Munchkin Harry Potter Deluxe Review

Munchkin Harry Potter Deluxe is a game based on Steve Jackson’s Munchkin, published by USAopoly, the Op. It is for 3-6 players. In this game, players take on the role of wizarding student at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They will need to become proficient in their abilities if they hope to level up and be able to defeat hideous monsters and some of the Wizarding World’s most notorious bad guys. In the end, the player that gets the top marks by reaching level 10 first will be declared the winner thus leading their House to glory.

To begin, the board is placed in the middle of the play area. Each player will now choose a House card. Up to 3 players are even able to choose the same House if they so desire. Once players have chosen, they will take a standee representing their House, making note of which is their particular standee. Players will then place their standee on the number 1 space on the board. The cards are separated into the Door deck and the Treasure deck. Each of these decks is shuffled separately. Four cards from each deck are dealt to each player before placing the deck face down in it’s corresponding space on the board. Players will now look at their hand of eight cards. If they have any Role or Proficiency cards of Rank 1, they may place one of each type face up in front of themself. They are also allowed to place any usable Items or Ally cards from their hand as well. Once players have finished placing cards, the first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played in a series of turns, with each player taking turns consisting of 3 phases; Unlock the Door, Up to No Good/Loot The Room and Charity. Each player will follow the 3 phases on their turn before play passes to the next player in turn order. The first phase of a player’s turn is to Unlock the Door. In this phase, the player will draw 1 card from the Door deck and turn it face up. If the card revealed is a monster, the player must fight it, more on this in just a bit. If the card is a Curse, it is applied to the player immediately and then discarded. If the Curse has a ongoing effect, then the care must be kept face up in front of the player as a reminder of any upcoming effects. If the player revealed any other card types, such as a Role, Proficiency, Monster Enhancer or other such card, then the player may choose to play it immediately or place it in their hand. To play the card, it must be legal to do so, based on the rules.

The next phase of a player’s turn is to be Up to No Good or Loot The Room. If the player fought a monster in the first phase, then they will skip this phase and move into the Charity phase. If they didn’t fight a monster, then the player has 2 choices, they may either be Up to No Good or Loot the Room. Being Up to No Good means that the player may play a monster card from their hand and then fight it, just as if they’d drew a monster card during the first phase, more on combat in just a bit. If the player doesn’t have a monster or doesn’t wish to fight a monster, they may instead choose to Loot the Room. This choice allows the player to draw a second card from the Door deck and place it in their hand. If the card is a Role or Proficiency card, they may immediately play it if they wish, otherwise the card is saved in the player’s hand to be used later.

The final phase of a player’s turn is the Charity phase. In this phase, if the player has more than 5 cards in their hand, they must now play enough cards to get their hand size down to five or below. If they do not wish to play any more cards or can’t play any more, then any excess cards must be given to the player with the lowest level. If players are tied for the lowest level, then the cards are divided as evenly as possible between them. If the lowest level player is the active player, then the cards are discarded instead. Once this phase has been completed, play passes to the next player in turn order.

Earlier I mentioned combat and fighting monsters, at this time I’d like to explain how that works. To fight a monster a player must simply compare the monster’s combat strength against their own combat strength. Combat strength is based on a combination of level and any bonuses or penalties from other cards either already in played or that are played in response to the combat. The active player, as well as other players, are allowed to play one shot item cards or use their House abilities to either help or harm the player in combat. Cards may also be played to help or hinder the monster as well. Once players have decided to or can not play any more cards or activate any abilities, then the player compares their strength to the monster’s strength. If the monster’s combat strength is equal or greater than the player’s combat strength then the player must Run Away, more on this in a moment. If the player’s combat strength is higher then they kill the monster and go up a level or two, depending on the size of the monster. The player also receives a number of Treasure cards, as shown on the monster’s card. The killed monster and any other cards played are then discarded. If the player was forced to Run Away due to being unable to defeat the monster, then they must roll the die. If they roll a 5 or higher, then they will successfully Run Away. Some Proficiencies, Roles and Items will make it easier or even harder to Run Away from a monster. If the player failed to Run Away from the monster by not rolling high enough, then the monster will do Bad Stuff to them, as described on the monster’s card. This may vary from losing an Item to their character dying. If a player’s character dies, they will lose all their stuff. They are allowed to keep their Role, any Proficiencies and level. They must then place their hand beside the cards that they had in play, then starting with the player with the highest level, every other player will choose one of that player’s cards to loot from the body. The looted card is placed in their hand along with their other cards. Once each player gets one card, any remaining cards are discarded. When the next player begins their turn, the dead player is no longer dead and can now help others in combat but may not receive cards for any reason, including Charity. They may also not level up or win the game. At the start of their next turn, the player will draw 4 cards from each deck and play any legal cards just as if they were starting the game anew. They are then able to take their turn normally and may receive cards, level up and win the game just like any other player. It should be noted that sometimes it may be impossible to kill a monster by one’s self. In those instances, the player may ask another player for help. If the player wishes to help, then their combat strength is added to the active players. A player that aids in combat may require a bribe before helping out. This can be whatever the players agree upon, including items that the player currently is carrying or even part of a monster’s treasure. One last thing of note, only 1 player may aid the active player during combat.

The game continues with players taking turns, fighting monsters and gaining treasure. The game ends once a player reaches level 10 by defeating a monster. The first person to do that is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game has some really great looking pieces to it. First off this is a deluxe edition game, so it comes with the board and some cardboard standees that are not a part of the regular non-deluxe Munchkin games. The cardboard standees in this edition represent the 4 House at Hogwarts. There are 3 types of each House and some of the standees look better than others. Honestly I was rather impressed with the ones for Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff; mine and my daughter’s favorite Houses. As you can tell from the picture above, they’re all pretty impressive. Unfortunately there are only 6 plastic bases included for these, thus why mine don’t have the bases attached at the moment. I think if they were going to include 12 standees, then there should have been 12 bases too. I found the same issue when it comes to the large House cards. These cards are double sided and represent the 12 House standees. The problem is that if players want a specific House standee, then they have to make sure that the other side of the House card isn’t one that another player wants. It can be rather frustrating. Personally, I think there should have been cards for each standee, not double sided ones. Another gripe that I have is in regards to the cards. While the cards are really great quality and the artwork on them is top notch, there’s just not enough art. I feel that the designs for the cards leave very little room for the artwork. The art should have been bigger and more over the top, like the world of Harry Potter is. The smaller pictures make things feel a bit cramped and less magical. The last couple of pieces are the board and the die. The board is really great looking and feels like something off the Marauder’s Map. The only complaint I have about the board is that my copy might have had a printing issue or something cause it looks like the image of Harry on the board has lots of moles or freckles, possibly due to some black ink drips or something. You can’t really see it in the picture above but it’s quite visible in person. The die is really great looking although a bit small. I wouldn’t have minded a little bit bigger die. Alright, I know with all the issues I mentioned above you’d think that I just hated everything about this game and that I think it looks bad…I don’t in either case. I really like the look and feel of the game. It’s really just a bunch of minor issues to me. As I said earlier, these are some really great looking pieces. Overall I feel that the game looks great and fans of the theme will love it. I just would have liked a few things to have been done a little bit better, that’s all.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is quite similar to the ones found in other Munchkin games. Instead of an actual book, this is a multi-folded paper that unfolds into a long sheet. Like the rulebooks for the other games, this one has plenty of pictures throughout, mostly of examples of cards. The one thing about these Munchkin rulebooks is that they seem to be a lot longer than they might need to be. I honestly feel that the rules could be cut down just a bit without losing anything important. That said, it may be easier to have everything wrote down here than an issue coming up during play and players having to search online for clarification. With a game like this, that uses this IP, it may be better to do just that. I’m sure a lot of players that have never even heard of Munchkin have probably picked this one up and were thankful for the rules being so detailed. However for veteran players, there’s only a few odds and ends that need to be pointed out for them to be able to jump right into the game. The rules do include a few optional variants that players can check out, most of which require going online to download further rules. Overall I think every available rule is covered in great detail and in a fairly easy to understand way. I think the rules booklet looks pretty good.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Munchkin, you either love it or hate it. I personally love it. Like Fluxx, Munchkin was one of the first actual non-mainstream games that I played. Of course now both of those are available pretty much anywhere games are sold, at least in some form or version. Needless to say, most people know of the game and are at least familiar with how it plays. So how is this version different and what makes it better? Well for me, it’s the theme. Harry Potter is a very popular theme, which my wife and kids love. That made this version a no brainer for me. We’ve played many different forms of Munchkin over the years including Adventure Time, Marvel and Zombies, as well as the original version. Of all them, I think this one is the best. My family love the theme, so that’s a plus in the right column. The Roles and Proficiencies feel a bit more tied to theme, as do the Curses, Allies and Monsters. Instead of just being a big ball of chaos like most Munchkin games, this one feels like you’re competing for the House cup at Hogwarts, earning points by defeating challenges along the way. I think one missed opportunity would have been for the inclusion of Team games in the rule book. I think players could have split into House teams of 2 to 3 players each. When a player needed help defeating a monster, they could only rely on their fellow House member to aid them. Also only rival teams could play cards against them or to aid the monster. Then the first player to reach level 10 would win the game for their House. You could have even made it where both House members had to reach level 10 to win. I think this would have added an even deeper thematic feel to the game. Oh and Hey, just so you know…don’t go stealing my ideas. As it is, the game is not bad. As I said, it’s probably the best version that I’ve played. I really like the special House powers that each of the House cards provides. It helps each one feel different without being overpowered or making one House more powerful than another. The powers feel quite balanced. Overall I think this is one that Harry Potter fans are going to love. It’s definitely going to see a lot of play time at my house. I highly recommend this one.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Munchkin Harry Potter Deluxe is a light weight card game that brings the Wizarding World of Harry Potter into the chaos of Munchkin. The game is rather easy to play and doesn’t take too long either. Most games sessions last around an hour. The components look great, even though I had a few minor issues like not enough standee bases and the double sided House cards. It’s one that fans of Harry Potter will love, especially since it does look rather cool. The rulebook covers everything in detail, which should be a big help for new players to the game. The game itself fits the theme quite well and feels like it could have been even more thematic with the introduction of a team game included in the rules, all rights reserved. This is one that my family and I enjoy a lot. We already liked Munchkin, but this one has to be our favorite version. This is one that I would highly recommend, especially if you like Harry Potter. It’s magical!
8 out of 10

 

For more information about this and other great games, please check out USAopoly, the Op at their site.

 

https://theop.games/

 

About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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