Ars Alchimia Board Game by Tmg

 Game: Ars Alchimia Players: 3- 4
 Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Time: 60 minutes
 Age: 10+ Replayability: 8/ 10

ars alchimiaArs Alchimia Board Game by Tmg

Ars Alchimia as my friends would put it is the anime version of Lords of Waterdeep. Which, I would say is and is not true. Throughout the board game you are allocating your meeples around the board collecting resources,  acquiring actions, and collecting orders to fulfill. Now, at first the game seems very complicated–we are talking a super cluttered board with towns, fences, scenery, lines, and score chart lining the edge. As the rules begin to unfold, you start seeing where and why everything is. While you are growing through the years of Ars Alchimia (1 year= 1 round) it’ll click around year three. You’ll all stop and say “oh! I get it now” because that is the exact experience my group had (you probably won’t do it EXACTLY like me).

Ars Alchimia is a 2- 4 player worker placement board game published by TMG. It’s anime artwork and short box make this a sore thumb in place of all the other TMG games, but I think i like that. It’s nice to see Tasty Minstrel pick up a title so different from the rest of their titles (which ARE all unique, but have that TMG flavor to it). It’s a bit more complicated to learn how to play but after a few video on youtube we managed to figure it out (around year three as I mentioned earlier). I do enjoy the concept of alchemic factories and the golden era of alchemy. The design is nice and the gameplay is very fluid. During your turn you are allocating your meeples on the board. For every meeple placed, the next player would have to match your meeple plus one to also own that place. Spoiler alert–there are many ways to play strategically in this title.

My Experience

We played a three player game of Ars Alchimia and would definitely see it at more game nights. On the first round (which I did not start for the first time in history), my opponent placed three meeples on a location card offering three green resources and a bonus roll (which is a number +/- the amount of meeples you placed) of five to receive a red resource. With his roll and his amounted meeples we received all the resources available on that card. He then placed two meeples on a location that offered a blue resource, a red resource, and a bonus roll of white. He then placed two more meeples on a transmutation forge (which is how you receive actions ie: finish orders, or trade resources for an elixir resource) and lastly placed two more meeples on an order card to take and complete. He collected the Hurting Steel order and used one of this transmutations to complete the order. This granted him five points plus a bonus roll form the transmutation card for an extra point.

Fast forward to my turn. I know that the two location cards he chose were fantastic so I had to play four meeples to move his three meeples to the fountain (which resets them after the round) in order to collect the same cards resources as him. I pretty much had fewer workers to allocate because for every location that he had his meeples on, I had to place one extra (if not more to make the next opponent spend even more).

ars alchimiaFinal Thoughts

This is a very fun and slightly interactive board game for many to enjoy. You can play it safe or risk it all with the allocation of your meeples. I do think the learning curve is steep only because we personally had a bit of a time figuring out gameplay, but of course, everyone differs. I do enjoy the way the allocation works a lot. A gripe I do find, I think once you are losing it’s pretty hard to come back (but that also could just be me). Like I stated, Lords of Waterdeep and Ars Alchimia do share a lot of similar qualities, with that of the worker placement and the unique and rotating locations and orders. I feel Ars Alchimia adds a bit more flavor with the way locations are shared, as well as I enjoy needing to unlock actions from the transmutation.

You will like this game if you want a fun and unique worker placement game.

You will not like this game if you’re looking for a game that plays quicker.

(It is Not color blind friendly)


Joseph Nicholas

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Indietabletop. Communication major. Favorite mechanics include: Bluffing and Deduction, modular boards, and action point allowance. Favorite video game genres are Rpgs, Puzzles games, and Sim/Tycoons.

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