By Michael Chamberlain
Hubbly Bubbly Brew, printed in 2013 by Quantuum Games and designed by Patrick Ruedisueli is a game for two to four witches and wizards (its own words) in which players are collecting ingredients
to brew their own potions. This game has a play time of up to thirty minutes and is designed for players aged six and up.
Hubbly Bubbly Brew is a game that is very light on components, it being a card game, however the cards are of above average quality with bright, colourful and often amusing art work. The cards are
the ingredient type cards (which occur across the four set colours) and the spell cards.
The ingredient cards have very clear icons at the bottom to tell you which type it is; plant, component, material or liquid, and aside from their name and points value at the top of the card the rest of the card is just beautiful art work. The spell cards do have more text on them which describes their effects but these are not long or wordy so are a minimal barrier to play. The text is printed in a way to minimise the amount it intrudes on the art work which means they are just as attractive as the ingredient cards. The rules for the game are a folded A4 sheet, this would normally make me want to scream but it is so well laid out and the flavour for the game is so well attended to in it that I can’t fault it, it’s just right for this game.
Set up for Hubbly Bubbly Brew is very simple with the main deck of cards (88 cards in total) being shuffled and each player being dealt a hand of five cards, with the remaining cards placed in reach of all players as a draw deck with space for a discard pile next to it.
On a player’s turn they are aiming to create potions, a completed potion consists of one card of each of the four ingredient types (plant, component, material and liquid). Each turn a player may play up to two ingredient cards from their hands to the potions in front of them, a player may never have more than two uncompleted potions in front of them at a time, as soon as a potion has all four component types it is considered complete. Also on a players turn they may play one spell. These do a variety of things from taking an ingredient card from play (yours or other players) into your hand, to taking an extra turn. In each turn a player also get to draw two cards, discarding cards if they are ever holding more than seven cards. Playing ingredients, casting a spell and drawing cards can be done in any order. When a set number of potions, between three and five, have been completed the game is over and potions are scored and this is where the ingredient colours matter. Any completed potion is worth a bonus two points in addition to the total value of its ingredients, each one being worth between one and four points, if a potion has only ingredients of one colour it is a Power Potion and is an additional four points. Also players score all of their incomplete potions and between these two they get their final score, highest score wins.
Hubbly Bubbly Brew is a very light family card game which, but for a few really nice twists I would say is too light for gaming families. However the fact that you can resolve your card draws, ingredient play and your spells in any order adds some nice tactical depth to this game. The card art is really good fun and my daughter loves this one and with ingredient names like Elven Pigtail and Goblin Pimple that was never really in doubt. It has also been played by her friends and their families and they have had fun with it to. So if card games are something you enjoy as a family and you’re up for whimsical potion making this is a really nice light fit for that. Glad to have had the chance to play this one and my daughter loves it.
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