Horrible Games / £35-£45 / 2 – 4 Players / 30-60 mins / Age 8+
Marbles! You can collect them, play with them, and even lose them if you are not careful. But there is one thing that we can all agree on, they are fantastic. There are so many different variations. Standard glass ones with a strand of colour through the middle, to the metallic coated versions that we all craved when we were in the school playground.
I remember playing all the different games during break times between classes. Who can get their marble closest to the larger marble, winner taking everyone else’s marbles. To some really weird concoction of a game that always favoured the person making up the game rules. Even when you were on your own I remember trying to roll one the entire length of my street using the gutter next to the curb. Improvisation and competition with endless games to be imagined…
But then they sort of disappeared… When it came to that period in Secondary School where exams took the majority of time, things seemed to get more grown up all of a sudden and there was not as much spare time for games. Growing up makes us leave those little joys behind and if you pick them up again you feel you are being judged as foolish…
Thank goodness for a mid-life crises and a second childhood because marbles are back in my life!
The Potion Explosion boardgame has been on my radar for a while because it just looks so fabulous.
No Seriously take a look at this…
Does that just make you want to get right in and start playing with them? Putting them in the dispenser is great fun!
The playing field reminds me of those crappy online games like Candy Crush, except without the guilt of bugging all you friends on Facebook for extra lives.
In Potion Explosion you are trying to collect ingredients to make potions which in turn earn victory points. Each different colour of marbles is a different ingredient that is needed in the potions to complete a brew.
Listen to these brilliant descriptions:
BLUE: Unicorn Tears
RED: Dragon Smoke
BLACK: Ogre Mucus
YELLOW: Fairy Dandruff
Once the potion has been filled you can use the potion to trigger special abilities and you also earn the victory points listed on the potion.
“But what is all this about explosions?” I hear you ask. Well, on your turn you are allowed to take one marble from a column on the dispenser. When that marble is taken, it creates a gap and the marbles roll down to take its place. If the two marbles that come together are the same colour, it causes the ‘explosion’. Then you can take all those same colour marbles as well. This explosion effect continues in a chain reaction until two marbles of different colours come together. This way you can collect a variety of different colours to use on your two potions held in your brewing stand.
You also have an area on your brewing station where you can store 3 ingredients for use in later turns. Any unused ingredients are then returned to the dispenser. Any potions that are completed are scored and then you return any ingredients that were used to fill the potion.
At the start of you turn you can use a Little Helper token to remove one marble onto a potion from the dispenser but this will not trigger an explosion, even if the marbles that come together are the same colour. This can be used to set up bigger explosion when you take the next marble on your proper turn, but it should be used sparingly as it costs -2 victory points at the end of the game.
Any potions that you have brewed can be used during the game to give you special abilities. These abilities are single use and can be used at any time during your turn. When we play we have to make a “Glug, Glug, Glug” sound while upending the bottle otherwise it does not count. 😜
Here’s an example of some of the effects these potions can have.
BALM OF UTTERMOST STICKINESS:
Take 2 ingredients of the same colour that are next to each other.
FILTER OF LAVAMANCING:
Remove up to 5 ingredients of the same colour in one column.
POTIOIN OF MAGNETIC ATTRACTION:
Take two adjacent ingredients of different colours.
The game time is limited by the number of Skill tokens available. These give the player a bonus 4 VP at the end of the game. A Skill token is claimed whenever a player brews three potions of the same type or five different potions. Once the pile of Skill tokens run out the game is over.
Total up the numbers of VP on the potions you have brewed, add the Skill tokens bonus and take off any -2 Little Helper tokens you have claimed during the game and the player with the most VPs wins.
This game is fantastic and I will play it anytime anyone asks. Hell, I may even play on my own as triggering the explosions is great fun. Buy the boardgame now or if you want, you can buy the app on iOS or Android stores… But the real thing is much, much better.
What do you think of Potion Explosion, are you interested? Have you tried the App version? Let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.
Horrible Games – Potion Explosion
Our blog posts include affiliate links to Amazon, who share a small amount of revenue with us if you buy something through one of these links, which helps support us. We will always recommend the boardgames and products we enjoy playing and using — and of course you’re encouraged to use whatever retailer you prefer.
Reference Piggy Time – as a thank you for reading our review, please enjoy this picture of our Guinea Pigs, Scampi & Buddy not quite knowing what to do with the marbles from Potion Explosion 😃