Dobby the house elf told Harry Potter he shouldn’t go back to school. Something about danger and whatnot. Of course, Harry didn’t listen, and instead ended up getting Hermione in danger as well. I mean, it’s not like this is the first time this has happened. And, just like the villager Emperor Kuzco threw out the window, it won’t be the last.
FunkoVerse is an expansive world of games made from popular intellectual properties (IP) such as Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and Nightmare Before Christmas, just to name a few. The gameplay is the same throughout all the various versions, but the characters are all unique. This allows for some fun crossovers, since you can use Harry Potter and Vold—He Who Must Not Be Named—in the café from Back to the Future with Marty McFly and…Jack Skellington? You bet your funky Funko fanny!
As these are strategy games, the goal is to earn points—more than the other team—to win. All players have the same basic actions, but have unique actions that utilize a nifty cooldown track, so you’re forced to pace your mondo beyondo powerful actions, as they take longer to recover.
First off, the game looks cool. There’s something about these larger-than-life Funko figures on the game board that attracts the eye…and interest. The rules aren’t difficult, nor are there an overwhelming amount of them.
FunkoVerse: Harry Potter is a simple game, but it has enough meat on it that it’s not too simple. After having played it, I’d say that this game is geared toward those who favor lighter games, as well as newcomers to the hobby. And Harry Potter. And, honestly, even people who enjoy more strategy in their games can also enjoy this for what it is.
And what is that? A fun, light-hearted jaunt in a unique universe with a host of your favorite characters. And let’s be honest, you know you want it just for the Harry Potter figures, anyway.
The Harry Potter FunkoVerse game comes with four unique scenarios you can opt to play with. The basic gameplay involves characters simply trying to knock out the others for points. With the scenarios, different methods of earning points are set forth with special rules. There’s Leaders (your chosen leader gets more points when knocking out players, but is worth more when they get knocked out as well), Control (control various markers to gain points), Flags (kind of like capture the flag, but…different), and Territory (king of the hill, more or less). These scenarios provide unique ways to earn points and can help keep your Harry Potter FunkoVerse game evergreen.
Plus, you can use characters from other sets as well, so that’s a lot of variety! But I digress…
As mentioned, the gameplay is relatively simple: Move around, cast spells (i.e. special actions), pick up point gems, knock down rivals, and finish the job by knocking them out. You gain points from collecting gems from the board, as well as by completing certain requirements as provided by the scenario you’re playing (i.e. control an area of the board or defeat a rival’s leader).
Each side controls two or three characters (without another set, this Harry Potter set provides two special characters per side—Harry P., Hermione G., Voldy, and Ms. Lestrange). If you opt for three characters per side, each side gets one basic character—an Auror and a Death Eater—which are represented by simple cardboard tokens. They have no special abilities, but are characters in every sense of the term and gameplay. Of course, you can always add in other characters from other sets, creating a hodgepodge of characters for a wild crossover of your design.
Throughout the game, characters move and challenge (i.e. attack) rival characters. Succeed in a challenge and the rival gets knocked down. But, a downed character needs to be challenged successfully again in order to knock them out and gain a point. Fortunately, teammates can help their partners up, or if their other characters are exhausted or too far away (use the buddy system!), they can use both of their actions for the turn to get up on their own.
Move, challenge, interact with tokens on the ground, and helping others up—this is the game in a nutshell. While everyone has these actions, characters have unique abilities and special actions that really add to the theme and complexity of the game.
For example, in this Harry Potter set, all characters have ranged attacks (they are using wands, after all). Harry Potter has his (in)famous Expelliarmus spell, allowing him to attack from distance and remove his target’s item. Moldy Voldy (don’t tell him I called him that) is able to attack from distance and roll six dice for his challenge instead of the regular two. Pretty powerful stuff.
When special abilities and items are used, their accompanying tokens (and item cards, if applicable) are placed on the cooldown track. I really like this aspect of the game, as your powerful spells go higher on the track than your dinky spells and items. At the end of each round, everything on the cooldown track shifts down by one, so you’re without those tokens and items for a while.
