Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a cooperative deck-building game where you and a maximum of three other friends work together to defeated the villains and maintain the locations. The game is a bit pricey for a board game, but the box comes with seven games or books. As you progress, the books grow progressively harder. To balance out the growing difficulty, your character grows and gains new abilities. This article is going to review the game based on difficulty, set up, playable characters, time to play, and the expansion.
The actual gameplay in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is quite daunting, with each person’s turn taking multiple steps to complete. For casual gamers, this can be confusing and take getting used to. The game handles this perfectly by having a card for each player. The card lists the steps in order for each player. Once you have played a couple books, the card is no longer necessary. It is important to follow the steps and carefully read the cards. Each turn consists of revealing a dark mark and paying attention to the villain attacks (as the game progresses, you begin fighting multiple villains at once).
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a deck building game, so you use the cards in your hand to buy new cards, then put them in your discard. Your draw five more cards, continuing to discard after buying until you are out of cards. Then, you shuffle your discard deck and start drawing five again. This is difficult to grasp for those who have never played deck building games. Overall, this game looks confusing, but is fairly easy to pick up on.
The set up for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is pretty extensive. Each book consists of locations (these are the only cards that do not get added to the new books), villains, dark marks, Hogwarts cards, character cards, and their starter decks. The board marks where everything is supposed to go, making it easy to figure out. The hard part is making sure that you pay attention and add the new books as the defeat the previous books. If you have a hard time figuring it out, the instructions have pictures.
The playable characters in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle include: Ron, Harry, Hermoine, and Neville. Each character starts out as a first year with no special abilities. As you make your way through books, your character will gain special abilities that will help you focus on what cards you should buy. For example, Neville is great at giving life, so you would focus on buying life gaining cards if you were playing as him.
The time devoted to playing Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle really depends on how much you like the game and how the villains play out. If you get sucked in, you can find yourself playing for hours. On average, each book seems to take anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour. If the villains are difficult right from the start, you might end up replaying the book multiple times before you win. You loose the game when you loose all of the locations, so protecting the location will help you win. This game is also very re-playable. If you are tired of the same villains, you can even alter it and make your own unique quest.
The expansion to Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle adds Luna as a playable character and adds more villains and creatures that you have to defeat. This also adds four more games, giving you a total of eleven games to defeat and hours of playtime. These also add cards called events. It is crazy hard, but also super fun. I would not recommend the expansion until you are comfortable with the original, as it is more difficult to set up and introduces new steps.
All in all, if you are a gamer who loves Harry Potter, I would recommend Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle. It is very fun and relatively easy once you get the hang of the order and set up. Each game of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is completely unique no matter how many times you have played it before and will provide hours of fun for your friends and family.