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Potion Explosion - Dastardly Review #119

Potion Explosion was designed by Stefano Castelli, Andrea Crespi and Lorenzo Silva and published by Horrible Games and CMON in 2015. There is also a second version with a plastic marble machine.

I first played Potion Explosion at Great Plains Game Festival 2019 and immediately added it to my Buy List.

Game Objective

Score the most Victory Points by completing potions or sets of potions.

Game Contents

The art and quality of the game pieces is really good. The potions are beautifully done.

The contents:

- Super cool marble machine

- 4 player mats

- A bag o marbles

- A bag of spare marbles in case some break or get lost

- 8 sets of potions

- set completion tokens worth 4 VP

- take an extra marble Help tokens worth -2 VP

The centerpiece of the game is a wonderful marble machine. It is a really cool piece of game engineering. Marbles are dumped into the top hopper and randomly fill the five slides.

Each color of marble represents a different potion ingredient: Unicorn Tears, Dragon Smoke, Fairy Dandruff and Ogre Mucus.

The real fun of Potion Explosion is the picking of marbles. When you pick a marble you try to create an explosion: two marbles of the same color coming together in the same slide. You also pick up any connected marbles that exploded. And that can create an explosion. And so on! Just a really cool, fun mechanic.

Game Play

Setup is quick and easy. Each player takes a player mat and draws two starting potions.

On their turn a player picks marbles, plays completed potions or turns over completed potions in any order. They end their turn by choosing replacement potions for any that were completed. A player should always have two potions they are trying to complete on their mat at the end of their turn. Also they can store up to three marbles in their beaker area of their play mat.

Each type of potion has a unique ability that a player can use during their turn: pick a marble, steal from another player's beaker, pick connected marbles of the same color etc. A very good mix of abilities.

Also you get 4 Victory points when you complete 3 of the same potion or 5 different potions.

Each completed potion is worth victory points. Typically the more ingredients needed the higher the victory points.

The game continues until either all potions are completed or until a certain number of sets are complete. The player with the most Victory Points wins!


Potion Explosion is a true hit with our family and friends. The marble machine is truly unique and makes the game fun.

The Good: The marble machine rocks!

The Bad: Slightly concerned on the longevity of the cardboard marble machine. We have played Potion Explosion 20 times in the first week. If we keep up that rate of play we will need to find the plastic version (Good problem to have!)

The Dastardly: My wife is obsessed with this game. She has taught it to our kids, grandkids, neighbors and friends. I wouldn't be surprised to see her out in the driveway with Potion Explosion setup on a card table trying to flag down cars to play.


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