Trust no one. It may look like everyone around you is a Muggle, but don’t believe everything you see. Dark times are upon us and some of those so-called Muggles are actually Death Eaters.
The game requires at least eight players, each of whom will take on an identity that they must keep secret throughout the game — such as Cornelius Fudge (the narrator who guides players through the game), Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, other members of Dumbledore’s Army, and Death Eaters — as the object of the game is to find out who is playing who. Some of the character cards even feature special abilities that are specific to that character.
The game alternates through cycles of night and day. During each night round, all the players must close their eyes and put their heads down (like that game Seven Up/Heads Up game that we used to play in school), so that the secret Death Eaters can take someone away. During each day cycle, players must attempt to figure out who is who by scrutinizing others’ actions and reporting who they think are Death Eaters to Cornelius Fudge. Each night, one innocent person will get taken away each night by the Death Eaters, and each day, one person (innocent or not) will get voted to get sent away to Azkaban on the assumption that they are working for Voldemort.
The role of Cornelius Fudge comes with a lot of responsibility — he is the Minister of Magic, after all. Good old Fudgey is the one who reads the script, guides the night and day cycles, and keeps track of everyone’s secret roles and special characteristics. There can be as many as 29 players in the game, so don’t take this job lightly! The Death Eaters get to wake up at certain points while everyone else is sleeping during the night cycle, so they are all aware that they are working on the same team.
During the day, active players can say whatever they want to try to convince the others that they are innocent. They can tell the truth or lie about being a member of Dumbledore’s Army, as long as they don’t reveal their actual character card. Some players will be able to drop real clues based on their special characteristics. For example, Luna gets to learn the team identity of one player each night, Neville gets to discover who is playing as Luna, and Bellatrix gets to take one player with her if she gets sent out of the game. Dumbledore’s Army will win the game if they send all the Death Eaters to Azkaban successfully. On the contrary, the Death Eaters will win the game if they take out enough members of Dumbledore’s Army that the two sides have an equal number of active players.
There are some fun fandom details that make the game amusing — Harry gets to protect players with the Invisibility Cloak, Hermione can use the time-turner to bring back a player that was voted out (once per game), Peter Pettigrew can trick Luna to appear as part of Dumbledore’s Army, and Snape can play for both sides. Since the character cards are dealt at random, there is a high replay value because there are a lot of different casting combinations, but the game is way more entertaining if you get to play a well-known character with special abilities. However, the majority of characters have no special traits at all, which can make it a little boring for those players. Would you really want to be Crabbe or Goyle when you could be Sirius or Bellatrix instead? It’s also unclear why there are exactly 29 characters in total — some of them super random like Katie Bell and Rodolphus Lestrange, as opposed to more popular characters such as Draco Malcoy. What’s up with that?
The more players you have, the more hectic things become, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. At the end of the day, only a handful of characters have any real power, and a lot of the decisions are based on hearsay. Overall it lacks substance and needs something more — whether that be a game board to enhance gameplay or more organized rules in place of letting people make random decisions about who to cart off to Azkaban each round. With a minimum requirement of eight players, this is not the ideal pandemic game night choice, but I can see how it could pass for a fun drinking game in a normal Wizarding World. Either way, I say “Revelio Death Eaters, I won’t let you win without a fight.”