PAX Unplugged: Review of USAopoly Board Games and Products

USAopoly, Inc.
Pax Unplugged
December 1, 2018

At this year’s PAX Unplugged, we had the opportunity to meet a lot of game designers and publishers, big and small, and had hands on play time with the newest and best tabletop games on the market. 

One of our favorite publishers, the one that left us mouth agape at the breadth and quality of their line up was USAopoly Games. With licensed games covering the best in pop culture including Harry Potter, Call of Duty, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Deadpool, and so many more, USAopoly probably makes a game featuring characters you care deeply about. 

Below is an overview of their hottest games on the market, CODENAMES: Harry PotterFantastic Beasts Perilous Pursuit; Munchkin Harry Potter DeluxeClue: Five Nights at Freddy’s; and RISK: Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies … just in time for the holiday season! 

CODENAMES: Harry Potter.

My favorite game from USAopoly that I played during (and have continued to play since) PAXUnplugged is CODENAMES: Harry Potter. Based on the 2015 game, Codenames (designed by Vlaada Chvátil and published by Czech Games), CODENAMES: Harry Potter is one of the several licensed spinoffs of the popular card game (USAopoly also distributes CODENAMES: Disney Family Edition and CODENAMES: Marvel).

Find 15 members of the Order of the Phoenix before it’s too late! 

In CODENAMES: Harry Potter, you and your teammate (the game is 2+ players but I’ve only played with my ten year old thus far) work for the Order of the Phoenix and you must give each other clues to try and locate 15 members of the Order on a grid of 25 cards before running into a Death Eater or a Ministry of Magic official. 

If you pick a square where a Ministry of Magic official is located, your turn is over.
If you or your partner picks are square where a Death Eater is located, the game is over.

The game structure is simple and the rules are very easy to pick up.  Without getting into the minutiae, you are your partner must find all 15 members of the Order of the Phoenix in ten turns or less. On each turn, a player gives his teammate a 1 one word clue and a number. The clue refers to cards(s) on the board where your code key indicates a member is hiding (your partner cannot see your code key) and the number represents how many cards on the board the 1 word clue refers to.  Obviously, you want to maximize clues per Order members per turn. 

Your code key – the red squares are where the Order Members are located … these are where you are trying to direct your partner to guess cards on the grid. Your partner has their own Code Key and trying to do the same to you.

Your partner, after hearing your clue, points to a card on the grid that they think you’re referring to. If it matches a red square on your code key, Hooray, you found an Order Member. They can keep guessing or pass. If they guess a square which matches an empty gray slot on your code key, their turn is over. If they guess a square that matches a star on your code key (there are 3 such squares on each code key), they’ve found a Death Eater and the game is over. *Sad trombones*

As a big, BIG Harry Potter fan, I LOVE this game and the way it challenges you to think of clever references that will maximize the chance of your partner making good guesses. If you are a Harry Potter fan, this game is the ULTIMATE in fun and showing off your knowledge. 

An example of the Mission Log gameplay variations! 

Once you’ve got the basic game play down, CODENAMES: Harry Potter  also comes with a “Mission Log.” This is a sheet of game variations you can incorporate into the game play to change up the rules and make the game even more challenging.  Together with the basic game play which is a tremendous amount of fun on its own, CODENAMES: Harry Potter provides hours of non repetitive entertainment. 

CODENAMES: Harry Potter retails for $24.95 and everything you need to play comes in the box: 200 Code Cards; 100 double-sided Key Cards; 15 Order of the Phoenix Cards; 1 Death Eater cover card; 12 Time-Turner tokens; 1 pad of Mission Logs; 1 card stand; and the Instructions. 

Fantastic Beasts Perilous Pursuit

In Fantastic Beasts Perilous Pursuit, 2-4 players work together to return escaped beasts to Newt Scamander’s magical suitcase.  Drawing on the mythology of the Fantastic Beasts movie franchise, Perilous Pursuit is an original game design from USAopoly. In the game, players adopt the roles of Newt, Tina Goldstein, Jacob Kowalski, and/or Queenie Goldstein (all characters from from the movies) and work together using dice and  action cards to protect themselves (and each others) and return a panoply of magical creatures to Newt’s suitcase.  

I played a few minutes of this game at PAX and immediately thought it was tremendous fun and (for an old fart like me), not terribly hard to learn.  That it was a cooperative game made it much more attractive to me (I am always looking for games I can enjoy with my son; games where we can be on the same team are far and few between it seems) and I think this is a great “family night” game to play. For 2-4 players, everyone can get in on the action. 

If you’re not into Harry Potter or the expanded “Wizarding World,” this game may not be for you as the popular draw is really getting to play as these characters and go all in on the action you saw from the first Fantastic Beasts movie. But, if you are a fan, you’re going to love this game and want to add it to your game night pile. 

Fantastic Beasts Perilous Pursuit retails for $29.95 and everything you need to play comes in the box: 4 Player Boards; 4 Sets of 15 Token Pieces; 30 Insight Cards; 12 Beasts Cards; Beast Marker; and the Rules. 

Munchkin Harry Potter Deluxe.

In Munchkin Harry Potter Deluxe, developed by USAopoly, players enjoy a Harry Potter twist on the popular Steve Jackson role playing card game, Munchkin.

