Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game
About this deal
I estimate a full game, if you win, will take about 60-90 minutes on average, however, it is a very lethal game and there is a wide variation on how long it takes to win or TPK. and an Encounter card can suddenly teleport one of you 6 tiles away from the rest or cause the game to completely change. A few bad dice rolls in a row and a few bad Encounter card draws (the vast majority are bad and some are really bad) can put you in an impossible position early on.
The dungeon tiles do look a bit generic but on the upside this leaves them interchangeable with future releases. The light rules weight and the well-known nature of the license also leaves ample scope for both official and fan-generated extra content to be squeezed in. One side is gold and the other black, so that you can flip them over as you lose health to show your "empty" hit points. I remain unconvinced that the mechanics for increasing difficulty when more characters are in the game really works since it’s reliant on more than one player drawing the same monster card, and that monster type then acts twice per turn. It’s another example of a model that’s now done that I can pretty much never concern myself thinking about again.It’s partly thanks to the co-operative nature of the game that it gets this effect across, and here the co-operation feels like something natural and expected instead of the sense of forced jollity in what is normally a competitive medium that so pervades and spoils the majority of co-op board games. Some of the others never seemed to get the hang of this, and would just discard their pieces back into the box as they lost hit points, and then fish them back out when they healed. As with any role playing game, in Ravenloft you represent a hero that is trying to save the world, kill the evil bad guy, rescue a princess, get piles of treasure, etc. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice.
I don't know what all the scenarios are in Ravenloft as I only played a couple, but I know that there are several that can be played through. There’s nothing mold-breaking involved here, just a real sense that people worked hard to do as much as the could with relatively little. If you save your Q or Z until you get a triple word score, and you always put something down on a double or triple word score no matter how bad your letters are, you will always win against someone who doesn't do that.
It helps to have everything organized, so maybe build some compartments into the box, or bag things up. Evil lurks in the towers and dungeons of Castle Ravenloft, and only heroes of exceptional bravery can survive the horrors within. I also looks promising as a cooperative game for up to 5 people - or even 6, if one of them acts as DM, which could give opportunities for more roleplay than is present in the base game. In most cooperative games when the players are going up against the board there is an element of change each time through and so you feel like you are playing a different game (though similar).
Almost every conceivable point of difference has been worked out and utlilised to make sure that a skeleton is not quite the same as a zombie and so on. Each player selects a Hero, and can choose from the Dragonborn Fighter, Human Rogue, Dwarf Cleric, Eladrin Wizard, and Human Ranger. Once the scenario is chosen you lay down the starting tile, which is the dungeon entrance, and put your minis (included) on it.And by painted, I mean it’s been sitting part done on a series of shelves, tables and containers for the better part of a decade now.
Because of the monochromatic heroes and monsters, and the fairly repetitive-looking dungeon tiles, it's only a 4 in Style. It’s unclear, for example, whether dungeon squares containing furniture like coffins or laboratory equipment are valid for movement or not. The usual rules lawyering seemed to vanish, because there was no one to lawyer against, and if we let ourselves get away with stuff we were essentially just letting ourselves win like a 5 year old. Of course you could always swap out your own mini's to represent your hero, but it'd be nice if you got some beautiful new figs in your CRBG. But really, to suggest a game that has such great miniatures as this one does as “bland” is just silly.Or perhaps the treasure will be something less tangible like the blessing Guided strike or fortune of a blessing. And if I ever need a Male Dragonborn Fighter armed with an Axe, I guess I’ve got the perfect model to fit that unlikely event….