172 of 182 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2011
This game is the third installment in the D&D "Adventure System" of board games. If you're in search of more opinions, you should definitely check out the reviews for Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon, as the games are all very similar. I also own and enjoy Castle Ravenloft.
They all use very loose adaptations of 4th Edition D&D rules. This particular game is (obviously) based on R.A. Salvatore's books about dark elf orc-stabber extraordinaire, Drizzt Do'Urden. As such, all the adventures are based on Drizzt's literary exploits (all the way up to Gauntlgrim, I was surprised to see), and the choice of heroes includes the Companions of the Hall, and there are rules for playing as (as well as against) the notable trio of ne'er-do-wells Entreri, Jarlaxle, and Athrogate.
Playing the Game
Each player chooses one of five pre-made heroes, and then chooses which of that hero's powers they'll use for the adventure (you take 4 or 5 out of around 10). Next, you follow the Adventure Book's rules to setting up whatever adventure you're playing (there are about 15 different adventures), and you make your way through the dungeon trying to complete the adventure's objective.
The "board" is made up of jigsaw puzzle-style pieces which you shuffle before the adventure like cards. You start with one tile as the "start tile", and then each player has the chance to draw a tile on his or her turn and add it to the tiles already played, which I'll get into next. This is how the play area expands.
Each player's turn follows the same order - move and/or attack with your hero, add a dungeon tile (unveiling a new monster), then activate the monsters you've unveiled. So, each player controls not only his hero, but the monsters he or she reveals. This is done by following the instructions on the monster's card, which tells you how the monster acts.
When a player dies, he or she uses a Healing Surge, which acts like a "continue". If a player dies and there are no Healing Surges left (you start most adventures with 2), the players lose. So, it's a no-man-left-behind situation.
You win, as I mentioned, by completing whatever objective the adventure sets out. Usually, this involves reaching a specific tile and killing whomever is hanging out there.
Enjoying the Game
At the end of the day, this is a very streamlined game. The heroes have no stats other than AC, HP, Speed, and Surge Value (the amount you heal when you use a surge). You don't equip your guy, you can't level up past Level 2 (which entails adding 2 HP, 1 AC, and a new daily power), and there is no continuity between missions.
Strategically, the game is pretty simple. You don't have a whole mess of options, and sometimes it can be pretty obvious what the best move is, meaning the game can feel like it's playing itself sometimes. Honestly, when I first started playing these Adventure System games, I was disappointed. Being a "gamer", I'm no stranger to complex rule systems and this was just too simple for me.
But then I added friends. And not just any friends; non-gamer friends. Non-gamer friends, and booze. And jokes. And silly descriptions, and trash-talking (despite the co-operative nature of the game), and bouts of not paying attention. Basically, everything that absolutely ruins a regular D&D session.
The simple nature means there's very little to keep track of (once everyone learns the flow of play), and you don't need to clear your entire calendar to schedule a session. I've had a blast every time since then, and the game has quite a following now among my gamer and non-gamer friends alike.
If you go into it expecting it to be a very rich, very complex board game version of D&D, you're not going to be happy. But if you recognize it as the big box of toys that it is, man can you have some fun.
63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2012
I won't attempt to review this game in total, or go over the rules, as this has been done effectively many times before. I wanted to review it, however, as an experience for playing with young children.
Summary - 5/5
I have 2 kids, one 4 one 6.5. This game is excellent for introducing children 6+ to gaming concepts, and enjoying some quality time together. I would not recommend it as a first game, but once your kids have some basic ideas of gameplay, its cooperative nature offers a perfect blend of progressively independent action and bonding.
Theme and appeal - 5/5
The theme and appeal of the game is obvious. By the age of 3 or 4 most children will have been bombarded with a variety of fantasy narratives, and enjoy them. Spooky dungeons. Scary dragons. Heroic knights. While some parents may be concerned at the idea of crawling through caves and killing monsters, my personal view is that this comes very naturally to kids these days, and is in fact quite empowering - see a monster, whammo! blast it with a magic wand.
This game creates a very tactile upfront experience of the things they have seen on TV or in story books. The little miniatures are very appealing, both to my 3 (almost 4) year old girl, and to my 6.5 year old son.
