Table of Contents
- Set Up
- End Game
- PDF Manual
Alchemists is a worker placement puzzle game with players trying to figure out what components or “alchemical” makes up each ingredient. Points are primarily scored by publishing papers about these ingredients. This game uses an app that contains the solution for the game, and is also used to give clues throughout. The alchemist with the most points at the end of the game wins. The following reference is for the apprentice variant. See appendix for master variant.
A large portion of the game involves mixing different ingredients to find the resulting potion, and deducing the alchemicals that made up the ingredients. Each potion is either + or – in red, green, or blue. Potions are made by combining two ingredients that has the desired sign and color in different sizes. For example, an alchemical containing a large red + and small red + will produce a red + potion. These are called a Matching Aspect. However, large red + and large red +, large red + and small red -, small red – and small red – will produce no results.
If you mixed two ingredients that produced a red + potion, you will know that it does not contain a red – of any size in its alchemical. If two ingredients have no matching aspect, they will produce a neutral potion.
Mixing of potions is done by the app, which will give you the resulting potion without revealing the components. Use the result triangle and your deduction pad to help you keep track of potions you’ve made and their aspects.
Board set up
Use the side of the board corresponding to player number
- Shuffle the Adventurer tiles and remove 1 from the game
- Turn over the top card of the adventurer deck and place in adventurer space
- Insert the conference tiles into the adventurer deck
- Separate the artifact cards by card back and draw three from each deck, return rest to box
- Place the cards with back 1 face up on artifact row, set other cards aside
- Shuffe the ingredient cards, draw 5 face up onto ingredients row
- Shuffle favor cards and place on board
Theory board set up
- Arrange grants into corresponding spaces
- Set the 8 alchemical tokens to the side
Player set up
- Player board
- Action cubes depending on player number
- Set of bid cards
- Draw 2 favor cards and choose 1
- Draw 3 ingredients
- Take 2 coins
- Flask on 10 of score/reputation track
- Set of seals in your color
- Assemble laboratory and caldron
- Give a player the starting player token
The game is played over 6 rounds. Each round consists of
- Choose turn order
- Declare actions
- Resolve actions
- Clean up
Choose turn order
Player choose when they want to wake up starting with the start player. Take the bonus associated with the space. Waking up first requires you to Pay one coin.
Starting with the player that woke up last, declare the actions you want to perform by your action cubes on action spaces. The row you place them in corresponds to your position on the turn order chart.
Action space rules
- Some locations have multiple action spaces, you can perform this action more than once
- Some actions require multiple cubes to perform
- Actions are resolved top down, one action at a time
- When it is your turn, you have the option to decline your action. Place your cube(s) in the unused cube section. Take 1 favor card for every pair of cubes at end of round
Actions are resolved in clockwise order starting from Forage for ingredients. The action spaces are
Only Forage for ingredients, Transmute ingredient, Buy Artifact, Test on Student, and Drink Potion are available for the first round.
Forage for ingredients
Take one face up ingredient from the row or one face down from the top of the deck. The ingredient row is not replaced until all actions are finished
Discard one ingredient and take one gold.
This action takes place in 4 steps and requires two cubes. The steps are in this order
If multiple players are on this action space, bid for first player using one of the 4 bid cards. All players will select one card and reveal simultaneously. The player with the most smiley faces will go first. Ties broken by original turn order. Adjust action cubes to reflect the new turn order.
Using one of the action cubes, pick a potion you want to mix by placing a cube under that potion. In 2 or 3 player games, the choices are more limited.
Using the other cube, select a guarantee and a sell price for your product. You cannot pick a guarantee that gives negative coins when combined with your discount. The potion that you make must be equal to or better than your guarantee, or you don’t get paid at all. The types of guarantees are
- Exact match, correct sign and color (gain 4 coins)
- Correct sign (gain 3 coins)
- Not the wrong sign (gain 2 coins)
- Wrong sign, color unknown (1 coin)
With the app, pick “Sell potion”. Tap the potion you are trying to make. Mix two ingredients, and the app will tell you the quality, but not the potion you’ve made. Show this result to the table. Take potion tokens and mark results on your results triangle. If an exact match is made, place a potion token on the player board as well. Whenever a neutral or wrong sign potion is mixed, you also lose one reputation. Receive gold minus discounts when finished.
Reputation is turned into victory points at the end of the game. During the game, your current reputation has an effect when you earn coins and lose reputation. When losing reputation, the penalty is applied to the zone you started at.
