General game Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Question: Can I use a success to cancel a failure?
  • Answer: Indirectly, yes. You can use a Success to draw a card, which you can then discard for the Failure. Note that the Success and Failure both still happen in this case (which would count for cards such as Royal Inspector).
  • Question: Why does the Fortune Die start on a 4? Why not just roll it to start the game?
  • Answer: Because a 4 gives each die a 50/50 chance of Success to start with, and a random starting position for the Fortune Die can result in swingy games. Starting on a 6 is just brutal, and starting on a 1 or 2 can make things feel too easy.
  • Question: What exactly does it mean if I “ignore” a die, such as with Clay Crucible or Compact Cauldron? Does it still count for Chaos and such?
  • Answer: A dice that is ignored is treated as though it were never rolled at all. It doesn’t count toward rolling Chaos or as a failure for Royal Inspector or anything else.
  • Question: Why is the Free Success marker a die if you never get to roll it? Why not just make it a token?
  • Answer: First, dice are cool, so why not? Second, it makes it easier to remember that it’s a Success just like your other successful Experiment dice if it, too, is a die. Third, while there are no cards in the base Chaos & Alchemy game that involve rolling the Free Success die, there’s always the potential for expansions…
  • Question: The rules say that it’s optional to yell “Chaos” when you roll Chaos. Why not make it mandatory?
  • Answer: Not everyone loves to yell as much as I do, so I try to be sensitive to that fact.
  • Question: The rules say that I can play Misfortune cards to my own laboratory if I want; why would I want that?
  • Answer: Miraculous Turnabout is the obvious reason, but you might also want to have something to give away with Generous Donor. You never know!
  • Question: If we have to reshuffle the discard pile to form a new deck, won’t it be different from the original deck?
  • Answer: Yes; it’s likely to have more Action and Reaction cards and fewer Innovation and Misfortune cards the second time around. That’s Chaos for you!
  • Question: If I can turn lead into gold, what do I need the King’s reward for?
  • Answer: Power! Money is good, but the King’s grant of land and especially titles can lead to world domination. And that’s a good thing. 
  • Question: Why does the back of the card just say “Chaos” rather than “Chaos & Alchemy?”
  • Answer: If there are expansions to Chaos & Alchemy, they might be called “Chaos & X” (Chaos & Sorcery, Chaos & Swordplay, Chaos & Intrigue, etc.). If that happens, I want players to be able to mix cards together without being able to tell them apart by the different backs.

