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Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Game 4: Daylight Assault (pictorial) rss

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Merric Blackman
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Our last game of the day used the Daylight Assault scenario. This scenario uses mostly the regular rules... except that if we didn't complete the scenario quickly, we'd soon discover that things had become a lot harder. For this game, I was joined by most of the players of my regular Living Forgotten Realms campaign. I think in all about 14 different players participated in the 4 games we played last Saturday.

I have not dwelled much on the choice of powers at the beginning of each game. We selected ours rather than using the option to make the game more difficult by selecting them randomly. This game, I had occasion to wonder at the powers that were chosen.

I knew that this game would be difficult to begin with: the objective is to get out of the dungeon with twelve treasures. Permanent treasures had been somewhat rare. I did not expect the game to become such a slaughter as it became. We descended into the dungeon, and quickly discovered that it was going to be a dangerous place: a Gargoyle leapt out, attacking the Wizard and Fighter. As my dwarf moved to help, he triggered a Fire Trap. Our hit points were already dwindling!



Deciding to avoid the fire-trapped corridor (and leaving the smoking hulk of the gargoyle behind), we continued to explore. A rotting nook revealed a cowering kobold, whilst my dwarf was whisked away from healing the other characters and placed into a laboratory...



It seemed that whenever I'd try to get back to the party, another encounter would move me away! This wasn't good. The rogue came looking for me whilst the kobold scurried after him. It was at this point, I discovered that the rogue didn't have a ranged attack. This surprised me: in the last game, I'd played the rogue and he certainly had one. This rogue didn't: the player had chosen the two at-wills to be deadly melee attacks, but it left him somewhat in trouble when you had a kobold hanging back throwing javelins at you.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group, heading in another direction, were attacked by a gargoyle and a wolf. The gargoyle is a very dangerous creature, able to attack all the characters on the same tile... and whenever it turned up everyone forgot how to hit it.

One of the ranger at wills does one (melee) damage without needing an attack roll. For missions like this, where the dice hate you, that's a power that is really nice to have.



Things kept getting worse. Two zombies and a Blazing Skeleton appeared to reinforce the gargoyle, and everyone said "that's enough of that!" and started running back in my direction. Gargoyles have one nice drawback: if no-one is on the tile adjacent to them, they sit tight and pretend to be a statue. So, everyone hurried away and it sat down to wait.

By this time, the sun had set, and we hadn't found twelve treasures yet. It hadn't helped that Green Slime had eaten one of our treasures, but we were only sitting on seven treasures! With the sun down, the special rule of this scenario kicked in: every turn we'd draw an extra encounter card. I wasn't entirely sure if that meant that most turns we'd be drawing two encounter cards, but that's how we played it: and the game started getting very deadly, very fast.

More monsters began to spawn. Tiles were placed nowhere near where we were... causing more monsters to spawn. This game, we got to see how dangerous duplicate monsters could be. Two blazing skeletons? That's scary.

And were we doing enough damage? Indeed, were we hitting monsters at all enough? No, we weren't. I needed a wizard who knew how to scorching burst effectively. What I was playing with was a wizard who knew how to roll 1s and 2s. We needed to be together, and we weren't. Our first character went down... luckily, I was in a position to heal him.



We were going through our small pile of XP cards very quickly, stopping the worst of the Encounter cards. The castle had definitely woken up! We killed the Blazing Skeleton, only to have it replaced by a wraith. Now the fighter went down... I could only hope my restoring strike would hit on my turn. The group was now split two ways, with two characters performing a sort of "rear guard" action against the hordes of advancing monsters.

All of our hit points were at dangerous levels. I'd used my major healing power to heal myself - without the clerical healing powers I wielded, I doubt we would have survived so long.

Most tellingly, the monsters weren't being killed.



The group finally caught up with itself, and we reformed. Twin ghouls thought we looked like dinner and tore into the ranger. The wraith knocked me down. The rogue tripped a trap that hit him twice and sent him into another dimension (with 1 hit point left).

There were now a total of eleven monsters on the board. If this ever happens in your Ravenloft games, you've likely made a mistake. We were rolling badly, playing badly, and dying for it. I'd been able to heal some of our damaged characters, but now, with me down, it was obvious that the game was over.



Astonishingly, the game wasn't quite done with us: No, it really wanted to point out exactly how badly we'd played. The game would end on my turn, but before that happened every character dropped down to 0 hp. Monsters attacked. And then, as the pièce de résistance, an encounter card came up that damaged every remaining character - including the outer-dimensionally lost rogue.

My turn came up, we had no healing surges left, and the game was lost. Everyone was dead. Not "we had no surges left and the others eventually died or escaped without winning", no... everyone was dead.



Looking back on the game, I wonder why we didn't kill more monsters. I wonder why we kept exploring, even when we desperately needed to deal with the monsters that were chasing us. Let's face it: killing monsters would give us the treasure cards we needed to survive. However, that's not what was happened.

I think we panicked. Duplicate monsters are bad: they activate twice as often. (We never, thankfully, had three duplicates on the table at once). We needed teamwork, and we proved horrid at that. We really needed the ranger and wizard to step up and kill a lot of monsters - or the fighter - or the rogue - but it wasn't happening. I was skilled enough to keep us alive a while longer, but what that actually meant was that when we fell, the odds were even more heavily against us!

Although the game felt like a big one, examination of the clock showed that, once again, it had only taken an hour to play. With five players, the game went by quickly, and it was interesting throughout. Admittedly, it provided more a morbid fascination in the end stages, but there was always the possibly that we'd get out of it alive...

