If I called Harry Potter a worldwide sensation, that may still be an understatement.
After 20 years!
Editor’s Note: Click here to skip to the list of games
If the most recent generation of kids were not already familiar with the Harry Potter universe, the recent movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will help draw them in.
And as one might expect with such continuing success and fandom, a seemingly endless amount of merchandise, including games, follows.
We’ll leave the replica items and clothing to others. But, what I have for you here is an array of board games that use the Harry Potter universe. Some are entirely brand new games, while others use a Harry Potter skin on top of a previously existing game.
You can find a lengthy, though probably not exhaustive, list at the end of this article. But first, I want to highlight several that are not necessarily the best Harry Potter board games (though they are to me), but games I think you owe it to yourself to play (and possibly even own).
Four Harry Potter Board Games to Play
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle has appeared on a number of top 10 games of 2016 lists (and comes in at #31 on our aggregated best board games of 2016 list). And quite deservedly so!
It is a deck-building, cooperative game. As someone who comes from a long line of deck building games (e.g., Magic the Gathering) but not so much cooperative, Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is a nice change of pace.
It is a cooperative game that involves 2-4 players working in concert to defeat villains from the books.
And it manages to avoid one of the pitfalls of competitive games: the dominance of one player coordinating everything. Each deck is complicated enough to require players to communicate in order to achieve the common goal.
Never played a deck building game before?
No worries! The first few years (the game is divided into seven sub-games that reflect each book) will get you acclimated. And the years act as a de facto difficulty level so gameplay can be targeted to beginner or more experienced players.
Unless you decide that deckbuilding games are just not for you, I expect you’ll be pulling this one off the shelf quite often for family game nights! And, now, you can even get an expansion for it.
You can read a more extensive overview (with pictures from inside the box) on our site.
And if a video review is what you’re looking for, Tom Vassal has completed one:
Hogwarts: House Cup Challenge
Prior to last year’s release of Hogwarts Battle, House Cup Challenge was my go-to Harry Potter board game. Now, it is still well worth owning, though, like many Harry Potter board games that have not been recently released; you will want to go check eBay before dropping way too much on Amazon.
You can currently find a complete version of the game for around $30-$45 (including shipping) at the auction house. And, in my mind, that is well worth the price if you play board games with any regularity.
If not, though, I couldn’t blame you for passing this one up for some of the more recent releases.
As for the game itself, you assume the role of Harry, Hermoine, Ron, or Neville as you race to accumulate more points than your opponent. You collect points by completing adventures which may require you to have accrued certain skill levels. The adventure cards can also be used strategically to slow down an opponent if he/she does not have the requisite skills.
Much of the strategy stems from each player deciding what 3 actions to complete each turn: put cards on the board, draw cards, move, or try to pass a test.
Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts
Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts (3862) is not to be confused with any of the myriad Lego Harry Potter building sets available (though, those are terribly good fun, too!). Instead, I am referring to a building kit that doubles as a board game.
But, it wouldn’t be Lego if you didn’t have to build something first. Before playing, you follow 25 pages of instructions which culminates in a miniaturized version of Hogwarts.
The game relies on rolling a cool, Lego customizable die for gameplay. But, rather than a simple die-rolling game, Lego Hogwarts manages to add a bit of fun and mischief (managed!).
One of the faces of the die represents rotate which allows you to pick up any staircase and rotate it. Not so bad when it’s only two players. But, it can become quite frantic when trying to reach the common room (a required task to win the game) and the three other players are actively changing the gameboard to impede you. But, eventually, someone will collect all of the required homework, return to the common room, and win.
And if the basic game is not enough, it has a few advanced rules that include Dumbledore and Mrs. Norris.
To get a sense of this part of the gameplay, you can watch a brief video segment:
Since the game is discontinued, it’s price is absolutely ridiculous on Amazon (around $115 is the cheapest listing at this moment). However, you can find a copy for around $23, shipping included, on Ebay.
Trivial Pursuit: World of Harry Potter
To be honest, there is absolutely nothing fancy about the Harry Potter themed Trivial Pursuit. It is quite simply a trivia game that is loosely based on Trivial Pursuit: wedge-shaped carrying case, 6 categories/colors of questions per card, and a healthy stack of trivia cards (100 cards / 600 questions).
However, its simplicity is why I have included it on the list. It is the perfect game to take with you to alleviate the boredom that can quite often occur on long road trips while also engaging the entire family (except that one family member who refuses to watch Harry Potter).
Diehard Harry Potter fans may find the questions too easy because the game covers all seven books with the 600 questions. So, with only 80-90 questions per book, the question writers did not have to dig too deep. But, this can also be beneficial as not everyone has devoured the books 6 times each. Eh, who’s counting?
And one extra: Harry Potter Trading Card Game (TCG)
The Harry Potter Trading Card Game was initially released in 2001 during what I consider the height of trading card games. At the same time, prominent card games like Magic, Pokemon, and Yu-gi-oh were being released; in addition to myriad other card games.
The game created an immersive universe for children that quickly catapulted it to the 2nd most popular toy according to one list. Unfortunately, the game is now out of print.
However, that need not stop you from finding cards online, particularly through eBay. A two player starter set can be acquired for rough $12 and you can buy bulk cards for around $.04 each. Rarer and more powerful cards will cost you more.
Players each have 60-card decks that use to duel one another. In all, there were roughly 500 unique cards printed across 5 different sets.
And, as promised, one to absolutely avoid:
Harry Potter Quidditch, the Game
Harry Potter Quidditch, not to be confused with the generally loved Playstation 2 video game, may not be the worst Harry Potter board game but it is one of the better looking. And that’s why I’m listing it as one to avoid. Because it should be better than it is!
Of course, there is a forum thread on the web entitled “What to do with this piece of junk?”. That may be all you need to know.
Game logistics are:
- Randomly place tokens, one of which is the golden snitch, onto a hex-tiled board.
- Divided participants into two teams if more than two players.
- When you land on a quaffle, attempt to shoot it with a catapult. Consensus seems to be that the chances of actually scoring through this method are essentially zero.
- Eventually someone lands on the tile hiding the snitch. Just hopefully it was the seeker so everyone can be put of their misery.
If you are not dissuaded or you just like playing painful games, then you can pick up a copy for around $20 on eBay.
List of other Harry Potter Games
- Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets Trivia – uses a quidditch framework to surround a trivia game
- Harry Potter Mystery at Hogwarts – Harry Potter themed Clue
- Harry Potter Triwizard Maze Game – Reminiscent of Trouble but with some twists
To be honest, there are more Harry Potter themed games, but none of them seem particularly interesting outside of possibly the Scene It? games. If that’s your thing,