- If you are in the Red zone (6 points or less)
- If you are in the Green zone (14-17 points)
- If you are in the Blue zone (18 points or more)
Pay the cost in the upper left and take an artifact from the row. Keep the artifact in a visible area. Follow text on card. Artifacts are worth victory points at the end. The artifact row is not replenished. It is replaced by level II and level III artifacts when the conference cards are drawn. All upcoming artifacts are public information.
Debunk Theory (Apprentice variant)
This action is only used when a theory has been published. Debunk a theory by using the app. Pick an ingredient, and an aspect that you think is wrong. The app will show everyone the correct sign.
- Gain 2 points of reputation
- Remove alchemical token from theory board
- Reveal seals on the theory
- Players who hedged against the disproven color loses no points
- Players who hedged against the wrong color loses 5 points
- Players who use a silver or gold starred seal loses 5 points
- All seals on that ingredient are now removed from play
- May immediately publish a theory if you have action cube on Publish Theory
If you are wrong, you lose 1 point of reputation.
Pick an alchemical token and place it on one of the ingredients on theory board. Mark it with one of your seals. Pay one gold to the bank and gain one reputation.
One can also endorse a theory by paying one coin each to the bank and to each player with seal on the theory. Gain no reputation.
If you have seals on 2 of the 3 or 4 ingredients depicted in the Grant tiles, take the grant and earn 2 coins. For any grants after the first, you must have seals on 3 ingredients depicted.
All experiments involve using the app to mix two ingredients. Show the resulting potion to the table, and place a matching potion token on your results triangle, and a token on your player board. Discard the ingredients face down after use.
Experiment – Test on Student
Perform the experiment as described using “Test on student” on the app. If a negative potion is made, the players testing after you must pay 1 coin to experiment.
Experiment – Drink Potion
Perform experiment as described using “Drink Potion”. If negative potion is made, suffer the effects listed
- Negative Blue – Insanity
- Negative Green – Paralysis
- Negative Red – Poison
Negative potions cannot effect you twice in the same round.
Exhibition (Final round only)
In the 6th and final round, place the exhibition board over the experiment spaces. Select Final round on the app. To resolve, place action cube on the potion you wish to demonstrate. You cannot demonstrate two of the same potion. Mix two ingredients using “exhibit potion” on the app. The following can occur
- You are the first to demonstrate a potion, score one point and move cube to thumbs up space
- You do not make the required potion, move cube to the thumbs down space
- Second to demonstrate that potion, gain no points, but keep the cube on the space
- You make both signs of the potion, score two extra points
At the end of each round, perform the following
- Top alchemist award Point awarded for all tied players
- Gain one favor card for each pair of unused cubes
- Move cube from hospital to unused cube space
- Remove the old adventurer tile, turn over next adventurer
- If conference is revealed, players that meet requirement gain one point. If they don’t, lose points as indicated
- Set up new artifact cards at the end of conference
- Remove old ingredients and draw 5 more
- Pass starting player token to the left
The game ends after the 6th round and the final exhibition. Add the following to your score
- Points from artifact
- Points from grants
- Exchange one favor card for 2 gold piece, Purchase 1 point per 3 gold pieces
Use the app to “Show Answers”. Gain points according to seal for correct theories. Lose 4 points for any incorrect unhedged seals. Players do not suffer extra reputation due to zones. The player with the most points wins. Ties broken by gold remaining
The master variant has 3 differences to the apprentice variant, they can be combined and mixed.
- Masters receive 2 ingredient cards in the beginning
- Different conference tiles
- Master Debunking rules
To debunk a theory, you need to prove with an experiment that the theory is wrong. Using the app, select 2 ingredients and the potion you believe it will produce. The app will tell you if it produces that potion, or if it doesn’t. Explain to the group why this debunks the theory. If it doesn’t, lose one reputation. If it does, there are 3 possible outcomes.
Show that one aspect is the opposite sign. Unhedged seals on the theory will lose 5 points according to Debunk Theories. Earn 2 reputation.
If you mix 2 ingredients that have already been published and the resulting potion contradicts them both, you have debunked both theories. Flip over all seals and lose 5 points for all unhedged seals. If a player is to lose 10 points for having seals on both theories, it is one loss of 10 for purpose of zones of reputation. You still only earn 2 reputation for debunking both theories.
If you have mixed two published theories and proven that at least one of them is wrong, but not which one. Receive 2 reputation points. No players lose points in this case.
Mark the 2 theories in conflict with a matching set of conflict tokens. These theories can no longer be endorsed, count towards conflict, grants, or top alchemist award. The tokens have no effect when solutions are revealed in the end game. Theories in conflict can still be debunked.
If the demonstration does not debunk a theory, debunk 2 theories, or demonstrate a new conflict, it is an invalid demonstration. Lose 1 point if demonstration cannot be explained to be useful.