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  #121  
Old 01-16-2018, 08:28 PM
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Man, to finally receive such recognition from my peers! It's the sort of thing that really makes a fella want to get out of bed in the morning! Put me down for 2 ingredients!
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  #122  
Old 01-16-2018, 08:30 PM
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I've got a pretty full bag, so I can't imagine I'll need much more than 1 ingredient.
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  #123  
Old 01-16-2018, 08:32 PM
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Ingredients? Favors? Bah, who has time for that nonsense! Let's just get going already!
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  #124  
Old 01-16-2018, 11:32 PM
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I'll take a favor and two ingredients.
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  #125  
Old 01-17-2018, 09:08 AM
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dtsund's got a lot of ingredients to sort through right now, so in the mean time...

INTERMISSION

So as you can see, Alchemists is a pretty good game, right? But how does it stack up to repeat plays?

I personally think it holds up quite well because of how much variation you can get out of it. Even outside of randomizing the properties of the eight ingredients with each play, there's a number of ways to modify the base game. I'll be putting much of this in a spoilerpop, as it is in no way required reading.

First up, we've got the artifacts. These are central to gameplay, as they provide extremely powerful benefits but require significant focus to get to, so even having a single one is going to contour your playstyle. There are six artifacts at each of the three tiers, and I've already gone over the ones we'll see this game, so let's see the others!



Yeah, that's the ticket. Let's go over each tier in turn, shall we? Our tier 1 artifacts that we got this game were clearly popular enough to merit purchase, but here's what we could've seen.
  • Boots of Speed: Costs 4 gold, awards 2 victory points. Once per round, take an action after all other players have acted on that space if you have a cube there. This one is obviously good for expanding your actions, but it's secretly supergood for actions where taking the second one normally, particularly publishing and transmuting, costs you more cubes.
  • Magic Mortar: Costs 3 gold, awards 1 victory point. Whenever you mix a potion for any reason, you only discard one ingredient (randomly chosen). This lets you go a lot longer between gathers, examine the properties of a single ingredient multiple times, and lets you play more aggressively in turn order, but it can also clog up your hand with ingredients you have no further use for. Still very powerful.
  • Robe of Reputation: Costs 4 gold. Any time you gain reputation, you gain 1 more. This works like the reputation modifiers for high/low reputation. The Robe of Reputation obviously favors a publish-heavy playstyle so you can milk each of those boosts for just a little bit more, but that requires a lot of gold even if you have the Printing Press as well. Do note that it doesn't work in the final round in order to balance out the exhibition, which I'll explain a bit later this post and when we get there.

All really nice, but I like our current crop of tier 1 artifacts just fine. My favorites are the ones aturtledoesbite picked up, personally. But when it comes to tier 2 artifacts, I'm sorry everyone, but you clearly missed out on the good stuff.
  • Seal of Authority: Costs 4 gold. Any time you publish or endorse a theory, you gain 2 more reputation. Beware the player who somehow snags this, the Robe of Reputation, AND the Printing Press, because it doesn't really matter if they're wrong on everything or if they don't even bother with starred seals. This thing will skyrocket the reputation of a publish-heavy player.
  • Thinking Cap: Costs 4 gold, awards 1 victory point. Immediately test 2 separate pairs of ingredients in your hand without discarding them. Obviously a really strong way to just get info fast, but the problem is that you need to have 4 ingredients in your hand to do it, after selling and transmuting. The optimal scenario for this is hard to come by, but getting this as early as possible puts you in a very cozy spot for endgame.
  • Witch's Trunk: Costs 3 gold, awards 2 victory points. Immediately draw 7 ingredients. You no longer get freebie ingredients through turn order. Ingredients aren't worth anything at the end of the game, so if you want the Witch's Trunk, then be prepared to burn through every single one you get via sales and tests and to otherwise run pell-mell through turn order and publishing. Or you could try for the exhibition in the final round, especially if you've already published everything you care to.

