Welcome to class students. Take your seats quickly because today we’re taking our final exams. Taking the right ingredients will allow you to complete potions and give you access to their magical powers. Only one of you can be the “Student of the Year” and every ingredient you pull from the Dispenser matters. Let the testing begin!
A Rainbow of Explosions
At the core of Potion Explosion is the Dispenser, beautifully designed cardboard tray that serves the colorful marbles that you’ll use to make your potions. On a players turn, they get to pull one marble of any color. You want to pull a marble that forces two marbles of the same color to smash together. This “explosion” allows you to take all the marbles of that specific color that are touching.
The mechanics of Potion Explosion feels like one of those bubble popping apps or something like Candy Crush. By pulling the right marble, you can create a great combo that gives you multiple colors in just one turn. The player then places their marbles in the color coded spaces on the two potions that they have in front of them.
When a player completes a potion, they are given points that are listed on the bottle and can now use its magical powers. Completing potions efficiently is huge in this game! Watch your opponents, because completing potions quickly can put you in the lead and give you access to new potions.
After completing a potion, at the end of your turn you choose a new one from the supply in the middle of the table.
The teacher in this crazy wizard school is giving out awards to the players that complete 3 potions of the same type or a set of 5 different potion types. Each of these awards are worth 4 points at the end of the game and the awards are limited. When the last award is given out, the game comes to an end when play reaches the original first player.
These awards can make a big difference in a close game. Players can earn these awards and close out the game while other players are working on potions that have high point values. The game scales really well between 2 and 4 players by changing the amount of awards that are available in the game.
Getting Some Assistance
A player can ask the professor for some help by taking an additional marble on their turn. When you ask for help, there are some restrictions. Taking a marble with the professors help means that you only get that one marble. You cannot take the marbles that smash together like you do with your regular turn. Getting help also means that you receive a token that gives you -2 points at the end of the game.
Most of the time I’ve noticed that people shy away from taking this assistance because they know it comes with a penalty. Getting assistance at the right time can actually be a huge benefit to you as you plan your turn. By taking a single marble and the -2 point penalty, you might be able to chain together a combo that gives you the marbles you need to finish a potion. If you can complete a potion worth 8 to 10 points in one turn, this penalty means very little at the end of the game.
When a player completes a potion, they now have access to drink it for its magic powers. The powers can allow you to get additional marbles, steal marbles from another player’s beaker, refresh an already used potion or access other abilities. These are super helpful because they can be used in combination with your normal turn.
Our one gripe with the game is the learning curve that comes with understanding these special abilities. It will take you a couple games to memorize the abilities that each potion gives you. Thankfully, the back of the instruction manual has a rundown of each potions ability. This is something we always hand over to the new players at the table.
Potion Explosion is a Must Own
The game is so accessible because the mechanics for this game have been on our smart phones for years in those free puzzle and bubble pop games. It challenges people to think of the best combos and even allows for some “take that” mechanics when a player disrupts a combo that someone else needs.
The components of Potion Explosion are fantastic from the cardboard Dispenser to the artwork that brings this theme to life. We’ve played the game with kids and adults of all ages. The game is fun and encourages people to really consider every move. A child as young as 7 or 8 can play just as well as someone in their 40’s. The game isn’t too heavy and can be played in about 30 to 40 minutes.
Every time we put Potion Explosion on the table, people want to watch. This one is definitely a gateway game and something that could bring your non-gaming friends to the table. We hope that Potion Explosion can find a home on your game shelf and bring you as much fun as it has for us.
You can order Potion Explosion from Amazon today or check availability at your local game shop.
- Great components and fantastic theme
- Easy to understand for kids and adults
- Competitive gameplay that keeps everyone engaged
- Potion ability symbols are confusing for new players
- Wish it supported more than 4 players