David Jones
United States
Wilsonville
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
TL;DR: BGG scale 9.5/10. Game is bland first four years. Becomes more thematic from year five onward. Really shines in year seven. Will suit all ages and experience levels, but experienced players may want to start at year four. As a co-op game, its actually really good. Cheap and easy summary of gameplay: Ascension + Shadows Over Camelot - Traitor with a healthy dose of actual co-op mechanics.

Spoiler warnings: I’m going to say up front that its really difficult to talk about the pros and cons or likes and dislikes of this game without referring to some of the mechanics in the later boxes. I understand why some people are trying to keep themselves spoiler free, but a lot of the shine from this game happens in years six and seven. With both thoughts in mind, I have made my best effort to talk about any possible spoilers in the most obtuse way I possibly can. I don’t think I have actually spoiled anything, but there is some verbiage that might give you hints. I’m not going to tag it for you. Enter at your own risk.

Don't want to rehash the rules? If you have read the rulebook or seen one of the Gencon videos, you can skip down to the “Is the game thematic” section.

What is the game about?

As the theme and title of the game suggests, you will take on the role of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and/or Neville as they attempt to prevent Lord Voldemort from taking over everything. The title Hogwarts Battle might suggest that the game is about the final battle that takes place at the end of the seventh book. While it is fair to say that this is how the game ultimately culminates, the game itself is actually divided into seven sub-games that roughly correspond to each of the Harry Potter books. So if you just want to play though the events of Sirius’ rescue, you can play the game at the year three level.

What do you get with the game?

A lot of stuff. Really, a lot. But let’s break it down. You get:

A game board that will help organize the various parts going on in the game.
Character cards that represent one of each of the four heroes as well as a unique starting deck of ten cards for each hero.
A villain deck that represents the foes our heroes face each year.
A Dark Arts deck that represent various way the forces of evil will attack.
Tokens to represent the various currencies in the game: health, influence, and attack.
A location deck, representing the different places in the Potterverse where action will take place.
Control tokens that represent the villains exerting influence over those locations.
A Hogwarts deck, which is a collection of items (like broomsticks), allies (e.g Oliver Wood), and spells (Reparo!) that your heroes can acquire by spending influence.

These contents are divided into seven different boxes labeled Game 1 through Game 7 that roughly correspond to each of the seven books in the Harry Potter novel series. You will start with Game 1. The game has one large manual for Year 1, but each box also contains its own rulebook that explains how to combine its contents with the previous years and well as any new rules that are introduced. This allows you to read the main rule book without seeing spoilers for future years’ contents. I will say that there are few other interesting components and mechanics that I’ve not mentioned to avoid spoilers, but suffice to say there are some nice surprises waiting for you. Finally, the game comes with dividers that will help you keep your component separate once you start pulling everything out. While some hardcore gamers are sure to want to make their own insert, the insert and the dividers will do their job nicely and I can’t see any reason to complain.

How do players win? How do they lose?

The players win the game by defeating all of the cards in the villain deck. The players lose the game if they lose control of all of the locations in the location deck. How these are accomplished will be explained below, but stating this up front will allow some the of the mechanics below make more sense.

How does setup work?

In line with the contents above, you will put out the game board and place each component in its designated location. Each player will choose a hero and its accompanying starting deck. Place the tokens to near the board so they can be used. While it sounds like there are a lot of bits to the game, setup is very easy and the board does a good job of helping you with this. The setup rules will change for some years, so it is important to read the mini-manuals included in each box to make sure you keep up with the changes. Regardless of what year you are in, you will shuffle your ten starting cards and draw five to make your hand. You will also take a player board and set your player’s health to ten. Once you have done all this, you are ready to go!

What are the game mechanics? How does a game turn work?

The game basically takes the deck building mechanics from Ascension and combines them with “bad things happen” deck from Shadows over Camelot. If you’ve not played either of these games, don’t worry; I will explain. Each turn has four steps.

1 At the start of your turn you flip over a card from the Dark Arts deck and follow the instructions. The effects of the cards may vary, but very basically they will either add a control token to the current location, cause a hero or heroes to take damage, or cause hero/heroes to discard cards from their hand.

