The object is to visit all of the shops on the board and purchase one of each item for your wizard's trunk. The first player to fill their trunk and return to the Leaky Cauldron wins.
You have to pass by Gringott's Wizard Bank several times to get enough money (plastic galleons, sickles and knuts) to purchase everything. Hogwart's school supply list includes potion bottles, cauldrons, robes, wands, books and owls. The shops don't have enough for everyone, so you must hurry. Spell and havoc cards let you take items, move using floo powder, close shops and more. There is also always the danger that you'll be sent to Knockturn Alley by rolling double cauldrons.
The game includes simplified rules for younger players. These include stocking shops with enough items for everyone, changing the "take a card" spaces to "roll again" spaces, and no being sent to Knockturn Alley.