Is it kid proof - 3/5
This game is sturdy and durable. You will, however, need to keep a close eye on all the bits, which can be easily lost if not kept in themed baggies, and without very clear 'putting away when used' rules.
The miniatures can probably take some abuse, but also need some care as there are bits that could be snapped off. You will also need to be disciplined with the cards. When my son gets excited, he waves his arms and is sometimes tempted to squish them inside his hands.
Assuming you play on the floor (which I do) you may also need to make clear no walking or rolling over the board rules...
Can a 6/7 year old contribute meaningfully, and feel fulfilled? - 4/5
Most certainly, but with guidance. Even a three year old can choose which corner of a new tile to explore, and count out spaces (although it helps if they have learned space counting in other games first). A 6/7 year old can choose which powers they want to use, although may need some tactical/strategic guidance.
I found the game offered plenty to make my son feel very fulfilled playing the game. We died in our first adventure, but despite this setback he was delighted to recall some of his more heroic moments, and how if we had only done this or that we might just have made it.
Can Dad enjoy it while playing with the kids? - 5/5
Certainly he can. One way to view it is as solo plus, in which you still may have to make a majority of the strategic decisions - which (despite some complaints about the game being too easy) are not always simple - but you also get the pleasure in sharing the experience with others.
You can also use the game to practice your story telling skills to a sometimes quite demanding audience!
Is it educational? - 5/5
OK, let's be clear up front that this is not going to enhance your child's understanding of world geography, or the way plants grow. It is fantasy.
But first up, I consider fantasy to be an important part of human culture, and one of the shared experiences that bind society together.
Beyond that, the game teaches social play. Teamwork. Tactical and strategic decision making. Logic. (If-then, if not-then something else). Basic AI. Planning. It encourages reading, and thinking about maths and probability. It teaches rule systems, and how to best use them to your advantage. What's not to love about this, especially in an era of electronic solitude?
Is it easy to learn/teach? - 4/5
Again, this puts a certain amount of onus on the parent. I highly doubt your 6.5 year old will be able to read and understand the rules without guidance.
I made the mistake of trying a first game without understanding everything myself, and my poor son was stuck watching me sweat my way through the rules (as can be seen from another posting I made). It might be a good idea to do a solo run first.
But once you get the basic concepts (how monsters move!), it comes quite easily. Yes, you do need to explain how the powers work. How the exploration works. How the monsters work. It is a lot to absorb at first.
But if your kid is interested, they will pay attention, and it can be revealed progressively through gameplay.
I am also amazed how much space a 6/7 year old has in his/her brain to absorb new rules... more than once I've opened an old card game and asked - hmm, how many do we deal to start? - only to have my son answer for me...
Does it play out reasonably quickly? - 4/5
I am assuming, with this score, that you know that you are in for a substantial game. i.e. This is not a ten minute frisson. The question is whether it can keep a kid's attention or not.
In my first game, I found myself wishing it would take a little less time. Not a lot less, but right at the end - when it went past bedtime, and was starting to drag a little.
That said, the denouement came roughly about the time I expected, and my son's attention was pretty gripped (allowing for a couple of short breaks). And there would be no harm in tweaking the game a bit... one or two fewer tiles, perhaps, before the final boss, could be one approach.
Is it fun? - 5/5
Yes! Its theme, fairly simple gameplay, and balance of achievement and challenge works well for kids. Everyone loves receiving a treasure. Everyone hates getting a nasty encounter.
Great game. And given it is a system more than a game, with a lot of variety, I hope to be playing this for quite some time.
71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2011
I own all three of the D&D board games and this one is easily the best yet. The abilities are more fun, the playable heroes finally branch out somewhat from the tired old standard classes, there are eight playable heroes instead of five, and the new team challenge adventures and betrayal adventures are great additions to the rules. I also like that the rock walls look jagged and organic: the straight-line sameness of the dungeons in the previous two games made the environments dreary and boring.
My only complaint is that there are too few challenging monsters: these heroes and items are a lot more powerful - frequently granting the ability to reliably deal 2 damage per turn - and the 1-hp goblin monsters never stay on the board longer than 1 turn. Owners of Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon can remedy this by adding more challenging monster cards and figurines from those games - the Cave Bear and the Gargoyle come to mind.
