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Type Small Expansion
Icon Alchemy icon.png
Cards 150
122 (12 sets)
Release May 2010
Cover artist Claus Stefan
Official Rulebook PDF

Alchemy is the third expansion to Base Dominion by Donald X. Vaccarino, released in 2010 by publisher Rio Grande Games. The box contains 12 sets of 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 P in their cost, and many cards encouraging decks filled with Action cards.


[edit] Contents

[edit] Basic Supply Cards

$4 PotionPotion.jpg

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

[edit] Kingdom Cards

$2 HerbalistHerbalist.jpg
$5 ApprenticeApprentice.jpg
P TransmuteTransmute.jpg, VineyardVineyard.jpg
$2P ApothecaryApothecary.jpg, Scrying PoolScrying Pool.jpg, UniversityUniversity.jpg
$3P AlchemistAlchemist.jpg, FamiliarFamiliar.jpg, Philosopher's StonePhilosopher's Stone.jpg
$4P GolemGolem.jpg
$6P PossessionPossession.jpg

[edit] Rules for Alchemy

[edit] Preparation

  • After you choose 10 Kingdom cards for the Supply, if any of them have P 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 P in the cost. If you don't have any cards with P 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 $4, and when played produces P rather than coins. P has no equivalent in coins. To buy a card with P in the cost, a player needs P.
  • Buying cards using P works just like buying cards with coins. If a player has P$4, he could buy a card costing P$4, or a card costing $4, and so on. If he has P$5 and an extra Buy, he could buy a card costing P and a card costing $5, or a card costing P$2 and a card costing $3, and so on. He could not buy two cards costing P$2, because he has only one P. He needs P per card he wants to buy that has P in the cost.
  • Some cards refer to how much a card costs. Generally, adding P to a cost gives a a player a higher cost: P$3 is more than $3. More specifically:
    • References to cards costing “up to” some cost only include P if P is in the given cost. If P is in the cost, a player can drop the P and it is still "up to," but a player cannot add P if it is not there.
    • If a card only costs P (Vineyard, Transmute), the number of coins in that card's cost is $0.
      • Example: when a player uses University to Gain an Action card costing up to $5, the player may not gain a card with P in the cost. A card costing P$3 does not cost $5 or less. It is just like Buying a card - if a player just has $5, he cannot buy a card with P in the cost. However if a player uses RemodelRemodel.jpg to trash a card costing P$2, he could gain a card costing P$4 or a card costing $4, as those are both "up to" P$4.
    • Adding coins to a cost doesn't affect P being in the cost or not. If P 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 $2 more than the trashed card. Trashing a card that costs $2 would not let the player gain a card costing P$4 using Remodel. However, a player could use Remodel to trash a card costing P$2 to gain a card costing P$4. A player could also trash a card costing P$2 to gain a card costing $4 (with no P). BridgeBridge.jpg makes cards cost less this turn. This lowers the cost of a card costing P$4 to P$3. It does nothing to the cost of a card costing just P.
    • References to cards costing some number of coins “or more” include cards with or without P in the cost.
      • Example: since SaboteurSaboteur.jpg trashes a card costing at least $3, it could trash a card with P in the cost. A card costing $5 costs at least $3. A card costing P$4 also costs $3 or more. A card costing P$2 does not cost "$3 or more" because it does not have at least $3 in the cost.
    • References to a cost range in $ does not include cards with P in the cost.
      • Example: a card that refers to cards costing "from $3 to $6" (GraverobberGraverobber.jpg, KnightsKnights.jpg, RogueRogue.jpg) would mean cards costing exactly $3, $4, $5, or $6. Cards costing $4P or even $3P do not fall within that range.
    • Cards which convert a cost into a number do not do anything with P.
      • 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 P$3, he will just get $3.
    • Cards which check if two costs are the same include P 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 P$3 with Swindler, that player will gain a card costing exactly P$3.

[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] Cards Gallery

[edit] Basic Cards


[edit] Kingdom Cards

Transmute.jpg Vineyard.jpg Herbalist.jpg Apothecary.jpg Scrying Pool.jpg University.jpg Alchemist.jpg Familiar.jpg Philosopher's Stone.jpg Golem.jpg Apprentice.jpg Possession.jpg

[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. Because of this awkwardness, players often choose Alchemy as their least favorite expansion, and Donald X. has stated that it's highly unlikely he'll revisit Potions as a mechanic, mainly for this very reason. However, the set does have supporters, and once actually in your deck, most of the cards are quite powerful and fun to play with.

[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 Room 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 P to be worth a little more than $2) 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

Alchemy introduced the smallest number of different Kingdom cards of any set, containing only 12. It is also the smallest set to introduce a Basic card.