2 After you resolved step one, you will then look at the villain cards on the table and resolve their effects in the same fashion. Some may be immediate (lose a health) while others may have a trigger (discard a card for each ally in your hand). Once all this is resolved the player can start doing things with the cards in their hand.

3 Playing cards will either heal the character, give them attack tokens, or give them influence tokens. Healing will be important because if a player’s health drops to zero they are stunned. More on this is below. Attack tokens can be placed on villains. If the number of attack tokens on a villain equals their health, that villain is defeated. Defeated villains will get the heroes some kind of reward and are then removed from the board. Yay! You are one step closer to victory. Influence can be used to purchase one of the six Hogwarts cards shown on the board. Hogwarts cards generally give you better abilities than the ones that come in your starter deck, so the idea is to buy cards that will allow to hit the villains harder, remove control tokens from a location, or give you more influence so you can buy more expensive cards that are impossible to obtain with your starting deck. Card and tokens can be played and used in any order, so player has choices as to how to resolve everything they earn. Some cards will also allow you to grant other players attack or influence token which will sit on their player board until it is their turn.

4 Once you are done playing cards, you replace any villains you defeated with a new one from the villain deck. You will also remove the current location from the game if the villains have placed enough control markers on it. This is generally bad as most locations will either cause you to draw more Dark Arts cards each turn or perform some kind of attack against the heroes (i.e. Discard one ally). However, if the final location is taken over you lose the game. If you haven’t lost, you will discard any cards you played or did not use and draw your hand back up to five cards. As with any deck builder, if you need to draw or reveal a card when your deck is empty, you will shuffle your discard pile and form a new stack with the cards you have used or purchased since the last time you went through your deck.

One last rule: At some point during any of these steps, it is possible for you or another player’s health to be reduced to zero. If this happens, the stunned player must discard half of their hand. You will also add a control token to the location for each stunned player. If the active player is the person who is stunned, they may still finish their turn. All stunned players have their health reset to ten at the end of the active player’s turn.

Is the game thematic? Is there a Story?

This is probably the point in my review where things start to become opinionated. A lot of people are going to wonder if the game feels like a Harry Potter game to which I have a bit of a mixed reply. For the early years of the game, no. For the later years of the game, yes.

Part of the cleverness of the design of the game is that the developers know their target audience will include people who may not be into board games and/or new to deck building. With that in mind, the first year game is very basic. Very boringly basic. If you’ve played other deck builders before, you will not see anything in the Year One deck you have not see before a half dozen times over. Or year two. Or year three. And so in that sense, the game feels mechanically dry. In fact, the manual even suggests that experienced gamers start the game in year three. I would actually go one step further and say that if you've played Ascension or Legendary or the like, you can start in year four. The new mechanic in year four is not very surprising nor does it add any complexity to the game. Probably the most thematic element about the game up to this point is that the game actually does feel cooperative, but I will discuss that more in my final thoughts.

Theme-wise, year five is when the game really takes off. Staying spoiler free, there is one rule change that seems very small, yet it is very thematic to the books. When I read the change, I was genuinely surprised and it fits the HP story perfectly. I don’t want to oversell this point as, mechanically, its really not a major change and some people are likely to comment I’m making too big of a deal about it. But the point here is that this is the moment in the game where I feel like the theme started to take over the mechanics rather than the game being a set of mechanics that simply fitted into a theme. Year six, a new mechanic comes into play. Its major, its thematic, and its great! Year Seven is the icing on the cake. The game becomes hard and grueling. There are times when you don’t see how you are going to deal with the new challenge that arrives that year. It actually reminds of the grueling despondency I felt when empathizing with the characters while reading Deathly Hallows. Also, a mechanic from a previous year suddenly becomes really important and the way it locks into the new challenge in year seven is genuinely true to the story in the books. If the game doesn’t click for you in the early years, just stick with it. I promise you it gets better. But even by that token, you can still say its thematic. The first four books themselves are set in a young children’s fantasy land, but the tone of the books turn when He Who Must Not Be Named is back in full force. The fact that this game also turns in year in five is thematically serendipitous.

