For those of us who have been playing and enjoying the game Castle Ravenloft, anticipation has been building for the quick release of the second D&D Adventure System board game Wrath of Ashardalon! We were fortunate enough to get an early preview copy and so what I’d like to provide for you today is a brief post about the box and its contents as well as a preview of what to expect from the game based on a preliminary look through the rules and components.
Wrath of Ashardalon is presented in a nearly identical manner to Castle Ravenloft; the box is the exact same size and the spread of components is the same as well. If you’re not familiar with Castle Ravenloft then you can check out the unboxing video that Dave and I did at GenCon 2010 to see what I’m talking about. The pieces that come with Wrath of Ashardalon are clearly designed with compatibility in mind and it feels like the aim was to provide a bunch of new rules, miniatures, tiles, and cards that can be interchanged between the two games with incredible ease. To see a larger version of any picture in this post, just click on it!
Whereas the first game focused on exploring the crypts of Ravenloft filled with vampires, wolves, and undead the Wrath of Ashardalon game is focused around the dungeons beneath Firestorm Peak and includes more aberrant and natural creatures to challenge the party.
Here’s what you’ll get inside of the box:
The game comes with 5 hero figures, 30 monster figures, and 7 villain figures that are all different from those we saw in Castle Ravenloft and include some great sculpts that I’m happy to see such as the Red Dragon, Otyugh, Cultists, and Gibbering Mouthers. It also includes 200 new cards including 50 new power cards, 53 encounter cards, 30 monster cards, 33 treasure cards, and 6 boon cards (all of which could easily be combined with those from Castle Ravenloft except the Boon cards which are new).
The game comes with 5 new heroes, but I am actually a little disappointed that some new classes like Warlord, Warlock, or Druid weren’t introduced (especially to make more use of the awesome Bear minis that come with the game). Instead the classes are all the same except there is a Paladin instead of a Ranger, however the different races make the classes feel quite different so I can still see a lot of fun coming from combining the heroes from this game with those already available. The heroes from Wrath of Ashardalon are Vistra (Dwarf Fighter), Quinn (Human Cleric), Heskan (Dragonborn Wizard), Keyleth (Elf Paladin), and Tarak (Half-Orc Rogue) and one important addition is that several of the non-human characters have racial power cards that they can use in addition to their class power cards.
You can also see the villain cards for the Rage Drake, Orc Storm Shaman, and Otyugh in the last picture. Overall the miniatures and tiles seem to be of the same quality and production as those in Castle Ravenloft.
The tiles appear to include many more hallways or narrow passageways, and they also show one of the new rules which is doorways. When a tile with a doorway is turned over, a closed door token is taken from a pile (out of 8 ) and is only turned over when someone tries to go through the door. Some doors are open and don’t slow the party down, but others are locked or trapped which can really throw a wrench into things when a group is trying to explore further in a hurry.
You may also notice that some of the rooms use the yellow tile layout, these are another new rule that involves tiles called Chambers. The entrance tile for a chamber can be shuffled into the Dungeon Tile stack, and once it is turned over you place the chamber entrance and place the other 4-5 chamber tiles (there are two, the Horrid Chamber and the Dire Chamber) are placed around the edges of the entrance tile. Each chamber also typically comes with a random encounter that must be defeated before you can move on from the chamber to explore the rest of the dungeon.
As I mentioned earlier, the power cards available to players include some new racial powers (Hurl Breath for the dragonborn, etc) that add an nice layer of new options for players. The decks for the classes that were also in Castle Ravenloft also present new powers for those classes, and the new Treasure, Monster, and Encounter cards all seem like they are good additions to those we’ve already seen. Some of the new types of cards are purple-backed Adventure cards that present various NPCs for use in the different scenarios, and a handful of red-backed Chamber cards that present the vicious encounters that go along with the new chamber tiles described above. The last new card type are Boons which can be played before a game begins to automatically place on tile from the top of the stack or to cancel specific monster cards, these cards can be used as a part of specific scenarios to begin introducing a campaign feel to multiple games in a row.
The rulebook presents all of the D&D Adventure system rules along with the new additions that were not present in Castle Ravenloft. I haven’t had enough time to go through all of the rules yet and see if any revisions were made to the original rules, but so far everything I’ve seen appears to be the same. The Adventure Book is also in the same format, and presents 1 solo adventure plus 12 other adventures for between 2 and 5 heroes. The last adventure also includes rules (as mentioned above) to run more of a campaign series of games building up to a climatic fight against Ashardalon, the Red Dragon.
Here you can see everything once it’s been punched out of the sheets (the stacks of different dungeon tiles, all of the hp tokens, monster and treasure tiles, etc). I hope you’ve enjoyed this unboxing post, and if you have any questions feel free to let me know and I’ll try to answer them as best I can! I did record a video of me opening the box for the first time, but due to some lighting issues and the horrible fact that I talked during it, I opted to go with pictures and text instead – if enough people really want to watch the video to vicariously feel the joy of taking the wrap off of a new board game, then maybe I’ll post it in the future.