[edit] In other languages

  • Chinese: 煉金術士 (pron. liànjīn shùshì, lit. alchemist)
  • Czech: Alchymie
  • Dutch: De Alchemisten (lit. the alchemists)
  • Finnish: Alkemia
  • French: Alchimie
  • German: Die Alchemisten (lit. the alchemists)
  • Italian: Alchimia
  • Japanese: 錬金術 (pron. renkinjutsu)
  • Russian: Алхимия (pron. alkhimiya)
  • Spanish: Alquimia

[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 $5. So the set has a $5. Then it has a $2 because it's nice to have one of those. At $3 and $4 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 [+/-]
Bandit Cellar Council Room Gardens Laboratory
Bandit.jpg Cellar.jpg Council Room.jpg Gardens.jpg Laboratory.jpg
Throne Room.jpg Apprentice.jpg Familiar.jpg Possession.jpg University.jpg
Throne Room Apprentice Familiar Possession University
Additional Cards
Potion Mixers [+/-]
Cellar Festival Militia Poacher Smithy
Cellar.jpg Festival.jpg Militia.jpg Poacher.jpg Smithy.jpg
Alchemist.jpg Apothecary.jpg Golem.jpg Herbalist.jpg Transmute.jpg
Alchemist Apothecary Golem Herbalist Transmute
Additional Cards
Chemistry Lesson [+/-]
Bureaucrat Market Moat Remodel Vassal
Bureaucrat.jpg Market.jpg Moat.jpg Remodel.jpg Vassal.jpg
Witch.jpg Alchemist.jpg Golem.jpg Philosopher's Stone.jpg University.jpg
Witch Alchemist Golem Philosopher's Stone University
Additional Cards

[edit] Alchemy & Intrigue

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

[edit] Alchemy & Seaside

Forewarned [+/-]
Cutpurse Embargo Ghost Ship Native Village Treasure Map
Cutpurse.jpg Embargo.jpg Ghost Ship.jpg Native Village.jpg Treasure Map.jpg
Apothecary.jpg Golem.jpg Possession.jpg Scrying Pool.jpg Transmute.jpg
Apothecary Golem Possession Scrying Pool Transmute
Additional Cards
Gummed Up [+/-]
Ambassador Haven Sea Hag Smugglers Warehouse
Ambassador.jpg Haven.jpg Sea Hag.jpg Smugglers.jpg Warehouse.jpg
Apprentice.jpg Familiar.jpg Herbalist.jpg Philosopher's Stone.jpg Vineyard.jpg
Apprentice Familiar Herbalist Philosopher's Stone Vineyard
Additional Cards

[edit] Alchemy & Prosperity

Counting Contest [+/-]
Bank Counting House Hoard Goons Rabble
Bank.jpg Counting House.jpg Hoard.jpg Goons.jpg Rabble.jpg
Quarry.jpg Philosopher's Stone.jpg Golem.jpg Herbalist.jpg Apothecary.jpg
Quarry Philosopher's Stone Golem Herbalist Apothecary
Additional Cards
Lower Learning [+/-]
Talisman Mint Bishop Worker's Village Peddler
Talisman.jpg Mint.jpg Bishop.jpg Worker's Village.jpg Peddler.jpg
Vault.jpg Familiar.jpg Apprentice.jpg University.jpg Vineyard.jpg
Vault Familiar Apprentice University Vineyard
Additional Cards

[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
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

[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

[edit] Alchemy & Adventures

Haste Potion [+/-]
Magpie Messenger Port Royal Carriage Treasure Trove
Magpie.jpg Messenger.jpg Port.jpg Royal Carriage.jpg Treasure Trove.jpg
Apprentice.jpg Scrying Pool.jpg Transmute.jpg University.jpg Vineyard.jpg
Apprentice Scrying Pool Transmute University Vineyard
Additional Cards
Potion Plan
Potion.jpg Plan.jpg
Cursecatchers [+/-]
Amulet Bridge Troll Caravan Guard Peasant Ratcatcher
Amulet.jpg Bridge Troll.jpg Caravan Guard.jpg Peasant.jpg Ratcatcher.jpg
Apothecary.jpg Familiar.jpg Golem.jpg Herbalist.jpg Philosopher's Stone.jpg
Apothecary Familiar Golem Herbalist Philosopher's Stone
Additional Cards
Potion Save Trade
Potion.jpg Save.jpg Trade.jpg

[edit] Alchemy & Empires

Collectors [+/-]
City Quarter Crown Encampment Enchantress Farmers' Market
City Quarter.jpg Crown.jpg Encampment.jpg Enchantress.jpg Farmers' Market.jpg
Apothecary.jpg Apprentice.jpg Herbalist.jpg Transmute.jpg University.jpg
Apothecary Apprentice Herbalist Transmute University
Additional Cards
Potion Colonnade Museum
Potion.jpg Colonnade.jpg Museum.jpg

[edit] Alchemy & Nocturne

Nightmare Fuel [+/-]
Bard Blessed Village Cemetery Sacred Grove Skulk
Bard.jpg Blessed Village.jpg Cemetery.jpg Sacred Grove.jpg Skulk.jpg
Tracker.jpg Alchemist.jpg Apprentice.jpg Transmute.jpg Vineyard.jpg
Tracker Alchemist Apprentice Transmute Vineyard
Additional Cards
Potion Boons Hexes
Potion.jpg Boon-back.jpg Hex-back.jpg

Cards P TransmuteTransmute.jpgVineyardVineyard.jpg $2 HerbalistHerbalist.jpg $2P ApothecaryApothecary.jpgScrying PoolScrying Pool.jpgUniversityUniversity.jpg $3P AlchemistAlchemist.jpgFamiliarFamiliar.jpgPhilosopher's StonePhilosopher's Stone.jpg $4 PotionPotion.jpg $4P GolemGolem.jpg $5 ApprenticeApprentice.jpg $6P PossessionPossession.jpg
Combos and Counters Alchemist/HerbalistApprentice/Market SquareCapital/HerbalistCounting House/GolemMine/PotionPhilosopher's Stone/HerbalistStonemason/VineyardEmbargo vs PotionPossession vs AmbassadorPossession vs Merchant Guild
Dominion Products
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