Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a deck building game for 2-4 players for ages 11 and up. The first level takes roughly 30 minutes and each level takes longer from there.
The theme just works. It definitely keeps Harry Potter fans happy, but also you dont have to know the books or movies to play. The game itself looks good and every piece is well designed. It is always one of my top choices for game night.
The game has 7 levels, it starts out simple and gets more complicated each level. It also spans the years that Harry was at Hogwarts so characters also grow and gain abilities in certain levels. If you are introducing this game to new people, especially non gamers who might be intimidated by new games, you can start off slowly and build up from there.
This game is cooperative, you either win together or lose together, so it is easy to explain and to have people learn as they go. That is a huge plus, half the battle with explaining any game is getting players to understand the rules correctly. This is an easy introduction to the logic of deck building games.
To set up the game:
- Place the dark arts cards on their spot on the board face down
- Place the location cards in order face up
- Place the villain cards face down. For level one, turn over the first villain in the first empty spot
- Place the Hogwarts Cards in a pile face down. Deal the first 6 of these cards face up into the open spots
- Set the heart on your game board to 10. This represents your health.
- All players pick a character. You will have a character card, and 10 cards to start your turn, turn the first five over, those 5 will be your hand.
Object of the game:
Object of the game is to save Hogwarts. If you fill a location up with skulls you lose the location. If you lose all the location cards, unfortunately your team loses the game. If you defeat all the villains and still have at least one location in play you win the game.
Time to Play:
We are going to start with level one to get a base idea of the game. Each level will add new rules to make the game a bit harder.
For each persons turn, first turn over a dark arts card, follow what the card says, this is an attack on you.
Next check the villain card, this is also an attack on you.
Now it’s your chance to fight back. Every turn you’ll play your hand. You will have three types of cards, spells, allies and items. That will help you in various ways. They can help you gain health for you or other players, coins to buy more cards or give you lightening bolts to attack villians. You play all 5 of your cards and deal 5 new ones at the end of your turn.
If at any point in the game you lose all your health and are stunned, you need to add a skull to the location and you lose two cards from your hand for the next turn. Remember if you fill all the skull spaces on the location you’ve lost the game, so it’s pretty important to pay attention to your health throughout the game.
If you attack the villian with the correct number of lightning bolts he is defeated and you move onto the next one, if all the villians are defeated you’ve won and you can move onto the next level. In each level you restart with the original character cards. That’s kind of annoying if you have a good deck but the new level will add new cards to make things more interesting so I guess it evens out.
The best part of this game for me is level one is easy. It’s purpose is to get you comfortable with how the game plays. It covers all the basics. From there each level afterwards comes with an additional set of rules that add new elements to the game. By level six and seven, you are playing a fairly complicated game with lots of moving pieces but getting there wasn’t overwhelming. Which makes the whole process a fun experience. If this wasn’t clear enough, before giving up I recommend the Rules Girl How to play in 4 minutes video. Rules girl is my favourite channel for quick instructions that are easy to follow.