I do think that "Legend of Drizzt" is an inappropriate name. Having played a half-dozen adventures in this game I can confidently say that Bruenor Battlehammer is the star of this show, and that nothing, nothing at all in any of the D&D Adventure System board games, can compare to the moment when he deals the killing blow to a dragon or a balor with his "headbutt" ability. Especially if he himself is at 1 HP at the time of use.
Because of this, my friends and I have affectionately renamed the King of Mithral Hall "Headbutts McGee," and we have dubbed this game "The Ballad of Headbutts McGee"
Dude will headbutt anything. And then it will die. I'm not even kidding.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
When Heroscape came out from Wizards of the Coast I was livid. It was a board game that had fantasy elements and yet nothing in common with Dungeons & Dragons, and yet the Open Game License had been adopted by publishers everywhere to spread the D&D brand far and wide. It was like Hasbro thought the D&D license was good enough for everybody else but their own games. That all changed with 4th Edition. The Legend of Drizzt is the culmination of a synchronized brand strategy that's been decades in the making.
Long before Drizzt Do'Urden was a duel-wielding archetype envied by every power gamer, I read his originating tale in the Icewind Dale trilogy - along with Bruenor Battlehamer, Catti-brie, and Wulfgar. That was twenty years ago. Now the guy who was originally conceived as a sidekick for Wulfgar has his own board game, The Legend of Drizzt. Drizzt, you've come a long way baby.
The first thing you notice about The Legend of Drizzt is the sheer size of the thing. The box is heavy and for good reason - it includes over 40 plastic figures, 13 heavy cardstock sheets of tiles and a bazillion cardboard accessories, 200 encounter and treasure cards, a rule book, a scenario book, and a 20-sided die.
Let's start with the plastic figures. They're unpainted but molded in a variety of colors that match their appearance - water elementals and ghosts are in blue transparent plastic, trolls and goblins are in green, heroes are in dark blue, villains in gray, drow elves in purple...you get the idea. Speaking of villains, Drizzt's archenemy Artemis Entreri is here too in case you're interested in playing an antihero. Up to five players select a placard representing their character that includes critical stats (HP, AC, Speed) along with power cards for that character's class. There are at-will powers and encounter powers. Fans of 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons will recognize how much the tabletop role-playing game has in common with the board game. Critics of 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons will notice how easy it is to turn the tabletop role-playing game into a board game.
This isn't really so much a game about Drizzt as it is a modular system that can accommodate any setting. Change the tiles around, switch out the characters and molded pieces, and the same game could easily take place in Castle Ravenloft or in a dragon's lair, which is why the game is compatible with Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon. You could just as easily use the components to complement your own role-playing game.
And that's the brilliance of The Legend of Drizzt. It takes the elements and branding of the role-playing game and takes it to its logical conclusion as a board game. The Legend of Drizzt is filled with dozens of fiddly bits, from stances to damage counters to healing surges to treasure chests. You can even level up from first- to second-level, which officially makes this the real "Basic Set" for converting gamers to the role-playing hobby.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2012
The one- and two- star reviewers are right about these board games in at least one respect: This is not Dungeons & Dragons in the truest sense; it is drastically simplified, over quicker and, to some degree, rather mote linear. This is D&D with rubber pants, I ain't gonna lie. But that doesn't mean it's not a ton of fun. See, haters gonna hate, but this game is not for them. This game is for me and others like me.
See, I really want to like D&D. I wish I did, because I love the concept. But in my experience (which, I'll grant you, is limited to creating a character and doing a one-player campaign), it felt too much like trying to do my taxes and read The Lord of the Rings at the same time. I just couldn't get into it and I found that really disappointing.
Then I found out about these Dungeons & Dragons board game thingies. I looked into them and was delighted to find that it seemed much more up my alley. In the spirit of never knowing until you try, I bought the Legend of Drizzt (pronounced "Drist" by the way, thank you Google) on the basis that he's the only D&D character I'm at all familiar with.
And man, I'm glad I did. It says something that I've so far only played the first campaign out of the included adventure book and I enjoyed it enough to play it again.
