Published by: CMON Games (Cool Mini or Not)
# of Players: 2 to 4
Potion Explosion is a game by CMON Games. They are known for their high quality miniatures. Guess how many miniatures are in this game? That's right 0. The good news is that CMON Games has taken their high quality standards to Potion Explosion. The game comes with huge marbles that symbolize the ingredients for the potions. These marbles are placed in a thick cardboard apparatus that is used for the game. You do have to assemble the cardboard game piece, but there are step by step directions on how to put it together. Once together it is safely stored in the boxes insert. The insert does a decent job holding the components in place. The other components are cardboard punch out potions, and various tokens. These are all very thick and colorful. The rule book for Potion Explosion does a good job explaining the game and gives plenty of illustrated examples. CMON Games still maintained high quality components even when there are no miniatures in the game. The components take the gameplay of Potion Explosion to another level.
Potion Explosion is a game about trying to get the most ingredients per turn that are useful to you and collect sets of potions that you created. There are 8 different types of potions that each have their own effect when used. During set up you will remove 2 of the types of potions from the game. Players in turn order will select their starting potions that they are trying to make and add them to their desk board. The desk board has 2 spots for potions and a beaker that will hold 3 left over ingredients. Depending on the number of players, a countdown stack of skill tokens will be made. Once the skill token stack has been depleted, the end game scoring will trigger after the last person has went for the the round. Skill tokens are awarded to players if they have completed 3 of the same type of potion or 5 different types of potions.
During a player's turn, they will grab one ingredient (marble) from the dispenser. If this causes two or more of the same color ingredients to collide together, a chain reaction occurs and the person will get all the ingredients involved in the chain reaction which can then set off another chain reaction. Once there are no more chain reactions, the player will assign ingredients to the potions on their desk board. Once a potion has all the required ingredients, the potion is complete and put in your potion area. The ingredients that were used are returned to the dispenser. You may save up to 3 ingredients for future use. During your turn you can also drink your potions for one time abilities. These range from steal another person's ingredients from their beaker, to being able to use a potion a second time, and obtaining ingredients from the dispenser. Once a potion has been used, you will rotate it to show that it can no longer be used, but is still counted for set purposes and end game scoring. At the end of your turn, you will add potions to your desk if there is an empty space, return any extra ingredients that you do not have room for, and collect any skill tokens that you earned that round. Once the game is over, players will total up their score from skill tokens and potions completed and the player with the most points wins the game.
Potion Explosion is a fun, quick, gateway game that young and old will enjoy. The game has strategy in selecting which ingredient to grab to cause the best chain reaction and setting up future combos. Potion Explosion is simple enough for new ones to understand while also providing depth for those who are experienced. The components are outstanding. Families will enjoy this the most and will not get bored of it quickly. I really enjoyed playing this at CMON Expo and was excited to get a copy later in the year to keep. I like the direction CMON Games has taken with adding more variety to their game catalog while also keeping up quality. Everyone that has played the game has tried to steal my copy from me. This will be staying in my collection as long as I can keep it from sneaky hands. If you want a board game with a Candy Crush or Bejeweled feel, then Potion Explosion is it. Families young and old will really enjoy the game and want to keep playing additional times. I highly recommend giving it a play because I think you will be hooked after your first play.
+Board game version of Candy Crush/Bejeweled
+Great gateway game for all different player types and groups
+Easy to learn but has depth with the combos
-Putting together the dispenser took some time
- Insert could have been better designed
-The Elixir of Blind Love (take ingredients from opponent) can be brutal