Saturday, November 30, 2013

Compounded - First Real Match

Saturday afternoon, we finally played Compounded [Board Game Geek, Gamer Chris], a game I sponsored on Kickstarter.  Eryn and I tried to play once before, but the two person game was initially confusing, we were short on time, and we decided that it made more sense to start with the three person game that doesn't have extra rules.  So my wife, daughter, and I went over to Dunn Brothers and caffeined up - which isn't one of the compounds you can build in Compounded, although all the appropriate elements are available.  It could be available on the extended, double-wide, cards.  I didn't check carefully.

The goal of Compounded is to score 50 points (alternately, complete 3 out of 4 experiments or using up all the compound cards) on the periodic table.  You get points for completing compounds, keeping your "wild" element, keeping your fire extinguisher, and for elements left on uncompleted compounds and in your lab.  As the game progresses, the cards you complete give you more abilities to draw more elements, place more elements, and reserve more compounds (so players can't steal them or score off them).  Additionally, you can pick up Bunsen burners, goggles, test tubes, etc, that allow you to take an extra element draw, start someone's compound on fire (and hopefully blow it up), trade 2-1, and more.  I had an opportunity to use the Bunsen burner to blow up one of my wife's compounds, stopping her from scoring 7 additional points, but Eryn felt bad for her fire-extinguisher lacking mother and put a stop to my plan.

Every now and then a lab fire appears causing compounds to explode.  If there are elements on the compound, they scatter to nearby compounds.  While I can see how that's useful if you're a careful planner, in our game it didn't happen enough to influence the outcome.

My strategy involved trying to draw and place as many elements as possible.  If you can place four elements quickly enough, it gives you the ability to catch a lot of the small compounds in a round.  What I missed was that if you increase your claim-a-compound ability quickly enough you get a journal which allows you to recoup an element after you score a compound.  Eryn and my wife used that to great effect and, if it had gone on longer, I suspect they would have started to outscore me.  I finished up with Europium, or 63 points.

We had a great time, and next time we will probably try it with the double-wide cards that let two scientists claim a single compound.  More points, more complex compounds.  There are some additional compounds with additional properties to include as well (some explode upon completion, some make you give a bonus/grant to a competitor, and more).  Overall it took about two and a half hours, but it would probably be closer to an hour and half if you cut out reading the rules carefully at least twice, slowly stepping through the initial phases, and all the bathroom and refill breaks that come with playing at the Eagan Dunn Brothers.

No comments: