Kickstarter Corner – Animalchemists

Hello and welcome to this slightly delayed edition of Kickstarter Corner. This is a weekly feature where I discuss a current Kickstarter project that has caught my eye. This week I will be discussing Animalchemists, the latest game from CardLords.

The box design of Animalchemists featuring artwork by Anastas Ermolina
Source: boardgamegeek,com

Animalchemists, designed by Jon Cohn and Dustin Jenkinson, is a 2-5 player card game where players choose to play as one of five different Animal Alchemists who are competing to gain the most points from crafted spells, brewed potions and ingredients gathered at the end of the game.

The five Animal Alchemist player characters available in the game, each with an associated ingredient.

Gameplay for Animalchemists seems pretty straightforward. Once players have chosen their Animal Alchemist, three rows of cards are built in the middle as a “market” for players to choose from. Ingredient cards are shuffled and the first five are placed face up as the first row, with the rest being placed as a pile for replenishing the market. The Potion cards are arranged into stacks of four, separating each individual potion type. The stacks are then arranged underneath the Ingredient cards as a second row. The third row is for the Spell cards which are arranged the same way as the Ingredient cards.

A fully set up card market.

Cards in the Ingredient and Spell rows will replenish at the end of a player’s turn. Potions however will not and once a stack of a Potion is depleted, that Potion can no longer be crafted. Ingredients, once used, will go into a discard pile which will be recycled into a draw pile for the market. Spells, once crafted and/or used, do not and serve as the timer for the game.

The first player is determined by the bottom card of the Ingredient deck. The player with the character with the matching ingredient goes first. If that character is not in use, the next card is used and so on. This is definitely an interesting way to choose a first player and isn’t a method I’ve seen before.

The five different Ingredient cards in Animalchemists.

On a player’s turn, they may take one of three actions. The first is to choose two Ingredient cards. They may be chosen from the market row and/or the draw pile. The second possible action is to use these ingredients to brew a Potion, but they may only do so if they do not currently possess that Potion. The last option is to use a combination of Potions and Ingredients to craft a Spell. Once brewed or crafted, the materials used are placed in the appropriate discard piles.

The five potion types.

In addition to the three actions above, players may choose to use their character card’s ability and/or use any Spell they have crafted for the stated ability. Character cards may be used once per turn. Spells may only be used once, but do not have to be used on the same turn as they are crafted. Spells used still count towards a player’s score at the end of the game. The game ends once the Time Stop spell is crafted, giving the game a built-in timer, which allows for a quick playtime of around 20 minutes.

A sampling of Spells available in the game., including the Time Stop end game Spell

As of this writing, Animalchemists is fully funded, having raised $5,350 USD of their $5,000 USD goal, with 26 days to go. While there are no specific stretch goals per se, CardLords have left open the possibility of custom UV embossing on specific cards, as seen on the Captain cards from The Pirate’s Flag, another CardLords game. The price for Animalchemists is fairly low, with only a $19 USD pledge securing you a copy.

CardLords states on their website that they place an ” emphasis on player interaction and high quality artwork”. Animalchemists fits both categories with the market forcing players to pay attention for their chosen items may be gone by the time their turn comes around. As well, the lovely artwork from Anastas Ermolina, an artist from Kyrgyzstan, truly shines, especially in the character designs. I personally would have a hard time choosing which character to play because I love the unique animal choices as well as the cuteness of the designs.

If Animalchemists sounds like a game you’d like get, you can back the Kickstarter campaign here.

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