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Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Two Player Review

Important Note:

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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Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is probably the best Harry Potter themed board game out there, and the best introductory deck builder, and at the same time one of the most flawed games in terms of design and balance… but we still love it for what it is!

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Board Game Review

7 out of 10
Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Two Player Review Block

Is it Good For Two Players? : The best player count for this game in our opinion!

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is great for what it is, a beginner’s guide to deck-building, but once the excitement of making it through all the boxes and playing a game with a theme you’re a fan of wears off, it’s easy to see all the issues with the game.  Its extreme luck factor, poor balancing, long game length, and unpredictable nature might be too much for some, but those of us who are fans will occasionally put up with these flaws to play a semi-decent game with a theme we really enjoy.

Theme: 8/10
Replayability: 5/10
Components: 7/10
Conflict: 0/10
Fun: 6/10

Husband’s Rating
7 out of 10
Wife’s Rating
7 out of 10

Pros

Popular theme that is integrated into the game well

Legacy style boxes make the game fairly replayable

Easy to learn and play due to the trickling of new rules

Well designed board looks great and keeps the game organized

Cons

Game length is too long for what it is

Has balancing and design flaws

Game difficulty is determined too much by luck.  Some games are impossible to win, while others are too easy

Expansions and modifications are required to make game enjoyable after playing through the boxes

Gameplay Experience:

I’m going to start off by saying Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, might be one of the worst games we own that we can’t stop playing, and will never turn down a game of it. 

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Two Player Review

Harry Potter was a big part of my childhood, if not the biggest.  I went as Harry Potter for Halloween three years in a row and that’s not an exaggeration, same costume and everything. There may be a lot of controversy surrounding it now, but that doesn’t change the fact that as a young child, it was everything to me.  

As an adult, I’ve realized that my father reading the first book to me before bed and going to midnight releases of the successive books and reading them separately together (once I knew how to read on my own) is one of the few good experiences I had with him. Looking back, it seems we both enjoyed the world of Harry Potter because if you let it, allowed you to escape into a world filled with magic and wonder, a much-needed escape on occasion.

So complicated childhood and current politics aside, you could say I was pretty excited about the prospect of a Harry Potter board game.  My wife knew about my embarrassing Harry Potter fanboy past, so one Christmas she surprised me with a copy of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle.

I don’t think she knew what she was getting herself into, but we’ll get to that later.  

We were still pretty early into our board game adventures at this time so this was the first deck building game we had played, and I don’t think we could have picked a better one to start with.   This game starts with a very basic set of rules that is straightforward, and easy to learn.  It worked great for teaching us about this new category of game, as it was almost set-up as a deck building for dummies.  

We played the first game a couple of times until we were sure we were doing everything right and then got to do the super exciting task of opening the box for game 2.  This introduces a few new rules, concepts, and cards and expands upon the game just a little bit more.  

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Boxes

This concept of slowly trickling new things into a board game is not unique to Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle, but it’s one you don’t see very often, and one we think more game designers should think about adding to their games.  It keeps the game feeling fresh, exciting, and new for longer, makes it easier to learn, and allows much more variability in terms of how you want to play the game after going through all the content.

Soon, we were addicted to this new addition to our collection.  There was no question as to what we were going to play on game night, it would be Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle until we had made our way through all 7 boxes/games. 

And that’s what we did, we played through each box, getting more “game” with the additions of each.  The game got progressively harder and more complex, but never to an overwhelming extent since you only add a little bit at a time.

Eventually, we made it to the end and beat the final game, and thus experienced the full version of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle as it was intended.  We kept playing for a while after that using all the rules and new content, but soon we burnt ourselves out and decided to give it a break for a while.  

This influx of Harry Potter in our lives was great and let me reminisce and share a piece of my childhood (a good part) with my wife.  It led to her watching the movies for the first time, and then over the next few years we read the books together (my first reread as an adult). 

It wasn’t until the next Christmas that we reached for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle and we were super excited to play again.  It wasn’t the same great experience we had the first time though.  At this point, we had played a lot more great games since the last time we had gotten this to the table.

It wasn’t long into our first game back that the balancing issues, extreme luck factor, and lack of exciting new content were at the forefront of our experience.  We knew what a well designed game was now, and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle wasn’t that.

Now that sounds harsh, but it’s the truth.  It’s great for what it is, a beginner’s guide to deck-building, but once the excitement of making it through all the boxes and playing a game with a theme you’re a fan of wears off, it’s easy to see all the issues with the game.  

