Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Last night we stormed Castle Ravenloft

Or at least we did in the board game.

I got the Castle Ravenloft board game for Christmas and I had not played it all yet.  The boys wanted to play some D&D last night (so much so they they were each writing their own adventures when I told them I had nothing ready) but I have something like 65,000 courses to work on before the term starts back up on Monday (out that might be a stretch...48,000).   So we compromised a bit.  I pulled out the Ravenloft Board Game.

I knew we could set up it up and run it in under an hour and my boys love the old "Dungeon" game so I figured what the heck.

We had a great time.

The mere fact that one of the characters is blue colored Dragonborn is enough for my oldest.  I let my youngest use the new elf-archer mini I got for him over the weekend to be the ranger.  I played the Dwarf cleric and we went after the Dracolich.  Since I also have the dracolich mini we used that instead of the non-painted version that came in the box.  The game is D&D4-ish and moves really fast.  Game play is about like Dungeon.  The boys loved that the monsters were random and that combat was fast.  We all liked the "build you own dungeon" feel of it too.

The thing that gets me though...why Ravenloft?  Other than vampires, hags some undead and things like that I see no reason why this had to be set in Castle Ravenloft.  I get the dungeon-crawlyness of it, and I understand the desire to tie it in with a Classic product; but the game could have just as easily been the Tomb of Horrors Board Game or Expedition to the Barrier Peaks Board Game.  Frankly, I could swap out Strahd for Acererak and kept everything else the same (hear that WotC, your next boxed Board Game can be Tomb of Horrors and I want a cut!).   Of course their is obvious reason.  I got this pretty much sight unseen and wanted it largely because it was Ravenloft.  Now that I do have I am much more interested in Wrath of Ashardalon and the Legend of Drizzt one coming out in the Fall.

Yeah, yeah I hear the peanut gallery out there already smirking and saying they thought D&D$ was already a board game...whatever, that argument is old and no longer has any interest to me.  This was more akin to other adventure board games, like Dungeon really.  Plus it was fun.

Looking forward to taking on Strahd sometime soon.  Though I am torn.  If I ever run the original Castle Ravenloft for my boys I don't want the experience to be lack-luster for them.  I mean if they kill Strahd once in the board game, defeating him in his proper element might not have the same weight.


Game Master Rob Adams said...

Yeah but there's killing Strahd and then there's killing strahd. IN the board game you kill him (and he goes to his mountain to be resurrected (in the I STrahd book) whereas in the adventure you follow him out there on a tip and destroy his body.

Very interesting post. I have been considering picking up this game. I think I will.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

It is almost worth it for all the minis to be honest. The tiles are nice too.

Theron said...

I really hadn't considered picking it up, as I'm not really a fan of Ravenloft (it came out at the wrong time to grab me, I think). But this review actually makes it sound like something I'd enjoy playing with The Boy. He's aching to play more D&D, but getting the rest of the Dads & Kids crew together has become logistically impossible. This might fit the bill.

Anonymous said...

You had me at Tomb of Horrors! ;)

I just snagged a copy of Ravenloft & Ashardalon online. Can't wait to see how it can be twisted.

Castle Greyhawk, the Board Game?

Tim Knight said...

I got Ravenloft for Christmas as well - but haven't had a chance to play it yet.

I believe I remember hearing last year that they dchose Ravenloft because - at the time - that was going to be WoTC's next big campaign/world/background release after Dark Sun (third-quarter this year, maybe?)

But with the recent cuts and shuffling of schedules I don't know if this is still on the cards.