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Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle» Forums » Variants

Subject: Campaign mode rss

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Ray Zhang
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Does anyone have suggestions on how best to play one "continuous" game that starts off feeling like game 1, then gradually progresses to feel like game 2, then 3, etc until finally it culminates as full-blown game 7?

That is, I don't want to reset decks and villains between each game, and I want the villains and story elements to appear in roughly chronological order. Heroes start as game 1 versions but get upgraded over time into game 7 versions, and choices/deck-developments made during the "game 1" portions of the game carry through or at least help shape the eventual "game 7" state. Difficulty progresses from easy to hard culminating in a satisfying nail-biting ending.

Any ideas?

 
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David Jones
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I've thought about trying to put something like this together, but it would take a lot of work depending on how detailed you want to be. For example, if Harry is in play, should he get Chang for free in year five but then have to discard her in year six? How much setup time will it take to pull specific cards out of the deck? If you want to get really nitpicky, Hermione has a starting card she shouldn't have until year seven. What do you substitute it with? The ring presents a real problem because, in the books, the heroes don't destroy it. You can't just give it to them for free in year seven, so how do you want to handle that thematically. For that matter, when do you want to put the Horcrux deck in play? The diary gets destroyed in year two but the ruleset doesn't introduce it until year seven.

Because it would also change some of the ruleset, creating a chronological variant would require some playtest/balancing issues. Do you still play three villains at a time, or do you open up villain slots the same year they are in the rules? When you move on to the next year, how exactly do you want to change the Hogwarts deck? Do you want to mix the new year with previous years or have only new year cards available for purchase? Either answer creates balance issues.
 
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Dale Stephenson
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Here's an idea:

Play game seven location and number of villains, but:

1) The villains are sorted by year, then randomly (so you beat each year at a time).
2) You start with year one Hogwarts/Dark Arts decks. When a villain from a new year drops into one of the three spots, shuffle the hogwarts/dark arts cards from those years and put them *on top* of the Hogwarts/Dark Arts deck.
3) Upgraded hero cards also are triggered by the corresponding year's villain cards, as are proficiency and horcruxes.

This wouldn't perfectly correspond to the books, but should give a campaign-like year-at-a-time feel. I'm guessing it'd be a fair bit harder to win, too.
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B C Z
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cim2phat4u wrote:
Does anyone have suggestions on how best to play one "continuous" game that starts off feeling like game 1, then gradually progresses to feel like game 2, then 3, etc until finally it culminates as full-blown game 7?

That is, I don't want to reset decks and villains between each game...



I'm curious why not.

Villains recurred in the stories - some as threats through every book, others in flashbacks and memories.

The year one pre-teens were a far cry from the year seven teenagers.

Each game is its own experience, each one adding in different elements of difficulty.
 
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Ray Zhang
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byronczimmer wrote:

I'm curious why not.


It's just a variant idea that interests me.

I'd like to play game 1, then hit the ground running with game 2, picking up where I left off from game 1 as much as possible. Then play game 3 again picking up where I left off from game 2 as much as possible, etc. I'm hoping there is a simple enough way to balance transitions such that the overall experience starts off with game 1 content/difficulty and culminates with game 7 content/difficulty.

It doesn't have to be perfect. I'm just looking for some ideas is all.

By chronological order, I don't necessarily mean the order written in the books - I mean more the order of content presented in the base game.
 
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dalestephenson wrote:
Play game seven location and number of villains, but:

1) The villains are sorted by year, then randomly (so you beat each year at a time).
2) You start with year one Hogwarts/Dark Arts decks. When a villain from a new year drops into one of the three spots, shuffle the hogwarts/dark arts cards from those years and put them *on top* of the Hogwarts/Dark Arts deck.
3) Upgraded hero cards also are triggered by the corresponding year's villain cards, as are proficiency and horcruxes.


I think I'm going to try this next time we play.

