I received this one for my recent birthday and played it three times. First off, the rules are a bit gargled and unclear and there are printing mistakes on the board that lead me to think the game was thrown together a little too fast or on a deadline with less quality control than was needed. That being said...
This is a challenging game. Your opening choices will determine a lot of your success throughout the game and there are several rules that are easy to miss and require keeping up with throughout the game. Your goal is to attain the most victory points via completed experiments, completed philosopher's stone, and completed publications.
Gameplay consists of attaining an unrefined elements (Lead, Copper, Tin, Mercury, Iron) and refining those elements through transmutation via drafted dice of three different colors. The dice colors determine WHAT transmutations you can do and the die face determines WHICH essences and experiments you can attain with that die.
At the beginning of the game you start with four different raw materials and three essences. Using essence will raise your token on the appropriate mastery track board (certain mastery levels are required for more complex experiments).
There are three rounds during which you will use three dice each round and subtracting from their potency to either attain materials, essences, artifacts, experiments, or to transmute one material into another. One other players turns, you can use a limited number of reaction tokens to do one of four reactions based on the active players die color and die face.
There are a few other variables to the game but your goal will be to generally complete as much as you can with the limited number of die and reactions you have at your disposal throughout the game. I managed to get somewhere close to 60 points the last game I played completing two publications (that was hard!) and only 4 experiments on my philosophers stone.
All in all I think I liked that game and look forward to playing it with others more. I think once the rules are nailed down by all players it will be more fun. Not as smooth as other games I've played but not bad either: