Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Thursday 21 September 2017

Thoughts from The Yellow Meeple:- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

Game: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

Publisher: USAopoly

DesignerForrest-Pruzan Creative, Kami Mandell, Andrew Wolf

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is the first real hobby game I’m aware of with the Harry Potter Intellectual Property. It was released by USAopoly and is currently only available in North America. This exclusivity is part of what peaked my interesting, as well as the deck-building mechanics in the game. Luckily there is a UK company who must’ve imported a huge order and a number of lucky people in the UK got a copy, myself included. I have noticed that it is now appearing for wider preorder in the UK on a number of sites, including Zatu Games, where we are now part of the blogging team.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is a co-operative deck-building game for 1-4 players, where each of you plays one of the main characters from the books and one of you plays Neville. Together you take on villains before each location in the game is overrun by evil forces. One of the elements that I find exciting about the game is that each of the 7 years at Hogwarts has a box full of new components and rules that you open before you start a new year. I won’t give major spoilers, but if you read the rest of this review you’ll get some hints about what’s inside those boxes.

A game set-up for 4 players. You could play with any number from 1-4 players but 4 players is definitely the right way to play with one character each.
As with most deckbuilders, you start with a deck of 10 basic cards. There are two types of currency - one used to fight villains and the other to purchase more cards from the market. As with most cooperative games, on each turn you start by doing something 'bad' that advances evil and then try to use the cards in your hand to do something good for the team. The game is not very unique in this regard, at least at the start of the game. However, as you progress through the boxes the cards you can buy start to allow you to interact more with the other players on your turn, giving them extra currency to spend or helping to heal them etc. and the game really encourages team work in this way. If you beat all of the villains before all of the locations are filled with the evil tokens then you will win the game.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is definitely a slow start if you are gamers, familiar with deck-building. We have just finished Year 4 and it’s still a pretty simplistic deck-building game, even though the boxes we’ve been opening have added new cards, dice and other abilities. As the game progresses, we’re adding more and more villains to the villain deck which increases the game length each time, and at this point I’m now finding that the game is getting too long and repetitive. I think this is magnified because we’ve not come across many, if any, cards that allow you to thin your deck, so your turns don’t build and get more exciting throughout the game, they pretty much have the same amount of stuff going on throughout.

Neville as he will start the game with no special abilites and a full completemnt of 10 health. Each character is liekly to die and be revived a few times every game.
I have read all the Harry Potter books and watched some films, but I’m not a die-hard fan of the series. We’re playing the game with the same people every time and I’m probably the least invested in the theme and characters. I think the other players are getting more out of the theme and finding some joy in recognizable spells or allies becoming available. I think for Harry Potter fans, or for children, Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is a fantastic introduction to hobby games. The way that it slowly introduces mechanics is perfect for that audience and the opening of boxes is a really neat way to keep you working through the different games. For me personally, I am finding the game to be a bit of a drag, but I’m still hopeful that opening the next box could add something revolutionary. The Yellow Meeple gives Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle a 5/10.

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