So, let's talk content: This is one heavy box.
-Instruction Book: A little thin, so learning can be a challenge; there isn't enough information there to address every possible eventuality. You're gonna be invoking House Rules on a few occasions.
-Adventure Book: Something like a dozen campaigns, with enough variation to keep it fresh and interesting. There are two single-player adventures, several co-ops and some "vs. mode" stuff.
-Tokens: Thirteen sheets of heavy-stock cardboard popouts. That's enough to make certain other board games blush (Arkham Horror, you sexy beast, I'm looking in your direction). I highly recommend a good supply of Ziplock sandwich baggies. Still, I much prefer a token system to endless scribbling, erasing and scribbling again on a character sheet.
-Miniatures: there are quite a lot of these as well. They are used to represent the various heroes and beasties, and are moved around the build-as-you go, tile-based board throughout the game. They all look great, but there's just one problem: they're not guaranteed to all come out of the box in perfect condition. They're not likely to be broken, but perhaps awkwardly bent--one of my Drow soldier dudes is extending a sword whose blade curves sharply to the left. Likewise, the big mean angry dragon looks kinda silly with one wing sticking straight up in the air. There's probably a way to fix these that I don't know about.
-Cards: There are 200 in total, which may sound intimidating, but after they're all separated into their various categories (even if you combine the Beginner and Advanced decks like I did), it's really not that bad.
Well, there you have it, my review of The Legend of Drizzt board game. I hope you found it as informative and helpful as I tried to make it. I highly recommend this game if you're the right kind of person for it and if you don't expect what it isn't going to deliver. Happy Gaming!
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2011
Pluses: loads of plastic minis, modular and laminated map sections and accessories, and a fun jumping off point for beginning players. Also, for advanced players, the stuff in the box is a great bargain versus buying separate maps and minis.
Minuses: The rules are far too simplified for experienced players, and the packaging really doesn't allow storing all the random bits and markers without getting them mixed up.
I mainly purchased this set as an accessory to my regular gaming kit. The little plastic minis are more fun than cardboard tokens anyday, and the heavy laminated cardboard map sections are wonderful for setting up a map ahead of time, or making one up as you go, depending on your gaming style. There is also a wealth of little condition markers, which while inferior to chits like the ones made by GF9, are nonetheless useful, especially to the GM on a budget.
If you choose to play it as advertised,the rules have been simplified to streamline play and keep up the pace of the game, which is a draw to new players, or those who fancy a quick game of solitaire, as it were. Long time D&D players will probably find those rules unsatisfying though.
All in all, a good product, no matter which way you decide to use it. Pity about the lack of separated storage in the molded inlay though. I hate sorting all the markers every time I open the box...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2011
This is the 3rd version of the Dungeons and Dragons games. The other two are here:
Dungeons and Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game
Wrath of Ashardalon: A D&D Boardgame
If you've played any of those games, skip past this part and go right to THE GOOD.
It plays the same and the parts are all interchangeable.
The basic game is played similar to Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition. You move a character, you attack baddies using class-specific skills and you finish a map by getting a unique item or killing a certain creature.
The rules make for a fun, quick game. After just two or three hours, you'll have finished a dungeon. This is awesome for players who don't have the time to invest into full-on roleplaying.
You can play this game by yourself or with up to 5 people. The more the merrier. You can play by yourself because the enemies all have their artificial intelligence listed on a card. For instance, you might get a card that says something like:
If this creature is more than 2 tiles away, it moves 2 tiles closer
If this creature is 2 tiles away or less, it shoots with an Attack +5, 1 damage
If this creature is adjacent to a hero, it uses a dagger with an Attack +2, 1 damage
Attacks are rolled with a 20-sided die (the only die needed for the game -- it is included). If the 20-sided-die roll + the Attack >= the hero's AC, then it's a hit. So you'd want to engage the creature adjacent to it so that it will have a low chance of hitting your character.
If you kill a creature, you gain a treasure and experience. If you ever roll a 20, you can trade experience to level up your character (can only be done once). A leveled up character has better stats and can have more skills.
