Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wrath of Ashardalon First Impressions

Wrath of Ashardalon is the second release in the D&D board game series from Wizards of the Coast. For those who have the previous release Castle Ravenloft you may be wondering if it is worth your while to own another version of the game.

WOA is in a new setting which means it comes with all new monsters, new tiles, new cards and of course new heroes. The first thing I notice about WOA is I preferred the variety of monster more. Obviously setting the location outside of a haunted castle controlled by a vampire gives you a little bit more flexibility in the types of monsters you can include. Once again the sculpts are fantastic but the thing I am most impressed with is the monsters are much harder.

There are some new rules for doors and a few other things which I am not going to get into in this impressions article mainly because I haven't had a chance to play any of the scenarios including them. The rule book and many of the items are much more organized and address a lot of the issues people were having with Ravenloft. the rules clearly state which pieces will be used in every session and which are scenario dependent. This makes the learning curve much easier for new combers who could be overwhelmed with the amount of items in the box.

In my limited time which as of this writing includes 2 plays of the solo scenario I've discovered the best thing thus far about WOA is the treasures. You can find some really powerful and helpful items.

The tiles are again very nice and of sturdy quality. The cards on the other hand (at least in my copy) left a little something to be desired. Ravenloft is one of the most played games in my collection and I have very little wear on those cards. With the WOA cards I found the corners turning up and showing slight signs of warping within 30 minutes of opening the game. Curles edges and slight warping is expected with cards, but not in that short of time with absolutely no plays. To their credit WOTC has already issued me new cards which is appreciated but I have doubts they will make a difference the cards just seem to be on a different stock.

Overall I think if you loved Ravenloft then WOA seems like a lock. The new setting, figures and rules will keep you busy. If you were luke warm about Ravenloft then you may want to try WOA as the setting an additional rules make the game a tighter experience. However if you loathed the previous game I don't see anything in WOA at this point that would change your mind.


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