[Early Access Review] Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle: A Cooperative Deck-Building Game

Players: 1 – 4

Ages: 11+

Type: Deck-Building

 

Quite a few weeks have gone by since Gen Con ended and I’m still feeling the post-Con blues.

However, whilst at the Con, I stumbled across a pre-release frenzy and it was totally in my wheelhouse. The USAopoly booth was giving out 50 copies of Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle: A Cooperative Deck-Building Game every day of the Con at 10 AM on the dot. Holy shit. I had to get a copy. Just so you know, this game will not come out for at least a couple more months (it says Coming Soon in September 2016, but in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s almost the end of September), so if you don’t wish to get mildly spoiled, stay away from this review.

I’ll tell you what, fam. This game is legit and you need it in your life. Even if you are not a Harry Potter fan, this game is so beautiful and detailed, you won’t even care that you don’t know what the spell Reparo is. (Being a Hermione, I will tell you that Reparo is what you would use if you wish to repair something damaged or broken. Also, it is not pronounced [Re-pair-o]; it’s [Re-PAR-o]). Silly muggle.

Just FYI: To avoid as much spoilers as humanly possible, I will try to only share my thoughts on the first game in the series of games.

CONCEPT

This game is split up into 7 separate games. Each game brings about various new cards such as villains, locations, upgraded characters (depending on the game), and assorted other cards. I really enjoy this concept. It keeps the game fresh and easy to revisit. I will say that having 7 games to go through means that you will absolutely have to set aside some time. You won’t be leaving your table for quite some time.

You can play as one of 4 characters: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, or Neville Longbottom. In the first game, it’s essential that you choose wisely. While you don’t have any special abilities, you do get cards that are specific to your character. For example, Harry always has the ally card, Hedwig. 

Image result for harry potter deck building game neville card

The picture below shows you what your side of the table would look like if you were Harry Potter. Each character has a set of Alohomora spell cards. This spell gives you the game’s currency, which is called Influence. Influence allows you to buy more spells, allies, and items.

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ART

This game is a lot more detailed and aesthetically pleasing than I thought it was going to be. It really immerses you into the Harry Potter world. I did not care that I spent almost 4 hours on a game (I also didn’t finish it my first play through since it was getting super late). Below, is a picture of what the board for the game looks like. The only thing that I’m not a huge fan of is the fact that they give you cards to lay down as kind of “placemats” for each integral section. If you look really closely, the board already has outlines for where each thing goes. It feels unnecessary. 

Image result for harry potter deck building game neville card

MECHANICS

This game kind of feels like the game, Legendary, but with a twist. If you are unfamiliar with Legendary, hop on over and read Brandon’s review of the Marvel Deck-Building version! Probably the most difficult thing is the fact that with each new game, you have to sort all of those cards you saved up all of your Influence for just to put them back into the pile (I made a point to place Sirius in my hand at least once since he’s my favy). It does give the other players chances to snag some of the cooler cards in the deck though! 

 

Overall, I really enjoyed this game a ton. If you are a Harry Potter fanatic like myself, get the game. If you’re aren’t so much of a Potter fan but like beautifully designed games? Find a Potterhead and play it. It’s worth it.

Like I said previously, this game is not out yet, but you will be able to purchase it here on USAopoly’s site once it becomes available!


All images courtesy of USAopoly

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