Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon - Board Game Box Shot

Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon

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A cooperative game of adventure for 1–5 players set in the world of Dungeons & Dragons.

A heavy shadow falls across the land, cast by a dark spire that belches smoke and oozes fiery lava. A cave mouth leads to a maze of tunnels and chambers, and deep within this monster-infested labyrinth lurks the most terrifying creature of all: a red dragon!

Designed for 1–5 players, this boardgame features multiple scenarios, challenging quests, and cooperative game play.

Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon components
images © Wizards of the Coast

User Reviews (3)

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4
Reviewed My First Game
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8
153 of 162 gamers found this helpful
“Needs some management, but can provide a ton of fun...”

Bottom Line Up Front: Yes, the game has its design flaws. But my family loves it; we always have a great time and keep coming back. Wrath of Ashardalon is a cooperative dungeon crawl and every player is in the hero party (no one needs to exclusively control the “bad guys” as I understand is required in Descent, Doom, Super Dungeon Explore, etc). Compared to “Drizzt” and “Ravenloft”, the other two games in the D&D Adventure System series, this game has the most traditional (trying to say “generic” as a positive) aesthetic. The big boss is a Red Dragon, the archetypal D&D villain.

Components: Extremely satisfying, just like the others in the series. The big, heavy box is irresistible. The approx 40minis are plastics from a previous D&D line (most are great sculpts, some are simply “good”), very sturdy interlocking dungeon floor tiles, 200 cards, rule book + scenario book, and piles of tokens/chits/cardboard pieces (many used rarely/sparingly to support a specific scenario). It’s very hard to nitpick with components. If I had to pick flaws: books are a little thin/flimsy (but within industry standard) and books could use some additional theme artwork to help establish feel. MSRP of $64.99 seems very reasonable, though it can be found for substantially less online.

Gameplay: A player’s turn consists of three phases. In “Hero Phase” the current player generally attacks then moves, or he moves then attacks. An “Explore Phase” allows a hero on an unexplored edge of a floor tile to draw and place a new tile on the edge, expanding the dungeon. A monster is drawn and placed on the new tile’s designated area and is controlled by this player. In “Villain Phase” the player draws and plays encounter cards (only if no new tile was placed or tile had a black arrow). Encounters are bad things, generally, like additional monsters, explosions, poisons, etc. The current player then moves and attacks with monsters in his control according to the AI printed on the respective cards (monsters can attack any player but are controlled by one). Next player… This more or less continues (with the expected variants and exceptions depicted on Encounter and Monster cards) until a key tile is drawn triggering some big boss showdown, desired item to retrieve, or other victory criteria. As you might expect it is frowned upon to have your characters die.

There are a number of different scenarios provided to keep things fresh. Many of the scenarios introduce alternative rules and many are supported with a fistful of chits designed just to support that campaign. Significant variety is afforded. You get different abilities to pick from for each character; some can be used as much as you want, some saved for special occasions. Defeating monsters will earn treasure and items ranging from possibly useful to very powerful. Attacks are determined by rolling a 20-sided die, adding modifiers specific to the creature/player ability and subtracting specified armor class. Damage is set (no other dice used). The monsters keep coming, but one or two hits usually defeat them (but there are a few heavyweights…). It’s generally the quantity and the negative encounters that stack up against you.

“Ashardalon” is the most “generic” in the series, but I actually wish the heroes were even more traditional. There are five to choose from including a dragon-man wizard (Dragon-born?) and a half-orc rogue. I would have liked an elf ranger and a human wizard with robes and a beard. Really obvious stuff, but one of these games should offer it. In fairness there is a paladin and a dwarf fighter, but they are both female which rules them out for my son so far. There was a Dragon-born in Ravenloft as well. I played 1st and 2nd edition AD&D as a youth and these certainly were not a staple, but perhaps they are all the rage today. (“Back in my day a Drow was an incredibly rare and unusual creature…”)

For those that thought Ravenloft was too brutal on the players, and for those that thought the heroes in Drizzt were too powerful, this game probably comes closest in the series to the balance sweet-spot.

The game is not perfect. There are plenty of instances where encounter or monster text isn’t clear. There are moments, however rare, of confusion and the need for a “judgment call”. Often it’s as simple as a monster is equidistant from two players: who does he attack? Do we pick what is advantageous to the party? To the Monster? Flip a coin? In the spirit of this game, these flaws did not really detract from the experience. In some ways it fits the D&D theme (the decisive DM in me since childhood comes out and we move on continuing the fun). But I realize there are board gamers who prize games for their elegance, purity, and flawlessness of mechanics. I like the gameplay. It works. But it sometimes feels less like flowing poetry and more like a locomotive fully capable of crushing occasional debris on the tracks.

Solo play: It is listed as for 1-5 players. While the guide provides a solo adventure and more could be developed, I do not feel that it is that much fun. I viewed this as a tool to familiarize myself with the mechanics before teaching the kids. I hesitate to recommend this to someone looking for a solitaire experience (though painting the minis was a very satisfying way to appreciate the game solo for me).

Summary: You’ll be happy…
1) if you like great miniatures and components (and/or enjoy painting them)
2) if you’re looking for a fully cooperative adventure (no one has to be the “bad guys”),
3) because the many characters, scenarios, and bosses provide a lot of replayability,
4) if you’d enjoy a quick single-night D&D experience

But you’ll have to live with…
1) sometimes confusing or contradictory text on cards, and
2) a lot of moving parts; be prepared to nudge the experience forward occasionally.

Pardon me for borrowing language from my “Drizzt” review. My family’s has had a lot of fun with this series. I feel the game warranted my rating, which I suspect is above online gaming community norm. I hope this info and discussion of the games quirks can help you decide if this could be a fit for you as well. I also thought enough of this as a value to purchase all three games.

Regards,

 
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7
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9
72 of 89 gamers found this helpful
“Awesome Family Friendly Easy D&D Adventure Dungeon Crawl”

You get a lot of bang for you buck with this game. Very well made game. Amazing components, easy to learn, kid friendly but challenging. This is a very versatile game with endless possibilities. After a few games under your belt, you can begin making your own house-rules and adventures to adjust to your style of game play. The miniatures are detailed and the Ashardalon dragon miniature is huge!

I love the exploring aspect of this game. I love being able to play solo. I love the campaign mode and building up your character over several adventures.

I will definitely get the other expansions for this to add more possibilities.

 
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6
7
15 of 40 gamers found this helpful
“No Drizzt! No Thanks!”

Some people like this game the best from the Dungeins and Dragions boardgame sets. I don’t. I think they like it because of the big dragon miniature. The other games are better than just having a giant plastic dragon. The one with Drizzt is the best because you get to use his cards. You can mix and match the games so using his cards is better than a big dragion. The games are in this order of best:

1)Legend of Drizzt!
2)Castle Raven Loft
3) This one

 

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