This is a review of an expansion. To learn about the base game first, click here.
When we fall in love with a book, or a movie, or a game, it’s only natural to want more. Well, Harry Potter, boy wizard, has dabbled in all three of those mediums, and indeed there have sequels, and series, and expansions to each. I was really impressed with Harry Potter Hogwart’s Battle when I first tried it.
I had been expecting a not-so-great deckbuilder with a HP theme slapped on, but it was obviously a game that was made with a lot of love by fans of the series. They brilliantly increased the complexity of the game across seven different ‘books’. Each one, added a new rule, or more difficult villains, or more powerful spells. It was a great way to introduce fans of the books and movies to a new sort of game they may have not been familiar with. Eventually, in the final book players had to square off with Volde…he who must not be named in his full power. It got to be quite tough, and I lost a number of times before finally taking that bald bastard down! You could continue to play the game after winning that climactic battle, but some of the excitement had worn off a bit. So, just like the books and movies, it wasn’t long before the fans wishes were answered and an expansion hit the market.
The Harry Potter Hogwart’s Battle Monster Box of Monsters Expansion adds more of what people love about the core game, plus introduces some interesting new elements, the most exciting of which, is that you can play as Luna Lovegood, which is just darn awesome! Luna comes with her own set of starting cards including a Crumple-Horned Snorkack as an Ally and Spectrespecs, which allow you to look at the top card of the Dark Arts Events deck and return it or discard it.
Similar to the core box, the Monster Box of Monsters expansion adds components and complexity gradually (in this case through Boxes). As players progress through games, they can add new boxes for additional challenges. It also adds Encounter cards, Detention cards, and Creature and Villain-Creature cards.
Creature cards are very similar to Villain cards and they’re shuffled in with the Villain cards at the start of the game. Because they are classified as Creatures, some cards will be effected by that classification (for example, Harry’s Firebolt won’t give him a reward for defeating a Creature).
Encounter cards are tied to the Creatures in a game and represent some sort of task or event that affects gameplay for the student wizards. Usually if certain cards are played or acquired during the turn the condition is met and the active player can collect the Encounter card, placing it in front of them. Once collected, the Encounter can provide an ongoing benefit to the owner. Encounter cards also act as another sort of timer for the game. If all of the Villains and Creatures have been defeated and all of the Encounters have been resolved, the students win! Huzzah! You can go on to the next Box and keep your magical education going.
The way HPHB is designed you want to keep discovering new rules and challenges. The Monster Box of Monsters opens some new elements to the game that keep everything fresh, fun, and challenging. It’s a must buy if you’re a fan of the original.