[CRL] Should i get this or Wrath of Ashardalon?

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I am new to these DnD boardgames. I know that there are 2 sets that are out right now -- Wrath of Ashardalon and Castle Ravenloft. I am getting the upcoming Drizzt board game for sure, but i also want 1 more as an expension to it.

I really really like the theme of Castle Ravenloft (undeads, dracolich / vampires), but it has really mixed reviews which, while praising it as a good fun game with good value, critcize it as a punishing, difficult game. On the other hand, WoA's theme doesn't seem very attractive to me, but its reviews are generally good and many praise it as an improvement from Castle Ravenloft (almost zero criticism).

I am just wondering what you guys think. As people who have played both games... is it really that much inferior compared to Wrath of Ashardalon?
All of them are difficult, but Ravenloft has the edge.  Some people think there is no tactical thinking to these games but there is, in reality, alot.  Of course there is the luck element, but there was always that element in any D&D game.  For the first timer I would recommend Ashardalon, then as you get the feel of it and get hooked, go for Ravenloft.  Both are good fun, except adventure 9 in Ravenloft, I still have no idea how to play that one.
Get them all! The games complement each other nicely, and if you like one, you'll like the other as well.

I prefer the more thematic scenarios in Ravenloft over the repetitive search-chamber-kill-Villain scenarios in Ashardalon but like the additions of chamber tiles (as a game mechanic) and campaign rules in Ashardalon.

Then, of course, there are 5 more Heroes, numerous Villains and Monsters to mix it up. You sound like myself when I heard about the Drizzt game. I didn't ever intend to buy Ravenloft or Ashardalon before hearing about Drizzt, but since they are compatible, I gave it a go. Best D&D purchase ever for me! So again: Get them all! :D
Get them all! The games complement each other nicely, and if you like one, you'll like the other as well.

I prefer the more thematic scenarios in Ravenloft over the repetitive search-chamber-kill-Villain scenarios in Ashardalon but like the additions of chamber tiles (as a game mechanic) and campaign rules in Ashardalon.

Then, of course, there are 5 more Heroes, numerous Villains and Monsters to mix it up. You sound like myself when I heard about the Drizzt game. I didn't ever intend to buy Ravenloft or Ashardalon before hearing about Drizzt, but since they are compatible, I gave it a go. Best D&D purchase ever for me! So again: Get them all! :D

You beat me at saying "get them all!"
its a great line of games. Specifically i love the replayability value.
I agree to the "get them all" response. I have the first two and can't wait for Drizzt to be released.

If you can only afford one, start with Ravenloft. It has a more "classic" theme and makes for a great stand-alone game.

Remember that the rules are all essentially the same for all three games. If one is more "punishing" than another, tinker with the number of monsters in the scenario. But try it as-is first!
Marv (Finarvyn) Master of Mutants (MA and GW) Playtesting D&D Next and liking it! OD&D player since 1975
If you can afford it, get them all, especially if you also play Dungeons & Dragons as an RPG aside from the boardgames:  the miniatures, tiles, and some other components work great with the pen-and-paper role-playing game, too.

I like the Ravenloft theme better of the three games, myself, but components from all three games are compatible with each other, so I don't mind borrowing monsters and some other things from the other games to use in Ravenloft (Wrath of Ashardalon's Gibbering Mouthers and Cultists seem right at home in Ravenloft, for example.)  And, there's lots of stuff in either Ravenloft or Ashardalon that should fit right into the theme of Legend of Drizzt, such as the Duergar in Ashardalon, and the giant spiders in Ravenloft.
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
If you can afford it, get them all, especially if you also play Dungeons & Dragons as an RPG aside from the boardgames:  the miniatures, tiles, and some other components work great with the pen-and-paper role-playing game, too.

I like the Ravenloft theme better of the three games, myself, but components from all three games are compatible with each other, so I don't mind borrowing monsters and some other things from the other games to use in Ravenloft (Wrath of Ashardalon's Gibbering Mouthers and Cultists seem right at home in Ravenloft, for example.)  And, there's lots of stuff in either Ravenloft or Ashardalon that should fit right into the theme of Legend of Drizzt, such as the Duergar in Ashardalon, and the giant spiders in Ravenloft.

Ravenloft..
For me, because of the gothic horror/undead theme, the monsters, setting, etc. I plan on getting Ashardalon and Drizzt, to mix up game elements. But I was always a gothic horror/vamp fan, so it's Ravenloft for me. The Dracolich is an awesome monster in the game, and ofcourse Strahd (although it's lame that they have the same miniature for Strahd AND the Young Vampire monster.

This image should sell you:
For what it's worth, they do something similar in Ashardalon with the Rage Drake being used as two different monsters (actually, when the Rage Drake is "killed", its card is flipped over to a set of new stats, and it fights differently), and several characters and monsters in Legend of Drizzt appear to play dual roles.  It doesn't bother me:  Strahd and the Young Vampire don't really appear in the same adventure, and it's a nice way to get more mileage from a rarely-used miniature in the default game.

If you get only one game, I would simply go with the one that has the most monsters that appeal to you. 

Personally, I also like Ravenloft's gothic horror theme more and would find it hard to resist all the undead in Ravenloft, and the Dracolich and Zombie Dragon are some of my favorite miniatures, while those giant spiders would really make Lolth proud.  But if you'll be playing mostly Drizzt and borrowing monsters from the other game, then Ashardalon does have Orcs, Duergar, Grell, a beholder-like Gauth, and that cool Otyugh!  So, to expand Drizzt, I think it's a tough call....

[spoiler Monster Lists]
Monster List - Ravenloft:


  • 3x rat swarms (brown)

  • 3x giant spiders (brown)

  • 3x wolves (brown)

  • 3x kobolds (brown)

  • 3x ghouls (brown)

  • 3x skeletons (white)

  • 3x zombies (white)

  • 3x gargoyles (white)

  • 3x wraiths (transparent blue)

  • 3x blazing skeletons (transparent blue)

  • 1x zombie dragon (white)

  • 1x flesh golem (white)

  • 1x dracolich (white)

  • 1x kobold sorceror (grey)

  • 1x werewolf (grey)

  • 1x hag (grey)

  • 1x vampire (grey)



Monster list, Ashardalon:


  • 3x kobolds (brown)

  • 3x gibbering mouthers (brown)

  • 3x cave bears (brown)

  • 3x grell (brown)

  • 3x fiendish snakes (red)

  • 3x human cultists (red)

  • 3x legion devils (red)

  • 3x orc melee (dark grey)

  • 3x orc archers (dark grey)

  • 3x duergar (dark grey)

  • 1x rage drake (red)

  • 1x otyugh (brown)

  • 1x red dragon (red)

  • 1x kobold dragonlord (grey)

  • 1x orc shaman (grey)

  • 1x duergar captain (grey)

  • 1x gauth (grey)


[/spoiler]

Image (link)
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
Interesting about the Rage Drake. That is a cool concept for play.

But I still feel Strahd should have got his own figure. Especially since the illustration of him looked alot like the D&D mini already out there, which I own.. this one, love the pose: