Alchemy

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Alchemy
Alchemy.jpg
Info
Type Small Expansion
Icon Alchemy icon.png
Cards 150
122 (12 sets)
16
12
Theme(s)
Release May 2010
Official Rulebook PDF

Dominion: Alchemy, is the third expansion to Base Dominion by Donald X. Vaccarino, released in 2010 by publisher Rio Grande Games. The box contains 12 Kingdom cards, and 1 basic card. The main themes of the set are PotionsPotion.jpg and Actions, featuring the only cards in the game with Potion.png in their cost, and many cards encouraging decks filled with Action cards.

Contents

[edit] Card List

[edit] Basic Supply Cards

Coin4.png PotionPotion.jpg

  • Potion is included in the Supply whenever at least one of the Kingdom Cards included in the game has Potion.png in its cost.

[edit] Kingdom Cards

Coin2.png HerbalistHerbalist.jpg
Coin5.png ApprenticeApprentice.jpg
Potion.png TransmuteTransmute.jpg, VineyardVineyard.jpg
Coin2.pngPotion.png ApothecaryApothecary.jpg, Scrying PoolScrying Pool.jpg, UniversityUniversity.jpg
Coin3.pngPotion.png AlchemistAlchemist.jpg, FamiliarFamiliar.jpg, Philosopher's StonePhilosopher's Stone.jpg
Coin4.pngPotion.png GolemGolem.jpg
Coin6.pngPotion.png PossessionPossession.jpg

[edit] Rules for Alchemy

[edit] Preparation

  • After you choose 10 Kingdom cards for the Supply, if any of them have Potion.png in the cost, add the Potion pile to the Supply. Also add the Potion pile if you are using the promotional card Black MarketBlack Market.jpg, and the Black Market deck includes at least one card with Potion.png in the cost. If you don't have any cards with Potion.png in the cost in the Supply or in the Black Market deck, do not use the Potion pile in this game.
  • When you have a Potion pile, put all 16 Potions in it, no matter how many players there are. In games using this pile, if the pile becomes empty, that will count towards the game ending condition, like any other Supply pile.
  • You can play Dominion using any number of Kingdom cards from Alchemy, but we especially recommend playing with 3 - 5 Alchemy cards at once.

[edit] Playing the Game

  • Potion is a new Basic Treasure card. It costs Coin4.png, and when played produces Potion.png rather than coins. Potion.png has no equivalent in coins. To buy a card with Potion.png in the cost, a player needs Potion.png.
  • Buying cards using Potion.png works just like buying cards with coins. If a player has Potion.pngCoin4.png, he could buy a card costing Potion.pngCoin4.png, or a card costing Coin4.png, and so on. If he has Potion.pngCoin5.png and an extra Buy, he could buy a card costing Potion.png and a card costing Coin5.png, or a card costing Potion.pngCoin2.png and a card costing Coin3.png, and so on. He could not buy two cards costing Potion.pngCoin2.png, because he has only one Potion.png. He needs Potion.png per card he wants to buy that has Potion.png in the cost.
  • Some cards refer to how much a card costs. Generally, adding Potion.png to a cost gives a a player a higher cost: Potion.pngCoin3.png is more than Coin3.png. More specifically:
    • References to cards costing “up to” some cost only include Potion.png if Potion.png is in the given cost. If Potion.png is in the cost, a player can drop the Potion.png and it is still "up to," but a player cannot add Potion.png if it is not there.
    • If a card only costs Potion.png (Vineyard, Transmute), the number of coins in that card's cost is Coin0.png.
      • Example: when a player uses University to Gain an Action card costing up to Coin5.png, the player may not gain a card with Potion.png in the cost. A card costing Potion.pngCoin3.png does not cost Coin5.png or less. It is just like Buying a card - if a player just has Coin5.png, he cannot buy a card with Potion.png in the cost. However if a player uses RemodelRemodel.jpg to trash a card costing Potion.pngCoin2.png, he could gain a card costing Potion.pngCoin4.png or a card costing Coin4.png, as those are both "up to" Potion.pngCoin4.png.
    • Adding coins to a cost doesn't affect Potion.png being in the cost or not. If Potion.png was in the cost, it still is; if it wasn't, it still isn't. Same with subtracting coins from a cost.
      • Example: Remodel allows a player to gain a card costing up to Coin2.png more than the trashed card. Trashing a card that costs Coin2.png would not let the player gain a card costing Potion.pngCoin4.png using Remodel. However, a player could use Remodel to trash a card costing Potion.pngCoin2.png to gain a card costing Potion.pngCoin4.png. A player could also trash a card costing Potion.pngCoin2.png to gain a card costing Coin4.png (with no Potion.png). BridgeBridge.jpg makes cards cost less this turn. This lowers the cost of a card costing Potion.pngCoin4.png to Potion.pngCoin3.png. It does nothing to the cost of a card costing just Potion.png.
    • References to cards costing some number of coins “or more” include cards with or without Potion.png in the cost.
      • Example: since SaboteurSaboteur.jpg trashes a card costing at least Coin3.png, it could trash a card with Potion.png in the cost. A card costing Coin5.png costs at least Coin3.png. A card costing Potion.pngCoin4.png also costs Coin3.png or more. A card costing Potion.pngCoin2.png does not cost "Coin3.png or more" because it does not have at least Coin3.png in the cost.
    • References to a cost range in Coin.png does not include cards with Potion.png in the cost.
      • Example: a card that refers to cards costing "from Coin3.png to Coin6.png" (GraverobberGraverobber.jpg, Knights, RogueRogue.jpg) would mean cards costing exactly Coin3.png, Coin4.png, Coin5.png, or Coin6.png. Cards costing Coin4.pngPotion.png or even Coin3.pngPotion.png do not fall within that range.
    • Cards which convert a cost into a number do not do anything with Potion.png.
      • Example: SalvagerSalvager.jpg trashes a card, and produces an amount of coins equal to the cost of the card. If a player trashes a card costing Potion.pngCoin3.png, he will just get Coin3.png.
    • Cards which check if two costs are the same include Potion.png if it is there.
      • Example: SwindlerSwindler.jpg trashes a card, and has the player who lost it gain a card with the same cost. If a player trashes a card costing Potion.pngCoin3.png with Swindler, that player will gain a card costing exactly Potion.pngCoin3.png.

[edit] Additional Rules

  • “In play” -- Action cards and Treasure cards played face-up to a play area are in play until they are moved somewhere else—usually until they are discarded during a Clean-up phase. Only played cards are in play; set aside cards, trashed cards, cards in the Supply, and cards in hands, decks, and discard piles are not in play. Reaction abilities like Moat’sMoat.jpg do not put those cards into play.
  • Alchemy includes a Treasure card with rules: Philosopher’s Stone. Philosopher’s Stone is in the Supply if it is selected as one of the 10 Kingdom cards for the game; it is not part of the Basic Supply. It is just like a normal Treasure, but has special abilities. Philosopher’s Stone is played during the Buy phase like a normal Treasure. It can be stolen by a ThiefThief.jpg and so on.
  • During the Buy phase, all Treasures are played before a player buys any cards, even if he has +Buys. A player may not play Treasures after Buying a card. This is important for Philosopher's Stone.
  • When a player discards cards from play, he may discard them in any order. This normally does not matter, but is important for Alchemist and Herbalist.

[edit] Flavor text

There are strange things going on in your basement laboratories. They keep calling up for more barrels of quicksilver, or bits of your hair. It's all in the name of progress. They're looking for a way to turn lead into gold, or at least into something better than lead. That lead had just been too good of a bargain to pass up; you didn't think where you would put all the lead or what you will do with the lead. Well that will all be sorted out. They're also looking for a universal solvent. If they manage that one, you will take whatever they use to hold it in and build a castle out of it. A castle that can't be dissolved! Now that's progress.


[edit] Alchemy Theme

Game designer Donald X. offered some insight into some themes of the set here.

  • 12 Potion-related: Apprentice cares if it's in the cost and Herbalist can put a Potion on your deck for reuse, so, the whole set.
  • 5 Actions theme: Transmute, Vineyard, Scrying Pool, University, Golem
  • 10 Useful in multiples: Everything but Herbalist and Possession

[edit] Impact of Alchemy

Due to the Actions theme of this set, most of these cards are excellent for engines. That said, the awkwardness of the Potion cost can discourage some players from pursuing strategies with Alchemy cards.

