In 2008 the excellent card game Wie Verhext appeared under the Alea label of Ravensburger. This game was even nominated for the Spiel des Jahres, unfortunately it didn’t win. In 2015 Wie Verhext was transformed (upgraded) into the board game Broom Service and was again nominated for the Spiel des Jahres (in the category expert games) and this time managed to enchant the jury win!
In Broom Service the players are witches who make and deliver magic potions to their customers. And to do that, they do everything in their power, like use powerful spells that influence the weather so that even the heaviest thunderstorm doesn’t prevent them from doing their job.
The game consists of seven rounds and in each round the players choose four of the ten possible actions. These actions are depicted on cards. There are four groups of cards: the collectors (who collect the drinks), the witches (who fly to the right areas), the druids (who deliver the drinks) and the weather fairy (who takes away thunderstorms).
The starting player then chooses one of his cards. He can play this card cowardly or courageous. If you play a card, you may then perform the corresponding action. If you play the card bravely, you have to wait and see if others have chosen this card and want to play it bravely. Only one player can be brave and that is the last player to claim to be brave. The brave player always gets something extra (extra points, extra drinks) in addition to the action that the cowardly player has performed. So it is nice to be brave, but yes, it is not without risks. If you’re unlucky and someone else is bolder, you get nothing at all.
And as if it’s not difficult enough to choose the right roles and decide if you’re a coward or a brave player, you also have to take into account the board on which the actions are performed. Some buyers (those who live in round towers) only want to have a drink once, and first come, first served. Also thunderstorm clouds can only be removed once. And to make it even more difficult (and fun) you also have to take into account that cards are not always played in the order you want. It may be that you first wanted to have a purple drink brewed and then fly to the mountains to deliver the drink, but the first card is the card that allows you to deliver the drink. Since you have to follow order, your whole plan now fails and it is to be hoped that you prepared a plan B.
During the game you collect points by delivering drinks. In addition, each round an event card is turned face up, which often also awards extra points to players who meet the conditions of that card (for example, have less than five drinks in stock or have your character in the woods). At the end of the game points are awarded for the number of thunderstorms that you have removed. The player with the most points wins the game.
Broom Service, just go get it already!
Verhext is a good game and Broom Service is certainly not inferior to it. The core is the same (which cards you choose, in which order you play them and when you dare to be brave), but the board gives the game a whole new dimension. Now you also have to pay attention to where your pieces stand to determine what your possibilities are and who you have to keep an eye on. The decisions you make are on the cutting edge and that makes Broom Service a super exciting game. The only disadvantage is that there is so much to think about that slow players can keep things up (you can keep thinking if you like). The game works well with all number of players, even with two (although with four or five players is better). Broom Service is a justified winner of the Spiel des Jahres expert games.