Gaming Bits: Board and Card Game Reviews

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Gaming Bits: Compounded Review

Jonathan Nelson
United States
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Compounded is a game by Darrell Louder published by Dice Hate Me Games and Game Salute. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players try to build as many compounds as they can by managing their elements, trading and the good old fashioned luck of the draw. To start, players choose a color and receive the work bench player mat, 3 claim tokens, 1 scoring token and 4 experiment tokens in their color. The scoring track is placed along with the 9 starting compound cards. The cards are shuffled and 7 more compounds are placed so that a 4x4 grid is formed beneath the scoring track. Each player called a scientist draws 4 elements from the bag and place them on their work bench. Each player receives 1 wild token that can be used in the game to pull one particular type of element from the bag or can be used to score points if not used. They also receive a personal fire extinguisher that they place with element side up. If elements are placed on it, it becomes a working fire extinguisher. More on that later. The idea is to either reach 50 Atomic points or complete 3 of the 4 experiments first. The game is divided into 4 phases. The first is the Discovery phase where elements are pulled from the bag based on how high your rank is on the discovery experiment ranking on the player's work bench. Elements can then be traded between fellow scientists. The Second phase is the Study phase where claim tokens are placed onto unclaimed elements based on the player's work bench. The third phase is the Research phase where elements are placed from the storage area onto elements, or the fire extinguisher. Also, 3 elements of the same type can be exchanged for 1 element of the players choosing. The fourth and final phase is the Lab phase. In this phase, compounds are scored, lab tools are gained, experiment levels are raised, chemical reactions occur, and possible lab fires happen. This is where our fire extinguisher comes into play. Usually if a fire happens, if it has one flame token on the bottom, it is destroyed. If it has 2 then a flame token is placed onto the element. However, if the scientist has a completed fire extinguisher, he can use it to keep the flame token from affecting a particular element. Thus saving any elements that he may have already placed elements on from being destroyed. There are also special tokens, like the safety goggles, lab key, pipet, journal, graduated cylinder, and bunsen burner. These allow the scientist to do different things. Such as claim the wooden lab key that allows the player to become lead scientist, trade 2 of the same type of element for 1 element of the players choice or to return one of the elements from a scientists completed compound back to the players work bench. When a compound is completed it not only scores points but it also might set off a chemical reaction, such as the fire mentioned above. There are more reactions than just fire though. There are grants, volatile, hazardous hauling, corrosive compound, and explosive elements. These do different things such as causing fires as mentioned above, or even causing elements with one flame token on them to explode. The person who is best able to manage their compounds, elements and work bench will ultimately become the winner.

WOW! What can I say. This box is full of goodness. 5 color coded player work benches, 1- 2 player work bench for a 2 player game, fire extinguisher tokens, wild element tokens, storage markers, flame tokens, 6 different types of lab tool tokens, a bag full of 100 crystal elements in 6 colors, 5 different sets of colored wooden tokens for each player, lots of element cards including some large one for a more cooperative game, a big wooden lab key to indicate the first player or lead scientist and a score board that looks like the periodic table of elements. Again I say WOW!!! This game is a beauty of design. I can't brag on the components enough. There isn't one piece that I dislike about this game. I absolutely LOVE these components.
10 out of 10

The rules are well written and well thought out. It even resembles an old text book or lab journal which I thought was a nice touch. Lots of pictures, tons of insightful material including set up for two players and 2 different lab variants, one for more cooperative play. Again, I can't brag enough on the design. The rulebook is great.
10 out of 10

The game, while entertaining, is somewhat educational as well. Learning what elements make up what chemicals and whether they are solids, gases or liquids. As I played the game, I found myself learning as I went. I kind of felt like a scientist, at least a little bit. I was always looking for that next great chemical that would put me in the lead. My fatal flaw was putting elements out and then forgetting to claim them. My opponents didn't take very long to snatch up my forgotten mistake. As it was, I lost only by a narrow margin. Still, I haven't had this much fun losing a game in quite some time.
9 out of 10

Compounded is a medium weight game full of scientific brilliance. The tag line on the box, "Better gaming through Chemistry," sums it up beautifully. I couldn't have said it better myself. This game is fun for scientist of almost every age. I highly recommend it.
9 out of 10
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