I might make a couple of changes:

1) Only 1 villain is active at the start.
The first time, a year-2 villain is revealed, reveal a second villain.
The first time, a year-4 villain is revealed, reveal a third villain.

- The idea here is to compensate for the fact that heroes can only buy relatively weak cards at the beginning.

2) When a new year's Hogwarts cards are added, not only place them on top of the deck, but discard the 6 face-up cards and replace them with 6 from the new year (or maybe just replace 3 random face-up cards).
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Dale Stephenson
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Celtic Joker wrote:
dalestephenson wrote:
Play game seven location and number of villains, but:

1) The villains are sorted by year, then randomly (so you beat each year at a time).
2) You start with year one Hogwarts/Dark Arts decks. When a villain from a new year drops into one of the three spots, shuffle the hogwarts/dark arts cards from those years and put them *on top* of the Hogwarts/Dark Arts deck.
3) Upgraded hero cards also are triggered by the corresponding year's villain cards, as are proficiency and horcruxes.


I think I'm going to try this next time we play.

I might make a couple of changes:

1) Only 1 villain is active at the start.
The first time, a year-2 villain is revealed, reveal a second villain.
The first time, a year-4 villain is revealed, reveal a third villain.

- The idea here is to compensate for the fact that heroes can only buy relatively weak cards at the beginning.


This would make it a bit easier. On the other hand, Draco & Crabb/Goyle are relatively harmless villains, so it'd be quite thematic for those two villains to remain in play through all seven years while the other slot is regularly cleaned out.

Quote:
2) When a new year's Hogwarts cards are added, not only place them on top of the deck, but discard the 6 face-up cards and replace them with 6 from the new year (or maybe just replace 3 random face-up cards).


Clever. I like that.
 
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Stephan
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dalestephenson wrote:
Draco & Crabb/Goyle are relatively harmless villains, so it'd be quite thematic for those two villains to remain in play through all seven years while the other slot is regularly cleaned out.
I like this from a thematic standpoint. You just assign all damage always to the third villain. This is actually not so much a rules change as it is a sound strategy.

In an effort not to make it too easy, maybe Draco has to be defeated multiple times. This would make thematic sense as well. Would once each year be too much?
 
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Richard Ham
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Hmm, interesting. I'd say...

================
As part of campaign setup, stack all the villains in book order (randomly within each book, but with Voldemort cards appearing face up at the end of each book "section" of the stack), and all the locations in game order. Divide all the Dark Arts cards and Hogwarts card into separate shuffled stacks for each book.

Start the game as normal, with the year one kids, going against Crab & Goyle, Draco & Quirrel (all 3 active from the beginning) in Diagon alley, with book 1 DA & Hogwarts cards, and play as normal (except that books 1 and 2 will have three villains active at all times).

Every time a villain is defeated, the current location is considered "completed." Immediately discard the current location and reveal the next location. All the enemy control markers from the discarded location get transferred to the new location. For an easier game, only half of the enemy control tokens (rounded down) get transferred.

During play, a location can still "fall under enemy control" if it fills with too many control markers and be discarded at the end of a turn as normal if it's not saved. A location this happens to is considered "lost". If 4 locations are lost over over the course of the campaign, the players immediately lose. Keep "lost" locations separate from "completed" locations to keep track.

At the end of a turn where players arrive at the first location of a new book (either through completing or losing locations, or both), immediately pause the game to go through the following "new year" steps:

1) Shuffle the new DA & Howgarts cards into their decks along with their discard piles and the cards currently on display in Hogwarts.

2) Each player may permanently remove one Alohomora spell from their hero deck plus one non-Alohomora card of their choosing, and reshuffles their current hand, deck and discard piles together.

3) Each player draws a new starting hand of 5 cards and Hogwarts is refilled with six new cards.

4) Activate any appropriate new features (older kids, proficiencies, horcruxes) associated with the new book

5) If starting books 2, 3, 4 or 5, one damage is removed from each still active enemy.

