**A Geek Daddy received the featured product for free to review**
There are 7 individual games each associated with one of the books from the Harry Potter fantasy novels packaged together within HOGWARTS BATTLE which increase in difficulty as players progress through them. The first two are meant to serve as an orientation for the rules and a chance to learn to play the game. Once players are comfortable with playing they can really dive into the action of the next five games culminating with a final showdown versus the Dark Lord and his cronies in Game 7. Players can play through all seven games consecutively all at once or they can just focus on individual games in shorter increments depending on their skill level and available time. For our family game night, we spent an hour and a half on Games 1 & 2 of HOGWARTS BATTLE mastering how to play and had a lot of fun.
The game revolves around a master board that contains cards identifying locations (that the heroes and villains battle for control of), villains (that each have special abilities) and dark arts (which have a variety of detrimental effects brought about each turn). If players defeat all the villains before the evil doers gain control of all the locations (which number varies in each of the seven games) the forces of good prevail to win the game; but if the bad guys gain control of the locations first the game is lost!
The game board also includes six face up HOGWARTS cards which players can acquire to enhance their personal decks by earning influence tokens to select cards. Only six of these cards are showing and available to select at any time but a new card is pulled from a deck on the game board to replace selected ones ensuring all the spots are filled throughout the game. These cards allow players to utilize magical items like the Sorting Hat, have an ally like Hagrid come to their aid, or utilize a spell to conjure up a special benefit.
Each player then sets in front of them a layout that includes cards that identify his or her selected hero (Harry, Ron, Hermione, or Neville) and serve as a reminder about how to progress through your individual turn. There is also an individual players board that tracks your characters health and the tokens that have been earned.which can be used to attack villains or purchase HOGWARTS cards. Additionally each player has their own personal deck of cards with spells, magical items and allies unique to each character. For example Harry has a Hedwig ally card, Hermione has a Time-Turner magical amulet, Ron has Every Flavor Jelly Beans to get out of a jam, and Neville has his frog Trevor. Each of the characters has a variety of these special allies and items available just to them in their personal decks but all of their spells are pretty much the same which make those available through the HOGWARTS deck even more valuable to obtain.
Your hero's deck consists of ten cards which are shuffled so you start out with five random cards in your playable hand. All your up-facing cards need to be utilized during the turn and placed in a discard pile. Each new turn you draw five new cards from your down deck plus HOGWARTS cards gained are also incorporated into each player's personal set of cards as the game goes on. When a player runs out of cards to draw from they reshuffle the discard pile and place them down in the starting spot to pull as allowed.
While these rules at first may seem difficult and complex, once you start playing HOGWARTS BATTLE they are very easy to get a grasp on and the game very quickly becomes a very exciting and entertaining experience. With every turn you'll enjoy the challenge overcoming adversaries and obstacles while defending locations from the Harry Potter books and movies including Diagon Alley, the Chamber of Secrets, and the Hogwart's Quidditch Pitch. HOGWARTS BATTLE can be played solo but I'd recommend playing it with the full four players to enjoy the comradery of tackling the threat of Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters along with a group of your friends.
What's really nice about HOGWARTS BATTLE is that instead of competing against each other players act as a team to win the game. Players have to think strategically and communicate with one another. Utilizing character's individual strengths and gaining HOGWARTS cards ally characters, spells, and magical items draws all the players into the game and gets everyone participating. It really is great for a family game night or to play among a group of friends.
The HOGWARTS BATTLE cooperative deck-building card game from USAopoly has earned A Geek Daddy nod of approval for being an out-of-the-ordinary game playing experience that is really fun to engage in plus is filled with many of the elements that have made the Harry Potter franchise popular with kids and adults alike. For more information about the game, please visit the USAopoly website. Harry Potter HOGWARTS BATTLE is available to purchase from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Entertainment Earth, GameStop and the Warner Brothers Shop.