Wednesday, August 8, 2012

D&D Adventure Board Game System

Some days ago I had the distinct privilege to try out Wizards of the Coast’s D&D Adventure board game system at One Angry Gamer’s place. Joining in was his squeeze Lady Baker.

The D&D Adventure board game system is a series of high end co-operative games (Wrath of Ashardalon, Castle Ravenloft, The Legend of Drizzt) where players use pre-generated characters and a randomly generated board to beat monster encounters and fulfill scenario objectives.

Having heard a lot about this system, I was anxious to try it out. I am happy to report it seems to be a solid system supported by good mechanics and giving players important choices to make and plan their tactics accordingly.

We played two games, both of which combined all the board game sets into one huge cavern and dungeon romp (Angry at work). The scenario stipulated we had to kill 15 monsters before our team took three player kills (expending three healing surges) plus the first death afterwards. I will report on the first game since it didn’t last very long. In fact, it was a disaster.

We choose our stalwart group:

I took the goofy and dimwitted barbarian Wulfgar:

Lady Baker chose the grumpy and hemorrhoid afflicted dwarf fighter Bruenor:

Angry picked the sassy rogue Kat (and say it all together now: “Because rogues are badass!”):

To begin the game you place your figures on the aptly named start tile.

And then it begins. Drawing cards, fighting random creatures, and trying to survive wicked events all aimed at killing the characters. It’s relentless and uncompromising. And a hell of a lot of fun.

And speaking of wicked events, Wulfy took a misstep:

Although causing no damage, this event separated him from the group and the fighter and rogue took a lot of hits from monsters. Before they knew it, they were nearly out of healing surges and hadn’t even moved four tiles into the cavern!

Pushing their luck, the group had to kill some monsters and fast. Wulf charged a flaming skeleton and Kat followed. The only problem was our hottie rogue moved alongside a volcanic vent. Now Angry knew this could be an issue but figured that the only way the vent could harm his rogue was if the event came up by pulling a card from the encounter deck. Since it was still pretty thick, what were the chances of that one card coming up?


Anyway, play proceeded south rather quickly and Kat finally succumbed to her wounds. Since we were out of healing surges we lost the game.

In closing, this game system is quite challenging due to its random nature. However, that does not mean it’s a bad design. What the system does and does well is it really forces players to think and plan their strategies very carefully. Thoughtful play should always be lauded.

Overall, we had a great time and I am pleased to say we won the second game.

Until next time, may the crabs be with you!

Monday, August 6, 2012


Greetings Crab-fans! Sorry for the absence of posts of late, but I was recovering from surgery (cancer is the gift that keeps on giving even after you cut it out). However, I am well on the mend so it’s time for another exciting and riveting AAR!

A few weeks ago, my pal One Angry Gamer stopped by the crab shack for a quick game of  Runebound by Fantasy Flight Games And by quick I mean about seven and a half hours of fun.

Here’s how the board was set up:

This time we decided to use one of the expansions decks that change the victory conditions. We decided on the Crown of the Elder Kings. This expansion directly pits the players against each other as they try to gather a specific group of powerful allies. The first player to do so can claim right to the Crown thus forcing the other player to attack these allies first one after the other and then the player himself – all without resting or regaining wounds.  

But then add into the mix that this expansion is really tough as well. Thus, you have the making of a great challenge!

So, we chose our characters. Who would be willing to take on this great and noble quest? Angry took the sleazy and easy:

And I chose the stalwart and true but somewhat dense:

The game basically consists of moving around the board and uncovering encounters thereby gaining gold and gear and leveling up your character and getting ready for the climatic face off.

But as the game commences, the challenges become increasingly more difficult. And as stated before the Crown of the Elder King expansion really amped up the difficulty level.

As you can see on the card above “The ultimate test of a leader’s worth is how he faces death”. Well Angry’s goth-demon chick Red had the first real crack at showing what she was made of. And she did:

But as the game went on, Angry recovered and quickly rolled on rapidly gathering the powerful allies he needed.

Realizing I was getting outmatched physically and gear-wise, I decided to simply beef up my character for the final showdown hoping I could somehow triumph over great odds. Angry was getting confident as victory seemed within grasp.

But then fate turned on him like bad egg salad. I somehow managed to quickly collect the allies I needed, thus forcing the showdown.

And although Angry’s character did quickly dispense with my allies, she was no match for my barbarian and down she went. Planning had paid off for me!

It was a fun game. Angry always provides a great challenge and is really smart about his tactics. He's also a good sport and always a gentleman (no rules lawyer he!). And although long, the time just flew by which is always a hallmark of a well designed game. We are hoping to play the big box jungle expansion Mists of Zanaga soon.

Until then, may the Crabs be with you!