Also with respect to theme, the villains in the game do their job very well. There is a particular card with a picture of Bellatrix. In a recent game the effect did something severely damaging to the team. I seriously stared at her and just yelled "You Bitch!" Tom Riddle's ability looks so innocuous, but when least expected, he completely shut down one of the heroes in that very same sly way he did in the books. And when you start to see what the Dementor does to your party, you will learn to despair at its coming.

How is Production Quality? How good is the rulebook?

There is very little to complain about here. The control tokens are made of metal. The… year four components... are of great quality and created in a such a way that they cannot be defaced. Card quality is good. My only complaints in this department are that the cards for each year came off of different printings. You can see slight coloration changes on the back of the card if you look close enough, but you do have to have them side by side to notice, so you can’t really say they are marked. Also, my year five cards seems to be cut ever so slightly longer than the other years. Again, it doesn’t mark them, but they might clump a little on a riffle shuffle. The manuals are well written and answer all the basic questions you might have about the game. There is a typo in the year five manual, but its not a game breaking problem. Similarly, there are a few places where some players who are OCD about timing issues will have questions, but any method you choose to interpret these situations will be fine and not break the game. On your standard grading scale, I would give this an A-.

Is this game good for new players? Is it good for kids? Is it good for experienced gamers?

I would very likely say yes to all of these. As mentioned previously, the designers have built this game with new players in mind. Year One could proudly wear the subtitle of “My First Deckbuilding Game.” (To be clear, I do not mean that in a denigrating way. Year One has a solid design, its just a bit simple.) Subsequent years do a good job of easing players into learning new mechanics one at a time. But the caveat here is that when you get to the end of the boxes, things are very busy in year seven. In addition to the Dark Arts cards, there are more than three villain rules in play as well as the abilities your character has. Playing a card from your hand could trigger an effect from any of these sources. In some cases that effect can trigger another, and then another. Its a lot for the adults I was playing with to keep track of, enough that I know things were missed. Young people might find it overwhelming. (But then again, I often underestimate young people.) At the same time, part of the beauty of the design is you don’t have to play year seven if you don’t want to. If your kids are happy with the game at Year Four and find that Year Five is too much for them to handle, the cards have each year clearly marked on them and are easy to remove from the game. (You could also add a variant to reduce the number of Villains on board to make year five easier.) On the opposite end of the spectrum, experienced players will find Year Seven to be a meaty complex challenge. I’ve got three plays at Year Seven, but yet to beat it. Most of the earlier years can seem easy to defeat once you hit the right strategy yet I have to admit that I did hit a couple of road bumps on the way. However, again the manual comes to the rescue and suggests that you can add some challenge by starting the game with one or two control tokens on the first location. So the if you just like playing at Year Five for whatever reason but find it too easy, there is a way to dial up the difficulty.

What are the pros and cons of the game?

I think I’ve really hit all the pros to the game in the items above. The game is highly thematic. The game is scalable. The discovery process of opening the boxes and adding new bits to the game is fun, although you obviously will only get that thrill once for each box. If you play the game through the years, it's interesting watching the heroes develop and grow (and the villains), just like they do in the books.

One person who I played the game with felt there was a lack of variability with the starting heroes. The least spoilery way I can address this is to say that the game rectifies this in one of the later years. Experienced gamers will have fun experimenting with the different strategies this change will offer. As previously mentioned, if you are an experienced gamer and Hogwarts Battle doesn’t click for you right away, you need to get through all the years before you will see it shine. Having to work your way through the earlier games might be seen as a con.

Some cons in terms of gameplay are that the game can swing wildly based on the initial setup of the game. Some villains are obviously going to hurt you more than others and a bad starting combo can make the game impossible (or nearly so) to win. Similarly, it is also possible for the first Hogwarts cards to come out of the deck to be too expensive for anyone to afford. The game has a snowball effect and if you can’t start building your deck in the first few rounds, you may never catch up. Finally, there is an obstacle in Year Seven that requires the acquisition of a certain type of Hogwarts cards. If these cards don’t become available for purchase, you can’t overcome the obstacle. It feels like the game could use some options to prevent these Kobayashi Maru situations from occurring. Finally, some experienced gamers might notice the lack of a trashing mechanism in the game. However, in regards to most of these cons, I can say that the first six years of the game can be regularly beaten without ever losing control of the first location. (It just requires finding the right strategy.) So the game is not that difficult overall despite these possible obstacles. This could also be seen as a con if you aren't willing to increase the difficult via methods suggested in the manual. The seventh year, however, is where I am currently hitting a brick wall.

