For Christmas this year, one of the gifts I bought for Jen was this card game. I've only played one or two other deck building games, The Lord of the Rings card game by Fantasy Flight Games and Sentinels of the Multiverse by Greater Than Games so I don't have a huge amount of experience with this type, but just enough to be dangerous. Lol.
Jen's a big HP fan, I've seen all the movies and enjoyed them well enough to read the first book, but that's about as far as it goes. New Year's Eve, we decided to give this a go and overall, I'd say it's a fun game to play with just two players, though I can see how it would get more difficult as you progress. I imagine it would be more fun with the full four players though I think the early parts of the game may be too easy with four.
Long story short, it's a fairly simple and easy to setup/play game for anyone who enjoys the HP universe. To detail the gist of the game, the players select one of four characters, Harry, Hermione, Ron, or Neville. Each character comes with 10 starting cards specific to their character which allow the player to take certain actions during their turn. The board is set up with a Location deck, an Enemy deck, Dark Art event cards, and the Hogwarts draw area. To win the game, the players try defeat all of the enemies from the Enemy card pile, sometimes one at a time, sometimes against multiple at once. If the players can defeat all of the enemies before all of the Location cards can be captured, then they win the game. During the game, certain actions by Enemies or certain cards drawn from the Dark Arts events will add a capture token to the Location card. If, at the end of a turn, all of the capture points on a Location are filled, then the current card is removed and the next Location card is revealed. Certain Location cards will add rules or steps to how the game is played. If all locations are captured, the players lose.
During a turn, a Dark Arts event is revealed from the stack and you follow through with whatever actions is stated on the card or Enemy cards. Once that is done, players spend cards to generate attack tokens and resource tokens. The attacks can be placed on Enemies for defeat, resource tokens can be used to purchase cards from the Hogwart's Draw area. Cards drawn are then put into that player's discard pile and eventually shuffled back into the draw deck at later turns. These cards can then be used to help the player make more strategic choices for gaining resource, attacking enemies, removing location tokens, or healing. Players continue taking turns until they either win by defeating all Enemies, or lose if all Locations end up captured. Player characters can not "die" perse' but they do take damage and when they take max, become "stunned" and have to lose cards and add capture tokens to locations before starting over the next new turn.
The game as a whole has seven stages. The first stage is the base game and best for learning how to play. Each progressive stage adds more Rules, Enemies, Locations, Dark Arts, and Hogwart's cards. We managed to play through the first two stages and had a good time doing so. I will be curious to see how the later five play out and how much more difficult it gets.
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“A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints” ~ Wilfred Peterson, American Author