Hereafter referred to as HPHB, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a cooperative deck building game in which up to four players take the roles of Hogwarts students, Harry, Ron, Hermione or Neville to fight villains and protect locations. This game turned up in our household at Christmas and it has proved remarkably popular.
The game is divided into seven games — one for each book — although all of these are essentially the same. Each player starts with a deck of ten cards, from which they draw five. These cards are then played to gain influence, health or attacks (or zaps, as we have taken to calling them). You use influence to acquire more cards and zaps to zap the villains. There are also dark arts cards that harm the players and villains have negative effects while in play and yield a reward once defeated.
A couple of features are introduced in later games, but the core remains the same, which makes it a very easy game to pick up. In fact, the first couple of games are pretty to win — grab cards, blast villains, win. By the time you get to games three and four, though, you do need to be thinking about the construction of your deck and how well it fits with the abilities of your character.
Obviously, the initial appeal of this game is the Harry Potter theming, but it has turned out to be a really well designed game. HPHB leads you gently through the game’s concepts with each episode adding an additional layer of complexity and depth.
It’s a superb cooperative game, especially if you have a few Harry Potter fans in your family, and, while each game can take up to a couple of hours, it moves quickly enough that no-one has time to get bored.
While writing this post, I discovered that there are a couple of expansions available. Once we (finally) beat Game 7 (two attempts so far — this could take a while) I can certainly see us separating out all of the cards and starting again.
This could get expensive.