Apotheca game is another quick and simple game that still makes your brain work a little. Over the course of the game you are trying to create three in a row of same color potions three times to win the game.
On your turn you only take two actions of the four available. You can flip over one of the tiles on the board collecting a gem of that color. The second choice is to add tiles to the board face down (but you get to look) until there are three face down potions on the board. Another choice is to purchase one of the apothecaries from the market using gems you have collected. The last choice is to use the special power of one of your apothecary cards.
The special cards that you acquire throughout the game move the potions around the board with very different movement abilities. Some of them slide all the potions to one side of the board, rotate four spots around clockwise, or perhaps move around the board like various chess pieces. While these can be quite powerful to create the three in a rows that you need to win over the course of the game you will lose their powers.
Once you successfully complete a three in a row on the board you take those potions off the board and place them on top of one your apothecaries. You no longer have the ability to use that power for the rest of the game. This is a rather ingenious way to help those not currently winning. If you don’t currently have an available apothecary than you are not allowed to collect that three in a row and it is simply removed from the board without being scored.
When playing with four players you play as two different teams still trying to collectively get three total three in a rows. With a lower player count each player plays individually to get to the winning condition. The small amount of choices help the game move quickly and the different movement cards add variability to the game. It can however be difficult to keep track of all the players available during the game which can line your opponents up for a three in a row.