We recently bought a huge bundle of board games via Facebook market place. They ended up costing us less than a pound each and as a result we have a real mix of games to keep us busy. A few are well known ones, some are vintage gems, whilst others are obscure things that have obviously been played once and then discarded because people didn’t like them. Whatever the reasons for the previous owner getting rid of them, Little Miss C is rather pleased that they didn’t decide to hang on to the Mystery at Hogwarts Game.
She’s just about to turn 9 and is at the age where Harry Potter is pretty much everything. She reads the books as often as she can and loves anything to do with them or the films. It’s no surprise that most of her birthday presents are Harry Potter themed.
What I hadn’t considered before though is that someone would make a board game based on the glasses wearing wizard. I guess I’m slowly coming round to the fact that you can make a board game of pretty much anything if you set your mind to it.
Like a wizard boarding school version of Cluedo
The Mystery at Hogwarts Game is a little bit like Cluedo in the sense that you’re going around Hogwarts trying to solve a mystery. What you need to do is work out which member of Hogwarts teaching staff caught a culprit casting an illegal spell on a victim. Oh, and you need to work out what the illegal spell was too. I’m pretty sure that in Cluedo you only need to work out three things, rather than the four you have to solve here.
Staff, Culprit, Spell and Victim
As is the case with Cluedo, there are staff cards, culprit cards, spell cards and victim cards and one of each is placed under Fluffy’s Trapdoor and these are the ones that you need to work out to solve the Mystery at Hogwarts. The way you do so is by working your way around Hogwarts, collecting hint cards which help you eliminate people and spells, and also by testing out hunches as to who it may have been.
On the (rather complicated in my opinion) board there are classrooms where you visit to ask Professors for hints (if there are any left) or where you test out your hunches, but asking that classroom’s teacher if he (or she) caught a particular person casting a spell they shouldn’t have.
Players also have the opportunity to obtain Hogwarts cards (by rolling the Hogwarts symbol on one of the two dice in the game) which can then do one of three things:
- Broken passage cards – allowing players to move across the passageways
- Secret passage cards – allowing players to take a shortcut from one area of Hogwarts to another
- Command cards – which simply tell you what to do in the game
Point the finger
Once a player believes they have solved the Mystery at Hogwarts they can go to Fluffy’s Trapdoor to Point the Finger. If they are right they win the game. However, if they are wrong then they are expelled from Hogwarts and their game ends right there.
One other thing that makes the game a little more complicated is the resident ghost. This translucent blue figure can be moved by any player instead of moving their own playing piece. In doing so they can use the ghost to block another player from entering, or leaving, a classroom, or they can bump another player, meaning that they are sent to The Great Hall on the board and also have to show you one of their hint cards.
When we played it was always as a three player game, and to be honest the ghost didn’t really see much action at all.
Mystery at Hogwarts – what we thought
Little Miss C loved the Mystery at Hogwarts Game, which is probably the most important thing.
I found the game a bit complicated to get going with, although that may well have been because I’m not as familiar with all the characters and spells as my daughter is, and hence not as invested in the whole Harry Potter world. I really didn’t see the point in the ghost character, but that is possibly because we were playing with only three players. It is possible that he (or she) comes into their own when there are more other playing pieces on the board.
In my mind there could do with being more Hogwarts cards in the game, as we seemed to work our way through the ones there are very quickly. Either that or we’ve got loaded dice!
Mystery at Hogwarts – the facts
The Mystery at Hogwarts Game is for three to six players. I’m not entirely sure why it won’t work with just two (we managed it on one occasion) and it seems a shame as I’m sure there must be several families who want to play with less then three players.
The suggested playing age is 8+ and I believe this to be correct for the level of thought process required to try to solve the mystery.
The Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Mystery at Hogwarts Game was published in 2001 by Mattel. Some copies are available second hand on eBay at reasonable prices. Don’t even bother looking at what people are currently trying to sell it for on Amazon though! At trip to Harry Potter World is cheaper looking at the prices today.