Thursday, January 28, 2010

Castle Ravenloft - Dungeon Tile Game for D&D 4E

More news from Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast. This from DDM Spoilers from Greyhaze.

Castle Ravenloft #1 (2010)

Distribution (40 miniatures) All Visible?

Release Date: August 17, 2010

"This big box full of D&D goodness contains more than 40 plastic playing pieces, including a Huge dracolich, as well as thirteen sheets of interlocking dungeon tiles, two-hundred cards, and a booklet full of adventures. This cooperative D&D experience plays in about an hour and can be enjoyed as a solo game or with up to five players. Even better, this D&D experience doesn’t require a Dungeon Master. It’s a great way to introduce new players to the concept of D&D, as well as being a fun and exciting way for longtime players to interact with the brand." $64.95

And this, according to

An exciting D&D™ boardgame for 1–5 players.The master of Ravenloft® is having guests for dinner—and you are invited! Evil lurks in the towers and dungeons of Castle Ravenloft™, and only heroes of exceptional bravery can survive the horrors within. Designed for 1–5 players, this boardgame features multiple scenarios, challenging quests, and cooperative game play. Castle Ravenloft includes the following components: • 40 plastic heroes and monsters• 13 sheets of interlocking cardstock dungeon tiles• 200 encounter and treasure cards• Rulebook• Scenario book• 20-sided die.

Sounds similar to Descent, which I had the opportunity to play several weeks ago. Presumably this will be in distribution through toy stores like Toy'r'Us.

Edit: If they were going for an introduction to D&D, wouldn't it make more sense to recreate something like B2? Maybe they're trying to cash in on the whole Twilight "Vampires" thing by choosing Ravenloft.


Dennis Laffey said...

Sounds kind of interesting. And from my brief experience with the 3E "Return to Castle Ravenloft" a board game might be the best way for WotC to capitalize on the Ravenloft name.

Unlike the original module, the 3E version was something like:
DM: You see the gates of Ravenloft ahead of you in the mist.
Players: We go through them.
DM: Zombies attack. (after the battle) You come to the village.
Players: We look around to see who's here.
DM: Zombies attack.
ad infinitum.

No dread, no horror, no vague threats that made you worried, just waves of undead attackers like in a Castlevania game. [Yes, I'm a fan of those games, but...]

I quit that game before we even got close to the castle itself.

This board game could be cool, and for that price, it might be worth it just for the minis and tiles, never mind the actual game (which could be fun as well).

christian said...

This makes sense in that one of the design goals of D&D for a while now has been to make players and DM one and the same. I guess the theory is that if everyone can play and no one "has to do all the work" then it's lots of win. I'm also guessing that D&D can take advantage of Hasbro's well known rep as a producer of family friendly board games.

I'm thinking that eventually D&D the table-top game as we know it will cease production. It will be all Heroscape and board games.

That's going to be weird.

Aaron E. Steele said...

I remember playing the original Ravenloft. Twice. Both times, we tried to avoid battles. Lots of atmosphere, fear, puzzling things out, and so on. We didn't partake in a lot of combat, as for the most part, it was simply a drain on our resources.

I also don't remember a dracolich. perhaps we avoided him?

Dennis Laffey said...

Nope, no dracoliches in the original. There was a shadow demon down in the basements, lots of undead, and yeah, lots of atmosphere to make you want to avoid the combat as much as possible.

Despite the fact that some people don't like the story focus, I've found it to be a great module that is a lot of fun to play.

The 3E version was crap, because it promised all of the above but failed to deliver anything other than repetitive combats with similar opponents.

Now for a board game, that can be a great thing, so this may be a winner for Hasbro/WotC.

Jay said...

Wow, very intriguing! This actually sounds kind of cool. I imagine the Dragolich is intended to seat it squarely in the D&D theme. I'd I thin you're right about the Twilight connection. How long before it becomes Heroscaped!! ;)

Aaron E. Steele said...

@Jay: Grumble grumble. Oh, you were joking...


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