Review – Quacks & Co.: Quedlinburg Dash

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Designer Wolfgang Warsch

Artist Michael Menzel

Publisher CMYK (Asmodee North America)

Category Bag-building, race game

Length 15-30 minutes

Release Date 2022

Player Count 2-4

Price $49.99 MSRP

While the evolution from “deck building” to “bag building” began with Orléans in 2014, the game was not nearly as successful as 2018’s Kennerspiel des Jahres, Quacks of Quedlinburg. Unsurprisingly, the success of this potion-brewing game led to several expansions, and now a kid’s version. However, now we’re pulling food from a feeding bag for our animals as they race to the finish line. Were they able to simplify the game enough for kids, while keeping it fun? Let’s find out!

There are many, many differences between Quacks & Co. and its parent, but the most fundamental is the lack of luck-pushing. In Quedlinburg, you could pull ingredients from your bag, and pull, and pull, until you stopped or busted and cost yourself dearly. In Quacks & Co., you pull exactly one token from the bag each turn and do what it says. The white tokens (now “dream tokens”) still occur, and they essentially require you to skip your turn. But when the third one appears, things have been inverted: this is when tokens go back in the bag, and furthermore, it’s when you go shopping! 

This is an extremely clever touch, turning what was originally a huge bummer into an opportunity to do arguably the funnest part of the game. On the other hand, the first two dream tokens force the player to skip their turn, but because the turns are incredibly fast (draw a token, do it, pass – occasionally slow down to shop), it is not a big deal. Furthermore, unlike the random draw of Sorry! (which is actually a very similar game in concept), the bag building aspect means that the luck somewhat balances out and no one is forced to skip their turn over and over. I am actually quite glad that the push-your-luck element is missing; the only time I’ve had to punish my daughter for her behavior while gaming was whining over a game of Can’t Stop. 

Yes, the game is a luckfest. It’s for kids, and that’s okay. What I want in a game for my kids is that it teaches them some basic strategy and maybe a little math, and that it’s fun for everyone involved. The tension is high early and often in this game, and the race is always close. Furthermore, there are several layers of advanced play (adding extra purchase options, alternate effects for the basic foods) so that the game can “grow” with the child. It also looks really good on the table, the animal racing theme is cute, and the game box acts as a built-in organizing tray for the various tokens to use during play. 

While the game is expensive for a kid’s game, I prefer to pay more for what’s best for my kids than getting things just because they’re cheap. (They are exposed to too many bargain-bin junk toys as it is, board games included.) After the first game my 8-year-old declared it her new favorite board game, so I have trouble calling this anything but a success. 

The Bottom Line

Quacks & Co is a fantastic game for elementary age children, and worth the price tag.

 

8.5

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Author: Derek Thompson


I’ve been a board game reviewer on Geeks Under Grace since 2011. I love card-driven games and party games. I have a Ph.D. in Mathematics and teach the subject at Taylor University in Upland, IN. My wife and kids are my favorite gaming partners.