6) If starting book 6, immediately draw the next 3 enemies.

7) If starting book 7, retrieve and put into play the two Death Eater cards to join Voldemort in the final fight.

================

I have *no idea* if this will work well, but if it doesn't I bet it could be made to work with a bit of tweaking.

The upsides of this system:

*All of the locations can be used every game (yay!) and there's some nice variance of tension as occasional 1DA locations are arrived at.

*Thematic deck thinning! As the kids get older, they leave some of their simpler things behind.

*Save your progress! It would be easy to stop a campaign midway through (after a "new year" starts), pack the game away with all of the customized decks and whatnot, and pick up later where you left off.

The sad thing about this is that it limits arguably the coolest element of the game (the variable combo-mixes of different villain powers) but it should give a much more "true to the books/movies" feeling while only lasting slightly longer than a normal full book 7 game.
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Ray Zhang
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Good ideas. Your location-skipping idea may need to be tweaked though since locations normally function as the game timer and you lose when they run out. If I'm interpreting what you wrote correctly, then defeating each villain would now hurt you by discarding time. And as soon as you have more villains left than locations... it becomes impossible to win? Was that the intent?
 
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Richard Ham
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cim2phat4u wrote:
Good ideas. Your location-skipping idea may need to be tweaked though since locations normally function as the game timer and you lose when they run out. If I'm interpreting what you wrote correctly, then defeating each villain would now hurt you by discarding time. And as soon as you have more villains left than locations... it becomes impossible to win? Was that the intent?

Well my thinking was that it should work fine since there are 22 locations, and 17 villains, but let's say 19 if you re-use both death eaters for the final book7 confrontation.

So that means 19 of the 22 locations are going to be passed because you beat villains, and you can therefore afford to let up to 3 locations fall due to enemy control markers, and if a 4th were to happen, you will lose. This is exactly the same as the average book adventure, so it should work out okay. I guess I should have added in the original writeup that if a 4th location ever falls due to control markers, immediately lose the game (since it's not possible to win anymore). Will add that now

And don't forget I included that "remove half the current control markers when you beat a villain and move to the next location", so that's a really big bonus to players if they time their villain defeats well... in fact, I think it might make it too easy, and by default control markers shouldn't be removed for doing a "skip to the next location after beating a villain) thing. I'll change that too
 
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rahdo wrote:
Hmm, interesting. I'd say...

================
As part of campaign setup, stack all the villains in book order (randomly within each book, but with Voldemort cards appearing face up at the end of each book "section" of the stack), and all the locations in game order. Divide all the Dark Arts cards and Hogwarts card into separate shuffled stacks for each book.

Start the game as normal, with the year one kids, going against Crab & Goyle, Draco & Quirrel (all 3 active from the beginning) in Diagon alley, with book 1 DA & Hogwarts cards, and play as normal (except that books 1 and 2 will have three villains active at all times).

Every time a villain is defeated, the current location is considered "completed." Immediately discard the current location and reveal the next location. All the enemy control markers from the discarded location get transferred to the new location. For an easier game, only half of the enemy control tokens (rounded down) get transferred.

During play, a location can still "fall under enemy control" if it fills with too many control markers and be discarded at the end of a turn as normal if it's not saved. A location this happens to is considered "lost". If 4 locations are lost over over the course of the campaign, the players immediately lose. Keep "lost" locations separate from "completed" locations to keep track.

At the end of a turn where players arrive at the first location of a new book (either through completing or losing locations, or both), immediately pause the game to go through the following "new year" steps:

1) Shuffle the new DA & Howgarts cards into their decks along with their discard piles and the cards currently on display in Hogwarts.

2) Each player may permanently remove one Alohomora spell from their hero deck plus one non-Alohomora card of their choosing, and reshuffles their current hand, deck and discard piles together.

3) Each player draws a new starting hand of 5 cards and Hogwarts is refilled with six new cards.