[edit] Engines

  • VineyardVineyard.jpg - Not an engine part, but greatly rewards engine players, as engine decks tend to consist of mostly Actions
  • ApothecaryApothecary.jpg - Clears out CoppersCopper.jpg and Potions from the top of your deck, making your engine more efficient
  • Scrying PoolScrying Pool.jpg - The ultimate engine card, one of these can draw your entire deck in the right circumstances
  • UniversityUniversity.jpg - Good for quickly gaining engine pieces, though it becomes much less useful in the endgame, barring Vineyards
  • AlchemistAlchemist.jpg - A LaboratoryLaboratory.jpg that can be SchemedScheme.jpg every turn - an engine unto itself
  • FamiliarFamiliar.jpg - A cantrip Curser
  • GolemGolem.jpg - A Throne RoomThrone Room.jpg variant that seeks out Actions to play in your deck
  • ApprenticeApprentice.jpg - An excellent trasher; trashing and non-terminal card draw are always good for an engine

[edit] Potion

The addition of the Potion cost has notable effects:

  • Slightly longer games if all players go for Potion-based strategies
  • Potion strategies can be easily thwarted by trashing Attacks or EmbargoEmbargo.jpg - if your Potion is trashed, or the Potion-cost card is Embargoed, you may have to change your strategy
  • Interesting interactions with cost-caring cards

[edit] Possession

PossessionPossession.jpg is (if you take Potion.png to be worth a little more than Coin2.png) the most expensive Action card in the game, and the card with the longest FAQ to date. It gives an extra turn like OutpostOutpost.jpg, but the only limitation on the number of turns you get is how many times you can play Possession, rather than the artificial cap Outpost has. It features often in Combos, and is one of the more hated cards in the game, mostly due to the fact that it allows another player to use your deck.

[edit] Trivia

[edit] Secret History

At first there were just a bunch of cards. One day I decided, okay, these are the main set, these are the first expansion, these are the second expansion. I divided everything up based on mechanical themes. This much, you know.



Then I made some other games. My friends just wanted to play Dominion though. Okay; I could make some more expansions. I made a 3rd, then a 4th, then a 5th. That's where things stood when I showed the game to Jay at Origins. During development of the main set I made some more cards, and reconfigured everything I had into 8 smaller sets. Then I rereconfigured them into 6 large sets. The original 2nd set ended up as two full sets (it had two themes and I split them up). The original 5th set ended up 6th.

After we finished working on Seaside, we moved on to the 3rd set. We finished that up, or so we thought, and were soon to begin work on the 4th set.

Meanwhile, people were clamoring for smaller sets. And when I say people I don't mean players, although maybe they were too; I mean, some of the publishers of the game wanted smaller sets. They talked to Jay and Jay talked to me; maybe we should do some small sets here too. Not that we wouldn't keep doing the large ones. But you know. Give the people something that's not the full price of the main game. And the ideal timing would be, next. It would squeeze ahead of the now-misnumbered 3rd expansion.

Since we had just finished the set that was due, shortly before it was due, there wasn't much time. In order to have something that was as polished as possible, as soon as possible, it had to be a subset of one of the existing large sets. Only the 6th set leant itself to this. It had a theme that was just the right size and could stand by itself, and a sub-theme that could be expanded for another small set. And the set was missing some cards, due to stealing them for earlier sets, so it didn't feel like I was breaking up something finished.

So I broke up the 6th set. The Potions part went into this set, Alchemy. I did actually get some advance warning, and started working on it before Essen; then at Essen we worked out that it was in fact going to happen, and that I could have it ready about when they wanted it, although not quite that fast. I demanded an extra month, and then when the time came I got 10 more days, although that last stretch was just spent working on the rulebook and deciding which Herbalist to use.

In its original 5th-set form, Alchemy was 20 cards (7 with potion in the cost). It went down to 16 when everything did, and up to 25 (but unfinished) when I went to 6 sets. When I broke it up, at first it was 10 cards plus Potion, but the number of printed cards was going to be 100 or 150, so it went up to 12 cards plus Potion, since going up was way better than going down.

