Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

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.

Quote of the day: Stupidity as strategy

The person at the top of this government doesn’t think through the consequences of his actions, is cavalier about detail and bored by complexity, prefers the quick hit of a snappy populist slogan to the steady slog of competent administration. All this was known about him long before the Tory party made him its leader. His flaws as a prime minister are a revelation only to those who wilfully ignored his biography and his record.

Andrew Rawnsley on why Boris Johnson is constantly surprised when his government fails

Quote of the day: A country that cheats at cards

But either way, setting ourselves up as the country you really can’t trust seems an eccentric way to launch a new era of global dealmaking. I know some on the UK government’s side have long sought to characterise these negotiations as the righteous Jedi (them) versus the nefarious Trade Federation (the EU). But this has long indicated that the Star Wars franchise is just one more thing they don’t understand.

Marina Hyde on the UK Government’s utterly bizarre plan to break international law because they didn’t understand the Withdrawal agreement that they negotiated.

Quote of the day: Anticlimactic

Revolutions unleash euphoria because they create tangible images of change and inaugurate, at least in the fevered minds of their supporters, a new epoch. Brexit can’t do either of these things. The problem with a revolt against imaginary oppression is that you end up with imaginary freedom. How do you actually show that the yoke of Brussels has been lifted? You can’t bring prawn cocktail-flavoured crisps back into the shops, or release stout British fishermen from the humiliation of having to wear hair nets at work on the high seas, or unban donkey rides on beaches, or right any of the other great wrongs that fuelled anti-EU sentiment – because all of it was make-believe.

Fintan O’Toole

In 2019 I was mostly listening to…

Mustard Plug. Or so says Last.fm, which has counted up all the tracks I scrobbled over the course of the past year in order to tell me what I like.

It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that I have been mainly listening to Ska, Rock and Ska Punk and that the band I have listened to more than any other was the aforementioned Mustard Plug.

The album I have listened to most was Life Sucks… Let’s Dance! from Reel Big Fish but the track I have spent most time listening to was Box from the incomparably awesome album, Evildoers Beware.

And here it is