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Potions Please Review


Quick Look: Potions Please

Designer: Laura Erwin
Artist: Laura Erwin
Publisher: Laura Erwin Design and Games (at The Game Crafter)
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 12+
Playing Time: 15-30 min.

From the publisher:

Potions Please is a fun and exciting set collection game that is friendly for all ages.
  • Choose your Witch
  • Create potions and gain powers
  • Quickest player to get 4 potions becomes Head Witch
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Potions Please. Components and rules may be subject to change. Potions Please will release for crowdsale on The Game Crafter on October 17, 2019.

I received a copy of Potions Please for the purposes of this review, but all opinions contained here are my own.

Review: Potions Please

Overview and Theme:

In Potions Please, each player takes on the role of a witch brewing potions from a variety of ingredients. The first witch to be able to make a potion of each of four colors will become the Head Witch and win the game!

Potions Please is a well-crafted family-friendly card game which will be available on The Game Crafter. Read on to see what my family thought of the game!



Components and Setup:

Potions Please is a card game, so all you'll find in the box are cards and the rules booklet! The cards include:
  • Ingredient Cards (Mandrake Root, Lavender, Bloodroot, Tea Leaves, Crystal, Candle, Water, Oil, and Wild, used in the right combinations to make potions)
  • Potion Cards (in four colors; be the first to collect one of each color to win)
  • Witch Cards (one per player; includes a special ability)
  • Market Holder Cards (used in setup to set the cost for the Ingredients)
The cards from The Game Crafter are glossy (rather than linen) and pleasantly thick and durable. The pastel artwork sets this game apart from other games in the witchy genre, and the illustrations, especially on the Ingredient Cards, are easily identifiable at a glance. The designer also made sure to include icons on the Potion Cards for colorblind players, which is something that I always seek out and greatly appreciate.


Setup is very quick and easy, and can be broken down into different tasks for different people to get it laid out even more quickly:
  • Give each player a Witch Card. 
  • Shuffle the deck of Potion Cards and lay out three face up. 
  • Shuffle the deck of Ingredient Cards and lay out five, covering the spaces numbered 1-5 on the Market Cards. 
  • Deal 3 Ingredients to the first player, 4 to the second player, and 5 to the other players.
If you're playing with fewer than four players, you'll remove a few of the cards to give you the right balance of Ingredients in the market. These cards are well-marked and easy to find, so you can still get started quickly.



Game Play and Mechanics:

Potions Please is all about collecting sets of ingredients and using those ingredients to make potions. You want to be the first witch to brew one potion of each of the four colors in order to become Head Witch!

The rules for Potions Please are well laid out in the short, 8-page rulebook, and include the Quick Rules on the back cover to help you remember them.

On your turn, you will do the following four actions (if you can) in this order:

  1. Ask - Ask any other player for a specific ingredient; if they have it, they give it to you. If they don't have the ingredient you asked for, you can draw a face-down card from the draw pile.
  2. Take - Use 5 credits to shop at the market, buying one or two ingredients whose total cost adds up to 5 or less.
  3. Drink - If you have a potion with a special ability and you want to use it, now is your chance to do so! Activate the special ability and then flip the card over to its empty side.
  4. Make - If you have the ingredients to make one of the three face-up potions in the middle of the table, you can do so by discarding the ingredients and taking the potion.

Having the actions very clearly laid out like this made it easy to teach Potions Please to new players, even younger than the recommended age of 12. Ask, Take, Drink, Make became our mantra!


My teen described this game as "Go Fish meets Splendor" and I can see what he meant! The first action, Ask, is just like the classic card game of Go Fish, and helps ease new players into the game. The second action, Take, is like taking the gems in Splendor, as you need to look at the costs of the available Potions to figure out which Ingredients you want to gather.

In the Drink step, you can use a Potion's special ability to do things like search the discard pile for a card you need, take two free cards from the market, take two cards from another player's hand, and so on. These actions add a little extra dose of strategy and planning, since once you've sipped that potion, the bottle is empty and you can't use it again!

Finally, at the end of your turn, you are using Ingredients from your hand to make Potions. You'll want to mostly pay attention to the color of the Potion, as you're trying to get a set of all four colors (blue, green, pink, and purple), but sometimes you'll make a Potion so that you can use its special ability later in the game.

Witches continue to take turns with their Ask, Take, Drink, Make turns until one witch is able to make one potion of each color... and they become the Head Witch and win the game!



The Good:

Potions Please is a very smooth card game for experienced gamers and new players alike. The Ask, Take, Drink, Make turn sequence keeps everyone on track, and elements of the game reminded us of mechanics we enjoyed from older games but mixed together in new and magical ways!

The artwork sets Potions Please apart. I appreciate the lovely illustrations of the ingredients and the way they're placed in a circle of light to really pop off the background. The cards are easy to read and pretty to look at. The pastel color palette, which I wasn't sure about when I first popped the box open, really grew on me over time. We don't own many cards with pastel colors, and that made Potions Please a refreshing new take on the witchy theme.

I appreciated the efforts to make the game colorblind-friendly as well as the inclusion of multiple skin tones and hair color represented by the four witches!



The Bad:

The players at my table enjoyed having different witches with different looks and special abilities but wished each one had a little backstory included in the box. We love a little extra story with our game!

Also, each of these witches is showing some cleavage, and while I personally don't mind, the homeschooling mom in me wants to give each of them a little tug upwards on their dress or nestle a shawl around their shoulders! Just a tug would be enough to cover that extra inch of skin that's more appropriate for teens and adults than for the younger crowd that I include in my game sessions, and would allow those witches to be seen for who they are and what they can do!



Players Who Like:

As my teen pointed out, Potions Please is great for newer or younger gamers who enjoy Go Fish or Splendor, or any other set collection card games. It's a great addition to our spooky seasonal Halloween shelf of games, too!

Final Thoughts:

Potions Please is a very well crafted card game that has a smooth gameplay and lovely illustrations. It works well as a filler for hobby gamers or as an introduction for newer or younger friends. My family truly enjoyed this elegant new card game and we will definitely keep it in our rotation, especially at this witchy time of year!





Check out Potions Please on:

               

Funding on The Game Crafter now. Campaign Ends November 27, 2019.

About the Author:


My name is Alexa: I'm a life-long game player and homeschooling mom to two awesome kids. I've loved board games since my early days playing Scrabble and Gin Rummy with my grandmother, and life only got more interesting when I married a Battletech enthusiast and fellow game lover. We've played games with our kids since they were small, and I helped start a thriving homeschool co-op where we have weekly sessions of board games with kids.  In a family with kids raised on Catan and Pandemic, life is sure to be fun! You may run into me on Twitter, BoardGameGeek, and other social media as MamaGames. Be sure to say hi!
Potions Please Review Potions Please Review Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on October 17, 2019 Rating: 5

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