Honestly most of the tier 2 artifacts are kinda "eh" but in my opinion you guys got the most "eh" of them all. That said, almost all the tier 3 artifacts are neat in some way, as they reward players who focus on alternate strategies for the game, like gathering up gold, reputation, or artifacts in your cases.
  • Wisdom Idol: Costs 4 gold, awards 1 victory point per correct theory with your seal on it. This helps a player who made a bunch of hedged publishes early on but happened to unluck into correct answers, while still letting them use their starred seals on new things. Honestly though, if a player manages to get the full 8 points from the Wisdom Idol, they've already won even without it. Still, it's nice enough.
  • Bronze Cup: Costs 4 gold, awards 4 victory points. The only interesting thing I have to say about the Bronze Cup is that it contrasts with the nearly-as-boring Silver Chalice from tier 2, illustrating the difference between blowing 4 gold on a blank card in midgame between blowing 4 gold on a blank card at the end of the game. Anyway if you like points and have money it's good I guess, but I'd much rather work towards literally any other artifact in the game.
  • Feather in Cap: Costs 3 gold, worth 1 victory point for each separate ingredient type used during the exhibition. The exhibition replaces the Test on Students and Drink Potions actions in the last round, and it basically lets you mix called potions for reputation boosts. The Feather in Cap is the most economical way to turn a hand full of ingredients in endgame into tasty, tasty victory points. Don't underestimate it, especially since it's one of the cheapest tier 3 artifacts out there!

So yeah, every game will have a different spread of artifacts to choose from, which is a good way to see different playstyles come to light.

There's also three difficulty options to take. Right now, everyone here is playing on Apprentice difficulty, but there are three things that separate them from Masters. The first is starting ingredients. I gave everyone 3 to begin with, but Masters only start with 2. This is my favorite difficulty modifier because it puts a LOT more pressure on you in those early turns to figure things out. With 3 ingredients, a skilled player can usually figure out and publish a theory with no risk of reputation loss by turn 2. That's harder if they only have 2 ingredients to start with (although not impossible).

The second difficulty option is debunking. As you'll all see shortly, normally a debunk is "name an ingredient and an aspect and I'll tell you what they are". Which is nice for sure, but not especially involved. Masters must be far more rigorous with their debunking, and must demonstrate an experiment that disproves the theory in question. They have access to all eight ingredient types and all of the potion types. They first set up their experiment (for the sake of our illustrated guide, we'll say we're using the existing theory board and mixing the mandrake root and the mushroom to make a speed potion) and then illustrate for the other colleagues precisely what the possibilities will demonstrate. The app will then say whether the test proposed does or does not make the predicted potion. Since this affects two theories at once, you can potentially debunk up to 2 theories in one shot...



Or you can call theories into conflict! If our test there DID result in a speed potion, then we'd know that one of the theories on the board is wrong (since the combo clearly calls for an insanity potion) but since they both have positive green aspects, we can't reliably call which one is wrong. Any theories that are in conflict are treated as blank: their seals do not count towards grants, conferences, or the Top Alchemist Award. This means that a clever alchemist can use Master Debunking to temporarily nullify legitimately correct theories!

The last difficulty modifier is conferences. As you'll see next round, conferences have a bare minimum of seals on the board to get the 1 reputation needed, and for every seal you are short of this cutoff, you lose 1 reputation. Master conferences require 1 extra seal at each one, putting more pressure on players to put out theories regardless of whether they're correct or not.

There's also the King's Golem expansion which adds four new modules to the game. I could go over them in detail, but I'll refrain and just post quick summaries. Common to almost all of them is a new app feature that lets you visit the library, where you can learn about one of four ingredients in some detail!
  • Startup Funding: Instead of everyone starting with 2 gold, 1 favor, and 2-3 ingredients, players are dealt 4 cards with possible resources on them and choose 2 to keep. This lets you customize everyone's starting positions somewhat. Also adds a new tier 1 artifact, the Replicator, which clones starting resources.
  • Busy Days: Changes the turn order track every round, including the costs to take certain spaces (might take actions or reputation) and the rewards (draw more favors or ingredients, get gold, or even learn a little info!)
  • Royal Encyclopedia: Adds a second theory board in which you discuss aspects, not just ingredients. Players can declare their expertise over a given aspect by indicating the properties of four ingredients in that aspect. Great for players who keep getting screwed over by only seeing one potion color.
  • The Golem Project: For players who think the deduction of the base game is too easy. Not only do you have to publish theories as normal, but you ALSO have to figure out how to activate a golem at the king's request, pushing all your alchemical knowhow to the limit in the process. Also adds a new favor, the Courtier, who can put in a good word with the King for you, and two new artifacts, the Signet Ring (four Courtiers glued together) and the Mahogany Bookshelf (like the Crystal Cabinet but for library visits).

