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Potion Explosion


Lorenzo Silva, Andrea Crespi, Stefano Castelli

Horrible Games

No. of Players:
2 - 4

G@mebox Star



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Potion Explosion is all about potion-crafting and marble-crashing, so the subtitle of the new game by HORRIBLE GAMES tells us. Most of us will have some idea about the potion-crafting part of it, but what the hell is marble-crashing? Hiding behind this second part of the subtitle is a very unique mechanism of a dispenser from which the players choose their ingredients, but more about this later. In fact Potion Explosion is a kind of puzzle game, in which players are doing their exams in Potion Making at the Horribilorum Sorcery Academy. Of course, any resemblance to Harry Potter's school of witchcraft and wizardry is purely coincidental. So I am sure you have never before heard about a Albedus Humblescore as headmaster of the famous school - although I think I have heard about a name that sounds very similar….


Each player begins the game with two Bunsen burners that come in form of a player board. Also, as a starter each burner is already filled with two potion recipes that are lovingly designed in form of flasks with holes for the necessary ingredients. The edges of these holes are painted in different colours to mark the necessary ingredients that must be taken as marbles of the same colour from the dispenser, and it is this dispenser that makes Potion Explosion something very special. In other words: the dispenser is the heart of the game.

With the dispenser being the heart of the game, let's give it a closer look. It is a tank for 80 marbles, and it and has five sliding tracks over which the marbles roll up to the edge of the dispenser. At the beginning of the game all marbles are put into the dispenser, and as a result a player can pick from eight marbles on each of the five sliding tracks during his turn. The reason why Potion Explosion is a puzzle game is that whenever marbles of the same color collide after the picking of a marble from a track, it comes to an explosion. The player who caused this explosion now must take all of the marbles of that colour, and this of course initiates another roll of marbles down the track which can lead to further explosions. So by cleverly choosing the first marble you can start a chain reaction that will bring you a lot of new ingredients for your potions.


Once completed be collecting the matching ingredients, potions are taken as victory points to the private area of the player. But that is not all. In later turns they can also be drunk, giving the players special abilities which can be used to to break some of the game's rules at a fitting moment. So for example, with the Potion of Prismatic Joy you can place ingredients on holes of your potions, regardless of their colours. Or the Position Abyssal Draft lets you take up to one marble of each colour from all of the five bottom rows of the dispenser's sliding tracks. These are pretty cool abilities if the situation is right.

Depending on the number of ingredients you need to craft, the completed potion gives the players victory points. But additionally to this there are also skill tokens as a reward for the most talented students. To get a skill token a player must complete either three potions of the same kind or five different kinds of potions.


Playing Potion Explosion is great fun. I love puzzle games, and with the great dispenser Lorenzo Silva, Andrea Crespi and Stefano Castelli have added a really new and funny element to this category of games. Once again, HORRIBLE GAMES has created a very unique game with a rather special feeling. All my fellow players were fascinated by the mechanism and are looking forward to more and more potion-crafting. It is also excellent for playing with children, even with 4 to 7 years-old I had a lot of fun. Potion Explosion was one of my highlights of SPIEL 2015, and so it's a clear winner of a G@mebox Star for me.

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Copyright © 2015 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany