Talisman - Harry Potter, the review: the iconic board game lands at Hogwarts

Talisman - Harry Potter, the review: the iconic board game lands at Hogwarts

Talisman - Harry Potter, the review

Are you among those who have spent your life waiting for your personal Hogwarts enrollment letter? Then the board game we are going to tell you about in this review is definitely on your side. We are talking about Talisman - Harry Potter, a title published in Italy by Asmodee that takes up the classic themes of the well-known 1983 fantasy board game and transports them into the magical world created by the British writer J. K. Rowling. You can choose to fight against Lord Voldemort as a member of the Order of the Phoenix or follow his teachings as a Death Eater, plus you will visit all the iconic locations of the Harry Potter universe as you strengthen your character to prepare for the final battle. You will get lost inside the wonderful world of magic and power, but let's find out more in this review.

Talisman - Harry Potter: unboxing and materials

Before delving into the numerous game mechanics, let's start analyzing Talisman - Harry Potter from a purely aesthetic and qualitative point of view. The game box, with its rather generous dimensions and weight, is truly wonderful both for the quality of the materials used, which make it resistant and sturdy when moving, and for the aesthetics thanks to very colorful prints and perfectly in tune with the theme of the game. Once opened, inside, stored in a convenient plastic organizer, there are 1 Game Board, 4 6-sided dice, 9 character miniatures, 9 Character Cards with unique statistics and abilities, 100 Encounter Cards, 24 Spell cards , 6 Stat Boards with Discs, 21 Purchase Cards, 20 Galleons (Coins), 2 Ferret Cards (Transfigured Player), 36 Doom Tokens, 3 Deathly Hallows Cards, 1 Advantage Token and the Rules.| ); }
The materials used are all of good quality, the graphics incorporate the iconic images of the films and the miniatures are very detailed and very realistic even if perhaps some elements could be a little too fragile, such as for example the tiny magic wands held by each of the characters in the game. The large game board, made of thick cardboard, is rich in details for each setting and very colorful, but not at all confusing so that each player can recognize exactly where he is. The cards are made of mesh cardboard and are of different sizes between the character ones and the rest. The prints are magnificent and also very large so that they can be used by anyone, the general dimensions of the cards, however, could make the board very full at some point in the game, risking to lead to some confusion. We appreciated, however, the abolition of counters or cones for statistics, replaced by convenient cardboard discs that are much more comfortable and functional.

An adventure against or alongside Lord Voldemort

As for the game mechanics, if you've played the original Talisman, this version of Harry Potter will feel very familiar to you. But if this was your first Talisman, don't worry because it doesn't take long to learn it although the rules and the rich game board can give the feeling of being somewhat intimidating and complex. Talisman - Harry Potter is a game for 2 - 6 players over the age of 11 and with a decidedly variable average duration, but which is around 90 - 120 minutes. It all starts with choosing the characters you want to play. The Regulation says to choose at random, but clearly it will be natural for you to take your favorite characters among those present. The only advice we would like to give you is to choose, even in an unequal way, Death Eaters and members of the Order of the Phoenix so that not only makes the game more lively, but also more fun in the combat phases.

Character growth takes time and effort, but it certainly won't be boring because you can visit the famous magical places in a board reminiscent of a mixture of Monopoly and Game of the Goose. This is in turn divided into three parts: the Outer Region, the Central Region and the Inner Region. In order to try to win the game, you have to make your way into Hogwarts Castle, walk through the classrooms until you reach the Great Hall where the Dark Lord awaits. In each of the places on the board you can fight someone or select an objective to follow. The latter damage enemies to fight, special items, followers to collect or even the possibility of acquiring bonuses. Followers, for example, are particularly useful as they give mini bonuses while having their card in hand (among them you can find the beloved Dobby or the generous Neville Longbottom who, of course, will help the Members of the Phoenix).

An articulated and far from simple journey

Starting with the first player, going clockwise, everyone will play their turn and continue like this until at least one player wins. Each game turn is divided into two phases, namely Movement and Encounters. At the beginning of his turn, each player is forced to move and to do this, he must roll a die and move a number of squares equal to the result obtained. To pass into an inner circle (but not to exit it) it is necessary to pass a test, but in the Inner Region the movement is different: after throwing the dice, you have to halve the result by default to see how many steps to move. In addition to the players, Voldermort could also move: every time a player rolls a 1 with the die (for movement only), he moves and before resolving the finish square effect, he will roll another die to move the Voldemort miniature. If Voldemort ends his movement on a square occupied by a player, the Clash is triggered.

