Tabletop Tuesday: Storming Castle Ravenloft

Good people, thanks to Christmas, my parents, and my patient (if captive) friends around my apartment, I can talk to you about a new game: Dungeons and Dragons’ “Castle Ravenloft.”

This thing (from the wizards.com website)

This thing (from the wizards.com website)

Basically, the game is a simplified, board game version of plain old RPG “Dungeons and Dragons.” You choose from one of five characters, each of whom has their own race, class, abilities, and so on. Since my friends apparently believe I’m a little useless in a fight, they elected to make me what basically amounts to the healer – a dwarven cleric named Thorgrim.

The game began pretty slowly – most of the start-up time was explaining what the heck all these cards and abilities and such were and what they did, and the rest we decided to pick up on the fly.

We crashed a few times. At first, there was a lot of confusion as to the point at which you can no longer move, and when you put out a new tile to explore (Turns out, they are the same time). I had to consult the manual several times, and in fact did not stop holding it on my lap. However, even with the manual, we still had a problem when we broke for the night and I realized I had a stack of tiles labeled “monster.” It turns out that I had been drawing, incorrectly, from a card stack labeled “monster.”

Oh, see? This where it says OH WAIT NO IT ACTUALLY DOESN'T. Oh. Actually, there it is. Huh.

Oh, see? This where it says OH WAIT NO IT ACTUALLY DOESN’T. Oh. Actually, there it is. Huh.

Whoops. Turns out I had been flipping out monster after monster, nearly killing two out of five of our party, when we might merely have faced one or two the whole time. Awkward.

Despite these setbacks and slight confusions, I caught myself having real fun. And not in the “I’m bored and this distracted me” sort of way – I had fun in the “going to bed hyper because I have work in the morning” sort of way.

Once the phase order and rules were straightened out, the game moved at a good pace. All in all, we played for two hours or so, and I am fairly sure that given another two, we would have achieved the objective which the adventure we chose (out of 12 different ones) had assigned to us.

All in all, I would call this one a great game.

I would definitely buy it and pester your friends to play it with you endlessly until they knuckle under and agree. Not like I did that, of course.

You know, they say avoiding self-awareness is the spice of life.

You know, they say avoiding self-awareness is the spice of life.

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