Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle: Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA) is the latest release in the Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle series of board games. A game which can be enjoyed equally by avid Potterheads and those individuals newly introduced to the Harry Potter franchise. No specific Harry Potter knowledge is required in order to explore all the features offered by this fast-paced, entertaining game, neither the experience of having already played and enjoyed one of the other existing Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle board games.
DADA is a standalone game. It combines the best features of the previous ‘Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle: A Cooperative Deck Building Game’ games and takes these games in a different direction, adding a new competitive twist to the gameplay. This results in an immersive, two player duel, competitive board game. For those who have played Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle A Cooperative Deck Building Game and longed for the chance to battle competitively, instead of working cooperatively with their friends and family, then this game fits the bill!
Game Set Up
DADA retains the deck building theme of the existing games and is be played by a minimum and maximum of two players. Once familiar with the rules the game takes 5 – 10 minutes to set up and the rules are easy to learn and memorable. A small flat surfaced is required to set up the game, which means the game can be played in small spaces, unlike some of the previous Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle games.
Those that have played one of the previous Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle games, will find a lot of familiarity within the rule book and pick up the game extremely quickly. For those which have not, will find this game a great introduction into the world and series of Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle games.
The aim of the game is to be the first player, (wizard), to “stun” their opponent three times and claim victory in their duel and obtain glory for one of the four well known houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!
First chose which of the four well known houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry you wish to play as. DADA is played over a number of game rounds, with each player taking it in turns to play through their hand, until one player has been knocked off the game board, otherwise known as getting “stunned” three times.
Each player starts with a small deck of ten cards, taking five in hand at a time and has to work throughout the game to grow and acquire further spells, items, and allies to strengthen their deck, not only from their alleged house, but others too. Cards within a player’s deck will offer the chance for the player to gain attacks, lives, or influence, which is used to buy additional cards to add to their deck.
Each round a player must try to knock their opponent off the game board, as they move their opponent’s player token backwards towards the edge of the game board closest to their opponent, one step at a time. Building a varied, strong deck is key to winning a round/game, but also adapting dynamically and quickly to the deck the player’s opponent is building.
I Hex You
A new type of card not seen in the series before is introduced in Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle: Defense Against the Dark Arts which is the “Hex” card. The Hex card has a negative effect on a player’s deck or their opponents. For example, requiring a player to discard a card from their hand.
The major characters from throughout all the eight Harry Potter films are available to acquire. Exploring the cards as they appear is an exciting part of the gameplay, never knowing what card may be acquirable next!
Each game round varies in length but usually an entire game would be completed within 60 - 90 minutes, depending on the number of rounds played for a player to win.
It may have been better to have die-cast figures to use as the player tokens, instead of the cardboard house shields, to add an even more premium feel to the game, but the cardboard markers do suffice.
DADA makes enjoying the Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle series of games possible when you may find you do not have as much time to spare, for the full Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle experience.
For those wishing to play competitively and not cooperatively the game truly opens up this possibility. DADA is a truly enjoyable game which has a huge amount of replayability. No two games are ever the same as you work to build a unique deck in each game, exploring different strategies and techniques for building the strongest possible deck.
The game is truly immersive leaving you imagining yourself drawing your wand to face one of your fellow classmates in The Great Hall at Hogwarts.