Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle Board Game Review

harry-potter-hogwarts-battle-board-game-review

Year: 2016 | Players: 2-4 | Minutes: 30+

This Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle review was made after playing the game eight times.


What is Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle?

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a cooperative deck building tabletop game in which you and your teammates are trying to take down all of the popular villains from the series. You’ll play through each of the seven books from the series, adding in more mechanics and facing tougher enemies as you progress.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle was designed by Forrest-Pruzan CreativeKami Mandell, and Andrew Wolf, and it is published by USAopoly.


Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle Gameplay

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle review - board and cards

To begin a game of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, each player gets to pick one of the main characters. You can be Harry, Hermione, Ron, or Neville. Each character has his or her own unique abilities as the game progresses, so you will have a slightly different role to play depending on who you choose.

Gameplay is pretty simple, especially when you are playing the first couple of books. You will have a specific number of villains in the villain deck depending on the book that you’re playing; the villains will usually affect you in some way during your turns.

At the beginning of your turn, you will have to turn over a Dark Arts card, which always helps the villains in some way. In fact, sometimes these cards will combo with a villain’s special abilities and knock your health down or affect you in some other way.

You will also have location cards that you will want to keep the villains from influencing. Each location has a set number of spots where the villains place influence tokens.

You will have a hand of five cards at the beginning of each of your turns. Some of those cards will allow you to buy upgrades for your deck. Other cards allow you to perform different actions, including helping other players and doing damage to the villains. Your hand will reset at the end of your turn, so there’s no reason to hold on to any cards.

You can’t “die” in this game, but you can get stunned. If your health goes to zero, you lose half of your hand and the villains gain more influence over the current location.

If you’re able to defeat all of the villains, then Wahoo!, the heroes win. If the villains are able to gain influence over all of the locations, everyone loses.

As you move from book to book, the game will get tougher and more characters and mechanics will be introduced. It never gets too complex and even younger gamers should be able to follow along if they’ve played the game in order. If you’ve played other deck building games, you can actually start the game further into the story.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle review - player area



Pros

  • This is possibly the easiest deck building game to teach, which is awesome because plenty of younger people are going to want to play it. It was a great idea to slowly incorporate more mechanics as you move through the books to make it simple for people to pick up how to play.
  • I’m really happy that there are plenty of cards that allow players to give resources to their teammates. It feels great when you’re able to give a someone an extra gold or two so they can buy the card that they want, or when you’re able to give them some health so they don’t get stunned.
  • Harry Potter fans should love that every major character can be found in this game. On top of that, you can also cast all of the most popular spells found in the books and movies, which adds to the theme and leads to some very funny and exciting moments.
  • There are some cool surprises that pop up as you play through the books. And that’s all I’m going to say about that because I don’t want to spoil anything.
  • There’s no dying in this game, so you don’t have to worry about player elimination. I think that’s great because the game can run a bit long and you can get stunned pretty early on.
  • The board is awesome. It has clearly labeled spots for all of the cards and they went the extra mile with the extra art found on the back of the board.

Cons

  • My biggest issue with the game is that it can run pretty long once you’ve reached the fourth book. You add cards to the decks every time you move forward, so the further along you get, the longer the game is.
  • You can get very unlucky with the villains you draw early on in games, especially once you’ve reached the fourth book. You always start with basic cards, making it very difficult to deal with the more powerful villains early in the game. You could also run into the opposite problem where you only have easy villains early on, making you powerful enough to easily deal with the toughest villains later on.
  • Since this is a slightly simplified deck building game, adults who are used to playing games like Marvel Legendary or Shadowrun: Crossfire might not like this one as much as others unless they are huge Harry Potter fans. I can’t hold that against the designers, though, since it was made to be a family game.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you simply have to get Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle. In my group’s collective opinion, this is easily the best Harry Potter game out there today because it has all of the characters and people of all ages seem to enjoy it. It is a bit longer than it should be once you’ve gone through the first three books, but I don’t think that will bother Harry Potter fans too much.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle didn’t quite make it onto our list of best cooperative deck building tabletop games, but multiple people in my group do have it in their top five. It’s a little too light for me, but I would never turn it down if someone else wanted to play it.


Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle Links

BoardGameGeek | Amazon | CoolStuffInc | eBay


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