Final Thoughts

So I’ve titled this review as “This may be the co-op deck builder you’ve been looking for,” which at this point deserves some explanation and, I admit, is where I will get up on a soap box for bit. A few years ago, a game came out called Legendary: Marvel. What really got me hyped about Legendary was that Tom Vasel made a video review hyping Legendary as a co-op version of Ascension. I love Ascension and I like the idea of co-ops, so I was sold. Unfortunately, I was rather let down. I won’t bore you with the a deep analysis of this, but Legendary gives each player a score at the end of the game. If everyone plays competitively, they usually lose the game as a team, but the person who plays co-operatively rarely gets the high score. On top of that, the game mechanics themselves did not really lend themselves to cooperation. There is nothing one superhero does that helps his/her neighbor. You are never a team and the whole thing fails to fit into the SHEILD/Avengers theme of that universe. I was disappointed. I sold it. (I even wrote a rather negative review about it.) Since then, the only major contender I’ve found for a co-op deckbuilder has been the Big Book of Madness. Its a good game, one I enjoy, and one that I think will stay in my collection for a long time. It even has some great mechanics that make it genuinely co-operative. So I don’t want anyone reading this to think Madness is a bad game. But despite it being a solid game, there are times when it fails to shine. There is already some observation that the heroes you choose, monsters you encounter, and spells available for purchase have a very noticeable impact on your ability to win or lose. (Much moreso that what I've mentioned above in the "cons" section about Hogwarts) While Madness isn’t dry, it doesn’t always feel thematic either. Finally, while Madness deserves to have the mechanic of “deck builder” attached to the name, you typically only cycle your deck about four or five times per game; its hard to get that feeling of “building” you traditionally get from the genre. So bearing all of the criticisms of these two games in mind, Battle For Hogwarts really feels like the co-op deck builder I’ve wanted to see somebody put on the market. The theme fits. It feels like a deck builder. I love Ascension and it the same rules framework. The game has genuinely co-operative mechanics such as who do I heal? It it better for me to take two coins for myself or give one coin to everybody? Oh, is that card going to work better in your deck than in mine? Ok, I won’t buy it then. Is there something I can do on my turn that will help Ron trigger his special ability? All of these kinds of decisions are going on all the time. Also, its not up to one player to one-shot the villain - we all put attack tokens on them together. If you like co-ops, this is the kind of interaction which makes the genre shine.

Will the game have an alpha player? Probably not. Sentinels works as a co-op because its too hard for one player to know what is going on in everyone else’s deck, and Battle for Hogwarts will have the same obstacle/blessing. You have to talk to each other about what is in your hand and how you are going to put those pieces together to reach your goals. Unless your alpha player can memorize everyone's deck, he will have to collaborate on strategy with you. At best (worst?), you could have one player dictating which villain to target and I’m sure that once the gaming community has had time to deeper analyze the game, some preferred strategies will emerge. But in the end, you’re still going to have to figure out how to do this together. And remember Tom Vasel’s claim that Legendary was a co-op version of Ascension? He spoke four year out of turn. This is the co-op version of Ascension I’ve been looking for.

(Edits for grammar only.)
83 
 Thumb up
4.50
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Couch
Germany
Berlin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great detailed review for a game that has sort of slipped under my radar. Thanks.

Curious if you have played Book of Madness and have any comparison thoughts? It is what comes to my mind with the idea of co=op deckbuilder.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adelin Dumitru
Romania
Bucharest
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review! For those of us who do not mind spoilers, could you elaborate a little bit on those new mechanics introduced in years 5,6 and 7? Of course, with a
Spoiler (click to reveal)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Jones
United States
Wilsonville
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
SchoonerTorrent wrote:
Curious if you have played Book of Madness and have any comparison thoughts? It is what comes to my mind with the idea of co=op deckbuilder.


