Customer Review

125 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mist is Rising..., September 13, 2010
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dungeons and Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game (Toy)
Caveat: I played this game at GenCon (Indianapolis; August 4 - 8, 2010) however, as of this writing, the game is not yet available. At the time it was a complete shrink-wrapped game box and package as one would purchase and I am inclined to believe that it is the finished product, pending any severe issues that may have come up during the course of people playing it at the convention.

Now, on with the review:
The components of this game are many. There are several sheets of punch tiles that comprise the game boards, character cards, status modifiers, health pips, coffins, etc. The box, itself, makes for a poor means to store all of these bits and pieces and you may consider baggies, counter trays, or other means of keeping certain tokens from intermingling between sessions to make set-up go a little more smoothly. The parts themselves are very sturdy wood-stock bits (similar to those used by Fantasy Flight Games - for those familiar with their board game offerings) and are therefore quite robust and will last you many-many years without damage or loss from being blown aside by a mild cough. There are several plastic miniatures, of excellent quality (unpainted), that are conveniently color coded by type. Undead (skeletons, zombies, etc) are white, animals are brown, spectral undead (ghosts, specters, etc) are a translucent blue, notorious villains (Strahd, werewolf, etc) are a dark grey, and the heroes are alight grey. I found this distinction to be very helpful in taking quick glances of the board and seeing how monsters were grouped versus the distribution of the PCs as well as seeing where any allies were located and obstacles between without having to examine every mini on the grid. This also makes monster placement simpler in that you are now examining a smaller pool of minis to locate rats, versus having to search though all of them at once.

The game `board' is crafted through the course of play. Several tiles represent rooms and corridors of the castle and as you and your fellow heroes move, more of the castle is revealed. This is similar to the Avalon Hill game "The Betrayal at the House on the Hill". Unlike that game, heroes do not need to enter the tile/room to place it but simply be near the edge of a tile. With each tile enters a new monster, and possibly an encounter based on the mark on the tile, who goes under the control of the player that drew it and it will perform certain specific actions on the monster turn of the game. Defeating monsters gains the heroes equipment and experience points. The experience points go into a community pool and can be used to level up your hero or negate certain encounters.

Aside from the rule booklet, there is also a scenario booklet. The scenario you choose will determine the victory conditions for the game. The game itself is cooperative and either the entire group wins or all of the heroes lose. Some of the scenarios seemed capable of being linked together (the scenario we played was "Hunt for Strahd, part one") and can become part of a larger and longer game played over several weekends. I should also think that one could also invent new scenarios not included with the original book.

While the hero cards are definitely crafted with the current Dungeons and Dragons rules set in mind (4th edition) they only seem to have a 1st level and 2nd level power set. This makes the bookkeeping minor and even someone (like myself) who has not played the fourth edition of the game is capable of comprehending and understanding their hero.

I found this game quite enjoyable and useful. It serves perfectly well as a board game by itself. For those Table-Top RPG gamers, its beautifully printed tiles, tokens, and the included minis, can very easily serve as dungeon mapping for your home campaigns. This game would also do well for those parents out there looking for a way to let their children experience RPG style play without delving into the morass of character sheets, race selection, statistic generation, and all of the bulk of the RPG system. Definately worth the price of admission.
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Initial post: Sep 15, 2010 10:16:42 AM PDT
Thanks for your very informative review. I appreciate it.
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