As you’re probably aware, I kinda like video games. Just a bit, ya know. But they’re not my only gaming love. I love tabletop gaming too. From pen and paper RPG’s like Shadowrun and Fate to card and dice games to cooperative and competitive board gaming. I might do a post on my table top gaming sometime but today I’m going to talk about board games. My small collection contains Galaxy Truckers (Anniversary Edition), Hegemonic, Catan, Lego Creationary and Compounded.
I want to talk about Compounded today, because even though my other games are great, Compounded is the one my friends and I keep coming back to. And there’s a good reason for that, it’s easy to pick up (and re-pick up after long absences from gaming) and pretty fun to play.
The premise is pretty simple. You are a lab technician and your goal is go collect points by creating compounds using the 5 base elements the game provides. There are four phases to each round and the game can be either cooperative and competitive and is usually both as time passes.
The first phase is resource management, receive new elements and trade if you want to. In the second phase you lay claim to compounds you’re going to create, and in the third phase you can use what elements you have to create a compound or at least make a start and the final phase is basically your scoring and reward round.
As play progresses you can upgrade your lab. You can increase the number of elements you can hold, or obtain in the first round. Claim more compounds as your own or even place more elements when it’s your turn therefore getting more compounds quicker. There are also a few single use power ups you can use to disrupt play in your own favour.
Every few turns however a lab fire will happen, and if your compounds are flammable they may explode, spreading your hard earned elements to the surrounding compounds. Of course the flammable compounds score higher so there’s a risk/reward factor in play here but it’s not particularly punishing, it adds a small amount of pressure and some nice flavour to the game.
It’s a great game to use to warm up. It has a nice rhythm to it, and it’s low pressure fun as you play. The game is very well constructed in terms of the game board and pieces. The card is thick and of decent quality and the art suits the game to a T.
There are a lot game pieces that come with it, and Dice Hate Me Games did a good job by packing in enough little baggies to contain them all, so everything stays nicely organised in your box. It even comes with a nice velvet draw string bags to pick the elements out of so you can’t pick and choose and the elements themselves are nice colours plastic gems. The only problem I have is that a lot of the pieces are very small and fiddly to pick up and move around but it’s only a small niggle really.
The instructions are decent but could be clearer and sometimes we did find ourselves going back to them from time to time to clear up a rule we weren’t sure of but not enough that we felt it interfered with play.
While the game has a few small flaws I definitely think it’s worth picking up and adding to your collection. It’s a game you’ll go back to again and again.