The Tabletop Spotlight is on Compounded!
Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy brought over an interesting game and I couldn’t resist it’s QUARKY-ness. Compounded: Better Gaming Through Chemistry isn’t just informative, it can be quite a BLAST:
So you’re working in a lab with other chemists and you’re on a time crunch. You’ve got some volatile compounds that are decomposing and could even explode if you don’t react quickly. But you’re buddy has the pipette you need and he won’t let you borrow it – welcome to Compounded!
This game isn’t just about engineering compounds with elements – it’s also about the social experimentation of working with other players. You’ve got to share materials or you’ll end up wasting a lot of time and effort. But you must be mindful of being too free with your own resources or you’ll fail to complete your compounds. Can you strike a delicate balance of trading and holding materials? Or will your experiments blow-up in your face?
Let’s talk about the components for a bit. Everything is lab-themed, it’s really a nice touch. Even the Rulebook looks like a chemistry textbook. For some of you, that may bring up some painful memories – for others, it might make you grin. The cards are really well done and many of them are different sizes vs regular playing cards. The amount of care that went into accurately displaying these chemical compounds shouldn’t be undersold. If you’re into chemistry then you’ll get a kick out of all the different compounds you can make.
The rest of the components consist of wooden disks that you put stickers on for markers and plastic “elements” which are like tiny crystals. The game also comes with a foldout board for the periodic table of elements as well as player cards for 2-5 players. There is also a two player version player card for games between just two players. Compounded also comes with a black cloth sack and a ton of extra plastic baggies for all your after-game storage needs.
Overal, I think compounded is a well done game. It combines textbook chemistry with social experimentation in a neat package. The components are cool, the rules are well thought-out and gameplay is engaging. You don’t have to be a chemist to enjoy playing compounded (although, I’m sure it would help).
Compounded is a game about building chemical compounds through careful management of elements, a fair bit of social play and trading, and just a bit of luck. In Compounded, players take on the roles of lab managers, hastily competing to complete the most compounds before they are finished by others – or destroyed in an explosion. Some compounds are flammable and will grow more and more volatile over time; take too long to gather the necessary elements for those compounds and a lot of hard work will soon be scattered across the lab.
Although Compounded does involve a fair share of press-your-luck tension and certainly some strategic planning, the most successful scientists will often be those who strike a good trade with their fellow lab mates. Players are able to freely trade elements, laboratory tools and even favors – if there is truly honor among chemists!