Game: Potion Explosion
Publisher: Horrible Games and CMON Limited
Designer: Stefano Castelli, Andrea Crespi, Lorenzo Silva
Potion Explosion is a 2-4 player game, which I suppose you could call set-collecting based on the scoring system, but really the gameplay is more akin to games like candy crush. This unique system leads to turns with huge combos, especially once you start using power ups to manipulate the rack and score huge marble runs!
At It’s heart Potion Explosion is very simple, each turn you take one marble, and place it one of the two potions on your player board, there are four colours of marbles and potions will use varying amounts of up to three colours to complete. Once you complete a potion then you put it aside and you gain some points depending on how complex a potion it was, you then pick a new potion and carry on. There is an element of set collection as once you complete three of a kind, or 5 different kinds of potion then you get a 4 point bonus, there are only a few bonuses in the game and once they run out the game ends, (though everyone plays to the same number of turns and if they earn a bonus on their last turn then can take a spare form the box).
|The dispenser, learning how to manipulate this is the key to the game, it's always a good sign when you play a game and think "I can't believe no-one has done this before"|
Simple enough, but I’ve been ignoring the most important part of the gameplay. Once you take your marble, due to the nature of the dispenser, the marble above it will roll down, if this causes 2 or more of the same colour marble to connect then they “explode” and you get to take them too. Should removing the exploding ingredients cause another set of the same coloured marbles to connect then they will also explode and so on. Getting a big explosion run feels great, you can easily have a round that lets you complete both your potions and still have up to three spare that you can carry over for your next turn.
To help you get this big marble scores each potion you make is drinkable once. When you drink a potion you can use its effects which vary from stealing marbles from an opponent, to taking marbles off the dispenser to help set yourself up, to ignoring marble colours when you add them to your potion. If you don’t have any potions, but still need to make a slight adjustment to the dispenser to get a great play, worry not! You can ask the professor for help to take an extra marble, though no explosions are caused and this costs you 2 points at the end of the game.