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Potion Explosion Review

Potion Explosion Feature

Albert Humblescore is the headmaster of Horribilorum Sorcery Academy, where the game Potion Explosion is based. He has some wise words for you:

Dear students,

You have been studying a long time, witches and wizards, and it is finally time for your final exam. By taking ingredients from the dispenser, you can complete potions. But remember, explosions can be useful! Once potions are completed you are encouraged to use them. The exam will end when enough skill tokens have been awarded. To gain student of the year you will need to brew the most difficult (and valuable) potions!

Good Luck!

In Potion Explosion, there are 4 ingredients you use to make potions. These ingredients are:

  • Unicorn tears (blue) – the purest fluid known in the world of magic. Just a few drops can catalyze very powerful magical effects.
  • Dragon smoke (red) – the toxic fumes exhaled by these dreadful reptiles are often used for their high magical reactivity. Beware - never, ever inhale them!
  • Ogre mucus (black) – this extremely viscous substance is used to thicken compounds that are otherwise too volatile. Always use a mask when you handle it.
  • Fairy dandruff (yellow) – a very powerful ingredient. Also used by naughty children who refuse to grow up, to kidnap other kids and lead them astray.

Luckily you don’t need to remember what each of these do, I just like that there is a story behind the game. As long as you know your colours, you're good to play.

What is in the Potion Explosion Box?

  • Rulebook
  • 1 dispenser
  • 80 ingredient marbles
  • 15 skill tokens
  • 64 potion tiles of 8 kinds
  • 4 desk boards
  • 21 little helper tokens
  • 1 first player token

So compared to most games, not much. Personally, this is a bonus for me. It's really easy to set up as all the marbles are kept in the dispenser, and you just need to sort the potions out. There are 8 different potions but you only play with 6, therefore you need to take out the ones you are not using. Some potions have stars on them - these are the ones you start with.

The rule book has 12 pages, and 5 of those are about setting up the dispenser and where to put things in the box. So, as you can see, this is a fairly easy game to learn and play. Although the game says it is for ages 14+ my daughter has been playing this since she was 5, with a little help, and at age 7 can now play fairly independently.

The dispenser is an attractive part of this game, but it does not stay together very well. We even have difficulty if we leave it in the box. Unfortunately, the balls don’t always go into the lanes under the cover, so you have to lift the cover up to sort them out. I believe this is due to the fact it is made from cardboard. Alternatively, there is a plastic one that comes with The 6th Student Expansion.

Aim of Potion Explosion

The aim of Potion Explosion is to get the most points. Each potion bottle has a point value. If you successfully get the potion, you get the points. Points are added up at the end. On gaining a potion bottle, it gives you a special power you can use once during the game. Some of the potions and their abilities are:

  • The Elixir of Blind Love – steal all the ingredients from 1 opponent’s pool
  • Sands of Time – activate again the effect of 1 potion you already used
  • Balm of Uttermost Stickiness – take 2 or more adjacent ingredients of the same colour from the same slide track of the dispenser.

So, gaining potions not only gives you points to win the game, but allows you a special power to gain more potions. This may influence which potions you choose to make. Each potion requires certain colour marbles to make. On your go, you choose a marble from the dispenser. On doing this, the marbles before and after it will collide together. If the colours are the same, it will cause an explosion. If this happens, then you can take those marbles as well. The game ends when all the skill tokens have been awarded. The number of skill tokens available varies depending on how many players there are. Skill tokens are awarded when you have certain sets of potions. You can make the game shorter or longer by changing the number of skill tokens available.

Extra Info on Potion Explosion

There are 2 expansions for Potion Explosion. The Fifth Ingredient includes a new ingredient and, as I mentioned before, The Sixth Student has a new dispenser, bigger halls, and more players.

Potion explosion was produced by CMON who are also known for Zombicide, Sherriff of Nottingham, and Gizmos. All games I have played and enjoyed. It was produced by Horrible Guild who have produced Alone, Dragon Castle, Railroad Ink, Similo, The King’s Dilemma, and Unicorn Fever.

I first played this game at a board game camping weekend and I soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to play it. With its concept of making potions and choosing coloured marbles to create the potions. A similar game to this would be Quacks of Quedlinburg, where you have to choose ingredients to make potions. Other games that involve potion making are Alchemists and Whirling Witchcraft, with Potion Explosion being the easiest to learn how to play. Gizmos is also similar, but the marbles just come down one track as well as being chosen as a blind draw.

Final Thought

Overall, this game will appeal to a wide variety of people, even non-gamers. It is a fun game with some strategy and is very eye-catching. It is a shame about the marble dispenser though, and it can get annoying having to keep sorting it out. I do like the theme of it, and that there is a story to it all in the rule book. A nice little addition. Potion Explosion is an easy game to learn, and fun to play.