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Harry Potter Quidditch Card Game

Reviewed by Nigel Buckle ©2002

Edited by Suzanne Campbell for The Guild Companion

The game consists of three different card decks along with a page of rules. This game is designed for two players and for ages 8 and up (although younger children who are avid games players could probably cope with it). 

The first two decks of cards represent two of the houses at Hogwarts: Gryffindor and Slytherin backed with red and green respectively.  Each of these two sets of cards is identical in composition and contains 40 cards. They are broken down into chasers, keepers, beaters, and seekers and each of these cards has a point value with different ranges for each of the different types of cards.  There are also different types of Jinx, Spell, and Foul cards, plus the Referee cards. 

The final deck of cards is the Pitch deck, which is labeled as such and backed in blue. The 28 cards in this deck consist of four different types: quaffles, bludgers, the Golden Snitch, and Free Goal cards. 

If none of this makes much sense then chances are you've never read the Harry Potter books and chances are the card game won't make much sense either. The rulebook could do with some examples, but if you persevere and play a few games you soon get the hang of it (if you're really stuck go read the books). 

To begin a round, a Pitch Card (a ball) is laid down on the table between the players then each player then lays down a card representing a Quidditch team member, and those two team members win or lose the ball by virtue of the points they're worth. 

The closest example I can think of is to the card game "War"; if you've played this, then you know that when both players lay down equal cards then they keep laying down more cards until a final card wins - which wins or loses the whole pile in play. Now, imagine that the Quidditch game's "ball in play" is that pile, and the team member cards laid down by the players are the final round cards and the winner takes the ball card, but there is considerably more skill to this game than War (which is just a matter of turning over cards). 

There are 3 types of ball Quaffles, which are worth 10 points, Bludgers which are worth no points but if you win one you temporarily reduce your opponent's hand size, and the Golden Snitch, which is worth 150 points and can only be won by a Seeker. Once the Golden Snitch is won the game is over. 

The Jinx/Spell/Foul cards have different effects, like retrieving a discarded card or reducing the value of an opposing team player.  The referee cards allow you to cancel the effects of a foul.  When to play these cards is a big part of the game. 

This card game is true to the game described in the Harry Potter books which means it is great for fans of the book however just like the 'real' game the winner is highly likely to be the player who wins the Golden Snitch. This makes the game seem very luck dependant and the card play largely irrelevant until the Golden Snitch enters play.

If you can stand altering the game I suggest reducing the value of the Golden Snitch by half (to 75 points); that still makes it the most important ball (card) in the game but gives the player who doesn't manage to capture it a chance of winning. 

Another suggestion to make the game a little more strategic is to allow the players to choose their starting hand of 5 cards (then shuffle the decks). 

In summary a great game for fans of the books and likely to be a hit with younger players. Older players may want to tinker with the scoring to make the game more balanced.


Editor's note:  The Harry Potter Quidditch Card Game is published by Mattel, and costs   $6.99 US/6.99 UK


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