Image of Alchenemy game box, sample cards in play
Image of Alchenemy game box, sample cards in play


Some Things Evolved Quickly

The basic Elements, originally called Reagents, solidified pretty quickly. The biggest change was making the Alembics a token instead of drawing them from the same pile as the elements.

Some Things Did Not

Rules: The original
Adobe Acrobat document [27.8 MB]
Rules: Revision b4
Adobe Acrobat document [66.4kB]
Rules: Revision 3
Adobe Acrobat document [1.02 MB]
Rules: Revision 5
Adobe Acrobat document [59.2 MB]
Rules: current version
Adobe Acrobat document [33.0 MB]

You can download one of five snapshots of the rules, from the very first outline of what was required to the latest twist. All in all twenty-one different versions of the rules were playtested.

Iconographic Growth

Layout and typography changed a lot over time and testing. Cards had to quickly communicate many different pieces of information but at the same time look uncluttered and preserve space for artwork and other flavor. Even the background image on the card conveys information about its class and function. Seen here are eight of the twelve different versions of Gold, showing how both the mechanics and the look of the card evolved.

The Winnowing


The first round of playtesting occured, of course, in a 'target rich environment', and many cards, and entire classes of cards, were cut from the lineup, never to be seen again.



Some cards were created when playtesting revealed an imbalance between strategies, only to be discarded when the fundamental cause of the imbalance was found and corrected.


Other cards stuck around for a while before finally being cut. The image of the Homonculus seemed to be intimately tied to alchemy, and it was difficult to let it go even after it became clear that it just didn't work in theme or mechanics.

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© Charles Schmelz