4) Activate any appropriate new features (older kids, proficiencies, horcruxes) associated with the new book

5) If starting books 2, 3, 4 or 5, one damage is removed from each still active enemy.

6) If starting book 6, immediately draw the next 3 enemies.

7) If starting book 7, retrieve and put into play the two Death Eater cards to join Voldemort in the final fight.

================

I have *no idea* if this will work well, but if it doesn't I bet it could be made to work with a bit of tweaking.

The upsides of this system:

*All of the locations can be used every game (yay!) and there's some nice variance of tension as occasional 1DA locations are arrived at.

*Thematic deck thinning! As the kids get older, they leave some of their simpler things behind.

*Save your progress! It would be easy to stop a campaign midway through (after a "new year" starts), pack the game away with all of the customized decks and whatnot, and pick up later where you left off.

The sad thing about this is that it limits arguably the coolest element of the game (the variable combo-mixes of different villain powers) but it should give a much more "true to the books/movies" feeling while only lasting slightly longer than a normal full book 7 game.


We tried out this campaign variant yesterday with 2 players (Ron/Neville). We had the following tweaks/notes from the playthrough....

1. The players only discard their hand and draw a new one if they choose to permanently remove card(s) from their deck. There was one point when my husband had played a turn that generated 3 card draws for me and then triggered the year change at the end of his turn. Being forced to discard and redraw 5 cards felt like a punishment when we had moved the game forward. We also debated redrawing the same number of cards, but then settled as the redraw being the price you pay for removing cards from your deck. Still not settled on that.

2. The end game slowed to an absolute crawl while we sloooowwwwwwwly dealt with all the horcruxes before being able to touch Voldemort. Having about 6 turns go by when I could do very little other than generate a roll (if lucky) and do some healing felt out of step with being the climax of the game. We didn't have a great fix for this other than having an immediate advancement to year 7 when that final Voldemort is revealed. Because we hadn't lost control of any locations along the way, we didn't trigger year 7 until we killed one of the Death Eaters. Getting those horcruxes out a couple of turns sooner may have helped the slow down. We also had been very fortunate with Hogwarts cards throughout the game....lots of rolling cards were available and we were able to build decent rolling decks. I can't imagine how much slower it would have been if you hadn't been as lucky with rolling card purchases earlier in the game.

3. It was nice to have the variance in DA cards. Going from a location with multiple cards down to 1 again was a great mid-game tension relief and felt true to the story. It allowed for some opportunities mid-game to get ahead with card purchases and build up our decks a bit before advancing further (time back at school between battles).

I don't know if we'll play the campaign again, however it was a fun experiment. It's got us thinking about possible house rule tweaks and thinking about the game in a new way. We might try again with transferring more of the location tokens to up the tension, especially for the early part of the game. I'm still thinking about that end game and wondering if there's a way that makes sense to introduce the horcruxes earlier in the game. Because the horcruxes are known in year 6, perhaps they could be introduced into the game in year 6?

TL;DR - this campaign variant is a solid option for anyone who wants that experience from the game.

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Richard Ham
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badkids wrote:
We tried out this campaign variant yesterday with 2 players (Ron/Neville).

Oh that's awesome!

Quote:
We had the following tweaks/notes from the playthrough....

1. The players only discard their hand and draw a new one if they choose to permanently remove card(s) from their deck. There was one point when my husband had played a turn that generated 3 card draws for me and then triggered the year change at the end of his turn. Being forced to discard and redraw 5 cards felt like a punishment when we had moved the game forward. We also debated redrawing the same number of cards, but then settled as the redraw being the price you pay for removing cards from your deck. Still not settled on that.

I only added that redraw thing because I really wanted to accentuate the feeling of "the year is over... after summer break, time to come back to a new year in school", so it's certainly not needed at all.

oh, the other reason was I was really keen to introduce the notion of being able to stop mid-way through the campaign, put the game away, and pick up later really easily where you left off.