Two cards in the set do not have Potion in the cost (besides Potion itself). In games using lots of cards from Alchemy, you will not always have a card at any particular cost. The most important cost is Coin5.png. So the set has a Coin5.png. Then it has a Coin2.png because it's nice to have one of those. At Coin3.png and Coin4.png you have Silver and Potion, and if there are a lot of Alchemy cards then people will be pulled in that direction anyway (though obviously sometimes some other start will be better).

"Has a potion in its cost" is not actually a huge connection functionally, so I supplemented the main theme with a "cares about actions" sub-theme.

When I came up with Dominion, I figured it would have multiple resources. When I actually made it, I went with one resource, because it was simpler. I could always add another resource in an expansion. With Alchemy I finally got around to doing that. Originally I was thinking it would be Reagents or Mandrake or something. I didn't find a good enough picture to use for such a card, so I went with Potions. That's how these decisions get made.

The second copy of Dominion was Kelly Bailey's (cheepicus on these forums). He renamed some of the cards, redid all the graphics, changed a few cards, and added some of his own. He took most of the cards from all of the expansions I had, but did not take the cards with Potion in the cost from Alchemy. He figured, he was shuffling everything together, and some games he would just turn over one card with Potion in the cost. Do you buy Potion just to get that one card? He thought not.

So I always knew this was an issue. The cards had to be worth buying multiple copies of. They had to be compelling. With just one out, you had to still consider buying Potion to get it. So that's why the set has so many +1 action cards, and then a victory card and a treasure; it's all stuff you want as much of as you can get.

And what, if you want you can just guarantee that you always have a few of them at once - say, once you've dealt out 8 cards from your randomizer deck, if you have any Alchemy cards, make sure the next two are also from Alchemy (by digging for them), and if you don't, make sure the next two also aren't Alchemy cards. Put the cards you skip over back on top of the randomizer deck. This way you see everything just as often as you would have (in the long run), but the Alchemy cards end up clumped together. Or if, like me, you don't manage to carry every expansion to the place you're playing, you can just specifically play with 3 cards from Alchemy on the nights that you bring it. Or whatever. There are lots of ways to manage this. I realize some BGG people are hung up on this point and well it's not hard. If you don't want to just see one card with potion in the cost out, and also want to see Alchemy cards as often as everything else, determined randomly, you can do it.




[edit] Retrospective

The first big thing is that, I knew some people wouldn't appreciate the potion resource concept, so I put the expansion last. Then it was bumped up as the only thing I could get out quickly as a small set. I would put it last. This would simplify all of those threads where people ask what order to buy the expansions.


The next big thing is that, I knew some people wouldn't appreciate the potion concept, but did not realize that some people would find the set to be too slow. It has an action-chaining sub-theme, in order to make individual potion-costing cards good in games where there's only one card to buy with potions, and well this leads to longer games. I could potentially have put in two victory cards or treasures or both though, as those are cards you can buy multiples of (another solution to the problem that action-chaining was solving), and tweaked the card mix other ways to reduce either slowness or the perception of slowness.


[edit] Recommended Sets of 10

[edit] Alchemy & Dominion

Forbidden Arts [+/-]
Apprentice Familiar Possession University Cellar
Apprentice.jpg Familiar.jpg Possession.jpg University.jpg Cellar.jpg
Council Room.jpg Gardens.jpg Laboratory.jpg Thief.jpg Throne Room.jpg
Council Room Gardens Laboratory Thief Throne Room
Additional Cards
Potion
Potion.jpg
Potion Mixers [+/-]
Alchemist Apothecary Golem Herbalist Transmute
Alchemist.jpg Apothecary.jpg Golem.jpg Herbalist.jpg Transmute.jpg
Cellar.jpg Chancellor.jpg Festival.jpg Militia.jpg Smithy.jpg
Cellar Chancellor Festival Militia Smithy
Additional Cards
Potion
Potion.jpg
Chemistry Lesson [+/-]
Alchemist Golem Philosopher's Stone University Bureaucrat
Alchemist.jpg Golem.jpg Philosopher's Stone.jpg University.jpg Bureaucrat.jpg
Market.jpg Moat.jpg Remodel.jpg Witch.jpg Woodcutter.jpg
Market Moat Remodel Witch Woodcutter
Additional Cards
Potion
Potion.jpg