I mention BBOM in the final thoughts. I'm not sure what other comparison you want, but if you have a specific question I am happy to answer.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Jones
United States
Wilsonville
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
AdelinDumitru wrote:
Great review! For those of us who do not mind spoilers, could you elaborate a little bit on those new mechanics introduced in years 5,6 and 7?


Spoiler (click to reveal)
I actually need to start in year four. In year four the game adds house dice. There is a die for each one of the school's houses. The symbols on the dice will either heal, give influence, give card draw, or give attack tokens to all the heroes when rolled. The symbol frequency is different for each house die. Some of the ally cards in the Hogwarts deck will allow you to roll the appropriate die. (For example, Professor Sprout give you a couple of things plus a roll on the Hufflepuff die.)

In year five, you open up the third villain slot and Voldemort is added to the villain deck. What makes this particularly different than other villains is that you put it face up on the bottom of the deck. When the second-to-last villain is revealed, this also reveals Voldemort at the same time. You now have four active villains instead of just three. Also, you cannot attack Voldemort until all other villains are defeated. IMHO, opening up the third slot is not only thematic to the idea that the war has started, but they bring V into the battle in a thematically appropriate way.

In year six, you gain access to "Proficiency" cards. These represent the OWLs that the heroes have learned from year five. There are eight to choose from and augment your hero. Bearing in mind that the four heroes already have special ability, you have 32 different ways to create a hero now. That said, there are few proficiencies that are obviously geared towards certain heroes. It would be difficult for anyone other than Neville to trigger the bonus from the Herbology proficiency. So thematic, but in some cases also limiting.

Year Seven introduces the Horcrux deck. It functions similar to the villain deck in that it has an ability that might attack the hero each round. Each horcrux has a set of symbols on it that are needed to destroy the item. To get the symbol, you have to roll it on one of the house die. So this seeming gimmicky mechanic from year four suddenly becomes important and thematic. Its easier to destroy the diadem if you have a Ravenclaw ally in your deck, just like in the HP story. Similarly, there is an item, A History of Hogwarts, that lets you roll any house die you want. So again, just like the book was critical to Hermione in the year seven book, it suddenly becomes a very valuable object in the game as you can roll whatever die you need to in order to find/kill the active a horcrux. Defeating a Horcrux gives that player a permanent ability which further augments the two s/he already has. Finally, you cannot attack Lord V until both all previous villains have been defeated and the Horcrux deck is empty.

As an aside, my problems with year seven is that it adds a lot of cards to the Dark Arts deck that both attack you and make you draw another card. So between the stronger Dark Arts deck and the new Horcrux deck, the attacks are relentless as you have a minimum five enemy effects to resolve each turn. As noted in my review, if the Hogwarts deck does not reveal any Allies or Items that allow you to roll dice, you cannot defeat Horcruxes. In one of my games we didn't see such a card until after a dozen or so purchases. Between the two issues, I've not even come close to winning the game yet. I'm not sure if its a run of bad luck or if we need a strategy adjustment, or even if maybe different proficiencies are needed.
10 
 Thumb up
0.50
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Couch
Germany
Berlin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks David. I must have skimmed the final thoughts too fast. That is what I was looking for.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
C&H Schmidt
Germany
Heidelberg
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quick question -- I have now seen a lot of threads where people (judging from the titles; I didn't want to see the spoilers) seemed to be missing cards or having trouble with misprints in the later years.
Did your copy have any of this?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Jones
United States
Wilsonville
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
To the best of my knowledge I am not missing anything, and one of the misprint threads is actually mine. One issue is that a card text does not match a manual text; I suspect that a rule shown in the year five manual should be in the year four manual. Another issue is that card labeled year six was packaged in the year five box, so it isn't clear if the card is misprinted or the card is mispackaged. As a BGG veteran, I don't think the number of misprint threads I've seen for HP:HB is worse than any other game, but this was a factor in my A- evaluation of the components. I don't think the errors are big enough to be affecting my evaluation of the game (unless there is misprint that is both egregious and undetectable). My plan was to put a card list together and post this to try and confirm my contents with other players, but I ran out of time this weekend and I have to go to class tonight, so this project will likely sit until next week.
7 
 Thumb up
0.03
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
C&H Schmidt
Germany
Heidelberg
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the helpful answer!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex
United States
Alabama
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
davypi wrote:
TL;DR:Game is bland first four years. Becomes more thematic from year five onward. Really shines in year seven.