Castle Ravenloft is a pretty spectacular game. It takes the D&D 4E system and distills it down into a system that makes an entertaining board game. The character power system makes each character unique, and allows player customization of exactly how their character plays. The veteran D&D player in me wants more options... but they may well be coming in the second release in the series, the Wrath of Ashardalon game. If that has more powers that are mix-n-match with this game, I'll be very happy indeed.

The real genius of the game is in the way monsters work, though. Each monster feels quite distinct and is easy to run thanks to the programmed action sequence on its card. Facing the kobold villain Klak was awesome: he wasn't trying to fight us, he was running away and sending other monsters to do his dirty work! I love this design.

I regret we didn't play a few more of the later scenarios. I'm eagerly awaiting next week when I can actually take the game home. (Believe me, a few solo session reports will likely appear thereafter). There's more tweaking of the underlying game rules in some of those.

This game is not a substitute for the fullness of the Dungeons & Dragons RPG. However, it is the best, most playable dungeon crawl game I've seen. At present, there are 15 scenarios for the game (13 in the box, 2 more for free on the Wizards website), and there is great potential for more. With a great underlying system and some excellent scenarios and components, Castle Ravenloft formed the centerpiece of some excellent gaming over the weekend.

Ultimately, Castle Ravenloft isn't the deepest strategy game of them all. It rewards thinking, but it's far more about getting together with friends, slaying monsters and trying to get out alive. Is it a game I'll play every weekend? I doubt it, but it's a game that is still going to see a fair share of my game time, especially if my other D&D-playing friends like it.

I hope you enjoyed these reports. It was a pleasure to write them, and I hope they help you decide whether or not Castle Ravenloft is the game for you. It should be noted that the reports aren't in the greatest of detail: you're likely to find out a lot more about the game when you get the chance to play it yourself.
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Team Ski
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Well, thank you once again for a session report well done!

-Ski
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K.Y. Wong
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One word... AWESOME!
Merric, thanks for all your session reports. I really appreciate your views as a seasoned RPGer, especially one with the badge "Killer DM". devil

It seems that this game is really a toolbox system and that the scenarios determine the type of game you will experience. This particular scenario would satisfy those craving for a Dungeonquest-like experience (with more customizable characters, better combat mechanics and more interesting monsters).

The fact that it still only took 1 hour with 5 players is just music to the ears of time-challenged gamers everywhere. SWEET!
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Mara Saurio
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Valencia
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Thanks, Merric for your great reviews!

Is there a way to put tiles in play without "exploring" with a character?
Maybe with an encounter card?
I'm asking this because I didn't like the idea of avoiding a corridor with a trap, taking advantage of the fact that dungeon would "grow" elsewhere, but I can see a tile next to the "trapped" one in your last pics, with no hero close to it.
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Tor Sverre Lund
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Yes, there are both encounters and a Villain (Klak) that can make new "rooms" appear, even drawing from the bottom of the stack, making the dungeon bigger than you want.
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Merric Blackman
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Marasaurio wrote:
Thanks, Merric for your great reviews!

Is there a way to put tiles in play without "exploring" with a character?
Maybe with an encounter card?
I'm asking this because I didn't like the idea of avoiding a corridor with a trap, taking advantage of the fact that dungeon would "grow" elsewhere, but I can see a tile next to the "trapped" one in your last pics, with no hero close to it.


Yes, encounters can put new tiles in play. In addition, there are times you get teleported to the tile... so suddenly on the other side of the trap. Eep!

Cheers,
Merric
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Mr G
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Hi Merric,

Another outstanding session report. Thanks.

Regards,

Fentum
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chromaticdragon wrote:

The fact that it still only took 1 hour with 5 players is just music to the ears of time-challenged gamers everywhere. SWEET!


That, in my opinion, is the best feature.
 
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Great report, thank you Merric.
 
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Bill
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chromaticdragon wrote:
One word... AWESOME! SWEET!


I have to agree with the above.

Now, I'm hoping they come up with an expansion that deals with Klak.

The Dungeons of Klak. That kobold seems to have his hands in a lot of dirty business.

Looking forward to the solo reviews as well.
 
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Harold Jansen
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Thank you for the excellent session reports: very well-written and descriptive. I'm not sure my wallet thanks you, though, since these reports compelled me to pre-order this one!
 
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T France
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Gawain wrote:
...even drawing from the bottom of the stack, making the dungeon bigger than you want...


Does this mean after mixing the quest room into rooms 9-12 and putting rooms 1-8 on top that you put that stack onto the rest of the remaining dungeon tiles?...
 
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Scott Arnone
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Titeman wrote:
Gawain wrote:
...even drawing from the bottom of the stack, making the dungeon bigger than you want...


Does this mean after mixing the quest room into rooms 9-12 and putting rooms 1-8 on top that you put that stack onto the rest of the remaining dungeon tiles?...


Yep.
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Tom Myers
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Great session report!
 
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Richard Eldridge
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Yet another great session report on Castle Ravenloft...I've pre-ordered the game for a good reason! cool
 
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Brian Grell
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These session reports have been great. They have given me a taste of the game which sated my hunger while reading them only to make it come back twice as strong after. I've also been inspired to try out writing narrative reports for my sessions once I get the game.
 
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Simon Neale
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Thanks for a tremendous report.

This is on my buy list!!!!
 
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Cody Heim
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Can't thank you enough for posting these sessions. It's been a great distraction while waiting for the game to come to my door. I hope you are feeling better, too!

Quick question, did you ever feel like you misread part of a rule? Or even just second guessed how anything worked? My wife and I have played numerous games of Warhammer Quest which had a bit of gray areas that you had to make house rules for. I'm just assuming this one is a bit more streamlined?
 
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Merric Blackman
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Actually, the rules for this game seemed pretty clear to me. I'd occasionally forget something, but I can't criticise much in the rules.

Cheers,
Merric
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