Anyway this is a good game I like it and watching you guys is a blast.
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  #126  
Old 01-17-2018, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
and the Mahogany Bookshelf.
Things get really interesting when someone decides to bring that thing to life, let me tell you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
Anyway this is a good game I like it and watching you guys is a blast.
Possibly a literal blast, next time I make a new potion!
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  #127  
Old 01-17-2018, 12:33 PM
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This turn, I'll debunk, publish, and quaff. And I'll use my Custodian to quaff early!
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  #128  
Old 01-17-2018, 12:57 PM
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I'm going to Buy an Artifact, Debunk, Publish, and Test on Student.
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  #129  
Old 01-17-2018, 01:47 PM
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I want to gather, sell, and publish.
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  #130  
Old 01-17-2018, 01:55 PM
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I'm gonna Gather something, Buy an Artifact, Debunk a theory, and then Publish a theory
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  #131  
Old 01-17-2018, 02:03 PM
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Here's our board then. Mogri and aturtledoesbite should get their ingredients, dtsund should submit their potion for that Custodian drink, and Mogri needs to figure out what to sell. Once again, Jed's looking for paralysis, insanity and health.
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  #132  
Old 01-17-2018, 02:09 PM
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I'll take that lotus, please.
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  #133  
Old 01-17-2018, 03:04 PM
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I'll grab a mushroom, why not.
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  #134  
Old 01-17-2018, 03:14 PM
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Which means its time for dtsund's potion, after the Custodian helpfully opens up the lab early for them to do a bit of science. The custodian occasionally sits in and chats with the alchemists, and he's capable enough to look after the less-inhibited ones after their tests, but today he gets a pleasant surprise in the form of some very helpful life advice from the alchemist in question!



What did he tell the custodian? Who cares, he worked out a way to make a wisdom potion.

JBear, figure out if you're gonna periscope that, and Mogri, figure out what you're selling to Jed.
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  #135  
Old 01-17-2018, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
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JBear, figure out if you're gonna periscope that
Yeah, I guess I'd better. There's only one other possible thing for me to Periscope this turn, so I'd better not chance sitting on it. Hit me with the spy deets!
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  #136  
Old 01-17-2018, 06:37 PM
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I'm going to sell a 100% bona fide health potion, with a money back guarantee.
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  #137  
Old 01-17-2018, 09:49 PM
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"To Whom it May Concern:

Earlier today, Warlord Jed Bannister attempted to make use of one of your health potions in order to survive the assassination attempt that came with the afternoon post.



Although Warlord Bannister did not survive the attack, the potion did allow him, in his final moments, to quickly and decisively detect, fight back and kill the assassin in question, allowing him to sign the treaty necessary for our kingdom's future. As a result of this unexpected fortune (and personal promotion), I have not laced the edges of this letter with poison, and merely ask for a full reimbursement of the cost of the health potion as per Former Warlord Bannister's will and your money-back guarantee.

Sincerely,

Warlord Fred Bannister"

Well that sucks. At least you know that you mixed either a speed or wisdom potion and don't lose any reputation, but you get no gold for your trouble. (For those keeping score at home, this means that he can only reliably eliminate alchemicals where both the blue and green aspects are negative, unless he has other findings that help him narrow it down.)

Meanwhile, the people who have money will be busy buying artifacts.
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  #138  
Old 01-18-2018, 12:52 AM
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Hm, yes. I like this Amulet of Rhetoric. Say, sir Shopkeeper, I'm a very loyal customer; surely you could do me a little bit of a favor and, I don't know...drop the price by 1 gold?



You could? Excellent! May we continue to maintain an excellent professional relationship.
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  #139  
Old 01-18-2018, 05:50 AM
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I'm not sure what the right call is here, but I think I'll buy the hypnotic amulet, so 4 favours, please.

