Your Friend's Gaming Shelf | Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
I Recently moved into a new place with my girlfriend and I was able to host my first game night! I asked my cousin, Christopher, and his girlfriend, Erin, to spend the night and bring a bunch of games from their collection to play the night through. My cousin said that “Complex games are right up my alley,” so I was excited to see what they would bring. Full disclosure, we played till 4 in the morning so my perception of the game at the time may be slightly distorted considering this was the last game we played. That, and due to the fact there may or may not have been a bit of alcohol involved, I totally forgot to take pictures, so we’ll be relying on royalty free images today!
Of the several games that we played, one, in particular, caught my eye due to my personal love for the Harry Potter series. Decorated with Harry Potter illustrations, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle would make any fan intrigued. Being a Hufflepuff myself (the best of the four houses btw), I was excited to geek out a little and indulge in one of my favorite childhood memories. I ignored the deck building concept described on the box (if you keep reading posts from me, you’ll find that card based games are not my favorite) and focused on the cooperative concept instead.
(Fun story: I once started a real-life Quidditch team. Yes, it is a real sport. I played Keeper, and it was bloody brilliant. My team name was called Team-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named which, I know, you don’t have to tell me, is quite possibly the best team name there could be. I think it was even great enough to hide the fact that we never won one single game. But anyway, I digress and recommend you check it out! Now let’s get back to the game.) As I was explaining, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a deck building cooperative game where 1-4 players team up to fight snake loving followers of Volde…I mean You-Know-Who and eventually He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named himself. The game is set up that you must face three villains at a time that each has an ability to make your journey of beating all the villains challenging. Defeat all of them eventually and you can face off against You-Know-Who and win if successful.
You can play as Harry, Ron, Hermione, or Neville. You start each turn with engaging in some sort of event that usually involves hurting the heroes or adding “skulls.” Accrue enough skulls and you will activate more events at the start of each turn, making it more difficult to win the game. Accrue the max amount of skulls and Avada Kedavra to you all because you just lost. After the events resolve, each villain that is on the board goes which can damage you right away or has other abilities that prevent you from drawing other cards or only affects you in certain situation such as if you have an “ally” card. Next, it is a player’s turn. Each player has their deck filled with spells, items, and allies. Said cards help give you money to buy additional cards (where the deck building aspect of the game comes in), heal you and your friends, or gives you damage tokens to defeat the villains. Each character has their own special ability such as Neville having the ability to give out additional health or Hermione sharing that cash money. Buy more powerful cards to do some sweet combos and stack up on those damage tokens to save all the mudbloods and muggles.
The game is pretty easy to learn and there isn’t much of a learning curve, so pretty much anyone can pick it up and go. The game’s strongest aspect is the definite exposure to several Harry Potter characters and items. Being a fan, you will feel delighted to see all the characters, good and bad, being a part of the game. You even get to have Crookshanks, Hermione’s adorable and fluffy cat, as a card for your deck! Additionally, there are several items you will be happy to see such as chocolate frogs and ones that will make you feel totally boss, like when you obtain the Elder Wand. Lastly, the spells have an added bonus of fun due to the art of the cards. Each spell’s art illustrates a wand’s movement needed in the series to perform the spell which I thought was a nice touch.
With that being said though if you are not a fan of Harry Potter, there isn’t too much for you here. Although I definitely wanted to beat the game and would try again if I didn’t win (we’re too good at magic though and won of course), there wasn’t too much for me to want to come back. The game really has little to no strategy or decision making. You pretty much just play out the cards you are given and almost just follow the story of how the cards are dealt. Yes, there are moments when you have to make a strategic decision, and yes, I will even give it credit that when I pulled off a strategic, super awesome combo it made me feel like Dumbledore himself, but besides this, it was kind of just like going along for the ride.
The game does have a unique feature that actually gives you 7 games in one, each representing one of the 7 books. The higher numbered games have more to them; new abilities, different characters, and items added which I thought was a cool feature. We ended up playing game 6. My cousin added that “Game 7 is challenging, and it has Horcruxes in it that need to be destroyed first before getting to the end of the game,” which sounded cool. I could see myself returning just to play game 7 to get some closure and sense that I defeated Voldemort once and for all. Ultimately, I wouldn't try to replay this game, however, it was still a joy to play for this one time. All in all, it is Harry Potter, so that just makes it automatically fun. Even though it was not the most complex game I may have been hoping for, “Harry Potter is life,” is a great quote by Christopher that sums this game up pretty well.
So what do you think? Have you ever played? Is the fact that it is Harry Potter enough for you to want to play or even buy, or do you need more to your games? Let us know in the comments and thanks for reading!!