About this project
Across the land, an invitation has summoned the most clever apprentices: a chance to enter the secret potion society. The cutthroat members, the Apothecaries, have grown too savvy of each other's schemes. They've chosen you to compete in their black market game! Conjuring powerful magic and deception, outwit your adversaries, and you too might join Apotheca.
Apotheca is a 30-minute, potion-crafting strategy game for 2-4 players ages 14 and up.
Devise your plans by hiding ingredients in the marketplace. Reveal secrets to collect precious gems. Recruit powerful apothecaries to do your bidding. The first apprentice to make three potions becomes a member of the secret potion society!
Only clever folk can navigate this mysterious market. Can you master the world of Apotheca?
- Asymmetric Powers – Each of the 15 apothecaries boasts a unique ability to manipulate potions in the market, from familiar movements to innovative brain benders. Combine your powers to set up potion matches your opponents won't anticipate!
- Hidden Information – Deduction is key to Apotheca. Only you know the true identity of the secret potions you bring to the market, creating a rich level of strategy when combined with the apothecary powers. But don't worry, this isn't a memory game - the arrows on the back of the potion cards indicate who placed them, so you can peek at your secret potions at any time!
- Challenging Choices – Your actions are limited each turn. The tradeoff between hidden information, resource gathering and board control makes it challenging and satisfying to craft the perfect plan. Counter your opponents' powers by starving them of information, build up resources to prepare for the end-game, and bluff your way to victory when your opponent least suspects it.
- Easy to Learn, Hard to Master – Apotheca is deceptively simple. Just when you think you've mastered the many apothecary powers and endless board positions, a refreshingly creative move will leave you thirsty for more potion-brewing. We've seen a countless number of Apotheca games, and are still surprised by the strategies of new players and veterans alike.
*Art and components are subject to change.
Shipping fees are added automatically upon backing the project.
Games shipped to backers in the US, Canada and EU are shipped from within those territories. No extra customs charges!
Western EU countries include:
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
Each character in Apotheca has a mysterious story, a unique ability, and lush full bleed art. Check out some of our apothecaries below:
Andrew's How to Play + Beginner Strategy
Rahdo Runs Through Part 1: Gameplay Run Through
Rahdo Runs Through Part 2: Extended Gameplay (to game end)
Rahdo Runs Through Part 3: Final Thoughts
The Board Game Family Review
Edo's Game Previews
"This is a blast ... There's just so many cool, fun things. The art is gobsmackingly gorgeous ... Absolutely fantastic game." -Rahdo Runs Through
"We both really, really liked it. It's a super fun, light-but-thinky tactical puzzle. Really enjoyed it." -Rich Sommer, host of CARDBOARD! and actor on AMC's Mad Men
"We've had a blast with this game! ... we love [it] ... Very excited for this to take flight ... everyone is really enjoying it ... One of the more uniquely fun and engaging games I've seen in a while. We thoroughly enjoyed this game and can't wait for the final product to hit our table!" -Tox of Crits Happen
"The whole moving the stuff around and getting the matches -- that's a lot of fun to me. But when you're able to add that weird 'being able to inflict my mental will on somebody', then I knew I was going to really really like this game, and it was going to keep coming back to my table." -UndeadViking
"...Knapsack Games has gone all out to produce a game that easily rivals those of its largest competitors. ... I can see this game being a contender for several gaming awards." -Chris James of Casual Game Revolution
"Apotheca is worth getting excited about. It's one of those games that can be played by anyone and challenges everyone. Child Geeks, Parent Geeks, and Gamer Geeks all sat around the same table, played the same game, and had the same amount of fun. That is rare, indeed." -Father Geek of FatherGeek.com
