• Harry Potter: A Year at Hogwarts

    From Arelor@VERT/PALANT to All on Saturday, March 12, 2022 21:25:58
    It is past 3 am here. Tonight I am sitting at the keyboard, unable to sleep, unable to feel, unable to think. The reason is that I have gone through an experience more traumatic than dropping a bar of soap in the area of the prision reserved for sex offenders. Today the world is a darker place, devoid of any hopes for better times to come. This undescriptable shadow of dread won't ever be erased from my soul and will acompany me to the grave.

    The reason for this is that I have played a game of Harry Potter: A Year at Hogwarts.

    Harry Potter: A Year at Hogwarts is a sorry attempt at a board game in which each player competes to be the one with the most points by the time the ending conditions are met. Players incarnate popular students from the franchise, each one with different abilities which set them appart from the others. The game meets its end when a player completes two missions and at least a quidditch match is played.

    Characters score points by winning Quidditch matches, passing exams, completing missions, vanquishing Death Eaters or just by the capricious desire of random events.

    The main issue that plagues this sorry excuse of a game is that the manual is poorly organized, and so badly explained that I dare say the writer didn't know how the game was supposed to be played. As a result, it is hard to figure out how any of the core goals I have described is supposed to be accomplished. I can affirm, without any shade of uncertainity, that Harry Potter: A Year at Hogwarts has the worst manual I have ever held in my hands.

    Hogwart's students may roam the castle rolling dice, moving as far as the resulting score dictates and picking whatever resource the square they fall into has for them. This way, players may muster an impressive arsenal of spells, potions and books. Books are clearly intended to be used for passing exams: carrying a book to a classroom of a matching subject automatically means you pass an exam and cash some points in. On the other hand, the manual does a poor job at explaining what the right time for using spells and potions is. Most of them are intended for fighting other players or static threats placed in the castle. Objects can also gathered in order to complete missions, which are assigned secretly to each player upon the start of the game. Missions require the student to acquire a specific set of objects, move up to a given location, and fight some threat off.

    As if the fact the manual is little more than glorified ass paper was not enough to doom this game, we are punished by the fact the "A Year at Hogwarts" subtitle is _extremely_ adecuate. The ending conditions are so hard to achieve that you will be playing this game for a whole year before anybody has a chance to crawl to the finish line and declare the agony is over. There are many reasons for this: some missions have requisites so extreme that they are unreasonable to meet; another player may show up, beat you and steal some item you need just when you thought you were about to beat a quest; a random event may happen all of a sudden and destroy all the resources you spent three whole hours gathering.

    Since the movement of the players on the board is largely dictated by dice and the control they have on which resources they gather is limited, things end up dragging along. Maybe you need a specific potion in order to beat a mission, but the dice only send you to places which give you spell cards instead. You may have all the items you need to complete a mission, but you never fall in the square you need to reach in order to turn your objects into points. The game soon turns into a sisyphean punishment in which you wander endlessly, praying for the torment to end, as you obtain thousands of items that are no use for you and bring you no closer to your goal.

    These problems are so big that they oversdhadow issues that would kill a regular board game. For example, the characters available to the players are very badly balanced, with some being walking meat grinders capable or reducing their opponents to bloodied pulp with a single hand, and others being as useful as a truck with no wheels. Then there is the fact that healing is so hard to come by, that if your character is defeated and sent back to the starting square with a single health point, he will be prowling the board with 1 health point for the rest of the game, poached by the other players, and sent back to the starting position once and again and again...

    My group really tried to play this game to the bitter end. After a couple of hours, somebody triggered a random event that wiped the resources of most players. The dude to my left, who had been saving books for hours in order to fullfil an objective, just threw the cards on the table and declared he was taking no more of such torture. The so called game was placed back in its box among sighs of relief and groans of utter disgust.

    If you have a friend with an optimistic take on the world and you want to show him the wrong of his views, show him this game. If you have a foe that you'd wish got cancer and died, have him play this game. If you are in the middle of some theological debate and want to prove that Satan and the dark forces rule this world, pull this game out.

    Should you want to have fun instead, burn this thing with nothing less powerful than an hydrogen bomb. Then pick up any other form of entertaining. Even hammering rythmically on your own knee counts as higher quality entertainment than Harry Potter: A Year at Hogwarts.


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  • From Ogg@VERT/CAPCITY2 to Arelor on Sunday, March 13, 2022 14:17:00
    Hello Arelor!

    ** On Saturday 12.03.22 - 21:25, Arelor wrote to All:

    [...] This undescriptable shadow of dread won't ever be
    erased from my soul and will acompany me to the grave.

    [...] The game soon turns into a sisyphean punishment in
    which you wander endlessly, praying for the torment to end,

    If you have a friend with an optimistic take on the world
    and you want to show him the wrong of his views, show him
    this game. If you have a foe that you'd wish got cancer and
    died, have him play this game. If you are in the middle of
    some theological debate and want to prove that Satan and
    the dark forces rule this world, pull this game out.

    Should you want to have fun instead, burn this thing with nothing less powerful than an hydrogen bomb. [...]

    You're not getting paid enough to write these gems! It was
    good laugh. Thx.


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