Board Game Review: Harry Potter House Cup

This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Number of Players: 2-4
Time: 75 Minutes
Age: 8+
Gamer Type: Casual
Game Type: Resource Allocation
Complexity: 5

Good morning all, sorry this review is a little late this week, holidays and all. Today, we are looking at another of the Ops Harry Potter Themed game: Harry Potter- House Cup Competition. In this game, you will be playing as one of the four houses at Hogwarts in an effort to bring home the prized house cup to your house. The question is: do you have the skills, the guile, and the patience to bring home the hardware?

Story

This game is a Harry Potter port, so you are going to see many of the places, characters, and events you love from the movies and books. Whether you want to be a hero of Gryffindor, a villain of Slytherin, or maybe want to play Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff, you have the chance to be the house you want in this game. While the story does not add much to the franchise, the people who love Harry Potter will love their chance to be characters they know and those who just want a challenging game will not see the story interfere with their play (5 of 10 points).

Artwork

I love the test tubes for keeping score, they are an amazing feature of the game. The colored gems that fill them are also a fun addition to an already fun game. The artwork on the board and the box is steady, but does not wow you like the physical accoutrements in this one. The box is a standard medium sized box, so it will fit well and look good on your shelf. The cards are simple and give you the information you need to play the game (whether young or old). Overall, the artwork is good (its not just movie stills) which earns 6 of 10 for artwork.

Mechanics

This is a resource allocation game. There are three currencies in the game: Knowledge, Magic, and of course your players. You earn points for your house by completing missions and by sending your students around the school at Hogwarts. After 7 rounds, you see who has the most points. Eurogamers are going to love this game because it is very balanced and the only randomizer is the cards. This means that you can really lay out how you will allocate your resources and, with limited exceptions, you can also see what your opponent is doing. The card randomization is enough to keep the game fun, but rely on high strategy to place your resources; so the mechanics work well together and keep the fun in a resource management game.  7.5 of 10.

Strategy

This is a higher-level strategy game, though there are some minor drawbacks. First, your only real plays that come up often against your opponents are in the cards and how you move. This adds some “racing” elements to the game, which is unique in the resource placement world. Second, if you make a mistake early, it can cost you the game. This game relies heavily on engine building, which I love, but other strategies can be difficult to win with. While rush, offense, and defense are all present, engine builders have a big advantage here. As with all resource placement games, you need to carefully manage your limited resources so the game is more complex than the theme suggests.  8 of 10.

Novelty

This is a port, so the story is not original. This is a resource placement game, which (other than the monorandomizer style) follows the common rules. However, there is a charm to this game that should not be understated. You can pick up the rules very quickly, the gameplay is varied and not monotonous and the story, even though you know it, is quite engaging. This game puts pieces together in a way that should not be novel, but somehow the Op turned this little gem into a novel game. 6 of 10.

Overall

If you like Harry Potter, buy this game.  Anyone can play and you can live out your Harry Potter fantasies. If you like resource management games, buy this game. While it has many mechanics you are familiar with, the modifiers and patterns are so different that it is a challenging game. If you like engine building, this is your game. The way you play early dictates your late game. I give this a strong recommendation for cinephiles. With a score of 32.5, this is a very strong game for new and old gamers alike. So pick your house, get your charms, spells, and defenses ready and let’s see who wins the house cup.

Author Profile

Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer
Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer
Dr. Christopher Smithmyer is a writer for NRN, the Vice President of International Affairs at Brav Online Conflict Management, and an Adjunct Professor of MBA Business at Doane University. He is also part of the founding team at BlackWalletLTD, one of the leaders in stable coin 2.0 ecosystem maintenance. Dr. Smithmyer’s focus is international business and finance, along with reviews of board games, weapons platforms, and survival items.