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Codenames Harry Potter Review

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All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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Hopefully, you have a Pensieve or Felix Felicis at the ready, because you might need it to successfully contact the Order of the Phoenix members while avoiding Death Eaters in Codenames Harry Potter. 

Codenames: Harry Potter Review

6.5 out of 10
Codenames Harry Potter Review Block A Pair of Meeples

Is it Good For Two Players? : Probably the best player count

If you’re not familiar with the Codename games, all you need to know is that this game is a great cooperative, word, party-style game that works even with just two players.  There are very few if any other good games in this category.

While we do think this version of the game is great for fans of the theme it does have less replayability compared to the original, just due to the fact, that you can only sit down and play a Harry Potter word-guessing game for so long, even if you are the biggest Harry Potter nerd.

Theme: 7/10
Replayability: 3/10
Components: 5/10
Conflict: 0/10
Fun: 4/10

His Rating
6 out of 10
Her Rating
7 out of 10

Pros

Incorporates the theme pretty well

The addition of pictures on one side of the card adds a little bit more variety to the game

Uses scenes, stills, and pictures from actual movies

Cons

Not as replayable since it's limited to a single theme

Giving clues feels a more difficult

Components are a step down from the original, especially the agent (Order of the Phoenix and Death Eater) cards

Gameplay Experience:

Codenames Harry Potter Review

Codenames Harry Potter is a game that was never high up on our wish list, but the other day we saw it on the clearance shelf and decided to try it.  It wasn’t until we sat down to play that I realized that this version of the game was based on Codenames Duet, not the original.

We might’ve played it sooner if we had realized this, because every time I saw it while shopping all I could think was how can anybody get a group of people to sit down and play a Harry Potter edition of Codenames enough times to justify the cost of the game.  

If you’ve been with us for a while you might know that Codenames Duet is a favorite of ours as seen in our review here: Codenames Duet Review, and we’re also fans of Harry Potter, so after discovering this newfound information we were beginning to be a little bit more optimistic about the game.

It didn’t take us long to play a couple of rounds since it plays exactly like Codenames Duet, just with Harry Potter themed words.  This surprisingly made the game a bit more difficult, even if you’re pretty knowledgeable about the wizarding world like ourselves.  

There are only so many single words you can use to describe muggles and muggle things.  

While the game is almost identical to the original Codenames Duet in every way except the theme, it does have one main difference, and that is the fact that the word cards are double-sided with pictures from the movies on one side.  

This is a nice addition to this version of the game and does add some extra variety, which is much needed when limiting the game to a single theme.  The pictures do make the game a little easier since clues can be more obvious but they’re still a nice way to mix things up.

Overall if you’ve played Codenames Duet, you pretty much know what to expect with Codenames Harry Potter.  It’s the same game, just Harry Potter themed.

How to Play Harry Potter Codenames Rules Summary:

Below is a brief overview of how Harry Potter Codenames works, but we’re not going to go too in depth on the rules since it plays so similarly to the original Codenames Duet, which you can find our rules summary here: Codenames Duet Review

First, a grid (5 x 5) of word cards is placed between the players, and a key card is selected for that round.

The key card indicates which word cards correspond to members of the Order of the Phoenix and which lead to Death Eaters.  Players will come up with single-word clues that hopefully apply to as many Order of the Phoenix members as possible.  

Codenames Harry Potter Key Cards

They will give their teammate the clue word and a number that specifies how many cards that clue applies to.  Then their teammate will attempt to guess which cards the clue (and possibly previous clues) was referring to.  Each correct answer is marked with a member of the Order of the Phoenix tile.

An incorrect guess ends the turn and if a player accidentally chooses a card that corresponds to a death eater, they lose the game. Players have limited turns to correctly find all the word cards (Order of the Phoenix members), but if they do so they win the game. 

Codenames Harry Potter Agent Cards Order of the Phoenix Members and Death Eater

That’s a very quick rundown of how to play the game, but hopefully gives you an idea of how it works if you’re unfamiliar with any of the Codenames games.

The only main difference in this version of Codenames Duet is the addition of picture cards.  These are optional to use and do make clue-giving slightly easier in our opinion.  The picture and word cards can also be mixed and used together in a single round.

Codenames Harry Potter Word and Picture Cards

Conclusion:

Codenames Duet is a great two player game, and the Harry Potter version sticks to its trusted formula.  

If you’re not familiar with the Codename games, all you need to know is that this game is a great cooperative, word, party-style game that works even with just two players.  There are very few if any other good games in this category, so if you’re looking for a game that checks all those boxes this or the standard Duet version is probably the one.  

These games can be a little too tough for some people though, specifically those who might struggle to think outside of the box or get a little creative.  Others might even find it stressful or frustrating when being the clue giver due to the difficulty and broadness of the task at hand.  

This is more true for Codenames Harry Potter which makes clue giving more difficult in general, especially if you are someone who doesn’t know what you would get if you added a powder root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood, or where to find a bezoar, or the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane.

The original version is much broader in terms of theme allowing for more unique combinations of words that cover a wider range of categories which in turn allows for more creative clues and ultimately less frustrating and difficult gameplay.

While we do think this version of the game is great for fans of the theme it does have less replayability compared to the original, just due to the fact, that you can only sit down and play a Harry Potter word-guessing game for so long, even if you are the biggest Harry Potter nerd.

So to sum it all up, Codenames Harry Potter is a great gift for fans of the theme and the added pictures are a nice touch, but strictly speaking the original Codenames Duet will likely be the better version overall for most, at least in terms of staying power and replayability.

Is Codenames Harry Potter Good For 2 Players?

This version of the game is based on Codenames Duet, one of our favorite two player games, so in terms of gameplay, I feel we can pretty safely say it is good at this player count.  

Of course, you can play it with more if you wish, but in our opinion, it probably plays best with just two.  It’s easier to think and give clues without the commotion of extra people.  Not to mention, like we said earlier it would probably be fairly difficult to find a bunch of people to sit down and play this one with you. Just one other person who likes Harry Potter though… that’s a bit more manageable.

Pros:

  • Incorporates the theme pretty well
  • The addition of pictures on one side of the card adds a little bit more variety to the game
  • Uses scenes, stills, and pictures from actual movies

Cons:

  • Not as replayable since it’s limited to a single theme
  • Giving clues feels a little harder
  • Components are a step down from the original, especially the agent (Order of the Phoenix and Death Eater) cards.

CODENAMES: Board Game , Based on Harry Potter Films , Officially Licensed Merchandise
CODENAMES: Board Game , Based on Harry Potter Films , Officially Licensed Merchandise
CODENAMES: Board Game , Based on Harry Potter Films , Officially Licensed Merchandise

We hope this Harry Potter Codenames two player review has helped you.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site's costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


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