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When this game came out, there were a lot of posts asking if only certain parts of the game could be incorporated or, similarly, complaints that you couldn't. Since the game introduces two of its new mechanics at once (Creatures & Banishing) its been said that it would be difficult to separate them out, but really, there isn't anything preventing you from pulling out specific cards from each box to accomplish this. I've played around with a few ideas as noted below, but I would welcome some feedback from anyone who cares to playtest them. Please note that the descriptions below include spoilers for all four boxes in Monster Box and I'm not going to tag them, so proceed at your own discretion. All of these setups were tested with a Game 7 setup used Horcruxes. I haven't had time to test a way to incrementally introduce them through each year (nor am I likely to try).
Take the following Dark Arts card from Monster Box and mix them into the standard Game 1-7 deck
• Inquisitoral Squad (2 from Box 1, 1 from Box 4)
• Transformed (2 from Box 2)
• Bombarda (2 from Box 2, 1 from Box 3)
Remove Quirrel and one of the two Death Eaters from the standard setup. Replace them with Troll and Norbert from Monster Box. Treat Norbert as if it has six attack rather than six influence. Treat both Monsters as if they are Villains rather than Creatures.
Take the following Hogwarts cards from Monster Box and mix them into the standard Game 1-7 deck
• Tergeo (6 copies from Box 1)
• Argus Filch (1 from Box 1)
• Depulso (2 copies from Box 2)
• Nox (2 copies from Box 3)
Thoughts: I've played this setup through three times. The first game felt like a "normal" game as everything came out reasonably balanced. In the second game, Hermione got an early Nox card I think only one other Tergeo came out. However, there was a lot of early Hogwarts History cards, so we were able to compensate for the extra detentions with card draw. I think we ended them game with 7 or 8 detentions in our collective decks and only one starter card removed. In the third game, we had the opposite. Quite a few banishers came out early but we were shy on die rolls. About 12 starter cards were purged, making control removal and attack cards cycle quicker, which helped control the game until we were able to get the die rolls needed. While this variant is still prone to some of the swingyness of the full expansion, it is considerably less so since you aren't adding other stuff into the DA or Hogwarts deck. However, having so many Detention related cards in the DA deck means control drops are less frequent. Because of this, I think the game becomes marginally easier. We were only in danger of losing control of the first location once during the three games. Maybe adding a few more DA cards like Raging Troll or Fight & Flight to rebalance control drops might be needed here.
If you wanted to introduce this mechanic gradually, I might suggest adding the cards in one year higher than their box number. (For example, add the Box 1 cards into Year 2, Box 2 in Year 3, etc.) Since there are no gameplay changes in Year two, it seems like a good place to add a new mechanic to the game. This would complete the integration during Year 5, which would be fine since the game is nearly in full swing by then anyway.
Take all three Monster Book of Monster cards from Box 2 and Kreacher from Box 3 and mix them into the Hogwarts Deck. Ignore Kreacher's banish ability unless you are also playing with the Detention variant above. If you roll the control symbol, you may place an influence token on a Horcrux card instead of removing control.
Add both copies of Seriously Misunderstood Creatures from Box 3 to the Dark Arts deck. If hearts are rolled, you must remove an attack token from all Villains (instead of Creatures).
Replace one Death Eater with Boggart. Boggart must be defeated using the standard "influence" token rules introduced in Monster Box.
Thoughts: Nothing terribly exciting here. If anything, this makes the game slightly easier as the Monster Die is typically better than your average house die. Also, Hogwarts History doesn't grant an attack token like Monster Book does. Although it is more difficult to use the Monster Die to target a Horcrux, by adding these four cards to the Hogwarts deck, you have effectively increased the frequency of die rolls the team makes. For slightly added difficulty, you could actually double the penalty on Serious Misunderstood Creatures when double hearts or double cards are rolled. (In theory, this could be introduced in Year 4 with the other dice, but adding it in to year 6 would be more thematic.)
Luna can be added into a Year 7 game as is. I have play tested starting her in Years 1 through 6 without using her ability the first two years and she plays fine. My only complaint is that her Box 1 ability feels more like a Year 3 ability and thus weaker than most Year 7 abilities. I have house ruled that she can trigger her ability the first two times she draws a card without it upsetting balance.
Since Patronuses replace Proficiencies, there isn't any reason these can't be used in any setup. Similar to above, playing year six with a Patronus instead of a Proficiency seemed to have a "normal" feel to it.
That said, destroying Horcruxes is laughably easy if Ron and Luna bring their Patronus with them. A house rule that a Patronus roll cannot be applied to a Horcrux is needed if you want to maintain game difficulty.
Using Encounters instead of Horcruxes:
I haven't actually playtested this, but there only a few reasons why you couldn't simply replace the Horcrux deck with an Encounter set. Box 1, Encounter 2 and Box 2, Encounter 2 require the use of Detention cards, so playing with these in the game would require the use of the Detention variant above. Box 3, Encounter 1 requires that Creatures be in the game, but simply changing the requirement so that the player always loses a heart regardless of the villain layout still makes this a reasonably challenging card. Aside from these changes, you would play with the standard 12 villain setup rather than forcing the given creatures into the deck.
This, I think, is something that would require some significant thought and play testing. Aside from Troll, Norbert, and Boggart, none of the new Creatures in the game require the use of new rulesets. You could simply choose a random set of six villains and six creatures and play from there, but then you lose the interaction that comes with the new Hogwarts cards that specify Creatures vs Villains. I also worry about something like Chinese Fireball and Bellatrix coming out at the same time. This might be something I come back and play with some other day, but right now I don't have the time to play around with this.
As previously stated, I would be interested to hear feedback from anybody else who has the time and is interested in playing around with any of these setups.