Potion Explosion

Cover Art - Potion Explosion
From the publisher:

Dear students, it's time for the final exams of the Potions class! The rules are always the same: Take an ingredient marble from the dispenser and watch the others fall. If you connect marbles of the same colour, they explode and you can take them, too! Complete your potions using the marbles you collect, and drink them to unleash their magical power. Remember, though, that to win the Student of the Year award, being quick won't be enough: you'll also need to brew the most valuable potions in Potion Explosion!
BGG Link https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/180974/potion-explosion
Designer(s) Stefano Castelli, Andrea Crespi, Lorenzo Silva
Publisher Horrible Guild
Player Count 2 - 4 (can add 5-6 player with expansion)
Estimated Playtime 45 min
HomePage No information entered

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Journal Entries

May 9th, 2022

Potion Explosion. It came out big time in 2015/16, and for good reason. On one hand, it’s simple set collection. Collect colours to create a potion, harder ones give you more points. As a bonus, potions also give you a one off bonus when you ‘drink’ them.

The big draw is how you collect those resources. In the physical version, there is a large contraption that sorts out coloured marbles. Pull one, and any matching colours that hit each other cause an ‘explosion’ and you collect those as well. Little hard to explain, easy to demonstrate, and get’s people looking at the game every time.

I love the gameplay, but being colourblind makes the game a little tricky for me in person. Because of that, I jumped into the digital version on my phone big time. The only downside was playing with someone was a pain. Rabbit also got into the app big time, but setting up multi-player was a pain so we rarely played against each other.

Luckily for us, Potion Explosion on Board Game Arena is a good implementation and easy to play against others!

20220502 - Potion Explosion - BGA is a great adaption
The BGA adaption is great, but could use some control tweaks

Compared to the app, the controls on Board Game Arena are a little janky. You have to select marbles in a specific order, and it can take a minute to learn. This can be frustrating, but luckily it’s a couple of minutes at the start of the first game to come to grips with things.

I have made Potion Explosion sound pretty basic, but it’s one of those games that can reveal layers as you go. For example, there are more potions available that you can use in a game, so you can’t focus on one strategy all the time. Also, the marble hopper does a great job of mixing resources and hiding later effects.

As you play, the explosions don’t stop until the same colours don’t connect. This means sometimes you can setup massive chains, and others you can hope that a colour is coming out but there are no more marbles.

20220502 - Potion Explosion - Animations are simple but fine controls could use some work
It’s hard to show anything exciting gameplay wise

Potion Explosion is not a game that sounds good on paper. It is a game that looks great in person, and the digital versions do a great job translating this.

I am thinking of a way to demonstrate this, but I need to feel better then have more time to work on it. But in the meantime, if you like resource collection and variable powers, try Potion Explosion. You probably won’t regret it.

March 20th, 2023

After coming back to games after being sick, I wanted to play something we hadn’t played for ages. Potion Explosion quickly bubbled to the surface.

Potion Explosion on the table looks amazing, especially the second edition with the plastic dispenser. It’s rare someone doesn’t enjoy pulling out a marble and seeing what happens.

The digital implementation doesn’t have exactly the same feel, but it does play the same way. Except. I had forgotten how janky the Board Game Arena controls are!

20230320 - Potion Explosion - Back to an old neglected favourite
Back to an old favourite

It took a little while to work out how Board Game Arena wanted us to play Potion Explosion. Rabbit especially got caught out one round where they tried to use a potion, but the game insisted she used her normal turn instead.

That said, it was still a fun game once we got into it. Alpal, Rabbit and I have the Steam version though, which plays a lot smoother.

Next time I feel like playing Potion Explosion with this group, I think it will be the Steam version all the way!

20230320 - Potion Explosion - Steam version FTW
Playing the Steam version is more intuitive, but BGA lets you play with more people so which is better?