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.