The Encounter phase is the main one of the game since after the movement, the player will have to activate the effects of the square in which he stopped (generally he will ask to draw Encounter cards from the relative deck of the region in which he has stopped. find, draw spells or roll the dice to activate different effects (positive or negative) of that location). Some squares will already have cards face up on them because they are in possession of undefeated enemies or simply objects left by other players. A player could stop on a square occupied by an opponent and in this case he may decide not to activate the effects of the arrival square, but to attack the other player. Don't forget, then, that you can earn bonus points, but you can also lose Health. Each defeat in battle causes a drop in life points and when you are not strong enough to face the One who must not be named, you will be taken to the San Mungo Hospital and forced to start the adventure all over again. Do not be hasty and arrogant because the challenges present in the classrooms of Hogwarts are not simple.

The fights, in any case, can be against real opponents or against "virtual" enemies. In the second case, the type of combat will be established by the card itself depending on whether it is Power or Magic. First you look at whether the player can dodge the fight, thanks to the effect of the character's spells or special abilities. If the fight continues, the player will be able to activate spells, followers and items that improve the values ​​of the characteristic useful for the fight. At this point, after adding up all the bonuses, the player rolls a die and adds up the result. Then roll the die for the enemy and add the result to the value printed on the card. The results are: victory (a trophy is won), a draw (nothing happens and the round ends) or defeat (the player loses health and ends the round). If there are multiple enemies to fight and they have the same resolution number and attack type, they will fight together with their attack values ​​added together. The fight against real opponents, i.e. players from the opposite faction, works like that against enemies, except that you choose only the Magic and not the Power and the winner can choose whether to make the loser lose a point of health, steal an object from him (Gift of Death included), steal a Galleon or a Follower from him (only if he defeats him like an enemy, as if he were a trophy).

Final objective: to defeat Voldemort or prove to him that you are a worthy helper

When a character reaches the penultimate space, The Room of Requirement, the player will have to stop and discard a Deathly Gift to be able to stay there. At this point you can enter the Great Hall and meet Lord Voldemort. The combat works exactly as described above taking into account only the Magic: if the sum of the player's bonuses is higher than that of the Dark Lord (i.e. 12) and his possible helper, he will win the game by concluding the Second Magic War. If, however, the sum is less than Voldemort's, he will have to return to the first square of the Inner Region and try another attack by overcoming all the inner squares again.

"You are good, but that luck! ”

The Potterheads will love the immersion of Talisman - Harry Potter thanks to the presence of numerous familiar faces and many famous magical places. There is also the possibility of transfiguring yourself or someone else into a ferret, so in short, what could be more fun? The dense regulation and the full board of visual elements might put off the first adventurers, because they suggest a much more complicated game than it really is. Furthermore, if you have played Talisman before, the regulation has a section that you can directly skip by passing to the peculiar elements of this version. Nice idea that the Followers of a certain faction are automatically enemies for the opposite faction and, moreover, not everyone can do or have everything because it also depends on their alignment. In this regard, we really appreciated the growth of the character that occurs thanks to the Followers, the objects and the trophies conquered during the game, giving a very interesting sense of adventure. Compared to the classic Talisman, moreover, the Encounter cards are many and divided both by region and by difficulty so as not to risk catching a very powerful enemy after a few minutes of play.

Unfortunately, however, not all that glitters is gold because what somehow destroys the fantastic magical atmosphere is the very high random factor given by the roll of the dice and the drawing of the cards. The fights and movements are determined by it, but at the same time some negative events can happen suddenly and therefore Destiny Tokens have been inserted that allow you to reroll the dice only once. Each player can randomly make some decisions that can help how to make the situation worse and of course, card drawing could also favor some instead of others. Undoubtedly these are peculiar characteristics of the game, but in short, if someone were to sit at the table thinking that they were in control of everything, let's say that sometimes the game will even control you players. Therefore we recommend to play Talisman - Harry Potter in as many players as possible so as to create more battles and more strategy by limiting not just the luck factor.


In conclusion Talisman - Harry Potter is a board game that perfectly pays homage to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter by transposing it into the now iconic Talisman mechanics. There is a good balance between fun and competitiveness, especially when fighting with other players because a certain genuine drama is added to the game. It is also a title that works very well in 6 players and these days it's really hard to find any. We recommend it to those who are approaching more complex games gradually and love Harry Potter, but also to those who accept a high random factor and do not take it if sometimes things do not go as they had planned for many turns. The pitfalls are around the corner or behind a roll of a dice, in one turn you are alive and perky, in the other you can be in the infirmary, it's part of the game!

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