"The game is about as perfect as you can get. Excellent depth, excellent balance, excellent engagement, and simply...well...excellent. A real tactical and strategic treat." -Gamer Geek of FatherGeek.com
"The game was really easy to learn and so much fun to play. I didn't care if I won or lost. I just wanted to keep playing." -Child Geek of FatherGeek.com
"This game is a wonderful puzzle. It reminded me of those tile sliding puzzles I enjoyed as a child. This is so much better and so much more fun." -Parent Geek of FatherGeek.com
"I loved it. ... It’s a very smart game." -Tabletop Gaming News
"Big thumbs up on this game." -Trent Howell of The Board Game Family
"Apotheca is that rare game that I can consistently recommend, no matter the person. Simple to pick up yet surprising with depth." -Chris Bell, designer on the award-winning video games Journey and Way
"I'm a big fan of [the] dynamic tactics. ... This is a fun game." -Ed Baraf of Edo's Game Previews
"Apotheca has quickly become one of my favorite games to have previewed so far. The design is simple in concept but offers a range of strategic and tactical decisions that ebb and flow across the different player counts. Throughout many plays, I've found each game to be fast, balanced and a lot of fun." -Matt of The League of Nonsensical Gamers
"Each game of Apotheca requires you to use quick thinking and problem solving to confront the new puzzle that greets you. Being such a fast paced game, it will easily hit your table many times and continue to keep you engaged play after play!" -Kelly of The League of Nonsensical Gamers
"Apotheca is one of the most visually striking games to come across our table in some time." -Jason Dobson of Indie Cardboard
"[I] was marveled by the ease of play and the depth available. ... Apotheca is an excellent game" -Robert Kalajian of Purple Pawn
"Gameplay is engaging and rewarding. ... The easy to learn rules make it great for families and casual gamers, but the depth of strategy and variable player powers will keep the advanced hobbyist gamer involved as well." -Richard Miles of The Board Game Authority
"...just the right amount of discretely applied twisting, turning, flipping, slipping, sliding, and even a splash of bluffing. ... Elegant, crazy, and colorful. What a great way to spend fifteen minutes at a time, equally suitable for families or serious boardgamers." -Tom Chick of Quarter to Three
"...an interesting concoction of deduction, puzzle-solving and variable powers. It’s light and familiar enough for almost anyone, but with a dose of challenge to satisfy a more strategic hunger." -Jason Meyers of iSlayTheDragon
"We really liked it! ... Really cool game. Beautiful artwork." -Steve Oksienik of Cardboard Insanity
Cardboard Insanity Origins Spectacular 2015 (rules at 18:47, review at 76:05)
Andrew Federspiel is the founder of Knapsack Games, as well as game designer and lead developer of Apotheca and Knee Jerk. His first licensed board game, tentatively titled Merc Mayhem, is due out by publisher APE Games in 2015. Andrew's background is in video games, having worked at PopCap Games on Bejeweled Blitz, Zuma Blitz, and Solitaire Blitz. He was also the lead designer at SilverTree Media on the Disney TRON Legacy online games Disc Battle and Light Cycle. Andrew gained his chops at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center from leading game design professor Jesse Schell.
Matthew Austin is the second game developer as well as jack-of-all-trades on Apotheca. Matt is also the Lead Developer of Chaosmos at Mirror Box Games. Prior to working in the game industry, Matt developed the successful iPhone app Falcon, which provides walking navigation at music festivals and college campuses.
Mark Major is the third game developer of Apotheca. He was a finalist in the 2014 Tabletop Deathmatch series, and in March he won the The Game Crafter's Mystery Design Challenge. Mark has licensed two of his games to board game publishers, including Jupiter Rescue by Twilight Creations and Chimera Station by Tasty Minstrel Games. He has also designed video games, with experience on Cave Story and 1001 Spikes. Mark is also a contributor to the League of Gamemakers.
Eduardo Garcia is the artist of Apotheca. Eduardo brought our apothecaries, marketplace, and potions to life. Eduardo previously worked on the art for Lagoon: Land of Druids.
