Theme and What is it?
You are a master perfumer from centuries ago, distilling the most titillating fragrances and creating exotic perfumes for the wealthy men and women of your town. Be the wealthiest perfumer at the end of the game, and you win!
There are three main phases to each round of the game. First comes the “wake up” phase, where players take turns selecting a clock to determine player order. Gameplay does NOT progress in the typical clockwise fashion. The clocks also indicate how many actions each player is permitted. For example, a player with the 1st clock is only permitted three actions, but the 4th player is permitted six, because she slept in and is better rested for the day’s work. However, the 1st player to take his turn has first choice from among the options on the table.
Second is the “creating perfumes” phase, which players do in the order determined by their clocks. The 1st player prepares for distillation by performing his three actions. He is allowed to draw a fragrance note from the bag and place it on a free space on the board, take an aroma die, or take a water well token and place it on his perfumery.
After this, he attempts to distill his fragrances by rolling all the aroma dice in front of him. Three scents have a 2/3 chance of rolling success (a flask) and the other two scents have a 50/50 shot. A failure is represented by a fly.
Water well tokens can be used to alter the dice roll. One token will allow you to reroll either all dice OR all flies of one color. Discarding two water well tokens allows you to manually change a fly to a flask.
Based on the successes of the dice the first player has rolled, he can then claim fragrance notes, which each pay a certain number of coins. Fragrance notes can then be used to create perfumes. When a minor perfume (two fragrance notes: a head note and a base note) is created, the player gains two flasks. A major perfume (three fragrance notes: a head note, a heart note, and a base note) grants three flasks.
Yes, that’s all phase 2. For one player. Phase 2 continues in the order determined by the clocks claimed in phase 1.
After all players have had a chance to distill and create perfumes, the third phase begins. Here, players sell the flasks they gained from creating perfumes in clock order, in two rounds. In each round, a player may sell exactly one flask. Selling to a customer earns the most coins, but extra flasks can be sold at a bargain price (a good end-game tactic for leftovers).
The player who has earned the most coins at the end of the game wins.
I was pretty excited about this game. I liked the theme and the quality of the components, and there was something about the historical atmosphere of the game that drew me into the story.
Game Build Quality
My absolute favorite part of the included components is the fabric drawstring bag that holds the fragrance notes. The pattern on the bag is so rich, it really brings the theme home for me. Icing on the cake.
The cardboard components are solid and will hold up to repeated play. The wooden flasks are well cut and feel good in the hand.
The artistic choices made by Claus Stephan seal the deal. The art really puts you in the world of perfumers of centuries ago. Everything down to the clothing the customers wear was obviously painstakingly designed. Guys, it looks GOOD.
I LOVED this game! Playing it was so much fun, and I honestly can’t wait to play it again with a group of four. The game had us talking and teasing and encouraging each other. My son lost, which is often a hard pill for him to swallow, but he enjoyed himself so much, he was still grinning during clean-up.
Age Range & Weight
This is a medium-light weight game. My nine-year-old did very well on his first playthrough. I’d recommend this game for ages 8+.
I LOVED this game. It was easy enough to pick up and learn quickly, and the luck of dice rolling was well-balanced by the strategies involved in selecting clocks and planning actions ahead of time. Being limited to selling one flask in each of the two sales rounds requires forethought so you don’t end up with unrealized earnings at the end of the game. All in all, a fantastic game!