“It is time!,” Winnifred says dramatically to her “Sistahs” in Disney’s Hocus Pocus when their potion is ready and they are about to suck the life out of Emily Binx. Now fans of Disney’s best Halloween film can put themselves in the shoes of a virgin who lights the black flame candle thanks to Ravensburger’s newest game, Hocus Pocus: The Game. Don’t worry, “It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus!”
The fun starts with the packaging, which is reminiscent of the Sanderson Sisters spellbook with character artwork that matches the style of the game. “BoooOOOOK!”
Similar to the film, players are working together to stop the witches from completing their potion before sunrise. But the Sanderson Sisters have made it a little challenging, making it so that players don’t know the potion ingredients they each possess. Players need to work together to line up combinations of ingredients in the cauldron in order to stun a witch and bring the sun closer to rising. But if players run out of ingredients before the sun turns the witches into dust, all is lost and everybody loses.
I found the instructions to be a little difficult to understand, but the game is actually fairly simple once you get over the information you need to know to start playing. Game play is recommended for ages 8 and up and the game can be played with 2 to 6 players. It’s more of a card game than a board game, but there are two boards that players will use, including the cauldron pictured above.
These are the spell cards, which have different colors and ingredients. On the Witch Board below, you can see that each witch can be stunned by a different combination of ingredients laid out on the cauldron. Players take turns placing a card from their ingredient deck and they’re allowed to work together by asking one question on their turn to help figure out if they are working towards all of one color or all of one ingredient on the top of the deck.
Game play proceeds through players placing cards in the cauldron, where they can match them to a color or type of ingredient. The goal is to stun one of the witches, which will make the sun token move up a space. When it reaches the top, the witches turn to dust and the players win. But if players run out of ingredient cards during a round, the witches potion is complete and they’ve won. All is lost, “Goodbye to life.”
Some ingredient cards have a symbol of a spell book, which requires the players to flip over a spell card. These are excellently designed, harkening back to iconic moments from the film and setting players back (although in some cases, the spell might unintentionally help you win).
There’s also an ally of sorts on some ingredient cards that is activated when played in the form of Binx the cat. The player who activates Binx gets to hold their deck so that other players can see their cards, making it easier to work together towards stunning a witch. When a witch is stunned and a spell unique to them is cast, the spell doesn’t work. Cards that contain all three witches will still be played.
Lastly, there are four trick tokens that can be used once per game. Players can choose to use these to ward off a particularly damaging spell, change the cards in their hand, or skip a turn. These can only be used once per game and are then turned over when out of play.
There are a few more specifics I could go into, but that’s Hocus Pocus: The Game in a nutshell. I had a lot of fun with it and like Disney Villainous (also from Ravensburger), I plan to play this a lot during the bewitching season. You’ll have a “Mahvalous” time trying to stop these “Hags” from sucking the lives of all the children before sunrise.
For a visual breakdown of how to play the game, be sure to check out the Ravensburger endorsed Watch It Played video.
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).