Now onto the good parts and bad parts of this game:
The figures are the best yet. You get a bunch of goblins and undead along with some awesome trolls, a dragon and a massive Balor. They are not painted like the expensive miniatures, but you could paint them yourself if you wanted. They are very durable and extremely well-detailed.
Also, the quests in this edition are better than the others. They feel more personal. You get to know the characters better (they are R.A. Salvatore's already well-establish characters (note: I have not read his Drizzt stuff yet, so you still get to know the characters even if you haven't read his work)). The game feels more connected and less "go here, kill this guy, move on."
THE LESS GOOD
The previous 2 games had more solid cards. They were indisputably clear. Not so in this edition.
During the 2nd or 3rd quest, we ran into a boss character's AI that was not clear. It said something similar to: "If he is adjacent to only 1 hero, he attacks with a vampiric dagger. If he is more than 1 tile away, he approaches and attacks with a sword. If he is 2 tiles or more away, he moves 2 tiles closer."
What wasn't clear was what he would do if he was adjacent to more than 1 hero. He isn't more than 1 tile away, but he has more than 1 hero adjacent to him. Does he use the sword? Does he use the dagger? Is he scared and doesn't do anything? (that's what the goblin archers do -- it's not a ridiculous thought)
The next quest we did, we had to kill a dragon. The dragon's AI did some weird things. You had to be on his tile to attack him. But there were areas where you could be adjacent to the dragon, the dragon couldn't go by you and you couldn't attack the dragon.
As far as we could tell, the card didn't list if the dragon could fly over characters (we assumed it could). It didn't list what the dragon would do if there was no place for it to land (would it toss the characters aside so that it had room? -- we assumed it would).
It's not a major problem because everyong playing the game can just decide how to fill in the gaps. But it was somewhat annoying considering how perfect the AI was in the previous two games.
If you like dungeon hack-n-slash style of board games but don't want to invest the time that mammoth games like Descent Journeys in the Dark require, then this is where you need to go.
These are my favorite hack-n-slash board games I've ever played.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2011
I will start this review by saying I've never played the Dungeons and Dragons pen-and-paper game. I am, however, very familiar with D&D and Drizzt. I've played most of the D&D video games, my favorites being: The Temple of Elemental Evil, and the Baldur's Gate Series. I've also read most of the Drizzt books.
This game is fantastic in that it perfectly catches Drizzt's adventures from the book and feels very much like a turn based dungeon crawling video game. I'm very familiar with the D&D rules, even without playing true D&D. While this game is watered down to the extreme, there is still enough of the essence of the rules for you to know that it is Dungeons and Dragons.
On to how fun it is, and BOY IS IT FUN! There is one single player adventure, and some of the other adventures are easily adapted into single player use. Single player is not boring, but doesn't give you a grasp of how great this product is. Multiplayer is where it shines. There are 40 or so durable miniatures, including a few really big ones, and durable puzzle pieces that build your dungeon, or cavern in this game. It feels like you are building a puzzle and playing with a big box of toys all at the same time.
Jokes come fast and plenty while playing with friends. This game proves to be just as enjoyable making fun of, as it is playing it. Encourage your friends to get in character too, which makes the whole thing sillier and even more fun.
There are 13 adventures that come with the game. The adventures last from an hour, to an hour and a half. Each dungeon is randomly generated because you shuffle items like the dungeon tiles and monster cards everytime you play. If you go back and use different heroes as well, and there a lot to choose from, this game has considerable replay value.
This game really does feel like playing a CRPG. It proves to be more fun though. With the interaction of friends, choosing random scenarios, and characters to play through this game proves to be simply PHENOMENAL!
I didn't realize that board games could be this fun. I heartily recommend this to fans of RPGs, fantasy, and board games in general. Wizard's of the Coast has put forth an unbelievable product that is well worth the buck.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2013
I am going to start with a little backstory on myself and on the D&D games in general. I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons for about 25 years now and when I saw the board games come out I was a bit skeptical. Recent iterations of the RPG have watered down the mechanics and left a lot gamers frustrated by the lack of depth and complexity. I expected the same thing would have happened here (and it did out of necessity) AND, worst, that doing so was going to create a droll and boring boardgame (it did not).