Quote:
2. The end game slowed to an absolute crawl while we sloooowwwwwwwly dealt with all the horcruxes before being able to touch Voldemort. Having about 6 turns go by when I could do very little other than generate a roll (if lucky) and do some healing felt out of step with being the climax of the game. We didn't have a great fix for this other than having an immediate advancement to year 7 when that final Voldemort is revealed. Because we hadn't lost control of any locations along the way, we didn't trigger year 7 until we killed one of the Death Eaters. Getting those horcruxes out a couple of turns sooner may have helped the slow down. We also had been very fortunate with Hogwarts cards throughout the game....lots of rolling cards were available and we were able to build decent rolling decks. I can't imagine how much slower it would have been if you hadn't been as lucky with rolling card purchases earlier in the game.

Ah, good point! Okay, easiest solution for that would be add the Horcruxes at the moment that final Voldemort appears, even if book 7 hasn't started yet. Would that have worked, do you reckon?

Quote:
3. It was nice to have the variance in DA cards. Going from a location with multiple cards down to 1 again was a great mid-game tension relief and felt true to the story. It allowed for some opportunities mid-game to get ahead with card purchases and build up our decks a bit before advancing further (time back at school between battles).

Awesome, I was keen on that idea!

Quote:
I don't know if we'll play the campaign again, however it was a fun experiment. It's got us thinking about possible house rule tweaks and thinking about the game in a new way. We might try again with transferring more of the location tokens to up the tension, especially for the early part of the game. I'm still thinking about that end game and wondering if there's a way that makes sense to introduce the horcruxes earlier in the game. Because the horcruxes are known in year 6, perhaps they could be introduced into the game in year 6?

TL;DR - this campaign variant is a solid option for anyone who wants that experience from the game.

Thanks for trying it out!
 
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Eric Phillips
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Regarding Rahdo's variant.

My biggest concern is the random difficulty spikes. Going from drawing 2 Dark Arts cards back to 1 seems weird and would encourage stalling out play (IE spreading damage or letting damage go unused) until you get a favorable draw so you could rush through the more difficult locations.

Additionally, the predictability of villains may make the game significantly easier. One of the biggest decision points in the game is which villain to kill and trying to avoid certain combinations that are particularly brutal. Knowing what is coming out and being able to plan around it, say holding off on killing someone because Tom Riddle is next and you've got 4 allies doesn't seem like a desirable mechanic.

I know that exists to an extent already. Many times in the final game when we get a favorable villain draw we will hold of killing the enemies while we build up decks, but giving you even more knowledge about who is coming next seems like it would become too much about gaming the villains.
 
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Justin Stephens
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I like Rahdo's suggestion, but it just doesn't seem right to have all the locations at once, like it almost makes it too easy and the overall threat of the game diminished.

I'd probably have it so that once you defeated all the villains of one year, then you replace the locations with the new year (you can house-rule to keep the villain control level at previous count).


But I like the designers approach of starting each year at Hogwarts with a fresh start.

So here's my idea (I have yet to try this out myself):

Play each game to normal rules, but when starting a new year and cleaning out your deck, you may choose to keep 1 of each acquired Spell, Item and Ally in your deck, so long as the total combined influence value does not exceed 10 (maybe even just 8 or 9).
 
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JustinBoy24 wrote:
I like Rahdo's suggestion, but it just doesn't seem right to have all the locations at once, like it almost makes it too easy and the overall threat of the game diminished.

I'd probably have it so that once you defeated all the villains of one year, then you replace the locations with the new year (you can house-rule to keep the villain control level at previous count).


But I like the designers approach of starting each year at Hogwarts with a fresh start.

So here's my idea (I have yet to try this out myself):

Play each game to normal rules, but when starting a new year and cleaning out your deck, you may choose to keep 1 of each acquired Spell, Item and Ally in your deck, so long as the total combined influence value does not exceed 10 (maybe even just 8 or 9).

