Players: 2-5 Ages: 11+ Game Time: 60-120 mins
Yes, it's time to look at the first expansion for, Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Battle: The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion, this is to add to the base game Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Battle: A Cooperative Deck-Building Game.
In this expansion, we are introduced to a new character, Luna Lovegood™, alongside characters already introduced in the base game: Harry, Hermione, Ron, and of course, my favourite, Neville.
This set brings frightening creatures and challenging encounters not previously covered in the base game. It also introduces new elements and mechanics.
Beware of any wrongdoing that might earn you detention! Only working together to defeat the evil forces and protect iconic locations will make the Wizarding World safe once and for all!
In this set you get:
152 cards (40 small, 68 regular, 44 oversized)
4 game boxes
4 game rules
21 card tokens (12 influence, 1 harp, 8 more)
As this review covers the expansion specifically, I'll not go on too much about the base game but instead focus on all the new stuff. So with that said, what is new...?
The first new feature we will start with is the one named on the box! The monsters, or creatures as they are referred to within the game, are a new type of enemy that requires you to use your influence (money) instead of destructive power to defeat them. With a lovely little catch that you can only add one influence to them each turn. This really helps add an extra level of depth to the strategy as you can no longer just blitz the enemies once you have built your deck up. Furthermore, there is a minor change to the rules that adds more randomness; you don't always include all the villains or creatures in the enemies stack, adding an extra layer of replayability.
Building on the Horcrux mechanics from Year 7 in the base game, all four boxes with the monsters expansion offer you a series of challenges to face as you go, helping to make sure that these games will be challenging, as you would expect from any good expansion material.
Another exciting new mechanic added to this game is the detention cards. Detention cards are added to your deck (whether you want them or not) from some of the new Dark Arts event cards and can really hinder your progress, meaning you have to pay attention if you plan on breaking those school rules.
The final new element is certainly one that will make George E Ohh happy! Some of you may remember and probably scathe him for downrating the base game for the lack of certain deck-building mechanics. Well, The Op fix it here as they have brought in card destruction as a natural foil to the detention cards. A great feature and a necessary one to keep your decks as competitive as the upgrades to your enemies!
The expansion also adds an alternative to the specialisms from the base game with Patronus cards, but I won't go into too much detail as they are so similar in game terms.
The last new thing as already mentioned is Luna, an interesting choice for a new character considering the wealth of cast at their disposal, but I guess that a Nargle was probably involved somewhere... She has some interesting abilities and is a balanced additional character to use as an alternative to the core four in your games. It's just a shame that they haven't included rules to use her as a fifth player and she's not designed to be integrated as an alternative into the core game either.
With frightening creatures, challenging encounters, and new mechanics, as well as the addition of Luna, this is a great little expansion. It's just a shame that it didn't introduce a 5-player variant.
This is a great expansion for a solid enjoyable game, it's great to see the new mechanics that were arguably missing from the core game and I love the challenge this expansion brings.
George E Ohh