The cooldown system is familiar to a lot of people who play various video games (such as League of Legends), so they recognize that their more powerful special actions will take longer to get back to them. It’s a good balance, and one I’d enjoy seeing in more games.
The Harry Potter theme is magically delicious in this Harry Potter FunkoVerse game. I’m a massive Harry Potter fan (I even won tickets to a Utah Jazz game for having the best costume opening night for one of the movies), and I love seeing the familiar spells, nose-less bad guy, and familiar locations on the double-sided board.
The gameplay can fit the theme well, assuming you’re going for knockouts and whatnot, but even when you’re playing the various scenarios (that may not fit exactly with the theme), having those larger-than-life characters tromping around on the board is fun to experience. The abilities and special actions of the characters also add to the theme.
Honestly, the theme is well represented in the Harry Potter FunkoVerse game. And I am glad.
The art stays true to the Harry Potter theme, but in its delightful Funko way—soulless eyes, too-large heads, and cartoony features. The boards look good and have distinguished walls, marked by thick outlines (not top hats and pocket watches) so there is no confusion where one starts or stops. And that’s a helpful design choice.
These are the things that make the game so awesome (for me, anyway):
- Harry Potter!
- Harry Potter figures!
- Easy entry-level strategy game…
- …that has appeal to a wide range of gamers
- Various scenarios
- Ability to crossover with different sets/characters
Things to Consider
The character figures are large, which is awesome. But sometimes, they struggle to stand next to each other without bonking heads. This is a minor concern, as they do fit. But sometimes you have to turn them a bit.
When a character is knocked down, you literally knock down the character. This has them on their back on the board, taking up a few additional spaces. We haven’t had an issue yet in which the knocked down character ended up blocking traffic or was so surrounded they couldn’t physically fall down. Personally, I find it amusing, but I could see a few problems in some edge cases.
Luck. There is a good amount of luck. Which is fine…unless you’re me and can’t roll worth beans haha But really, rolling dice for challenges can be fine, but it can also lead to a lot of non-successes, due to an excessive amount of good or bad rolls. I wish there were ways to mitigate luck and to manipulate dice. One of the items included is the Felix Felicis potion that allows you to set one of your dice to a certain side, but that’s the only mitigation I’ve seen. Don’t get me wrong, I love dice in combat, but I’ve been burned too many times without the ability to mitigate some of that. I’m no Matrim Cauthon, that’s for sure.
Would the game work just as well without the cool figures?
Yes. And no. It’s complicated. Sort of.
The game itself would work and play well, even without the included figures. That point is evidenced with the cardboard tokens of the Auror and Death Eater. But, it’s not the same without those wonderful characters crowding the board.
FunkoVerse: Harry Potter (100) is a fun game. Its complexity is fairly low, but there’s still a good amount of strategy and gameplay that makes it fun for multiple types of gamers. You’ll probably find me playing this annually on July 31 (for HP’s birthday, of course), as well as other times when I want to mess around in this universe.
It’s light, it’s fun, and it’s certainly a good family game. I’m already anxious for my boys to grow up a bit more so they can play it with me, as I know they’re gonna love it.
As Albus Dumblydoor once said, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” In FunkoVerse: Harry Potter, you get to do both. Brew up a courage potion and control your favorite witches and wizards!
What gets you excited about this Harry Potter FunkoVerse game?
About the Author
Benjamin hails from Canada but now lives in Kentucky with his wife and kids. He’s a certified copyeditor through UC San Diego’s Copyediting Extension program. He’s a freelance writer and editor, covering everything from board game rule books to novels. An avid writer of science fiction and fantasy, it comes as no surprise that his favorite board games are those with rich, engaging themes. When he’s not writing or playing games, Benjamin loves to play ultimate Frisbee, watch and play rugby, and read the most epic fantasy books available. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminKocher and Instagram @Benjamin_Kocher. You can also read his board game inspired fiction (among other things) at BoardGameImmersion.com.