Harry Potter Board Games: Tabletop Wizardry
Harry Potter is one of the most well-known series of books and films ever. But until 2016 the collection of available board games had been somewhat lacking. The range and variety is still hugely lacking, but with a significant release in 2016 and an upcoming miniatures game, perhaps things are looking up for more Harry Potter board games in the wizarding world. But for now we have collected the best Harry Potter board games available through mainstream channels.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a deck building game released in 2016 that sees players take on the roles of the big three (plus Neville) to fight the forces of evil that are threatening to overrun Hogwarts. Games usually take roughly 30 – 60 minutes and are best played with the maximum of 4 players. Hogwarts Battle sees players follow the Harry Potter story in line with the books. Each book has an associated deck of cards for playing that part of the story. These decks of cards contain stills from each movie depicting different characters, spells, locations and events.
The game uses fairly standard deck building mechanics. As a result it makes a great game for those new to deck building games. More experienced players will certainly find it fun, especially for those who are fans of the theme. However after a while certain elements may begin to frustrate those who enjoy more complex games. But nevertheless it is still great fun, is well made and is very satisfying to play. Highly recommended for anyone who loves Harry Potter and is into deck builders or anything more complicated than Monopoly! For a more indepth review check out the Dice Tower video review below.
The Destination series of games has been around for more than 10 years. The original version was published in 2004 and a wide variety of versions have been released since and continue to sell well. The Harry Potter release generally follows the traditional Destinations formula but gives it an interesting Harry Potter spin.
The game takes players on a journey through the famous magical school and its enchanting grounds. Players collect house points as they travel so be prepared for many shouts of “10 points for Gryffindor!!!” However watch out for the various hazards dotted around the place. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter and either love the Destinations games or are looking for something lighter to play with a family or friends then this is a great game to pick up.
Scrabble is a timeless classic that many people love. So why not spice it up a bit with a Harry Potter twist! This special edition comes with a glossary of words from the Harry Potter universe, as well as special magical cards to help players earn more points. The board also contains a number of Hogwarts spaces. When a word is formed on a Hogwarts space, the player can draw a magical card which shake up the game and offer new ways options.
Although it’s more or less a simple remake of Scrabble, the Harry Potter theme and the addition of the Harry Potter glossary, Hogwarts Spaces and Magical Cards make for an interesting twist. Definitely worth picking up if you’re a fan of scrabble and fancy something different. Also a good way to get younger fans of Harry Potter into Scrabble and to get younger kids spelling words that they may not be required to spell on a day-to-day basis.
Clue (or Cluedo) is another incredibly famous game that has been around for years. So new ideas and new themes to shake up the gameplay are always interesting. And with this Harry Potter edition the board has been truly shaken. Spinning wheels built into the board change the layout, paths and walls to constantly alter how the game plays! Additionally the players roll an additional special die labelled with the 4 houses of Hogwarts. The special die dictates which special action the players can take to alter the game. House points are another new addition to the game and add an additional game outcome where all players lose and the game is one by the dark forces. Reveal too many dark marks without having a protection card and risk losing all of your house points and being eliminated from the game.
The underlying game of Clue is definitely still present in this variation. However the changes made will help to appeal to a much wider audience, especially young children. The traditional clue can be considered somewhat inappropriate for younger children given the subject matter. However giving children the chance to make deductions and play out a cool game as their favourite characters with an ever changing board is something that will no doubt massively help to get more players interested both young and old. Highly recommended for fans of Harry Potter or Clue.
Trivial Pursuit has been around forever and has more variations than I can count. And the world of Harry Potter fits perfectly into the formula of this game. With such a vast and varied world available there are an almost unending supply of question topics. The game follows the Trivial Pursuit formula as expected but the subject matter will undoubtedly appeal to any Potter fan that wants to test their knowledge and show off to their friends.
The main difference between this version and the original (other than the theme) is the lack of a board. This makes it feel more like a question game than a board game but this has its advantages. It has the added benefit of making it much easier to travel with and is quite portable. If you’re a die-hard fan of Trivial Pursuit or Harry Potter then this is a must have.
A special mention in the world of Harry Potter games goes out to a game that very clearly does not contain any part of the Harry Potter universe. Despite this however, the theme may feel very familiar for Harry Potter fans. Set in a University of Magic, a new chancellor must be selected. Players compete for influence and to earn the votes of the board members. The player who meets the most criteria and has the most influence will be chosen for the job and win the game.
Whilst not Harry Potter there is nothing to stop you calling the University Hogwarts and the Chancellor Dumbledore. In fact this makes for quite a fun experience once you replace everything with Harry Potter names that match nicely. This game is much heavier than a lot of games on this list so will probably work better for more seasoned gamers. However that doesn’t mean it’s out of reach by any stretch. If you fancy a fun a challenge or want something meatier that can be loosely related to Harry Potter then it’s worth picking up!
Harry Potter Board Games
So there you have the best of the current crop of readily available Harry Potter board games. There are a few other Harry Potter games that have been released in the past but as far as I can tell many are out of print and can only be obtained through the likes of Ebay and charity shops. But hopefully the release of Hogwarts Battle signals a change. With such a rich and developed world it’s a shame that more isn’t being done in the board game area like has been done with Star Wars recently. But perhaps we have that to look forward to in the future.
Which Harry Potter board games do you enjoy the most? What games do you really wish they would make? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.