Players start by picking two potions that they want to make. Players choose their first potion going clockwise around the table, and their second potion going anticlockwise.
On your turn, take any marble ("ingredient") from the dispenser. If two marbles (or groups of marbles) of the same colour collide when falling to close the gap in a column left by taking a marble, they explode and are also taken by the player. This will repeat as "exploded" marbles are removed and subsequent groupings collapse.
Taken marbles are placed in the user's "hand" (the rectangle above the flasks in the player's board). One at a time, you can move these marbles to the matching color on the potions in your board and/or to the "Pool" holding flask (which can hold at most three but can hold any color). Any marbles left in your hand at the end of your turn are returned to the dispenser.
When all the holes of a potion are filled, that potion is completed and it moves to your potion area, becoming worth its VP at the end of the game.
At any time on your turn (before or after your regular marble pick), you may also:
- Drink a potion from your potion area, to activate their effect. (You can only drink each potion once, and it still scores VP even after being drunk.) Hover over to see the effect.
- Once per turn, ask the professor for a Little Help. This costs -2 VP, and lets you take any one marble from the dispenser, without triggering an explosion.
At the very end of the turn, you must draw new potions to replace any that you completed. (You cannot add marbles to these new potions until next turn.)
The game is setup with (#Players + 2) skill tokens from the start. When you make your third potion of a type, or when you have made five different types of potions, take a Skill token for 4VP. When the pile of Skill tokens has been depleted, that round is played out and the game ends. If someone scores a Skill Token even after they have been depleted in the last round they will still get the score for that Skill token.
In the case of a tie, all tied players (starting from the first player in turn order) each one at a time take one marble from the dispenser to try to trigger an explosion. The player who takes the most marbles this way is the winner.
- Potion of Wisdom: Take one Ingredient of your choice from the Dispenser. No Explosions are triggered. "Nothing’s out of reach if you think it through."
- Potion of Magnetical Attraction: Take 2 adjacent Ingredients of different colors from the same slide track of the Dispenser. No Explosions are triggered. "I don’t think this is what they mean when they say “magnetic personality”."
- Sands of Time: Activate again the effect of 1 Potion you already used. "We can always learn from our past mistakes... but we can gain even more from our past good moves!"
- Elixir of Blind Love: Steal all the Ingredients from 1 opponent’s Pool. "Why bother with theft, when all you need to do is unleash your dazzling charm?"
- Filter of Lavamancing: Discard up to 5 Ingredients of 1 color from the same slide track of the Dispenser back into the tank. No Explosions are triggered. "Not exactly a surgical strike type of thing, but undeniably powerful."
- Potion of Prismatic Joy: You can place all Ingredients (up to 3) in your flask's ingredient Pool on any holes of your incomplete Potions, regardless of their color. "Marbles? Colors? Who cares... let’s party!"
- Balm of Uttermost Stickiness: Take 2 or more adjacent Ingredients of the same color from the same slide track of the Dispenser. No Explosions are triggered. "This stuff is stickier than molasses! The thing is... how do you unstick this mess?"
- Abyssal Draft: Take up to 1 Ingredient of each color from the bottom row of the Dispenser slide tracks. You can only take 1 Ingredient from each slide track. "This is what is called 'scraping the bottom of the barrel'. A huge barrel."