Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hogwarts House Cup Challenge!

When the girls and I stopped by the bookstore to turn in their reading logs yesterday (did you know that Borders and Barnes and Noble offer summer reading programs for children? B&N's is better - it gives the finishers the choice of a free book from a list of some really great titles, while Border's just offers 50% off selected books - but still, it's a fun motivator), we happened across a Harry Potter boardgame. We love Harry Potter (we've been doing a movie marathon in preparation for the latest film - and the 8yo has been walking around dressed as Hermione, in her Halloween costume from last fall), and we love boardgames, so I was unable to resist. It's supposed to be for ages 9 and up, but since my 8-year-old has been playing fairly complex games for years, she and her older sister picked up the game rules very quickly.

The game board itself is wonderfully enormous - it covers most of the tabletop and would not fit on a traditional square card table. The map that is depicted on the gameboard shows rooms from the school as well as some outside areas, including the Quidditch pitch, the Forbidden Forest, and Hagrid's hut - there's even the Whomping Willow! The artwork is wonderful - through a break in the trees in the forest, you can even see a unicorn, as well as the flying car surrounded by creepy spiders. Within the school there is the dungeon, the great hall, the classrooms, etc. There are four characters that players can be: Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville. Of course neither of the girls wanted to be Neville, but you are supposed to shuffle the player cards and deal them out - get what you get, and don't get upset. (Actually, I quite like Neville!) You should be able to click on the images here for an enlarged view.
The idea of the game is that the characters go around the board, having magical encounters and trying to gain points of honor, skill and knowledge in order to meet more challenging encounters. Points are gained for Gryffindor, but also for each individual player. When the Gryffindor points total 500, the game is over, and whichever player has accumulated the most individual points wins. As the school years pass (this game covers the first five years) the adventures become more dire and failure means greater penalty.

So far we are enjoying the game. It seems to me that it is a bit too easy to avoid having to pay penalties, but that's probably not a bad thing if the players are on the younger side. We have some other games that are based on books, and they've all turned out to be a lot of fun. Maybe I'll have to post about the other ones at some point. At any rate, I thought I'd share our find in case there are more game-playing Harry Potter fans out there.

Oh, and if you're wondering which books my girls chose, the 8yo picked Clarice Bean, Don't Look Now by Lauren Child, and the 10yo chose The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

18 comments:

  1. I really love this game to.You did a relly good job.

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  2. Thanks, sweetie! I'm looking forward to finishing the game with you tomorrow. :-)

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  3. ok mom i'm giving you a award!check it out at

    http://kinnieskorner.blogspot.com/2009/07/thank-you-so-much-margo-blogger-of.html

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  4. Oh, you are so sweet! Thanks very much! :-D

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  5. And now you're making me want board games, too??? Darn you, woman!

    Seriously, this looks amazingly fun and that game board is HUGE! It actually looks too complicated for my little brain. =/

    Can you play with only 2 players? Because I think my husband would love this as well. But I don't know if I could round up a 3rd and 4th player. Hmm.

    I like Neville, too!

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  6. Cat - I know, I'm racking up the karma points for some future date where I'll be completely emptying my wallet. :-)

    There are special rules for two people, with a couple additional things that happen, so yes, I think two people could play it. It is a bit complicated, but the instructions are pretty good. They even give you a sample game turn, so you can see how it goes. We did a few things wrong at first, but we figured them out fairly quickly. I hope you enjoy it if you end up getting it! I'd advise setting it up on a table where you can leave it for the duration - it's a long game.

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  7. I just saw that the first Rick Roirdan is being made into a movie!

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  8. Deslily - That is exciting! I love the movies from kids' books they've been making lately. I'm also excited about The Hobbit, which I know my kids will adore. They're still on the young side for the Lord of the Rings movies (at least from my point of view - they are unfazed by dementors so maybe they would be find with it), but The Hobbit should be perfect.

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  9. I want to play a Neville! I'm sure I'll when!! mwhaha (too bad the peeps up here don't play board games :(

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  10. Margo - Sounds like you need to work on converting them. Some people think of Monopoly and things like that when they think of boardgames, and I find those so tedious. This kind, though, I love! We will play next time you visit. :-)

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  11. i love Neville. maybe later they'll come out with an expansion pack that includes Luna Lovegood. my hope for the next 2 movies is more Luna and more Neville.
    i'd love to play this game!

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  12. Molly - I hate to say it, but I just read a friend's blog post about the movie, which they liked, but they were complaining that Neville hardly had any lines at all. We'd love to have you over to play the game - it's just 4 players, but I doubt the guys will mind sitting out! :-) I'll talk to you later re. your schedule and we'll set something up.

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  13. I can't find this anywhere! Argh! I want it!

    Of course, since I told my husband about it we're now fighting over who gets to be Neville (I know!) and we don't even have the game yet. I hold YOU responsible if we end up divorced, woman. *glare*

    (heehee!)

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  14. Ours was on display at Barnes and Noble and cost about $30, I think. And I need to edit the post - I take it back about the penalties being too easy to avoid. You can give other players the challenges, and then the penalties happen, teehee. No, not divorce-causing karma along with inducing-book-and-game-buying karma! My soul can't take it. I'll come back as a stinkbug, I just know it...

    I found this link on Amazon but then remembered you live in Canada, d'oh! I couldn't find it on the .ca site, though. I'm coming to Montreal for WorldCon (woohoo!). If you live anywhere near there, I can see if the store has any more and bring you one if you want! Just email me if you're interested.

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  15. Hi, Darla!

    Thanks for including this in your blog! I designed this game for NECA, and your family was certainly the target audience! I hope you continue to have fun playing it in the future.

    Andrew Parks
    Quixotic Games LLC
    www.quixoticgames.com

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  16. Hi, Andrew - Thanks for stopping by! I meant to go back and include the company and developers of this game, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Sorry about that! I also wanted to amend my statement about the penalties being too easy to avoid - I didn't quite get the fact that you can manipulate the other players into having to face adventures they aren't ready for yet, forcing the penalties on them.

    One thing we were wondering, though (and who better to ask!) is about the Forbidden Forest being divided into spaces. We decided that any adventure card in the forest would have to be faced no matter which forest space you are on, and only one adventure card can be in the whole forest at once. Is that right? Thanks! :-)

    Anyway, we love the game! So thanks for doing such a great job with it. Any possibility of expansion packs with more characters? I want to be Luna Lovegood! :-p

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  17. Hi, Darla.

    Since the Forbidden Forest is broken up into three different spaces, each space can have its own card. That also means that a player who visits one space in the Forest doesn't have to face a card that's located in another space. This also gives players some strategic decisions to make when deciding which Forest space to play some of their cards.

    I'm not sure if the game will have an expansion, but I'd certainly agree to design it if the publisher asked us. In the meantime, keep having fun and let us know if you have more questions. You can email me questions at aparks@quixoticgames.com, or visit our Quixotic Forum at www.quixoticgames.com.

    Thanks!

    Andrew

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  18. Andrew - thanks for answering our questions! We will keep our fingers crossed for an expansion, which would be great. In the meantime we will continue to enjoy the game. You did an excellent job with it!

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