Potion Explosion - 2nd Edition
Updated: Jul 16, 2019
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Potion Explosion is a 2 -4 player game (the expansions add additional players) that transforms you into a student studying potions at a prestigious school (basically Hogwarts). The professor has set the final exam of the class and it's up to you to create as many potions as you can to win the game.
The rules are simple: take a marble from the provided dispenser and try to create as many chain reactions as possible to gain ingredients to complete your potions. There are four different colour marbles in Potion Explosion that you will need and each colour represents an ingredient - Blue for Unicorn Tears, Red for Dragon Smoke, Black for Ogre Mucus and Yellow for Fairy Dandruff.
In the second edition of the game, the dispenser has been upgraded from a cardboard version that the player will have to assemble themselves to a plastic dispenser that will be ready for you straight from the box. I didn't own the first edition of Potion Explosion but I have read a lot of complaints on forums saying that the impact of the marbles caused a lot of wear and tear on the cardboard version. Even though I think the detailing on the cardboard version is a lot nicer than its plastic successor (maybe they could include some stickers to spice the dispenser up a bit), I would suggest trying to pick up the second edition as it will last a lot longer.
At the start of each turn, students are able to take ONE marble from the dispenser, the student gets to keep this marble and any marbles of the same colour that collide together. This aspect of the game is really fun and definitely makes you think about your move before taking it. You also have your potion picked out before this point so you are usually looking for specific colour matches, sometimes you can be super unlucky and not activate any chain reactions while your opponent is hoarding more marbles than Professor Snape with a Candy Crush addiction.. (this totally didn't happen to me & I'm totally not salty about it). Honestly though, I feel like this game can snowball really quickly if your opponent gets a couple of good explosions while you're only getting 1-2 marbles a turn, there doesn't really seem to be a 'comeback' mechanic that I can see but in the many times I've played this game I've only witnessed that happen once.
There are 8 different types of potions in this game and each potion has a special ability. These abilities can be used only once and only when you have completed the potion and flipped it over. This adds a great strategy aspect to the game as some of the potions allow you to do things such as: The POTION OF PRISMATIC JOY - allowing you to place any ingredients into any holes of your incomplete potions, regardless of their colour. This can be really helpful when you're desperately trying to match red marbles but not having any luck. Also, The ABYSSAL DRAFT - which allows you to take up to 1 ingredient of each colour from the bottom row of the dispenser slide tracks. This ability comes in really handy when you're after a few different colour marbles all at once, it could just give you the boost you need to beat your opponent! After you have drank a potion you flip it upside down to differentiate between the active and inactive potions and unless stated otherwise you can only drink a potion once, so no cheating!
Depending on how many students you are playing with depends on how many skill tokens are available to win the game. If you are playing with the maximum of 4 players then their will be 5 skill tokens up for grabs. When the last skill token has been redeemed by a player by either completing 3 potions of the same type and/or completing at least 5 different potions, the end of the game will be triggered. All players that have not taken a turn this round will then continue to play until all students have played the same number of rounds. After all of this, players then calculate all of the points they earnt from completing potions and getting skill tokens and ultimately crowning the best potion master of the game!
Overall, Potion Explosion is a great game for all ages and very aesthetically pleasing. It's really colourful which will engage players of a younger age but it also has good strategy thinking which will appeal to older players.
Want to try it for yourself? Buy Potion Explosion 2nd Edition here!