[edit] Alchemy & Intrigue

Servants [+/-]
Golem Possession Scrying Pool Transmute Vineyard
Golem.jpg Possession.jpg Scrying Pool.jpg Transmute.jpg Vineyard.jpg
Conspirator.jpg Great Hall.jpg Minion.jpg Pawn.jpg Steward.jpg
Conspirator Great Hall Minion Pawn Steward
Additional Cards
Potion
Potion.jpg
Secret Research [+/-]
Familiar Herbalist Philosopher's Stone University Bridge
Familiar.jpg Herbalist.jpg Philosopher's Stone.jpg University.jpg Bridge.jpg
Masquerade.jpg Minion.jpg Nobles.jpg Shanty Town.jpg Torturer.jpg
Masquerade Minion Nobles Shanty Town Torturer
Additional Cards
Potion
Potion.jpg
Pools, Tools, and Fools [+/-]
Apothecary Apprentice Golem Scrying Pool Baron
Apothecary.jpg Apprentice.jpg Golem.jpg Scrying Pool.jpg Baron.jpg
Coppersmith.jpg Ironworks.jpg Nobles.jpg Trading Post.jpg Wishing Well.jpg
Coppersmith Ironworks Nobles Trading Post Wishing Well
Additional Cards
Potion
Potion.jpg

[edit] Alchemy & Hinterlands

Schemes and Dreams [+/-]
Apothecary Apprentice Herbalist Philosopher's Stone Transmute
Apothecary.jpg Apprentice.jpg Herbalist.jpg Philosopher's Stone.jpg Transmute.jpg
Duchess.jpg Fool's Gold.jpg Ill-Gotten Gains.jpg Jack of all Trades.jpg Scheme.jpg
Duchess Fool's Gold Ill-Gotten Gains Jack of all Trades Scheme
Additional Cards
Potion
Potion.jpg
Wine Country [+/-]
Apprentice Familiar Golem University Vineyard
Apprentice.jpg Familiar.jpg Golem.jpg University.jpg Vineyard.jpg
Crossroads.jpg Farmland.jpg Haggler.jpg Highway.jpg Nomad Camp.jpg
Crossroads Farmland Haggler Highway Nomad Camp
Additional Cards
Potion
Potion.jpg


[edit] Alchemy & Dark Ages

Infestations [+/-]
Armory Cultist Feodum Market Square Rats
Armory.jpg Cultist.jpg Feodum.jpg Market Square.jpg Rats.jpg
Wandering Minstrel.jpg Apprentice.jpg Scrying Pool.jpg Transmute.jpg Vineyard.jpg
Wandering Minstrel Apprentice Scrying Pool Transmute Vineyard
Additional Cards
Potion Ruins
Potion.jpg Abandoned Mine.jpg
Lamentations [+/-]
Beggar Catacombs Counterfeit Forager Ironmonger
Beggar.jpg Catacombs.jpg Counterfeit.jpg Forager.jpg Ironmonger.jpg
Pillage.jpg Apothecary.jpg Golem.jpg Herbalist.jpg University.jpg
Pillage Apothecary Golem Herbalist University
Additional Cards
Potion
Potion.jpg


Alchemy
Cards Coin2.png HerbalistHerbalist.jpg Coin4.png PotionPotion.jpg Coin5.png ApprenticeApprentice.jpg Potion.png TransmuteTransmute.jpgVineyardVineyard.jpg Coin2.pngPotion.png ApothecaryApothecary.jpgScrying PoolScrying Pool.jpgUniversityUniversity.jpg Coin3.pngPotion.png AlchemistAlchemist.jpgFamiliarFamiliar.jpgPhilosopher's StonePhilosopher's Stone.jpg Coin4.pngPotion.png GolemGolem.jpg Coin6.pngPotion.png PossessionPossession.jpg
Combos and Counters Alchemist/HerbalistCounting House/GolemMine/PotionPhilosopher's Stone/HerbalistStonemason/VineyardMonument vs PossessionPossession vs AmbassadorPossession vs Merchant Guild
Dominion Sets
Main Sets DominionIntrigueSeasideAlchemyProsperityCornucopiaHinterlandsDark AgesGuildsTBA
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