Kind of like the books.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
C&H Schmidt
Germany
Heidelberg
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
abonosky wrote:
davypi wrote:
TL;DR:Game is bland first four years. Becomes more thematic from year five onward. Really shines in year seven.


Kind of like the books.
I would dispute this; I actually prefer the first four to the later ones.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jesse Carrasco
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
This is a great review. I have been waiting for this game for a while now and everything that I read makes me want it even more. I'm just waiting for it to hit Cool Stuff Inc so I can order the rest of my cart.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J Larson
United States
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the great review! Do you have any thoughts on replay-ability? Since things are revealed as you advance through the game, do you feel like that would spoil the fun if you replayed it again in the future?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Jones
United States
Wilsonville
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
SonofLars wrote:
Do you have any thoughts on replay-ability? Since things are revealed as you advance through the game, do you feel like that would spoil the fun if you replayed it again in the future?


I don't think the fun would be spoiled, but certainly the element of surprise/discovery of opening a new box cannot be recaptured. As far as replayability goes I have a few thoughts. First, I have only ended up purchasing about half of the Hogwarts deck each game, so like Ascension and its ilk, the replayability will come from having to build your deck differently each game. I found a really fun combo in one of my games by combining a few specific cards, but there is no guarantee I could build that deck again any time soon since those same cards won't come out in the same order. Similarly, villains will come out in a different order. If you don't play with the full manifest of four players, you can try different hero combinations. I also hinted at something in the review that will give players more strategic options (see spoiler below). Because I just feel like years 1-4 are rather generic for a deck builder, I really can't see myself backing my game up to any state prior to year five, but I think replaying a campaign from years five through seven would be fun. Again thinking of Ascension, players like to make custom center decks with that game and you could similarly cull the Hogwarts deck to make certain items easier or harder to find.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
One big factor in terms of replayability is the proficiency cards from year six. As noted a previous spoiler, this gives you 8x4 ways to build a hero, with the second player having 7x3 options, and so on. So once you've beat the game with one combo, you could explore strategies with other combos. You could also choose to bring proficiencies into earlier years, but it would make the game easier so you would want to balance that by adding a few extra control tokens to make the game more difficult. In regards to custom Hogwarts decks, some of the year 1-3 cards really are useless and I'm already considering pulling them out so I have better chance of winning a year seven game. Many of the characters that appear in the year four deck are actually known in the story as early as year one, so there is some room for customization and still remain true to theme.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tony Maravola
United States
South Elgin
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the review. I should have my copy by week's end. I will say if you are looking for a true co-op deckbuilder, look at Legendary Encounters Alien or Firefly. There is co-op in Predator as well, but it's only half of the game, while the other half (playing as the Predator) is more in line with standard Legendary. Alien has been in steady rotation for 2 years now. It's one of my favorite co-op games period. Firefly could take that title just for the campaign and episodic nature of it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
C&H Schmidt
Germany
Heidelberg
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just noticed that the review says something about a traitor, but does not seem to explain this any further -- so this is not actually a full co-op? This is the first time I have ever seen a traitor mentioned in the context of this game.
Is the traitor optional or mandatory? Does the traitor mechanism only appear in some years or all? Or have I completely misunderstood?

Edit: Yes, I completely misunderstood. What I thought was a dash is actually a minus sign.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Jones
United States
Wilsonville
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Gswp wrote:
I just noticed that the review says something about a traitor, but does not seem to explain this any further -- so this is not actually a full co-op?