Does that mean we don’t play it anymore?  Of course we still do, but with a lot of house ruling, an occasional legacy story mode I created and both expansions to give it the variety it so needs after multiple plays.

So, is Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle a good game?  In our opinion, it is, especially if you’re new to deck builders and a fan of the theme.  If you want to play it well past the final game 7 box though, you’ll need to be open to some modifications and purchasing some additional expansions in order to continue enjoying it.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle Two Player Rules Summary:

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is an introductory cooperative deck builder for 2-4 players.  It plays the same with two players as it does with 4, and is a game that is simple enough to play two-handed if you wish. 

So how do you play Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle with two players?

We won’t go too in-depth on the rules because the way Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle works is that it progressively teaches you how to play over the course of 7 games in a sort of campaign-style way.  Players read a set of beginning rules, open a box for game 1 and learn the most basic form of the game.

There is a new box for each game (1-7) that includes a few additional rules, concepts, and of course cards, that slowly bring the game to its complete version.  This is great for people new to deck-building games, and actually an awesome game design in general.  We don’t want to spoil the joy of opening new boxes, so we’ll just describe the basics of how to play.

Players first select who they want to play as and have the choice of Harry, Ron, Hermoine, or Neville, with each player having their own starting deck of basic cards and a couple of character unique ones.  Players will be working together to defeat some of the most iconic villains from the books and movies. 

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Player area

Each game will have its own unique set of location cards that are used to signify the villain’s progress and show the amount of control they have.  If the villains gain full control of the last location the players lose the game.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Locations

On a player’s turn, they first reveal a certain number of dark arts cards that will have some negative effect of varying degrees, then activate any revealed villains which also causes some more evil and bad stuff to happen.  Some villains will attack the players depleting their health, some may cause them to discard cards or some even add villain control tokens to the current location.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Dark Arts Cards

If a villain or dark arts card causes a player to reach zero health, that player becomes stunned and will have to discard half of their hand and any resources they have stored and also add a control token to the location.  Your health resets at the end of your turn.

Next, the player then takes their turn, playing Hogwarts Cards from hand to gain influence or attack tokens, or take any unique effects on the cards.  After playing all their desired cards and gaining the appropriate tokens, players can then assign attack tokens to villains and use their influence to purchase new cards from the market to add to their deck.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Market

If the attack tokens assigned to a villain reach the level of health of that villain, they are defeated, and a new villain will be revealed if possible.  Once all villains have been defeated the players win the game.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Villains

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is actually quite simple to play in its most basic version, but since we don’t want to spoil anything, we’ll just say there are quite a lot of new and exciting surprises that add more and more to the game as you make your way through the 7 boxes.

Conclusion:

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is great for what it is, an introductory cooperative deck building game with a popular theme that many people can enjoy.  It’s simple to learn and play as the game slowly introduces to you new rules and concepts.  

This trickle of more “game” is a great design that allows the game to feel exciting and fresh all the way to that last box for game 7!  The first few games, even though limited in content and complexity, are new and great, and the last few games are heavier and give you the full experience of what it has to offer.

Almost everything that is a positive for Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle slowly transitions to a negative though as you continue to play the game.  Once you make your way through the boxes and play a few full games, the excitement of new boxes to open is gone.  

Once that happens, and all the content has been added you will start to see the balancing and design flaws of this game, which was so great when you first started playing it.  First, the game length is fairly absurd for what it is, and even more so when you factor in that the vast majority of games are extremely too easy or too difficult.  

On top of that, the game difficulty is so determined by luck that the villain order can make the game literally impossible or ensure your victory within the first 20 minutes of your soon to be 3 hour game, which you will still have to play through, making for a very lackluster experience.

This heavy reliance on luck of the draw also factors into the market which can be very frustrating at times. Occasionally it becomes filled with cards players can’t afford, or cards that players so desperately need just never show up. This is just the way of the game (but there has been an official rule change with one of the expansions that addresses this issue a bit).

Yet, even with all these negatives, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is in our opinion a great game, at least for beginner board gamers, and one that will always stay on our shelves.  As we said, if you’re willing to house rule a little and purchase some expansions, you can minimize a lot of those negatives we mentioned and still enjoy the game well after you make your way through its 7 boxes.  

Why put in the effort though to play a flawed game, as opposed to playing something better? I know it seems crazy, who would do such a thing, but I think many of us are still just trying to escape into that magical world like we did when we were children. Deep emotional messages aside, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is almost a great game, so close actually, that many of us think we can make minor rule tweaks to make it so (and in our opinion, you can alleviate some of its many flaws this way).

