Board Game Extras – Theme Matters! (Part 2)

Beth and I are pretty much euro-game players these days, but that does not mean that we do not appreciate games that have theme. After all, my favorite game of all-time is Arkham Horror and hers is Elder Sign. We tried to put a mixture of games with different themes on them on the list. Here we go. . .

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle


Harry Potter Cover


Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle was published in 2016 by TheOP. The game was designed by Forrest-Pruzan Creative, Kami Mandell, and Andrew Wolf. The artwork is primarily screenshots, but other art for the game was provided by Joe Van Wetering.

In Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, the players play through the 7 books. The first box that the players will go through is very much suited for new deck building players. My husband, who had never played a deck building game prior to this one, and we started with box 1 for him. Now we routinely begin the game starting with box 3, which is designed for more experienced deck building players.

This game makes the players feel as if they are going against the forces of evil, led by Lord Voldemort. Although there are some thematic discrepancies between the books and the game – Hermione starting the game with the Time Turner, for example – this game follows the flow of the books. The players begin the game as newbies and gain strength throughout the game. They also increase in knowledge as you play the “books” throughout the 7 game campaign. We love this game around our house and have almost 60 plays in. There is an expansion for the game too, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Monster Box of Monsters, which significantly ups the difficulty.

Fury of Dracula, Second Edition


Fury of Dracula Cover


Fury of Dracula, Second Edition was published in 2005 by Fantasy Flight Games. There have been 2 more editions of the game published since that one. The game was designed by Stephen Hand and Kevin Wilson. The artwork for the game was provided by Ed Bourelle, Anders Finer, Andrew Navaro, and Scott Nicely.

Fury of Dracula, Second Edition is billed on the box as “a game of Gothic horror,” and I think that tag is very appropriate for the game. I never get to play Dracula, as Beth chooses to play him every time.

This game is the only 1 versus all game in our collection, I think. One player takes the role of Dracula and the other players play the investigators, Mina Harker, Van Helsing, Lord Godalming, and Dr. Seward, each of whom have their own special ability. Dracula is attempting to hide from the investigators as well as laying traps for them and, if they end up in the same place, fighting them off. The investigators, in turn, are trying to track Dracula down. One of the things that I really like about this game is the movement – you can move by train, but you have to roll to see how far the train will go or if it will even move that day. Back in the day, that was pretty much how the train systems worked – or didn’t work, as the case may be. I believe the Gothic horror theme really comes through when you play this game. We really like it. One of these days we will have to try the updated versions, but for now, we are happy with this one.

Pandemic Legacy, Season 1


Pandemic Legacy Cover


Pandemic Legacy, Season 1 was published in 2015 by Z-Man Games. The game was designed by Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock. The artwork for the game was provided by Chris Quilliams. For some reason, this game was issued with both red and blue covers – don’t ask me why!

Pandemic Legacy, Season 1 is based on the game Pandemic, a game in which the players are trying to cure or eradicate viruses that are threatening various regions of the world. Pandemic was one of my favorite all-time games, in my top 20, and the legacy version rapidly became a favorite.

The first game of Pandemic Legacy, Season 1 is basically base Pandemic, but it does not stay there long. Pandemic Legacy, Season 1 introduces a variety of things to the base game – I am trying to avoid spoilers here – including new characters, new viruses, and twists on the original game play. I think that the theme of fighting the viruses really comes through and the feeling that it is a race for time shines. We played this game as a 3-player game, myself, Beth, and my husband. All of us loved the game. Playing through this campaign game was, hands down, the best gaming experience of my life. I cannot recommend this game highly enough!

Dead of Winter

Dead of Winter Cover


Dead of Winter was published in 2014 by Plaid Hat Games. The game was designed by Jonathan Gilmour and Isaac Vega. The artists for the game were David Richards, Fernanda Suarez, and Peter Wocken.

I am not a zombie fan. I think zombies have been done to death both in games and movies. However, this game is not really about the zombies, although there are zombies in the game. This game is all about the characters and feels like The Walking Dead, the board game.

In Dead of Winter, there has been a zombie apocalypse of some kind, and the players are holding out at a small colony. They can access other locations, but risk their lives in attempting to do so. There are random events that can be triggered by what are called “Crossroads” cards in the game – cards that force the players to make some difficult decisions, often moral decisions, about the way they are going to handle a situation. The players are up against some kind of crisis every turn of the game and really get the feeling of dread as to whether the colony can survive another round. I know that there is a traitor mechanic that can be added to the game, but we have never played with it. We have only ever played this game as a 2-player cooperative game and we loved it that way. The feeling of desperation as to whether you can keep the colony going despite the current crisis comes through.

Theme Matters!

Even though Beth and I play euro games a lot, that does not mean that we cannot appreciate games with theme. We either own or have owned all of the games that we will be writing about, so obviously we like theme in games too. If you missed the first post in the series, you can check it out here.

What are your favorite themes? What are the game that bring those themes to life? Comment below and let us know!

As always, for these and thousands of other games, check out Board Game Geek here.

Stasia and Beth

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