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In Alchemy, the rules for what kinds of cards can replace a trashed card are governed by the following, somewhat ambiguous wording:

Adding coins to a cost doesn't affect [potion] being in the cost or not. If [potion] was in the cost, it still is; if it wasn't, it still isn't.

The rules then present an example with Remodel card. However, the Remodel card says:

Gain a card costing up to two more . . .

The Governor card wording is:

Gain a card costing exactly one (or two [if you're the player playing the card]) more.

So, for the player who played the Governor card, it is clear from the remodel example that a card costing exactly 2 coins must be replaced by a card costing exactly 4 coins with no potion.

However, what about a card costing exactly 2 coins and a potion? If trashed, must it be replaced with a card costing exactly 4 coins and a potion? Or could it also be replaced by a card costing exactly 4 coins (but with no potion)?

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4 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

@JHaasie77's answer is spot on, I just want to add another way to think about it that grew too long for a comment.

Costs with potions are like complex numbers, with the potion cost corresponding to the imaginary part. The now-defunct Isotropic online Dominion server handled this quite nicely using p to designate potions. If you played 3 Coppers and 2 Potions, Isotropic would report the amount of money you have to spend as 3+2p (or something like that).

Using this analogy, University costs 2+p, and Governoring a University calls for adding exactly 1 (or 2 if you're the player playing the card) to the cost. Thus the card you gain from trashing a University to a Governor must be exactly 2+p+1 = 3+p (or if you played the Governor, 2+p+2 = 4+p).

The analogy isn't perfect for cards like Remodel specifying "costing up to x more", but it's workable. The "up to" applies to both coin part and to potion part. Remodeling a University lets you gain a card costing up to 2+p+2 = 4+p, so up to 4 in coin cost, and up to 1 in potion cost.

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+1 Simplifying things using complex numbers! –  tttppp Sep 9 '13 at 19:43
I thought "up to" still doesn't affect the Potion cost. The example from the rules cited in the question even points this out. "Up to 2 (coins) more than 2+p" means up to 4 coins, also (still) exactly 1 potion. Am I reading the example wrong? –  scenia Feb 27 at 9:41
@scenia My answer is correct. The OP's question quotes both Remodel ("up to") and Governor ("exactly") cards. The Dominion Alchemy Rules at the top of page 4 walk through a Remodel example: (continued...) –  shujaa Feb 28 at 2:19
(...continued) from rulebook: "If a player uses Remodel to trash a card costing 2p, he could gain a card costing 4p or 4 as those are both 'up to' 4p." –  shujaa Feb 28 at 2:21
Should have looked up the entire example after all... i guess my memory is just bad. Thanks for clearing it up :) –  scenia Feb 28 at 6:30
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It must have a potion. The rule states that any time any cost is increased, the potion quantifier stays. Since the card you are trashing has one potion in the cost, the card you pick up also has to have one potion in its cost. For more strategy with this card (albeit not help with this particular question!) check this out.

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'Up to' means you can exchange a card with potion in the cost into a card that does or does not not have a potion in the cost, but you can not remodel a card with no potion in the cost into one that does. Remodel says "up to". You may Remodel a Golem into a Gold, or Remodel an Apothecary into a Golem.

If the card says "exactly" like Governor, the card to be gained has to have the same number of potions in the cost, and the specified cost in coins. If you play Governor, you can trash University, and the only possible card you can get in exchange is Golem, as it's the only card that costs exactly 2 more than University.

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Every card has two costs - its cost in coins, and its cost in potions. The total cost is the combination of the two. So cards like Governor that tell you to trash a card for a card costing "exactly 2 more" want the cost in coins to go up by two, and the cost in potions to be the same. Cards that talk about "up to" a certain cost may or may not include potions - Gold ($6) and Golem ($4+P) both cost less than Possession ($6+P), but neither costs more or less than the other. And if you trash a potion-cost card to something like Salvager or Forge, which explicitly mention "cost in coins", the potion effectively disappears.

So in your case, if you Governor a Scrying Pool ($2+P) you can get a Golem, but not a Scout ($4), but if you Remodeled it you could.

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