Explosive Potions Review: all taught by Albus Ludente

Unicorn Tears, Dragon Smoke, Ogre Mucus and Fairy Dandruff are the four ingredients needed to create the magical Explosive Potions review

Today we are talking about Explosive Potions, a game by Horrible Games that was localized in Spain thanks to Ghenos Games and which won the 2016 Game of the Year award. The aim of the game is to accumulate more points than other players by creating more Explosive Potions. possible. Now, take your notebooks, pen and inkwell because Professor Albus Ludente is about to start one of his lessons and you have to pay close attention if you want to pass your final year exams at the Horribilium Academy of Witchcraft.

Components | Explosive Potions Review

Inside the box we find:

  1. a Dispenser that contains 80 Ingredients marbles of four different colors: red, blue, yellow and black. For each color there are 20 marbles. In this second edition the Dispenser is no longer in cardboard, but in plastic.
  2. 1 First Player tile
  3. 21 Help tokens
  4. 15 Skill Tokens
  5. 64 Potion tiles of 8 different types that we will see specifically in the next paragraph
  6. 4 Banco boards

Ingredients, Potions and Effects | Explosive Potions Review

The ingredients to create our potions are 4, they are few but essential. In the game they are represented by marbles: blue for Unicorn's Tears, red for Dragon's Smoke, green for Ogre's Mucus and yellow for Fairy Dandruff. These four ingredients, when mixed together, give life to Explosive Potions! Let's find out specifically their effects:

  1. Potion of Wisdom: take an ingredient of your choice from the Dispenser
  2. Potion of Magnetic Attraction: take two ingredients of different colors, but adjacent, from the same aisle of the Dispenser
  3. Abyssal distillate: take one ingredient of each color from the bottom row of the Dispenser. It is possible to take only one color from each lane
  4. Extreme stickiness balm: take two or more adjacent ingredients of the same color in the same lane of the Dispenser
  5. Elixir of blind love: you must steal all ingredients from an opponent's stash of your choice
  6. Potion of Prismic Joy: you can place the ingredients of your Escort on the empty spaces of the Potions, regardless of color 
  7. Sands of time: it is used to activate a potion that has already been used
  8. Washing machine filter: you have to take up to 5 ingredients of the same color from the same lane as the Dispenser and you have to put them back in the tank

All Potions do not trigger Explosions.

Game Setup | Explosive Potions Review

First of all, each player must be given his Banco board on which the Potions and ingredients will be placed in the appropriate Stock section. Then you take the number of Skill tokens based on the number of players:

  • 4 Skill Tokens for 2 players
  • 5 Skill Tokens for 3 players
  • 6 Skill Tokens for 4 players

Finally, 6 categories of Potions are chosen, the other two are placed in the box. From these 6 categories you have to take two Potions for each player with the star symbol and you have to place them in the center of the table with the part of the recipe face up (the one with the colored lines). Proceeding clockwise all the players choose a potion and then going back, counterclockwise, the second potion must be taken and these must be placed in the Mixing area always with the recipe visible. Once everyone has two potions, the others mix and divide into 5 piles with the recipe side up. Then insert all the marbles into the Dispenser until the 5 lanes are completely filled and create a common reserve with the Help signals. At this point you can choose who will be the first player and you are ready to start the game! NB For the first few games, it is advisable to exclude the Sticky Balm and Childhood Filter potions.

How to play | Explosive Potions Review

During his turn, the mandatory action is to take an ingredient from the Dispenser. This could trigger one or more explosions, this happens when marbles of the same color collide with each other. If this happens, then the player must also take the marbles that have collided with each other. In addition to this, however, other optional actions can also be done: 

  • Help token: you can use this token during any moment of your turn, it is used to pick up a single marble of the color you need, but no explosions are triggered. For each help used they are -2 points at the end of the game
  • drink the potion: when a potion has been completed, i.e. all lines have been filled with marbles, it is set aside. If you want to use it, you have to turn it to the other side and activate its effect (go to the Ingredients, Potions and Effects section of the review)

The ingredients collected with one or more of the actions mentioned above can be placed on the Potions (following the positioning rules) or you can choose three of them to put aside in the Supply. 

End of shift

The turn ends when you have taken all possible actions during your turn. At this point, if you have any leftover marbles, that is, that cannot be placed on the Potions and that do not fit in the Stocking section, put them back in the Dispenser tank. If you have completed one or both Potions you must draw more from the 5 piles in the center of the table (where you always have two Potions). Finally, you earn a Skill token in these two cases: if you have completed 5 potions of five different categories or 3 potions of the same category. No you receive another Skill token in cases where you complete 6 Potions of the same type or make another set of 5 different Potions. Skill tokens damage +4 points in the final point count. 

End of the game | Explosive Potions Review

La end of the game triggers in two ways:

  1. the moment a player takes the last Skill token during his turn to play
  2.  if the 5 available Potion piles are exhausted before the Skill tokens run out

In both cases you finish the round, until you return to the first player. When everyone has finished their last turn, you can proceed with the counting points, adding the points of Potion tiles (those marked in the gray ribbon to the left of the Potion) and the points of the Skill tokens, if they have any, e subtracting the points Help token, in case they have been used. Vince the player with the highest score, while in the case of draw the players involved must draw a marble each trying to trigger as many explosions as possible and in this case the winner is the one who has taken the most marbles.


This is a game I didn't love right away, it took me a long time to rate it positively. I like the fact that in this second edition there is the plastic Dispenser, certainly more resistant than the cardboard one, but I would also have appreciated an improvement of the Potion cards that in some places wear out practically immediately, despite being careful in handling them. Explosive Potions requires a good deal of strategy, especially thanks to the various combinations that can be done with the Potions, which makes each game different from the others. It is a very family friendly game.

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