Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - Defense Against the Dark Arts, the review

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - Defense Against the Dark Arts, the review
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - Defense Against the Dark Arts, published by The Op and published in our country by Asmodee Italia, is a competitive card board game for two players aged eleven and up, set in the magical world of Harry Potter, the more than famous wizard born from the pen of British writer JK Rowling.

A spin-off of the acclaimed cooperative board game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, this Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - Defense Against the Dark Arts is not an expansion of the previous title, but a game in itself that incorporates some mechanics, in addition to the stylistic setting. The aim of the game will be to defeat your opponent in a magic duel, stunning him three times.

Defending Against the Dark Arts

In the world of Harry Potter, you know, there are many the dangers a wizard may face, but nothing is as fearsome as a user of the Dark Arts, a Death Eater follower of He - Who - Must - Not - Be - Named. It is therefore important that the students of Hogwarts, the most prestigious school of witchcraft and wizardry, are ready to face any challenges that they will have to face in the future, and this is therefore the reason why the Defense Against the Dark Arts course.

During this course, pupils learn spells and hexes, such as Disarm and Slam, and learn how to summon counter spells and counterfactures. The program includes the study of Dark Creatures, from Elves to Dementors, and the learning of specific spells to deal with them. At an advanced level, Curses and non-verbal Spells are studied. To practice, students often face each other in real magic duels wands in hand, always absolutely non-lethal, which take place on the regulation platform, in what closely resembles a fencing assault.

In Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - Defense Against the Dark Arts, all this is masterfully transported to the game table, thanks to a board that represents the aforementioned platform, tokens representing the students of the various houses of the wizarding school and a selection of spells, items, allies and hexes, all represented through cards that participants can play.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - Defense Against the Dark Arts, the setup

In Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - Defense Against the Dark Arts, players must first choose a home from the four available (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, present in the game with their respective names in English ) and take the relevant piece and place it on your side of the Training Board, in the position closest to the center of the board. Finally, they will have to choose an initial ally among owl, cat or toad. The cards representing the house are double-sided, with a different house on each side, and between the game material there are two pawns for each house, so players can also choose the same house they belong to. In addition, there are also two copies of the starting allies.

The starting ally chosen, together with a copy of the Wand card, one of the Cauldron card and seven cards of the Alohomora spell, will form the starting deck of the player, from which he will then have to draw the five cards that will form his hand.

You will then have to shuffle the deck of Hogwarts cards and place four face up next to the word "Class" on the game board. These are the cards available for purchase and show their cost in the lower right corner. Each time a player purchases one of these cards, a new Hogwarts card must be drawn to take the place of the newly purchased one in the space next to the board. A small deck made up of the eight Book cards present in the game will then be placed face up next to the word Library, present on the training board. Finally, next to the relevant writing, the pack of Hex cards will be placed.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - Defense Against the Dark Arts, the game

If you are familiar with the game from cooperative table Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, you can approach Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - Defense Against the Dark Arts without any problem. As in the original game, in fact, each player will start with a personal deck of ten cards and during the game will buy new cards to add to their deck, to become more powerful.

A game of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - Defense Against the Dark Arts takes place over multiple rounds in which players will attempt to stun their opponent. Whoever succeeds in this attempt for a total of three times will be declared the winner. Each round, in turn, will be divided into rounds in which players take turns to carry out their game strategy.

A player begins his turn with five cards in hand. If three of these should be one or more Invoice cards, the player must first resolve the effects. Next, the active player will play the cards in his hand, consisting of Spells, Items and Allies, to generate some effects: gain Attack tokens (shaped like a lightning bolt), Health tokens (heart shaped) or Influence tokens (shaped like a currency). Some cards, then, will be associated with very specific houses and will provide the player who played them with an additional effect, if this is the house they are associated with or if it is one of the allies he has in play.

Then, the player will use the tokens he has earned. The Attack tokens will allow you to hit the opponent and push his counter one space back for each token, along the training board and towards the "Stunned" box, to win the round. The Health markers, on the other hand, will allow the player to recover and move his pawn towards the center of the training board, one space for each marker, thus moving away from the “Stunned. Finally, Influence tokens can be spent to purchase one or more of the face up cards in the Class zone or from the Library. Once purchased, the new card will be added to the player's discard pile.

Once played, the cards will be discarded at the end of their turn and returned to the discard pile, with the exception of Ally cards; these will be placed in front of you and will remain in play until the end of the current round, providing their effects to the player in each of his turns. Likewise, any unused tokens during the turn will also be discarded.

The Slytherin player is about to be stunned! The player then draws a new hand of five cards from their deck before passing the turn to their opponent. If there are not enough cards in their deck, the player will shuffle the discard pile to form a new deck, which will then contain all the new cards purchased and any invoices suffered. Then, the other player's turn will begin.

Once a player's token is pushed back to the "Stunned" space on the game board, that player must take a Stunned token and place it in the appropriate space on his Home card. This ends the current duel round and the players prepare the game for another battle. Each player will then shuffle all their cards, including the Allied ones and those acquired during the round just ended, to create a new deck and will draw five cards to start over. Both players return their pawn to the center and the player who lost the previous round will choose who goes first. Once a player has been stunned three times, the game ends. Thus, the first player to stun the opponent three times wins the game.

The Materials

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - Defense Against the Dark Arts, as far as the materials used are concerned and the aesthetic aspect, is based on respectable levels. The visually evocative box is made of rather resistant cardboard and inside it has a plastic separator that can more than comfortably house all the game components. The training board is also made of very sturdy cardboard and is pleasing to the eye, although a few more trappings, such as the moon phase motif on the training platform that can be seen in the Harry Potter films. , would not have disturbed. All the tokens and tokens are also made of top quality cardboard, not to mention the Stunned tokens, made of metal, a real feast for the eyes.

The only undertone is the cards. Although they are extremely beautiful from a visual point of view, recalling objects and characters from the film saga, they are made of a cardboard with a not particularly high weight and could be damaged quite easily, especially taking into account the numerous times in which the decks will have to be mixed. Card sleeves might be a good solution.


Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - Defense Against the Dark Arts turns out to be a simplified and lighter version of the title of which it is a spin- off and manages in an optimal way to return the feeling of being really intent on practicing casting spells and defending against them, as well as placing the player in the magical setting of the world of Harry Potter.

The recommended age for the game is starting from the age of eleven, but given the extreme simplicity of the rules we have found that even younger players will know how to have fun with this title, although at the beginning they may not grasp all the subtleties of the deck building mechanics and knowing how not to buy one card, in favor of another. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - Defense Against the Dark Arts, with the help of an adult, could indeed be an excellent game to teach children what it means to create an optimal deck, to then introduce them over time to more complex titles. It therefore turns out to be a game perfectly suited to the whole family.

A game aimed at…

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - Defense Against the Dark Arts is a product that is certainly aimed at everyone fans of the British wizard and his world, regardless of their age. Despite being quite simple and not at all innovative in terms of game mechanics, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - Defense Against the Dark Arts still turns out to be a fun title to play for two people (which is no small thing, in this lockdown period) and a great filler to use before engaging in some more challenging games or to occupy your spare time in a fun way. Recommended.

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