So to sum it all up, if you’re a Harry Potter fan give this game a try, even more so if you’re new to deckbuilders.  Play through what the base game has to offer and then if you’re wanting more decide if the addition of expansions or effort of finding house rules is worth it for you! You can see the house rules, and legacy/story campaign we created here: How To Make Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Better: House Rules and Legacy Campaign

Is Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Good For 2 Players?

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a great game for two players if you’re not already experienced with more complex deck builders.  And even if you are, it’s a great game to introduce to a friend or gaming partner who might not be, especially due to the fairly popular and well-liked theme that makes it easy for non-gamers to get into.

The game is dramatically easier with two players as opposed to four.  This isn’t a bad thing since this game is primarily for people new to deck-building.  Playing with four players initially can be so difficult to the point that it is actually frustrating and annoying, so in our opinion, two is the sweet spot for this game.

The cooperative nature of this game is great for those who like their games with low conflict.  In addition to this, Hogwarts Battle is a game that sort of plays you, as opposed to you playing it (i.e. there is often a fairly obvious best move), so it’s great to bring to the table when you want a less mentally demanding and more chill game to play.

Since it is fairly simple to play, once you get better and understand the game it’s not very difficult to play two handed which greatly increases the replayability of the game for two players.  Once the game becomes too easy for you and your gaming partner, you can both just play as two characters, upping the difficulty and making the game a bit more interesting.  Playing this way is actually a bit better than playing with four players because the downtime between turns is just too much with that many people since turns can become quite long towards the end of a game.

Overall Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a great game for two, as long as it’s the right type of game for you and your gaming partner in terms of experience, and in our opinion, it plays best at this player count.

Pros:

  • Popular theme that is integrated into the game well, with actual movie stills and pictures on components.
  • Legacy style boxes make the game fairly replayable as players add new cards and rules over the course of multiple plays.
  • Easy to learn and play due to the trickling of new rules.  A great introduction to this category of games.
  • Well designed board looks great and keeps the game organized.

Cons:

  • Game length is too long for what it is.  There are much better games that provide a more satisfying experience for this amount of time.
  • Has balancing and design flaws that become obvious after the excitement of opening new boxes is gone.
  • Game difficulty is determined too much by luck.  Some games are impossible to win, while others are too easy from the very start of the game.
  • Expansions and modifications are required to make the game enjoyable after playing through the various boxes.

USAOPOLY Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Cooperative Deck Building Card Game | Official Licensed Merchandise Board Great Gift for Fans Movie artwork For 132 months to 1188 months
USAOPOLY Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Cooperative Deck Building Card Game | Official Licensed Merchandise Board Great Gift for Fans Movie artwork For 132 months to 1188 months
USAOPOLY Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Cooperative Deck Building Card Game | Official Licensed Merchandise Board Great Gift for Fans Movie artwork For 132 months to 1188 months

We hope this Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle 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.


Expansions and Other Versions

There are currently only two expansions for Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle, the Monster Box of Monsters and the Charms and Potions Expansion. There is no news of other expansions coming out but maybe one day there will be a Hogwarts Battle expansion 3 or even an expansion 4 that could potentially fix some of the issues we have with the game.

Hogwarts Battle - The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion Card Game

Hogwarts Battle - The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion Card Game
Hogwarts Battle - The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion Card Game
Hogwarts Battle - The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion Card Game

This expansion adds a lot of needed variety and a few new mechanics that attempt to address some of the problems we have with the game.  It does make the game a lot better and in our opinion is worth it, but it definitely ramps up the difficulty significantly.   

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - The Charms and Potions Expansion

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - The Charms and Potions Expansion
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - The Charms and Potions Expansion
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle - The Charms and Potions Expansion

This expansion doesn't improve the game as much as the Monster Box in our opinion with some of its new elements actually making the game worse. If you're just looking for some new cards, villains and other stuff then its great to add some more variety to your games. 

Disney Pixar Toy Story Obstacles & Adventures
Disney Pixar Toy Story Obstacles & Adventures
Disney Pixar Toy Story Obstacles & Adventures

If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, or just a bigger toy story fan, there is a retheme of the game with all your favorite Toy Story characters and elements.  It plays almost identically to Hogwarts Battle, just with a slightly more lighthearted, vibrant and bright theme. 


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