>_> <_<

*begins swinging amulet*

You will not debunk any of my theories...
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  #140  
Old 01-18-2018, 09:46 AM
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Okay, you got your gaudy junk, now go do your actual jobs. aturtledoesbite, JBear, and dtsund each have a theory to debunk. Once again, you name the ingredient (you are not required to possess it or spend it) and the aspect you doubt, and then we'll see who the real pro is.
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  #141  
Old 01-18-2018, 01:04 PM
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Well, you see, I--

I will not debunk any of JBear's theori--

No! I refuse! You can't stop me from speaking out about this, JBear! You've lied to the people! The people, JBear! I won't stand for it!

This paper on Mandrake Roots is completely wrong! They don't enhance your speed at all! How could you possibly even think they would?! More importantly, how could all of the rest of you believe him?!
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  #142  
Old 01-18-2018, 01:20 PM
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The truth cannot be stopped by mere pendants!



aturtledoesbite's debunk hits home, and now it is publically known that the mandrake root has paralytic properties. Which means aturtledoesbite gets 2 reputation and can immediately publish on either the root or the B- alchemical. This puts his reputation way into the blue category, so he'll get even more money from potion sales, but will lose more reputation any time that would happen.



What's more, JBear and Mogri lose their seals. JBear's is hedged, so that's all he loses, but Mogri takes a whopping 6 reputation hit. Ouch.
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  #143  
Old 01-18-2018, 01:30 PM
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While I have everybody's attention!

I would like to propose my own theory on Mandrake Roots!

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  #144  
Old 01-18-2018, 01:45 PM
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Oh, shit, sorry, did I say that was mandrakes? My bad, my bad. I had a lot to drink that night, and I was really hungover for that conference. I'll fix the title:

A Qualitative Study on the Effects of Mandrakeush Rootms on the human body: A Fast-Acting Poison Causing Temporary Insanity.

Sorry about the typo! No harm done though, right?

(Read: I am debunking turtle's Mushroom theory based on the red aspect, which I claim is actually negative. Once I am, of course, proven to be correct, I will then instantly publish my own improved theory, using the B-
alchemical that turtle so kindly just freed up from Mandrake. Sorry for jumping the gun a bit, but the joke only works if I do. >_< Seal PM incoming.)
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  #145  
Old 01-18-2018, 02:01 PM
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That's some nice reputation you've got there, aturtledoesbite.



It'd be a shame if something were to happen to it.

As before, not only is it public knowledge that mushrooms are poisonous...



But aturtledoesbite's reputation chases Mogri's down the drain while JBear hauls themselves up to the head of the pack.

You're up, dtsund.
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  #146  
Old 01-18-2018, 02:13 PM
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Not only was aturtledoesbite's theory of Mushrooms incorrect, his theory of Roots is all wrong too! They're not poisonous at all! My great-great-great-great-great uncle drinks root tea every morning, and he's still alive to this day after a hundred and fifty years.

(I'm saying Roots have the positive red aspect.)
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  #147  
Old 01-18-2018, 02:27 PM
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Wow, this is not a good turn for aturtledoesbite. Mandrake roots established as healing...



And one more beefy hit to reputation for them, too. dtsund isn't obligated to do an immediate publication to follow up on this, since the only other publish left belongs to Mogri, and he's currently flat broke for Reasons.
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  #148  
Old 01-18-2018, 02:35 PM
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A turtle does bite? More like a turtle does quack.

And yeah, I want to publish on Toads instead.

The common toad, or Healquickenus insanitus, confers the properties of Health, Agility, and Insanity. In retrospect, its name probably should have been a clue for that.
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  #149  
Old 01-18-2018, 02:40 PM
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EDIT: oh derp i missed the part where mogri can't publish, ignore this
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  #150  
Old 01-18-2018, 02:51 PM
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All right then. I'll post the theory board again at the end of the round, but first JBear has to provide students with free drinks.

He only gets the one out, because immediately after drinking it, the student warns everyone else that hey, lots of famous alchemists these days are turning out to be total shams, we should really consider changing professions to something more reputable.



Whatever floats their boat, I guess. Anyway wisdom for them, and the end of the round coming up in a bit for you.
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