Harry Potter™ House Cup Competition, the first officially licensed Wizarding World themed worker placement game by Usaopoly (The Op), lets players assign student workers from their favorite house at Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn Lessons, complete Challenges, and earn points towards the coveted House Cup! In this highly strategic use of the “worker placement” mechanic, 2-4 players send out fan favorite Harry Potter film characters (three student representatives per House) to gain Knowledge and Magic skills to use towards objectives of various difficulties. The greater the requirements of the Lesson or Challenge, the more points you earn to fill a unique Hourglass Scoring Display with colored gems. Watch the competition unfold in real time!
Around the Table is taking you inside the walls of Harry Potter House Cup Competition with designer Nate Heiss (The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport, Rumplestiltskin) on how he created a thematic experience for Harry Potter fans to learn first-hand what it takes to win the school year’s most prized honor!
What was your favorite parts about bringing House Cup Competition to life?
Nate Heiss: I was so excited to make a game where the points represented—points! That never happens. Players are competing and leveling up their students in the arts of Charms, Potions, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. As the students become more experienced, they can use more advanced spaces and complete more complex Lessons. I am really excited about how this parallels a wizard’s journey through their time at Hogwarts, becoming true masters of their craft for the betterment of all.
How did you go about customizing the worker placement mechanic for Hogwarts?
Staying true to the theme with this mechanic already made sense, because your workers improve over time! This means that later in game, the workers can do more interesting and powerful actions. It really meshed well with the idea of students learning and growing at a wizarding school. Early on in the game, the placements seem standard and much like you would expect from other worker placement games. However, by the end, your students are able to cast spells, learn Lessons, and take actions that are fitting of learned wizards!
What are you hoping players will experience learning and playing this game?
I want players to experience strategic depth and growth. I hope they end up discovering fun combos in the Lessons and locations. Most of all, the idea is for everyone playing to enjoy the characters and being in the Harry Potter universe. I think this is going to be unlike any other Harry Potter game the fans have ever seen, and turn tabletop gamers of all levels onto the fun of worker placement style games in general!
What tips or strategies would you give players once they’ve had time with the game?
Try to level up your students and learn as many Lessons as you can. Lessons are a little bit like free turns, so they are advantageous. Also, going first is deceptively powerful; because you have first choice of the best spots at the beginning of each round, value it highly! Ideally, you can complete multiple challenges a turn, but sometimes it is better to team up and complete a larger one!
How did you prepare to create a wizarding world game, and which house are you?
I watched a lot of the Harry Potter movies and spent a lot of time on Pottermore (now Wizarding World). I love Harry Potter, but there are even bigger fans out there than me, so I made sure to ask them many questions and show them the game. I’m very Ravenclaw, although I think I could fit into Gryffindor in a pinch. I’d love to try on the Sorting Hat and find out! I love logic and puzzles and strategy games, as well as learning and teaching… so for sure, Ravenclaw.
Bring victory to your house when Harry Potter: House Cup Competition becomes available this summer from your favorite local game stores and online retailers for $49.99. Find out where to buy and look into other experiential board games and time-passing puzzles by visiting TheOp.games. For more news and updates, follow The Op on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram via @TheOpGames.