At a Glance: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is absolutely essential for all Harry Potter fans who like board games.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a cooperative game for 2-4 wizarding students, where the ultimate goal is to defeat You-Know-Who. The game is divided into 7 chapters as it were, though the basic gameplay structure remains the same. The idea here is that after you defeat Game 1, then you open the box for Game 2 and add those elements to the base game, and so on. Each character (Harry, Hermione, Ron, or Neville) starts each game with 10 pre-determined cards and players will be strengthening their decks as they play by using Influence to purchase bigger and better cards. Each turn, you draw a hand of 5 cards, use them, and discard them. Once your draw pile is empty, shuffle all your cards in the discard pile. Any cards you buy get added to the discard pile, so in this way, your deck is constantly cycling through, increasing in size and effectiveness. In each game you must square off against a certain number of villains, and deal with the effects of Dark Arts cards that are randomly resolved each turn, until Lord Voldemort is revealed. Meanwhile, the villains are trying to control a set of locations for each game. Everyone loses if the villains control ALL the locations. The players win if they defeat Lord Voldemort in the final battle.
This game is so fun and thematic. This is coming from someone who has not read any Harry Potter books. I do not even consider myself a big fan, and I think the films are fine, but this game is so good it has made me appreciate my wife’s love for it so much more. With every new Game box you open, the more difficult it gets, and by the time Game 7 comes along, it’s really epic and the strategy is deeper. And there is something to be said about the cooperative aspect because I think that just makes it feel even more epic. There are so many available items, spells and ally characters that give you Attacks to assign to villains or Influence to buy more cards, provide health, or allow you to draw extra cards.
The more you get into the theme, the more fun and geeky it is. We even use these nice wooden chopsticks to act as wands so we can trace out the shape of the spells as we say them. The whole presentation is nice, and the components are good quality, especially the metal villain control tokens. They have now released the Monster Box of Monsters expansion, which adds extra games and cool new elements, and I would say it’s a must-have if you enjoy the base game. If you’re a Harry Potter fan at all, you need to try this one out.
Check it out: https://amzn.to/2RNDeL5