The Charms and Potions Expansion is the new expansion to the magical co-operative deckbuilding game, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle. This latest addition to this bewitching game brings another playable character, exciting charm abilities, and powerful potions for you to brew in your fight against more villains and encounters!
Heading to Hogwarts
It’s a jam-packed expansion, bringing it with a new board so you can increase your player count and a bunch of new, smaller boards that are placed above your life tracker. This new board is your charm ability, and you choose this at the beginning of the game from a variety of options. You can pick an ability to supplement your character’s ability, or you can try and shore up a weakness there. Hermione is all about using a lot of spells, so the Cheering charm might be for you - that also wants you to use a lot of spells during your turn. You might enjoy planning ahead for that one huge turn, so Permanent Sticking could be an option! Letting you save coins or damage counters until your next turn, this is perhaps the highlight of the box.
The other half of the expansion - potions - doesn’t feature until the second of four packs within the game, but it’s a belter. There’s a new fold-out board - called the Potions Cupboard - that goes beside the mainboard, and on top of that, you place a small overlay that gives you different goals to hit each turn. Any goals you meet, you get to pick a potion token from that shelf of the cupboard. You then place it on one of the two face-up potion cards at the bottom of the board. Once you’ve added all the necessary ingredients, you get the card! Beware though, there are new potion-specific Dark Arts cards here to ruin your day…
Lastly, of course, we have new cards for the Hogwarts, villain-creature, Dark Arts, encounter and location decks.
During your turn, you’re able to use your charms ability, and that’s predicated on your health level. The lower your health, the more effective the ability. For instance, using Permanent Sticking - the top levels of health let you save coins, the middle levels let you save coins and damage, and the lower level lets you give unspent coins and damage to the next player. More than once I found myself choosing not to heal myself so I could use those better abilities.
At the end of your turn, you go to the aforementioned Potions Cupboard, and this is such a great addition to the game, I wonder how I even enjoyed it before! There are different two-sided overlays in the game, so you will have a good variety of goals to hit - some particularly challenging.
Does Magic Equal Might?
This is such a fun expansion to the game. My one gripe with the Monster Box of Monsters expansion was that it just made the game harder, but not necessarily more enjoyable. It’s not the kind of challenge you’re probably going to enjoy beating, it’s just frustrating. Charms and Potions, however, is marvellous. We loved the new abilities, we loved using Ginny, and we loved loved loved the Potions Cupboard. Getting to pick up these new Potions cards using a different mechanic than your standard cards-coins-more cards deckbuilding fare is very refreshing, and some of the abilities are spellbinding.
This is a must-have if you enjoy this fantastic game, and even if you were on the fence with the base game, this could well turn you into a fan.