Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 2-4
Amount of time to play: 30-60 min
Age requirements: 11+
Set-up time: 5 min
Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is a cooperative deck-building game. You play as Harry or one of his friends to defeat Lord Voldemort.
When you start Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle you choose who you’ll play as. You can be Harry, Hermione, Ron or Neville. And each character has a unique starting deck. You also start with ten health and draw five cards.
In order to win you need to defeat all the villains before they fill the locations with Dark Arts tokens. Each turn you draw and resolve a number of Dark Arts cards based on the location. These events make you lose health, discard cards, heal the villains or add tokens to the location.
Next you resolve any villain abilities. There can be one to four villains in play. Their abilities keep you from healing, force you to draw extra Dark Arts event cards, deal damage to you or some other bad thing. Then you get to respond.
You play cards from your hand gaining lightning bolts or money. Lightning bolts are used to damage villains. Once the damage meets their total health they are defeated. This gets the heroes a reward. For example they can remove tokens from the location, gain health or draw a card. Money is spent to add cards to your deck. You may gain these resources on other players’ turns but must spend or discard them at the end of yours.
If you lose all your health, you are stunned. This forces you to discard half your hand (rounded down) and add a token to the location. While stunned you cannot heal and at the end of the current player’s turn you return to ten health.
The game also progresses. Every time you play you open another box. The box adds new villains, more cards to buy and other new mechanics and rules. Your characters grow older throughout the game, gain special abilities and grow in power.
Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is a fun cooperative deck-building game. It is an excellent way to introduce new gamers to typical deck-building mechanics. And if you are a Harry Potter fan you will enjoy the theme and game play.
The components for this game look nice. The cards look good and are easy to read and understand. The board has a place for everything and the box insert is fantastic. The cards suffered chipping from use so you might want to sleeve them. The Dark Arts tokens are metal and look great. The rules are easy to read and follow too.
Above I mentioned the theme. I must admit I am not a Harry Potter fan and have not read the books. But from what I understand new things that are added in later games stick fairly close to the timeline of the books. That is cool and I am sure fans of Harry Potter will appreciate it. I also like how each of the heroes have a unique play style based on their starting deck and special ability.
It is really fun opening new boxes. I don’t want to spoil anything but when you finish a game you will be excited to open the next game box. My son and I played every game (sometimes joined by others) and once we won a game opened the next box and moved on.
Hogwarts Battle makes a really good gateway to deck-builders and cooperative games. The first three games are very simple and help you learn the basics and flow of the game play. Even if you have not played this type of game before you should understand the concepts and what to expect after a five minute explanation and a couple rounds of play.
This game is not perfect though and there are a couple things you should know about. First it can be pretty random. This is especially true of the cards you can purchase. You can really get bogged down if there are only expensive cards to buy. I wish there was a way to sweep the market. Also be aware that the game is pretty easy. There are suggestions for increasing the difficulty but straight out of the box it is not too challenging. That said most of my games were with two players. And this game is easier with less players. None of these things are too bad but you should know about them going in.
If you, your game group or your kids are Harry Potter fans, you will really enjoy this Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle. It is a fun easy to teach and play deck-building game that has theme. It can be random, but most gamers will enjoy it too.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 3 out of 6
Luck 5 out of 6
Player Interaction 5 out of 6
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 3 out of 6
Fun 4 out of 6
Overall 4 out of 6 (this is a 5 if you are a Harry Potter fan)