Card-specific clarifications

  • Adjacent Laboratory: Any extra effects from resolving an Experiment do not apply to this roll (such as rolling Chaos, drawing cards from Handcrafted Alembic, etc.). However, any cards that modify Experiment dice (Oversized Cauldron, Mortar and Pestle, etc.) do apply. If you still have some of your Experiment dice on your Success/Failure card when you play this card, make a note of their position before rolling for this card and put them back afterward (or just roll some of the spare dice instead).
  • Astrolabe: You may use this card either before or after you Experiment, or you can roll for your Experiment and then use Astrolabe before determining your Successes or Failures. This is the only card in the game that allows you to change the Fortune Die between the time that you roll for your Experiment and the time that you count Successes and Failures.
  • Astrology Chart: You may use this card either before or after your Experiment, but you cannot roll for your Experiment and then use Astrology Chart before determining your Successes or Failures. If you choose to re-roll, you must also decrease the result by 1.
  • Bone-Ash Cupel: The restriction on playing this card only refers to playing the card from your hand. It is allowed to remain in play or to be moved to other laboratories regardless of the Fortune Die.
  • Brass Orrery: The point value of this card changes with the Fortune Die and can be 1, 2 or 3 points. (1 point if the Fortune Die is 1-2, 2 points if the Fortune Die is 3-4, 3 points if the Fortune Die is 5-6)
  • Calming Elixir: While you have Calming Elixir in your laboratory, you may still use Generous Donor to give a Misfortune card to another player (including Calming Elixir) and so on. Only cards that explicitly say Rival or Misfortune are restricted.
  • Clay Crucible: If you choose to roll the extra die, you must also ignore the result of one die. Multiple copies of Clay Crucible are cumulative, allowing you to roll two extra dice and ignore two dice.
  • Compact Cauldron: Using this card’s effect is optional for each Experiment (for instance, you may choose not to ignore a failure die if you want it to count for rolling Chaos). Multiple copies can allow you to ignore multiple failures. These failures do not become successes.
  • Compensated Theft: This is a rare way to be allowed to play a card during another player’s turn. Normal rules for playing the compensation card still apply (so a player who draws and wishes to play Volatile Solvent, for instance, may only do so if they have 4, 5 or 6 points, etc.). Playing Midnight Oil as the compensation card causes the player to conduct an Experiment during the other player’s turn (without a Free Success).
  • Delicate Retort: The restriction on playing this card only refers to playing the card from your hand. It is allowed to remain in play or to be moved to other laboratories regardless of the Fortune Die.
  • Double Pelican: Use a die on the card itself to keep track of its value; these points continue to accumulate over the course of multiple turns, and the maximum value is 6 points (one full die). If another card allows a player to move this card directly to another laboratory, the points stay with it. If it returns to a player’s hand or the discard pile, the points are reset.
  • Hasty Intervention: In complex interactions, such as a player using Compensated Theft to move a Saboteur into his or her laboratory and then using the Saboteur effect to move one of your cards to the discard pile, Hasty Intervention can be used to cancel any single part of the sequence (either the Compensated Theft or the Saboteur).
  • Handcrafted Alembic: If your total is 12 or higher, you may choose to draw the card from Handcrafted Alembic either before or after resolving your Successes and Failures from the Experiment.
  • Laboratory Assistant: Finish resolving the effect of the first of the two cards you play before playing the second.
  • Midnight Oil: If you play this before Experimenting for the turn, you will Experiment twice this turn. Leave this card in play as a reminder until the second Experiment is complete. Note that you do not receive an extra Free Success for the extra Experiment.
  • Miraculous Turnabout: Note that you may play Misfortune cards to your own laboratory in order to get negative points if you wish. If the card’s condition is met, use an extra die to mark its new value. If this card is moved to another laboratory after it becomes worth 6 points, its value is still 6 points. If it moves to the discard pile or another player’s hand, it resets to its initial state.
  • Mortar and Pestle: Changing the result of a die is optional. This change may cause Chaos or prevent Chaos (or Total Chaos). If a die is changed to a higher number with Mortar and Pestle, it is treated as if it had always been that number (so, for instance, a pair of ones that is changed to a 1 and a 2 will not trigger Reversal of Fortune).
  • Oversized Cauldron: The additional die you roll will lead to an additional success or failure, giving you the possibility of four successes or four failures in your Experiment. The additional die is optional, but you must decide whether to roll it or not before you see its result. Multiple copies of Oversized Cauldron are cumulative (with two copies you may roll up to five dice).
  • Persuasive Foe: For this card’s effect, you must choose two cards in the same opponent’s laboratory (including Misfortune cards if not enough Innovation cards are available). If no opponent has two or more cards, then Persuasive Foe has no effect beyond its point value.
  • Protective Aura: If you have a Misfortune card in your laboratory, you can discard Protective Aura for free at any time to discard the Misfortune card. Compensated Theft is completely negated by Protective Aura. If another player plays Call for Knowledge, you can discard Protective Aura to avoid giving that player a card, but other players will still have to give a card to that player. If another player tries to Seize Power on one of your cards, Protective Aura can be discarded to completely cancel Seize Power. If another player plays an Innovation (Rival) card or moves an Innovation (Rival) card from another player’s to their laboratory to their own laboratory and chooses to use the negative effect on you, you may use Protective Aura to cancel the negative effect of the card, but the card still remains in the other player’s laboratory.
  • Protective Goggles: You cannot use this to undo a discard that has already taken place, nor to retroactively change a failure to a success for an experiment that took place before the Goggles were in the laboratory.
  • Reckless Sabotage: You may choose two cards from the same laboratory or from different laboratories. You may choose a card or cards from your own laboratory if you wish. Only the specific copies of the cards that you choose are discarded; any other copies of the same card are unaffected.
  • Reversal of Fortune: Discard and resolve this after re-rolling the Fortune Die for Chaos and after counting Successess and Failures from the Experiment but before resolving the Sucessess and Failures (the ones that were rolled do still count as failures).
  • Royal Inspector: Use a die on this card itself to keep track of its value. If another card allows a player to move this directly to another laboratory, the points stay with it. If it returns to a player’s hand, the points are reset. Note that each additional point on the card makes its value more negative. The maximum negative value of the card is 6.
  • Saboteur: You may choose a card from another player’s laboratory or from your own. Only the specific copy of the card that you choose is discarded; any other copies of the same card are unaffected.
  • Seize Power: You may choose a card from another player’s laboratory or from your own.
  • Stars Align: You may play this card before or after you Experiment, but you cannot roll your Experiment dice and then use your Free Success to play Stars Align before determining your Successes and Failures. If you play this as a result of a Success in an Experiment, the new Fortune Die number takes effect after your Experiment is complete (it cannot retroactively change a Success to a Failure or vice versa).
  • Telescope: You may use this card either before or after your Experiment, but you cannot roll for your Experiment and then use Telescope before determining your Successes or Failures. If you choose to re-roll, you must also increase the result by 1. This card has no effect on any re-rolls of the Fortune Die due to Chaos or other card effects.
  • Unearthed Notes: The discard pile is public knowledge (face up) and can be examined at any time. If there are fewer than four cards in the discard pile, then you choose from among those that are present.
  • Volatile Solvent: The restriction on playing this card only refers to playing the card from your hand. It is allowed to remain in play or to be moved to other laboratories regardless of point totals.