-quick to learn and get involved with. Even non D&D players can enjoy a dungeon adventure quickly while getting into some, but not all, of the mechanics underlying the D20 system.
-adaptive boardsetup makes it so that you can play the same adventure (or a very similar one by modifying the end villian) a near endless number of times because the dungeon will change
-The figure quality and materials of this game are a great quality. The miniatures look amazing. Take a moment to google "Legend of Drizzt painted miniatures" to see what some paint can do to them. Amazing
-I was laughing, cursing, and having a great time every single second of the game (even the frustratingly dangerous encounter seconds...albeit that was more cursing)
-The ability to blend it (tiles/monsters/equip/etc) with the other board games makes it even more adaptable.
-The cooperative nature of the gameplay makes it feel like an old school dungeon hack RPG. It's fun to talk strategy and plan the plight of your adventurers.
-Leveling up is difficult and you may play 4 games and only level a character once. It has a way to promote them in game by either a natural 20 or a battlefield promotion card from the equipment deck. There is only one battlefield promotion card and rolling a 20 may or may not be the luck of your entire game. I am four games in and have only leveled once.
-Each of the equipment cards includes a price in gold, but there is no mention of gold and money in any of the rules. It creates an opportunity to 'add-in' your own homebrew rules, but as it is- it is an extra feature that means little to nothing. One example of a homebrew rule we are exploring is that if you discard X price in gold (10,000 is our current test) and you can level a character.This also helps with the first criticism.
-YOU MADE A D&D GAME AND DIDN'T INCLUDE A CLERIC OR A MAGE. Seriously wizards? Sure, you can find a wand of magic missle or a wand of lightning bolt, but you dont have a player character who is able to cast spells as a default. You can't be a healer. I enjoy the fighters, but it's a pity that you dont get to get into the mysticism that is D&D. Maybe they are in other versions of the board game, but it seems foolish (and unfortunate) not to include. A lack of a cleric also makes it that much harder to make it through the game (old school RPG wisdom is you always need a cleric).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2013
Whether or not you are a fan of the D&D RPG, this stylized board game is a good time. If you are a fan of high fantasy in any format (literature, RPG's, films, computer games, etc.)you should find this game stimulating.
*the game system is easy to learn and plays smoothly (for the most part...see "Drawbacks" later in the review)
*the pieces are very well made, especially the miniatures
*allows for creation of additional adventure scenarios
*great variety of playing pieces
*can be played in a short amount of time; 45 min.- 1 hour
*Rules: I'm not a fan of a monster automatically being placed on every tile; i.e., I like it to be a bit more random. This is more of a personal dislike of the game system. I've played traditional D&D (RPG) for over 3 decades and like "wandering monsters" to be more random. I made some house rules with my own random encounter chart and monsters only appearing on a roll of a 1 or 6 on a d6. In my house rules, black triangles on the well-crafted cavern tiles call for a random roll as well as an automatic encounter card draw whereas white triangles only call for a random roll for a monster.
Once I worked in this house rule, the game seemed much more enjoyable to me personally. Others may not find the automatic placement of a monster on every tile to be an issue.
I also don't like the fact that your movement stops once you reach the edge of a tile. Thus, again, I interjected a house rule in which players may continue their movement onto a newly placed tile during their "hero" phase of a game. Basically, this somewhat combines the "hero" phase of a turn with the "exploration" phase in which new tiles are placed. Otherwise, if a hero stops at the edge of a tile, which calls for the placement of a new cavern tile, he/she will automatically be attacked by the monster that pops up on the new tile! Under the rules as they are written, the player essentially NEVER gets to attack first in combat when a new tile is placed. By allowing players to advance onto a newly placed tile the heroes can attack if they can reach the monster with whatever remains of their allotted movement.
*Storage requires plastic baggies in order to keep the plethora of pieces separate (this is a minor complaint; don't let it keep you from purchasing the game....the variety of pieces is one of the true strengths of this product)
The game is quite fun with or without modification. If, like me, you don't like some of the features of the rules such as a monster appearing automatically on every tile and monsters that attack first every time you place a new tile, then a few house rules will facilitate play. This is a nice replacement activity for those D&D players that, on a given night, might not feel up to role-playing or might not have the time for a traditional D&D session.