In my last blog post I discussed some thoughts regarding game design and what I like in games. This post will discuss some elements of Cauldron: Bubble and Boil design elements in light of that previous post.
In Cauldron: Bubble and Boil, you are witches who are competing in a potion-brewing contest. The theme is evident throughout the game. From hexing others with spells to putting ingredients into your own cauldron, the theme extends throughout the game, coloring the actions you take, including how the hexes work. Even the cauldron component evokes the theme. As I discussed in my previous post, this is not a game with a tacked on theme (although, again, there are many great games that are just that).
Player interaction is also a key element in this game, but it isn’t a mandatory one. Players can choose to refrain from meddling with other players and instead focus growing and brewing their own potions. This leads directly to my next design point: Multiple paths to victory. In Cauldron: Bubble and Boil, there are multiple ways to earn victory points and win the game. While casting hexes is usually deleterious to your efforts to brew potions, they also yield victory points at the end of the game. Additionally, completing a garden (harvesting all the resources from your garden) also yields a large number of victory points at the end of the game. Finally, brewing potions is the final method of making a lot of victory points. Players have a choice to try to focus on one strategy or play a mix of strategies.
Short player turns results in little down-time for other players, and the variable ending to the game (that is controlled by players), means you must pay attention to what others are doing so you know when the end of the game is coming. With the element of potion brewing occurring at the end of the game, you will likely never know who is going to win until the potions are scored. So there isn’t the runaway winner effect. Finally, regarding the aesthetics of the game, I have an entire post coming up discussing the amazing artwork in this game by artist Alysa Avery.
This short blog post has tried to cover some of those aspects of game design that I mentioned earlier. I will continue to talk about these over the coming weeks. My next blog post will discuss the origins of this game from inspiration to a bit of my own backstory. Until next time…