Phillip Jenné is the graphic designer of Apotheca. By day he works as a CG Generalist and Production artist for a large marketing company, by night, a game designer and graphic artist. Phillip likes to party with Waitress Games and the charity group DFW Nerd Nighters. Some of his previous work featured on Kickstarter includes NOVUS, The Shadow Over Westminster, and Planet Defiant.
Brian Nichols wrote the world and character lore for Apotheca. Brian is a producer, writer and photographer at the New York Times. He also runs the Alcohol by Volume Blog.
Playtesting: Kevin Chang, Rachel Miller, Christina Major, Greg, Chris, and John Federspiel, Eric Guidice, Peter Vaughan, Kevin Warner, Francisco Souki, Aaron Vanderbeek, JR Honeycutt, Phillip Jenné, Cody Lewis, Erik Herrington, Jonathan Beer, and many folks at Gen Con, Metatopia, Strategicons, Origins and beyond. Thank you all for your helpful feedback!
Special Thanks: Joey Vigour and Jamey Stegmaier for sharing your Kickstarter lessons and providing models for the rest of us to learn from.
Video: Video written, shot, directed and edited by Sam Vest of Vest Films. Acting by Taylor Judkin, William J Bradley and Daniel Waters. Voiceover by Cam Montgomery Jr. Costumes by Ashley Lam. Set decoration by Kelly Prow. Lighting by Andrew Wong. Production Assistants Andrew Ryan and Heath Rumble. Extras Brent Davis, Ashley Lam and Ashton Lauren. Thank you to everyone involved in making the video!
Game Rules: http://bit.ly/apothecarules (best viewed with Adobe Acrobat)
*note: subject to change; final version will include lore for each apothecary
Print 'n Play: http://bit.ly/apothecapnp
Press Kit: http://bit.ly/apothecapresskit
Risks and challenges
Our primary risks lie in manufacturing and shipping. Delays are a frequent reality for many game manufacturers, and shipping games worldwide involves many complex processes.
Fortunately, our team has end-to-end experience managing the manufacturing and shipping of Kickstarter games, with team members having worked on Knee Jerk and Chaosmos. We are prepared in advance to handle some delays without affecting the delivery window of the game.
We will diligently keep backers informed of the manufacturing and shipping processes as we move forward, as well as deliver a product that meets our strict quality standards.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
For each physical copy of Apotheca you pledged for, add $10 to your pledge (no extra shipping fees). Manage your pledge here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/andrewfederspiel/apotheca-the-secret-potion-society/pledge/edit
The June 2016 delivery date is for physical rewards. We have the majority of the art done, but many things can change/get added over the course of a Kickstarter campaign due to stretch goals and backer comments. Also, there may be development that happens during/after the campaign, which can delay how quickly we get the game to the manufacturer (for instance, we are balancing a few of the apothecary powers). This occurred in my Knee Jerk Kickstarter campaign, and I was glad I set the delivery date far out. I was still able to deliver Knee Jerk early to backers. While I anticipate Apotheca will be delivered before the projected date, the game publishing process is difficult to predict, so I want to make sure that buffer time is there. This is a more complicated game than Knee Jerk, so I want to manage expectations accordingly.
$10 is already included in your pledge for shipping to the US, Canada and the UK. Shipping to Western EU costs an additional $10, and anywhere else in the world is an additional $25.
Since these countries are not in the EU, Amazon Fulfillment will not ship there. As a result, our shipping costs are much higher and we can't offer the same price on shipping.
With help from backers, we are translating the rulebook into Spanish, French, German and Italian, which should make it easy to introduce Apotheca to non-English speakers. In addition, the apothecary cards and potions use iconography that alleviates the need for text.
Please add the following to your pledge for each additional copy:
US, UK, Canada, Western EU*: $30
Central EU**: $40
All other territories: $60
*Western EU: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden
**Central EU: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia
International shipping costs increase dramatically with added weight, meaning we can't save money on shipping just two games together. For each additional copy you'd like to add to an international pledge, please add $60.
If you would like 5 or more games, please see our Potion Peddler tier. It is much more affordable!
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