Compounded: The Chemistry Board Game – A Guide to Rules, Instructions & Strategy


Compounded is a game where you’re playing a chemist, and you’re trying to build chemical compounds before everyone else. It’s got gameplay elements of strategy and luck, with a heavy dose (get it?) of managing resources and risks. The game was created by Darrell Louder and first hit the shelves in 2013. I’ve played it a few times now with different groups and most, even the non-science-inclined, enjoyed it.

It’s garnered a good amount of popularity with people who like science and board games. The idea is to collect elements, complete compounds, and score points. You’ve got to keep an eye on the other players too, because they can mess with your plans. The game ends when someone hits a certain number of points, and then you see who’s the top chemist. Alright, let’s dive into how this all works!

Quick Tip for Compounded

Always keep an eye on the other players’ labs. You might find a chance to trade or mess with their plans!

Rules for playing Compounded

Okay, so I find the rules of Compounded are pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. Each player has a lab where they’re working on compounds. You’ve got a bunch of element tiles that you use to complete these compounds. The game is played in rounds, and each round has different phases.

You’ve got the Discovery Phase where you get new elements, the Study Phase where you can reserve compounds, the Research Phase where you trade stuff with other players, the Lab Phase where you actually build the compounds, and the Grant Phase where you get points and new tools.

There’s also a bit about lab fires and explosions, which can really shake things up. The game keeps going until someone hits the winning points, which depends on how many players you have.

Equipment and Setup for Compounded

For Compounded, you need the game box which comes with element tiles, compound cards, some lab tools, and score markers. You set up the game by laying out the compound cards in the middle of the table, and everyone gets a lab board.

You also put out the element tiles and give each player a starting set.

How to Play Compounded and Game Mechanics

The key mechanics in Compounded are collecting elements, completing compounds, and managing your lab. You start by setting up your lab with some elements and a couple of compounds you’re trying to complete. Then, you go through the phases I mentioned earlier. Here’s a quick rundown:

  1. Discovery Phase: Draw elements from the bag.
  2. Study Phase: Reserve a compound card.
  3. Research Phase: Trade elements with other players.
  4. Lab Phase: Place elements on compounds and complete them if possible.
  5. Grant Phase: Score points for completed compounds and get new tools.

How to Win at Compounded

Winning at Compounded is all about strategy. You want to complete high-point compounds but also keep an eye on what’s easy to finish. Sometimes going for a bunch of small compounds can be better than one big one. You also want to use your lab tools wisely and watch out for those lab fires. Trading is super important too, so don’t be shy to make deals with other players.

Best Strategies for playing Compounded board game

Some top strategies include focusing on compounds that are close to completion, using your lab tools at the right time, and keeping a balanced lab so you’re ready for anything. You can also try to predict what elements will come up next and plan ahead.

And don’t forget about the sneaky moves like reserving compounds that other players need or causing a lab fire to slow them down (my personal favorite tactic because it’s hilarious).


Let’s say you’re in a tight spot with a lab fire threatening your compounds. You can use this to your advantage by trading away flammable elements to other players, making it their problem.

Or maybe you’re behind on points. Look for quick compounds to complete or use your tools to mess with the leader’s lab.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Compounded game

Here are some common questions and answers:

  1. Q: What happens when there’s a tie in points? A: You look at who has the most completed compounds.
  2. Q: Can I trade reserved compounds? A: Nope, once you reserve it, it’s yours until you complete it or discard it.
  3. Q: What’s the best way to deal with a lab fire? A: Try to trade away flammable elements or use a fire extinguisher tool if you have one.
  4. Q: How many elements can I trade? A: As many as you and the other player agree on.
  5. Q: Can I take back a trade? A: Once you shake on it, the trade is final.

There are a few more things to know about Compounded that can help you out:

  • Lab Tools: These are special abilities you can earn that help you in the game.
  • Element Tiles: There are different types, and some are rarer than others.
  • Compound Cards: They show what elements you need and how many points they’re worth.

Compounded Board Game Review [Video]