Red Phoenix of the Alchemists is a game of scheming and subterfuge as well as a game of strategy. Here's how you play it.
The first thing to know about the game is that there are only three types of cards: Ingredients, Methods and Results. To perform an experiment, you combine ingredients, choose a method, then draw results according to the method.
Each player takes turns during which they can:
- perform experiments
- reproduce successful formulas created from previous experiments
- use ingredients as items
- trade formulas, ingredients, gold and non-binding promises
Basic ingredients are available in the market for purchase throughout the game. Each turn you receive 3 gold (or you can skip your turn for 9 gold). You use this money to buy your ingredients and perform experiments. If an experiment is successful, you can create better ingredients that can be used as items or to make even better ingredients.
On your turn you can perform experiments using 3 or 4 ingredients. The more ingredients you use, the more likely you are to be successful. First, play your ingredients in front of you. Then, select one of the five Methods that are always available (better Methods cost coins, health or both). Finally, draw your results cards and play them according to the Method.
There are three types of results: Success, Simple Failure and Catastrophic Failure. Success cards produce better ingredients that can be used as items, Simple Failure cards simply get discarded with your ingredients, and Catastrophic Failure cards make you and other players take damage. Sometimes as a result of Catastrophic Failures monsters are summoned that attack you and other players.
If you have the ingredients for a formula in your hand, you may discard them to reproduce successful formulas once per turn. Level 2 and 3 ingredients can be used as items as well, to do things like heal yourself or attack monsters or opponents.
Players can reproduce other players' formulas if they have gained knowledge of a formula through trading. You can essentially trade anything you'd like: knowledge of formulas, ingredients, gold and non-binding promises.
This is a highly-interactive game, requiring that you not only play strategically and manage risk, but that you predict your opponents' moves and trade wisely. This game is for you if you enjoy competitive, social games that require you to take risks and scheme against your opponents.