pic1757300_t[1]By Michael Chamberlain

Glastonbury by Gunter Burkhardt and published by Franjos Spieleverlag this year (2013) is a reimplementation of Kupferkessel Co. (2001) that expands on the original game and allows for four players adding some new elements. The theme for the game is making potions and the player to create the most potent is the winner at the end of the game. The play time for this game is around thirty minutes and, based on my experience, this seems accurate.

The box art to this is certainly a move toward a new target audience. Kupferkessel Co. featured a shop front full of containers of potion ingredients and, although ingredients are still there, they are now arrayed before a wizard. The lighter, more fun art is certain to appeal more to the families market which (for the weight of this game) is just right. The box contains a set of multilingual rules, 4 large wooden player pawns and a stack of large square cards. The pawns are very large, taking up nearly a third of the total space in the box and are beautifully crafted. The cards are of fairly usual stock and the art is very clear, which appeals to the imagination. There are new spell cards for this version too.

The set up for this game is simple enough to be trusted to even younger gamers. The shuffled ingredient cards are laid out to form a 6×6 grid with specially provided corner cards (these are simply curved corners with arrows to show the direction of play). Each player gets a caldron card, a score card and a player pawn in their colour and places their pawn beside a corner. The remaining cards are placed within reach to replenish the board as play continues.

When a player takes their turn they look at the top card of their caldron stack and move a number of places around the outside of the card grid equal to the number on that card (to begin with everyone has a number two printed on their caldron). After you have moved, you take a card from the row or column you are standing at the end of (unless you are standing by a corner) and if it is an ingredient, you place that card on top of your caldron pile. Each ingredient has a 1, 2, 3 and 4 version of it so when making your moves it is possible to set yourself up for the next move/card you want to take. The numbers on the ingredients also count for scoring, but not simply in the usual (total) sense. At the end of the game every player will group their ingredients by type, any ingredient you have all four of you will get the total and a five point bonus (fifteen in total). For three of a kind you get the total, for two of a kind there is no score and if you only have one of an ingredient type you lose points total to its value. It is important to know that you cannot just pick up your caldron pile and look through it anytime you want, there is a memory element to this game that can cost you dearly if you lose track of what you have taken, even more so as if it’s in your colour any score you get from the cards (not the four of a kind bonus) is doubled. There are however, four types of spell cards you can collect in this game aside from the ingredients, for those with poor memories the fact that one of them allows you then and there to pick up your pile and have a look through it (but not reorder it) can be a saviour. The other spells feature one that lets you move again if you land on a corner three times, meaning you couldn’t normally take a card. Another that lets you take any card rather than a card in your row twice and finally a spell that allows you to destroy any card on the grid denying valuable points to other players. The final cards in the deck are two wild ingredients worth zero points but count towards the totals for each type. After a player has taken a card from the grid it is replaced with one from the deck, if there are no cards left in the deck it cannot be replaced but play continues until one row or column has no cards in it. Then players total their scores and whoever has the most points is the winner.

Glastonbury is a really nice family game with good production values. Yes, the cards being a little thicker would have been nice, but provided you have careful children or are there to watch or play, they are more than up to the job. This game is at its core not so very far from a roll and move game combined with memory elements. Once little gamers get to understand the consequences of their choices on their next turn’s movement, it elevates further allowing for some deeper strategic choices. I played this with my six year old daughter who really enjoyed this game and really got into the idea of potion making, being equally amused and delightedly disgusted at the ingredients. Equally, the spells were a real delight to her and she took great pleasure in destroying cards I needed. I’m really glad to have had the chance to review this as it has been great fun for me and my daughter and I can see us playing this regularly together, as well as with other members of the family. An excellent light family game which I can heartily recommend.

Review on Glastonbury by Erica Chamberlain aged 6

I liked the ingredients because they are things like eyeballs and frog slime. I think the spells could have been a little better; maybe you could have a spell to destroy the other person’s deck. I would love to play it again and I would also love to keep it. It was quite easy to play, except for scoring (Daddy did that).