For 3-6 players, everyone begins the game by picking their Hogwarts house (Hufflepuf, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin – more than one person can choose the same house) and then using dice rolls and the cards you’re dealt and pick up, race your opponents to reach Level 10 first! 

“Solemnly swear you’re Up to No Good—which in Munchkin terms means you’re Looking for Trouble! Do as any daring future Hogwarts™ student would do and produce monster cards from your hand to eliminate at will. You can also take Munchkin-y actions such as trading gold to gain a level with Helga’s Cup, or tempting a friend with Butterbeer™, which forces them to join you in combat!

“Not a double-crossing drop was missed in the creation of this crossover. Use cards like Detention to steal a level from your opponent, or Felix Felicis to gain an advantage or even cheat death. Curses such as Petrificus Totalus! and Imperio! add to the pitfalls. Keep an eye on your fellow students; they may Loot the Room for a competitive edge. Discover all of the spellbinding parallels between Munchkin and the Wizarding World.”

I wasn’t previously familiar with Munchkin but seeing what that game is and how it’s been adapted for the Harry Potter Wizarding World, USAopoly has a made a fun RPG card game using familiar characters and settings that almost any Harry Potter fan will take to fast. 

The recommended age on this game is 11+and this seems right to me as the salient details, rules, and moves may go over the head of younger players. This is a much more gamer’s game than say, Perilous Pursuit but, if you like TCGs AND Harry Potter, I think you’re going to have a blast with Munchkin Harry Potter Deluxe!

Munchkin Harry Potter Deluxe retails for $34.95 and everything you need to play comes in the box: 92 Door cards, 76 Treasure cards (168 cards total), six double-sided House cards, 12 player standees and bases (for three to six people to play), one game board, a custom die, and the rule book.

Clue: Five Nights at Freddy’s

Clue: Five Nights at Freddy’s is a take on the classic board game, Clue. Released earlier this year, Clue: Five Nights at Freddy’s substitutes the classic Clue house, and its possible murder rooms, with the popular Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza restaurant and the rooms so popular from the mobile game franchise.

The characters you can play as …

One night, after the restaurant has closed, someone has killed the security guard. Using characters and places from the FNaF franchise, players need to do the whole Clue thing: Figure out “WHO killed the security guard, WHAT they used to assist them, and WHERE they stashed him.” 

The weapons …
The rooms where the murder may have happened … 

If you love Clue (who doesn’t love Clue?!?) and love the Five Nights at Freddy’s games (I don’t but my son and his friends LOVE LOVE LOVE this series), this is a MUST have addition for your (or your kid’s) game night! 

Clue: Five Nights at Freddy’s retails for $39.95 and everything you need to play comes in the box: 1 Custom Game Board (featuring artwork from the popular horror series, and familiar rooms from Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza as property spaces); 6 Custom Sculpted Character Movers; 6 Suspect Movers; 6 Item Tokens; 49 Game Cards; Office File Envelope; 2 Six-Sided Dice; and the Rules.

RISK: Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies.

RISK: Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies is the post-apocalyptic, zombie infested version or RISK you’ve been waiting for your entire life.

Based on the classic game of strategy and global conquest, RISK: Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies places 2-5 players into the world of Call of Duty, specifically the zombie maps, where they must compete against and out think  their opponents.

Instead of countries, like in the original game, RISK: Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies uses zombie maps from the uber-popular Call of Duty franchise, including: Gorod Krovi; Der Riese; Kino Der Toten; Der Eisendrache; Moon, Origins; and Shi No Numa (each map containing a number of territories within it).

Gamers can play as any of the following characters as they fend off waves of zombie threats and vie for control over the zombie maps: “Tank” Dempsey, Edward Richtofen, Takeo Masaki, Nikolai Belinski, or Samantha Maxis, as they vie for control over familiar maps. 

Clearly, ike the Call of Duty games themselves, RISK: Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies is not intended for young players and I would caution you before letting your little ones get a hold of this game. BUT! For us adults, RISK: Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies is an awesome time and a great combination of COD‘s famous atmosphere and zombie motif mixed with the timeless fun of RISK.

A high recommend for adults looking to spend a lot of time waging war without controllers in their hands. RISK: Call of Duty Black Ops Zombie is available now at Gamestop and EB Games. Starting in February, 2019, it will be available widely at other retailers.

RISK: Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies retails for $49.95 and everything you need to play comes in the box: 1 Custom Game Board; Over 200 Custom Sculpted Colored Figures; 47 Territory Cards; 43 Pack-a-Punch Cards; 5 Leader Cards; 5 Leader Pieces with Stands; 5 Leader Pieces with Stands; 1 Zombie Threat Tracker; 1 First Player Marker; 12 Objectives; 12 Mystery Box Rewards

About USAopoly.

“USAopoly Inc. is a leading developer and manufacturer of board games, collectibles and puzzles. We’ve been producing the world’s most beloved games “with a twist,” under license from Hasbro, since 1994. Our partners include marquee brands and licensors such as Disney, Nintendo, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network, HBO, FOX and CBS. With the 2009 release of Telestrations®, named the #1 Party Game by Board Game Geek, we launched our original game business. Our portfolio of original games is constantly growing and now includes the award-winning games: Telestrations After Dark®Harry Potter™ HOGWARTS BATTLE™, Tapple®, Rollers®, Nefarious™ The Mad Scientist Game, and many more.”

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