This game review is for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Mystery at Hogwarts Game. “Unravel the mystery of who cast the forbidden spell at Hogwarts.” The game is for 2 to 6 players and ages 8 and up. Time needed: 1 hour
We recently acquired a Harry Potter fan in our house and we already are mystery fans so if you put the two together it sounds like a winning combination.
Mystery at Hogwarts is a deduction game similar to Clue, with some big differences.
The first big difference is that it is centered around the Harry Potter theme. Not all of us are as into Harry Potter as some in our house but you can play Mystery at Hogwarts without even knowing the books or movies, although it does help. Those of us who are not Potterheads struggled a bit with the names of the potions and spells, for instance Petrificus Totalus Spell (I mean really, I can’t even guess what this does!). It didn’t however make it harder to play–just pronounce.
To start, a character, spell and a location card are secretly pulled aside and put in Fluffy’s envelope then the cards are dealt to the players. Next, the players record their cards onto their score sheets and keep all the info secret, of course. The movers are place in the centre of the game board. And the first person rolls the dice.
Unlike in Clue, movers in this Mystery at Hogwarts Game can move either in straight lines or on diagonals. This helps a lot in getting to the places you want to be. On your turn, you can go into a room, split your roll between your mover and Peeves (more on this later). A player does not need to use the whole amount of the roll.
Mover can not go over another player. If a player, or Peeves, is in your path, you must go around them. The exception to this rule is on the stairs, where you can hop over other players.
Similar to Clue, once you arrive in a room, you can guess a person, spell and that room to see what information you can find. The player on your left is the first person who can show you a card. The player is only required to show you one card out of the three you’ve asked for. If that player has none of the cards that you guessed, the player on his left is the next to reveal a card. It continues in this manner until either you see a card or until it circles back to you.
As mentioned, Peeves is a separate character int eh game. Peeves can be moved by anyone at any point in the game. If you have Peeves run into another player, then you can choose either character, spell or room for that player to have to show you. The player only has to show you one card. That player’s mover is then returned to the start square.
Peeves can also block rooms or stairways, causing other players to either move the ghost or go around him.
There is a stack of green cards that are separate from the blue character, spell and room cards. These are placed somewhere off the board. When you role the specialized dice and roll the Hogwarts crest comes up, you get to draw one of these cards. In the stack, there are cards that show hidden pathways or give special commands.
Once found, the secret passageways are placed onto the board. Players can then use the passageways. For example, the yellow footprints beside the Herbology classroom are only seen when you have found the correct card. The footsteps lead up to the stairway close to the Flying Classroom.
The command cards give the player who found them special powers that must be played right away. These commands include an invisibility cloak and forcing a player of your choice to show you all of one type of card. Command cards are put back at the bottom of the stack of green cards.
To make a final guess, you must make your way up the stairs to Fluffy. Announce your guess and look inside the envelop. If you are correct, you win the game!
If you are not correct, your cards are distributed to the other players and you are out of the game.
Things we liked
The fact that you have to pick up cards to complete the board is an interesting twist. Picking up cards that give you special powers is also a nice addition. Having a choice of moving Peeves is interesting too.
Things we didn’t like
The artwork, although beautifully done, is too busy making it hard to see everything clearly. The cards that are added to the board create a problem as they are always sliding around. Also, the cards are easily missed when putting the game away. Although this is usually just an inconvenience, it could lead to lost cards making the game unplayable. But our biggest issue with Mystery at Hogwarts Game is the check list. Between the font and the light colour of the print, we found that it was hard to read. I created our own check list sheet that you can use here.
Overall, Mystery at Hogwarts Game is an okay game. For Harry Potter mystery fans, I would recommend this game. However, for the average family, I would have to say to pass on this one. Harry Potter fans make room on your Family Game Shelf for this one.
Pros: true to Harry Potter theme, new twists on Clue
Cons: artwork, easily missed cards,
Mom: deduction skills