gardens at one time. Gardens yield resources which you can harvest later and they also help you gain crone tokens (victory points) when completed.

Players can also choose one cauldron card from their hand to place face down under their cauldron in a recipe book. These cards have a recipe on them that require a certain combination of components to complete and if you have all of the components to successfully brew the potion at the end of the game, you will earn the victory points listed on the card.

If a player is dissatisfied with the cards in their hand, they may discard and draw new cards. At the end of a turn, players draw back up to five cards and play passes to the next player.

The game end is triggered when one or more end condition is met.

  • A player has stored his or her 7th recipe under their cauldron
  • When two resource colors are depleted
  • The last crone token or corruption disk is taken from the supply
  • If one or more players reach the top of their diablerie track

Once the end game is triggered, players play until the end of the round and then score victory points based on the various rules.

Is it a Family Game?

The game has many different mechanics to keep track of and does require some basic reading. A savvy gamer of 8 and older should be able to play this game, especially considering the Kindly Crone variant listed in the rules booklet. The recommended age on the box seems to be a bit high. This is a light game that requires strategic thinking, planning and forethought, as well as some advanced memory and critical thinking skills. Players really need to have the ability to remember recipes, make independent decisions, and think about what their end game objectives are. Our adult players found both the theme of the game and the actual gameplay enjoyable. There were so many different ways to achieve the most victory points at the end, and we love the fact that the rules booklet contains variants for longer or shorter games and for more advanced gameplay

Conclusion

Cauldron: Bubble and Boil makes good use of game mechanics to balance play. It is very difficult for anyone to take an obvious lead. Also, it provides lots of play choices each turn so there are many different viable strategies to accommodate differing play styles among players.

It is apparent that there was quite a bit of thought put into the design of this game. The game was easy to learn, turns moved quickly, and there are is plenty of replay value. We had fun trying out different strategies each time we played to see which was most successful. We also loved the artwork and the theme. This game comes highly recommended by our play testers!

Check it out on Kickstarter ASAP!

FCC disclosure: A copy of this game was sent to us by the publisher for the purposes of this review.

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