Scene It? Harry Potter Edition Review

Released just before Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire hits the cinemas, this variation on Mattel's Scene It? series of games favours the continuing adventures of Harry Potter, Hogwarts' most illustrious young pupil. So, as Mattel bids of you, pop the game disc into your player, agree on who gets to be the owl and test your knowledge of Golden Snitches, Death-Eaters and the Chamber of Secrets as you discover who amongst you might be a great wizard and who is only a Muggle.

Of course, were you to have popped in here expecting a review of a new Harry Potter film, you might well be wondering what all of the above is about. Indeed, you might be wondering that regardless so let me explain. Scene It? is a DVD/board game with a remarkably simple premise. At heart it's somewhat similar to Trivial Pursuit in that players move their tokens about a board answering questions as they proceed and in demonstrating their knowledge of films, they may be successful in winning the game. The original Scene It? used a DVD that included games, puzzles and clips from films as well as question cards that, when combined, mixed trivia, movie knowledge and memory to good effect. This Harry Potter version of the game is more of the same, in which 160 question cards and 30 House Point cards combine with a game DVD that includes word and picture puzzles and memory games to produce a board game that's perfectly entertaining for those aged eight and up.

There is much to like about the game, notably that it's not particularly complicated. As someone who can remember when board games printed their instructions on the inside of the lid, I'm not fond of games that require a good half-hour's reading on a Christmas afternoon before attempting to summarise the rules to a few in-laws who've had a touch too much sherry. As such, Scene It? not only includes the instructions on a slip of paper but also uses the DVD to explain how to play. It's really all rather simple allowing you to get started within minutes.

Once begun, the game becomes a fairly easygoing progression about the board answering questions as you go. There are two dice, one of which allows you to move forward whilst the other chooses a category for you upon your landing there. These includes All Play and My Play challenges, which are similar but that the former is open to all players whilst the latter is not, House Point Cards (the Scene It? equivalent of Monopoly's Community Chest) and Question Cards, each of asks the player to answer one of three questions, on life at Hogwarts, on the world of magic outside Hogwarts and on the non-magical world. Having played a number of games for this review, everything flows easily and come the passing of the first ten minutes or so, such questions as, "...and what do I do now?" tend to disappear. The big attraction of these games for film fans is, of course, the use of the DVD - without it, Scene It? would be no more than a film-themed Trivial Pursuit - and it makes good use of it. There are film clips, which tend to be something of a treat for younger players, whilst the word and picture puzzles are much like the simple games that you might get on a DVD release. For example, a player may have to guess the identity of a character whose picture becomes less and less distorted within a ten-second time limit or they may have to work out the name of a character from a set of jumbled letters but none of it is particularly difficult. The film clips themselves are from the first three movies - Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban - but there are questions relating to the Goblet of Fire (in one game I played, Igor Karkaroff, a character from the fourth book was an answer to a particular puzzle).

Of course, play the game enough times and, like Trivial Pursuit, questions will come around again but Mattel do seem to have pre-empted this to some extent with there being a certain randomness to the questions asked at the end of a clip. There do appear to be several questions that can be asked at the end of a clip so the game should offer much replay value but I suspect that we may be seeing a new release of this game following the release of each new Harry Potter film. Expect one for Christmas 2006 that includes clips from the upcoming Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The only possible downside is that it will eventually become quite repetitive but on the understanding that no one is going to play it that much, that shouldn't necessarily be a problem. Otherwise, younger children, who may have seen the films, will be at a disadvantage given that they may not be able to read the questions in the time given never mind answer them. Were I to recommend anything having played this a number of times, it would be that younger children, perhaps aged 3-8 would also like to play but that the word challenges are clearly too complex for them and that a version for that age group would be appreciated. An attempt to play with my own children just left them baffled but they enjoyed the clips and it was necessary to rope in a number of nephews and nieces for this review.

It is, though, a good game and with the addition of All Play, which presents questions and puzzles that are open to everyone, it is much more social than many other games, with players competing to answer one question as well as winning the game. Otherwise, it's a presented very well and looks like a premium product with the DVD, in particular, standing out with its demonstration of gameplay and its ease of use. It will, I suspect, be something that many 8-12 year olds will be receiving this Christmas and that they will enjoy it come the hours when their older relatives, having listened to the queen, will be quietly snoozing in front of the television. As I have younger children, I suspect that I'll be playing Guess Who? this Christmas afternoon but, were they older, it would be this and a fine time would be had by all.

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Last updated: 28/04/2018 17:24:47

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