You may recognise Destination Games as being the one featured on Dragons Den a few years ago. Well the Destination range has simply gone from strength to strength, and there are many different themed versions of the game.
We’re off on holiday to Florida in January, staying at Universal Orlando resort – Home of the Wizarding world of Harry Potter. So to get everyone into the spirit of things we’ve recently watched all of the Harry Potter Movies for the first time. It was a fun experience watching this new set of films with my children, we all came to the series totally fresh and watched as this group of young wizards grew up before our eyes. Thomas absolutely fell in love with the Harry Potter franchise, so was thrilled to be reviewing this new game.
Destination Hogwarts is for 2-8 players, and is recommended for players aged 8 and over. However we played with our 5 and 7 year old, and had tons of fun. Thomas being 7 was fine with the game, the only trouble we had with Jacob was reading the destinations on the cards, So he did need some help with that. That didn’t stop his enjoyment, he loved it too.
Firstly without even playing the game the first thing you notice is how beautiful the game looks. The box art is amazing, and Thomas spent a good 5 minutes just taking in all the characters on the front. Once you open the box you get the instructions which are printed to look like a parchment letter addressed to Harry Potter in the Cupboard under the stairs, which is a lovely touch.
Destination Hogwarts is played by travelling around the game board visiting all the memorable locations from the books and movies, collecting house points for every Destination you get to successfully. The winner is the player with the most house points at the end.
After picking your character from the 8 on offer, Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Luna, Malfoy, Goyle and Crabbe You each start off with three Destination cards, and these are where you need to travel to on the board. When you’ve reached a destination you pick up house points and then get another destination to go to. Once all the destination cards have been distributed, you need to race to your characters common room to end the game.
I will admit that when starting the game I was a bit apprehensive. The pile of Destination Cards left after we all had our initial three seemed huge, I envisioned we’d be there for hours until they were all gone, I was even contemplating hiding half to end the game quicker.
Thankfully my fears were unfounded as the game moved remarkably quickly. One of the rules of the game is to not show the other players your destination cards (although we did cheat a bit, as I told Jacob his). The reason for this is because if another player lands on one of your destinations on their way to their own destination, you can show your card, instantly sending you to the destination, and them back to Hogwarts station. The real killer blow – they also have to pay your house points reward out of their stash.
This only happened to us 3 times but it was hilarious when it did. Although it’s tough for the offending player, we all agreed we loved that rule.
Another thing to watch out for are the skull/snake pictured spaces. Land on one of these and you need to take a Hazard card. However they are a bit of a mixed bag, some good – some bad, so it’s not always a bad thing. In fact I picked up a Hazard Card stating that ‘ The Room of Requirement has appeared – Go straight to next destination’ Which enabled me to go to the Gryffindor common room and win the game.
Our only slight criticism was the amount of house points everyone accrued playing. At the end everyone has to count up all their house point cards, and to be honest it seemed to take forever.
Thomas wouldn’t take any help from mum or dad, and trudged on with his counting, but kept on losing his place and having to start again. I can’t blame him as I was exactly the same.
We all ended up with over 800 house points, and all of the denominations of the cards meant it took longer than I would have expected at the end of a game to total everyone’s house points up. It’s not that big of a deal, but it’s something we all commented about.
As a family we very much enjoyed playing Destination Hogwarts. Obviously knowing the characters and locations helped, but I think it stands up as a game on its own without that. I’m looking forward to playing with the extended family at Christmas time, most of whom do not know much about Harry Potter, but love a good board game none the less.
Obviously big Harry Potter fans will go crazy for this game, as it’s just so chock full of references to their favourite characters and locations. For them it’s the ideal christmas gift this year.