GeekNights Tuesday - Potion Explosion

Tonight on GeekNights, we review Potion Explosion. It's from 2015, it has an excellent conceit, but it really only shines as a kids/family game. It even has an expansion. We're back from PAX South, which is a full and proper PAX! Air Hockey was finally the Omegathon Finale! PAX Unplugged becomes the fifth PAX in PA, though it's the same weekend as the anime con to save anime cons (Anime NYC): we may have to split our efforts between them.

Support GeekNights on Patreon or buy our Tshirt!

Things of the Day

Episode Links

Thanks. Now Youtube keeps suggesting me videos on how to make fists.

“It’s ok” is my review, too. It’s a perfectly cromulent game, which is also my review of Splendor.

Obviously if you direct the marbles into the channel in any way, you’re cheating. The rules are clear that they need to be randomly distributed. If you think you can get away with it, cheat away (which is also my opinion about Roll for the Galaxy)

Now let’s get Rym to play 1846 so I can see the Geeknights review of 1846 (epic three hour train game!) Since Scott said he doesn’t care about the historical theme at PAX South, there’s also Poseidon (shorter than 1846) and 2038: Tycoons of the Asteroid Belt (longer than 1846, but I have never played it because it is published by the same company as Fast Food Franchise and therefore hard to find) which use the same 18XX system. But I definitely like 1846 more than Poseidon.

Oh yes. My BROSeidon!

I don’t often click on the Things of the Day but holy shit am I glad I clicked Rhythm Hearthstone as a big fan of Rhythm Heaven and Hearthstone in equal measure.

I’ve still never played Potion Explosion but was considering trying it via app since Asmodee Digital just put out a nice one. It does seem like most of the appeal is that satisfying marble clack though…

[quote=“pence, post:3, topic:416”]
Obviously if you direct the marbles into the channel in any way, you’re cheating.
[/quote]But there is no mechanism to do this, since it also says you have to randomly distribute the marbles such that they fill all the slots (i.e., they can’t bunch up anywhere outside of the slots). Players have to hold their marbles in their hand (they know what order they picked them up in), place them on the short ramp, and even go so far as to push them around to make them all fit into the slots.

This would be fine and random “enough” except for the fact that the placement of the returning marbles (usually within one player’s turn even) is the sole determiner of victory…

At least with Roll, choosing to cheat behind your screen is a specific clearly delineated and discrete action. There is zero ambiguity as to whether something you did is cheating.

With Potion Explosion, let’s say I finish a potion and pick up a bunch of marbles. I HAVE to choose an order to pick them up in my hand. I HAVE to place them, myself, at the top of the ramp. The ramp is so short that even without directing them in any particular way the knowledge of what you picked up alone has a heavy influence on the rest of the turn or the next player’s turn.

It’s bad design to have a thing that’s so crucial to the game (above the basic level of play at least) be “dictated” to be random while at the same time not providing clear randomizing protocols to follow.

Don’t dictate the result or intent of an action in a game’s rules. Always dictate a procedure that achieves the desired result regardless of intent.