Check again. There is a minus sign in front of the word Traitor. It borrows the "evil deck" and multiple location aspect of Shadows over Camelot, but Hogwarts has no traitor element as there is in that game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
C&H Schmidt
Germany
Heidelberg
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
davypi wrote:
Gswp wrote:
I just noticed that the review says something about a traitor, but does not seem to explain this any further -- so this is not actually a full co-op?


Check again. There is a minus sign in front of the word Traitor. It borrows the "evil deck" and multiple location aspect of Shadows over Camelot, but Hogwarts has no traitor element as there is in that game.
Oh, to me this looked like a dash, just like in my post above. Thanks for clearing up the misunderstanding!
(You might want to just replace the - by the word "minus".)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff T
United States
Olympia
Washington
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the review. It's provides a lot of the information I wondered about as I consider whether or not this will be a good fit for the Harry Potter fans in my family.

But as an aside, you are interested in cooperative deck-building games, you really should look into Shadowrift. I love the first edition, though I have a few minor quibbles. I'm greatly looking forward to my second edition copy.

I think the most striking feature is that not only is each player building a deck to do all of the normal things you do in deck builders, but the players cooperatively are building a central deck that also affects game play in a very substantial way.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J Larson
United States
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
davypi wrote:
SonofLars wrote:
Do you have any thoughts on replay-ability? Since things are revealed as you advance through the game, do you feel like that would spoil the fun if you replayed it again in the future?


I don't think the fun would be spoiled, but certainly the element of surprise/discovery of opening a new box cannot be recaptured. As far as replayability goes I have a few thoughts. First, I have only ended up purchasing about half of the Hogwarts deck each game, so like Ascension and its ilk, the replayability will come from having to build your deck differently each game. I found a really fun combo in one of my games by combining a few specific cards, but there is no guarantee I could build that deck again any time soon since those same cards won't come out in the same order. Similarly, villains will come out in a different order. If you don't play with the full manifest of four players, you can try different hero combinations. I also hinted at something in the review that will give players more strategic options (see spoiler below). Because I just feel like years 1-4 are rather generic for a deck builder, I really can't see myself backing my game up to any state prior to year five, but I think replaying a campaign from years five through seven would be fun. Again thinking of Ascension, players like to make custom center decks with that game and you could similarly cull the Hogwarts deck to make certain items easier or harder to find.


Thanks for the details on replayability. Sounds like there is enough variability there to keep going back to it. I've been wanting to find a deck-builder with a theme that my wife will enjoy and I think this one fits the bill. It will be a good one for the Christmas list if it doesn't keep selling out!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Van Biesbrouck
Canada
St Catharines
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
With respect to Legendary, you may want to try Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game. There is an important mechanic where players work together ('coordinate' cards) and players need to cooperate to save others from facehuggers and death in general. You also get to play together through four films with three-acts scenarios that reflect the films. (Afterwards you can mix-and-match the acts.) It was awesome to go through the films with the same group of players, particularly when one player managed to defeat the enemy just before he was going to turn into an alien. (I haven't played with the traitor mechanic yet.)

For regular Legendary, I find it best to try to beat the scenario and look at points as an MVP reward. Unless you're sure that you the scenario will be defeated, at which point it is fun to go all out with your deck.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alexander Vanhulsel
msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Anyone knows this will be available at Essen?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Victor L
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmb
Nice review. I wonder if you've tried Shadowrift though, since that is a fantasy-based cooperative deck-builder (but with Dominion-style market, rather than Ascension-style). I haven't played it yet, but it has gotten good reviews from Tom Vasel and Rahdo, among others. I backed the second edition on Kickstarter, and it's supposed to be shipping soon, so I'm looking forward to trying it. And because I have no self-control, I also backed Aeon's End, which is a new cooperative deck-builder (and it's supposed to be shipping soon too). Anyway, if you have tried Shadowrift, I wonder how you think it compares to this Harry Potter game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Jones
United States
Wilsonville
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Its been mentioned to me elsewhere, but I've not had a chance to try it. I'll have to add it to my list of games, but unfortunately school has really kill my game time and my stack of bought but unplayed games is five deep right now.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Van Biesbrouck
Canada
St Catharines
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Shadowrift was generally interesting but vulnerable to extreme deck-thinning strategies.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.