This will make the game far too easy. Just think if you get one (or all) of the cards that let you remove dark marks. You will draw each one every other hand from turn 1 (or every third midway through the game).

We had a normal game that wasn't even fun when Hermione got the spell that removes a dark mark for 4 influence on her first turn. The first location was never overrun the whole game. Drawing one DA card when you can lay out 5 or 6 damage, heal, and remove marks on a regular basis doesn't cut it. That is a rare occurrence, of course, and it was rewarding to accomplish (we did fill it up on one turn, but defeated a villain to save us and then worked backward from there). The point is that a single one of those cards early on can pretty much change the whole game to to bunny-level difficulty.

A tweak to what you suggest would be to ramp up the value of what you can keep. Someone mentioned 1 influence + 1/book. However, any addition of starting cards needs a ramping up of difficulty too. My idea would be to start with dark marks equal to half of your book, rounded down (or up). So, at book 7, you would get to start with influence 8 worth of cards, but have to start at 3 dark marks.

I plan on trying this (or Rahdo's... his sounds extremely unique and clever!) the next time my family plays through.
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rahdo wrote:

6) If starting book 6, immediately draw the next 3 enemies.

7) If starting book 7, retrieve and put into play the two Death Eater cards to join Voldemort in the final fight.

I know it has been a few months, but if you're still reading the forums, did you intend for book 6 to have 6 simultaneous villians to defeat? 3 are always active and you draw 3 more to start book 6, right? That's not way too many?

I haven't played yet this scenario yet, but am geared up to try it soon. We played all books of the original, but haven't won book 7 yet. Maybe the power curve with thinning the deck makes this possible and if so, kudos to you for thinking about that, sir!

And, you said add 2 death eaters for book 7 to aid in Voldemort. This is done even if Voldemort isn't out yet, correct? And, with the 6 villains from book 6, wouldn't you end up with... well, a lot? Including Voldemort, before you start dropping the number of villains.

If this is not at all the case, then forgive me for not understanding... but what would the draw three extra villain rule be for?


Edit: This all makes sense if you play it through, but the important missing note is that you should not continue to draw enemies after you draw Voldemort's Game 5 and Game 6 versions. You draw back up to three after defeating Voldemort(5), and you recover the two death eaters after defeating Voldemort(6) and put them into play.
 
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I had the pleasure of trying this variant out this weekend, adding some of my own tweaks. We played, transferring only half the dark marks when defeating a villain. We ended up losing in the final battle because we couldn't roll a lightning on the Slytherin die to save our lives. Ever.

Aside from that frustration, it was a lot of fun! The tension was always there, villains came out in their respective locations, there were surges and periods of relief in the tempo of Dark Arts cards. It was fantastic.

Additional rules we used:
- Put Horcruxes into play in Game 5.
- When defeating a villain, place an influence token on remaining active villains. If you would place the 4th on a villain, clear them instead and add a dark mark to the location.

Taking advice from the other playtester, we added the horcruxes earlier to reduce the boredom of clearing horcruxes. It was *still* an issue, as not enough house dice cards were coming out. The last hour of our 4 hour game was spent passing many turns keeping the last location alive with only the untouchable Voldemort two horcruxes left. I wish this could be sped up further.

The second rule was in keeping with the rules of 3's so it was easy to remember and it encouraged us to cycle through the weaker villains.

For the next game:
- Keep current hand. Do not reset any player cards.
- Each player must remove from the game two cards from their hand or discard pile, but both may not be Alohamora. Redraw any cards removed from the hand.

Keeping the current hand vs. resetting is not a balance issue. We had an equal number of times that we had extra cards and times that someone was stunned. My reasoning for the rule is to avoid the repeatedly jarring sensation of suddenly losing the hand that you were planning on playing.

Possible future rules:
- Horcruxes come out in Game 3. Give each player (or one player?) one copy of Hogwarts: A History (from Game 4).
- Heal characters a little or completely when coming across a new location (C'mon... Summer vacation!)
 
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