Harry Potter Hogwarts
Lego games are all aimed very much at children so they don't get much love from 'serious' game players. That's a shame. To be sure, some Lego games are little more than simple roll and move affairs but there is innovation to be found too. Libellud's Dice Forge has attracted a lot of attention over the last couple of months but the novel idea at its core is the use of dice that can be modified by swapping the tiles that make up the die face. Modifiable dice very similar to those in Dice Forge have been a core element in the majority of Lego games for several years.
There is just such a die in the Hogwarts game, and the rules offer options as to how its sides can be altered by swapping tiles to introduce new rules to the game. The game itself involves a race to collect a set of magical objects needed for the magic students' homework but the game doesn't involve a roll and move mechanic. The playing board comprises four 'classrooms' surrounded by 12 'staircase' tiles. As in the books, the staircases at Hogwarts are magically mobile, so in this game players lift up a staircases to slide along the other staircases and rooms.
In this way, and by rotating staircases, players try to ease their own access and hinder that of their opponents. The die in this game principally controls the number of times tiles can be shifted in a turn. To add to the strategies deployed in the game, staircases that are occupied cannot be lifted - a rule that players can use to their advantage in blocking an opponent's action.
This is not a game that a group of adults is likely to break out for play together, even if they are the most die-hard Harry Potter fans, but the game definitely has enough substance to engross any adult playing with children.
The game comes with four grey meeples representing the main Harry Potter characters. These are not used at all in the rules but are just provided to encourage children to devise their own variants. A friend dismissed this as a cop-out but I think it is a commendable idea - especially as these are components most likely to capture children's interest and trigger their game-designing creativity.
The 360º photo below isn't from the game, but it does show some of the Harry Potter buildings in the Lego range.
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