14 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. The directions say that, on their turn, players roll all their experiment dice and check the outcome. How many dice are “all” of one’s dice? Are the three dice that each player rolls at the beginning the same dice we will use throughout? The instructions were unclear here and some clarification would be much appreciated.
    Thank you,

    • Paul – I am so, so sorry that this error made it into the second edition rulebook.

      Yes, a regular experiment involves rolling three dice (plus getting the free success from the green cube). It’s possible to get more from cards like Cool Cauldron or Clay Crucible, but most of the time you’ll be rolling three dice.

      Again, I apologize for not making sure this was clear in the rulebook.


  2. The card Mutagen, from Substances, isn’t continuous, but also doesn’t say “When this card comes into your laboratory…” Does it only trigger once or every turn?

    • Thomas – You, sir, have caught an error! Mutagen should indeed have the continuous effect symbol on it. It happens every turn.

      Sorry for the error! But good catch.

      Michael Iachini – Clay Crucible Games

  3. Just curious, one of the FAQs say the back of the cards only say “Chaos” by my set (from Kickstarter) say “Chaos & Alchemy”. Are there two different set of cards?

    • Travis,

      It’s two different editions of the game. The first edition, which I self-published under Clay Crucible Games (my own company), has cards that just say “Chaos” on the back. (Trivia fact: This is because I originally thought I might expand the game with new titles like “Chaos & Swordplay” or “Chaos & Sorcery” and have the cards be mixable with common backs.)

      The second edition, which is published by Game Salute and which has just been released in late 2014, has Chaos & Alchemy on the back of the cards.

      The game play is almost identical between the two editions. I changed out one card completely and I tweaked the point values of a few others. However, the flavor is totally redone. Completely new graphic design, completely new (full color) illustrations, new flavor text, and 90% new card names. Different components, too – the second edition has custom dice, but only one Free Success cube, so you have to pass that cube around the table. (In the first edition, everyone had their own Free Success die.)

      Michael Iachini
      Clay Crucible Games

  4. First, a group of us played the game four times in our game group and we enjoyed it very much. Well done!

    Second, when a player who has no cards in his hand, performs an experiment and has some successes and failures, can he discard all the failures first while not having any cards and then use the successes to draw/play cards?

  5. When Chaos is rolled you can decide to tally success and failures before or after rolling the Fortune die. Is the Fortune die rolled right after you decide this? There was some confusion whether you could keep the Fortune die as it is until the end of your turn, and then re-roll.

    It’s a nice, fast paced game. Hope to see some expansions.

    • Yes, you roll the Fortune Die right after you make this decision; you don’t wait until the end of your turn. I’m glad you’re having fun with Chaos & Alchemy!


    • Somehow, it turns out that I do not have an electronic copy of the final Apprentices rules – sorry about that! But here are the rough draft rules.

      Overview: The alchemists have decided that it is time to hire apprentices to assist them in the laboratory. These apprentices are helpful, but they’re only attracted to chaos!

      Setup: Set up your Chaos & Alchemy game as usual.

      Shuffle the Apprentices deck and put it in the middle of the play area, to one side of the main Chaos & Alchemy deck.

      Attracting Apprentices:
      Apprentices are attracted to Chaos. Whenever you roll Chaos during an Experiment, draw the top card of the Apprentices deck and add it to your Laboratory face up. This Apprentice will now work for you for the rest of the game. Its ability kicks in right away (though note that if you draw Chaos Lover, you will not get cards from it from the Chaos you just rolled, since Chaos Lover was not yet in your Laboratory when Chaos was rolled).

      There is no limit to the number of Apprentices that can be in a Laboratory.

      If the Apprentices deck is exhausted, then no new Apprentices are added for future Chaos rolls.

      Interactions with other cards:
      Apprentices do not count as “cards in laboratories” and therefore cannot be affected by cards that destroy or move cards in laboratories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *