Saturday, March 10, 2007

Gaming With Grandma - 9

My mum dropped by this morning for her weekly Saturday morning visit. Maddie couldn't wait to play the Harry Potter Hogwarts Dueling Club Game that my wife had bought a few days ago. Even before Grandma was able to sit down and have a cup of tea, Maddie was bugging her to play the game.

We decided to play at the table on the back deck as it was cooler outside. The first thing we did after getting the game ready was choose our characters. Maddie chose Hermione, Grandma chose Ron and I chose Malfoy. As there were less than four players, Harry was set aside as a non-player character.

In this game players move around the board which represents Hogwarts School of Wizardry. They attempt to improve their power by collecting spells from the classrooms and magical items from the common areas. Once you feel powerful enough you can move to the dueling room in the center of the board and challenge any of the other characters or non-player characters to a duel.

The board set up prior to play commencing

Spell combat in the duel is determined by what spell card is currently sitting in the player's spell book. Each spell card has two columns of numbers and when inserted into a spell book shows how many spell combat dice you may roll. There are two spell combat dice. The green die has hits on 3 of its 6 sides and the blue die has hits on 2 of its 6 sides. Each of the two players in the duel rolls a number of dice according to the spell they are casting to score hits. The person who scores the most hits wins. The winner gets a plastic token of their opponent's colour to keep.

When a player has won a duel against all their opponents, including all non-player characters, they may fight a final duel to win. They make their way to the dueling room and fight the final duel against the strongest of their opponents. If the challenger wins the final duel they win the game. If not, they miss the next turn.

The magical item cards mostly affect the outcome of duels so are very important to have. The spells are of varying powers and you are only allowed to have a maximum of three at any one time. As you must always have one of your spells in your spell book it can be a tough decision as to which one to choose. Do you put in a powerful spell now or keep it for later for the final battle?

There are also the Wizarding Games where you can challenge other players when you land next to them. These challenges are determined randomly by three cards. There is a rock-paper-scissors challenge, one where you put the three cards on the edge of the table and attempt to flick them face up on the table, and also one challenge where you have to throw a card as close as possible to the edge of the table. If you win you get to steal a spell from the loser.

Maddie (as Hermione) was the first to win a duel against Grandma (Ron), myself (Malfoy) and Harry Potter. However, when Maddie made her way to the dueling hall for the final duel, Grandma and I chose her to fight Grandma (as Ron). Ron had a really powerful spell ready in his spell book and ended up winning the final duel. That meant Maddie missed the next turn.

I was having bad luck with winning duels. Grandma was the next to get a token from all the other players. She made her way to the dueling hall. Maddie and I decided Maddie was toughest so she fought Grandma. Both of them played magical item cards to tie the first round. They fought again. Grandma just beat Maddie by 1 hit to win the final duel and the game. Maddie came second and I came third.

The game took about an hour and a half to play, which is fairly long compared to most of the games we normally play. I'm sure this was partly because it was a game none of us had played before and I had to spend time explaining what the magical items did during the game. Maddie and Grandma said they really enjoyed it. I had a good time as well. I rated it a 6 on BoardGameGeek.

Georgia awoke around this time so she needed to be fed. We then all had a late morning tea of basil pesto and garlic cheese and crackers that Grandma had brought. My wife had returned from shopping with her dad so they joined us as well. By this time we'd run out of time for any more games so it ended up we just played the one game today.

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