Adventure System board games & 4eD&D....cross compatible?

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Played D&D in the late 70's early 80's, played for a few years with my kid with the 3.5 version a few years ago and have not picked the game up since 4e came out. i recently bought the castle raven loft board game, think its pretty cool but was wondering if it was cross compatible with the 4e game system. in other words, do the monsters, heroes and mechanic in the board game use the same stats, rules, etc, etc as the 4e game does?

if not, does anyone have any info on if there will be a players hand book, monster manual and some kind of DM guide put out for the board games?

Hi, as far as being cross compatible with regard to rules, no. The D&D Adventure System has some similarities with the standard D&D rules in that it uses very basic components from the game (HP, AC, XP, d20 rolls for attacks, etc., etc.) for its foundation, but that's about it. If you take a character from Castle Ravenloft and compare it to a fully fleshed out character from fourth edition there are huge differences. 

As an example, Castle Ravenloft characters have no numeric values to provide indication of how strong, intelligent, or dexterous they are while a fourth edition character has six different ability scores valued from 3-18 to indicate how good a character is in such areas (just like the 3.5 edition that you mentioned). Fourth edition characters also have feats, skills, equipment, and power lists which are much more in depth -- these differences also apply to monsters between the two systems. If you like a character from Castle Ravenloft you could certainly use it as inspiration when creating your own fourth edition character.

The dungeon tiles and miniatures, however, are fantastic for use with fourth edition and would add a lot of value to the game. If you like Castle Ravenloft, I would encourage you to at least think about picking up the fourth edition starter box or rules compendium for consideration or maybe you would consider buying Wrath of Ashardalon or Legend of Drizzt as the game pieces are interchangeable among the three board games.

i already plan to get the other two board games, i like how "simple" it is when compared to D&D (3.5 and earlier)...sit down, opent he box, play the game, gets rid of the endless hours of DM behind teh scenes work that i just no longer have time for in my life right now; but i have had no experiance and i dont know anyone now that plays 4e so i wasnt certain.  the litttle bit i have looked at 4e, it looked to me like they streamlined down the rollplaying to more of a hack and slash similar to something like online world of war craft, but than when i ran across the board game it got me wondering if 4e was really closer to 3.5 than the board games and thats what it sound like.  thanks.
Also, there are no plans that I know of for expanding the rules of the D&D Adventure System used by the board games into something more extensive such as separate rulebooks, as they are standalone products, but as mentioned above they are interchangeable amongst themselves and each iteration adds additional rules such as those I mention below.

To be honest, Castle Ravenloft was the first of the D&D board games I purchased and while I enjoyed it immensely , I have to admit that I find Wrath of Ashardalon much more fine tuned and it adds a few interesting rules not found in the Castle Ravenloft Board Game.

One thing I really enjoy about Wrath of Ashardalon is that it has rules for a campaign -- that’s to say it has linked adventures. It’s in these scenarios I find the familiar flavor of the classic D&D dungeon crawl. Instead of drawing from the treasure deck you recover treasure tokens that represent coins carried by the defeated monsters and there is a small chance that you’ll find a magic item instead of coins. This makes the items recovered much more valuable.  

Once you complete an adventure you retain all items and levels gain by your character, plus you are able spend your stockpile of coins on random items from the town of Longbridge. There are, I think, three such linked adventures found within the adventures book for Wrath of Ashardalon (correction: there are two, not three, adventures with a total of 9 linked scenarios), but it’s not hard to incorporate the campaign rules into other adventures such as the adventures that use the chamber cards. 

Chamber cards are also another enjoyable feature of the second iteration of the board games, as they provide some 14 different random goals to accomplish on each delve into Firestorm Peak. I've tried to use the campaign rules a few times for linking the chamber card adventures and it works fairly well with no tweaking needed.

I also own Legend of Drizzt, but cannot report on the additional system rules or features, as I’m still waiting to open it on the day I grow tired of Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon.
i already plan to get the other two board games, i like how "simple" it is when compared to D&D (3.5 and earlier)...sit down, opent he box, play the game, gets rid of the endless hours of DM behind teh scenes work that i just no longer have time for in my life right now; but i have had no experiance and i dont know anyone now that plays 4e so i wasnt certain.  the litttle bit i have looked at 4e, it looked to me like they streamlined down the rollplaying to more of a hack and slash similar to something like online world of war craft, but than when i ran across the board game it got me wondering if 4e was really closer to 3.5 than the board games and thats what it sound like.  thanks.



It is for the reasons you mentioned that I find the D&D board games a better fit for my life. The fact you can open a box and be ready to run in under five minutes is marvelous, and the rules are very streamlined and fit the situations found within the adventures perfect. This is not to say that fourth edition is too complex or hard, it’s just not as streamlined or accessible as the board game system. They are very much two different species of entertainment.

You could totally design an adventure for fourth edition, after dedicating some time to reading, studying and learning the rules, in under 30 minutes using the experience and treasure charts provided in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, but the combat isn’t as quick and the situations that arise from an open ended world would require much more attention to or a willingness to gloss over the detailed rules, and running the game wouldn’t clock in at anywhere near the single hour it takes to play one of the board games. More like two or three hours at a minimum, though this could be debated.

There is also, as you mentioned, the problem of getting players together -- when compared to the board game you’re automatically going to be down one player since you’ll need a Dungeon Master, though it could be that the DM runs a Non player character or two. Nevertheless, you’ll have to clear a whole night for play, and that’s just hard to do.

It should be noted though, according to the information provided, that Wizards of the Coast hopes the so-called D&D Next will offer a lot of the things you and I are looking for in a Dungeons & Dragons game. That is to say, simpler rules, a smaller required playtime, and ease in designing adventures.




thanks for all the info; i've always loved D&D and have always held up hopes for playing it but life just always seems to get in the way of gaming.  these board games (so far) seem like they are the right mix of D&D for me, simple, fast, fun and easy to set up; i really hope they keep making more of them and i know i plan to get the other tow they alreay have.

thanks again for the info. 
i already plan to get the other two board games, i like how "simple" it is when compared to D&D (3.5 and earlier)...sit down, opent he box, play the game, gets rid of the endless hours of DM behind teh scenes work that i just no longer have time for in my life right now



While 4e is simplified, especially if you use the online Character Builder (DDi subscription required), it is nothing like the board games. You will still need much more time to plan for, set up, and play a 4e adventure.

Chris,

The Adventure System games mirror the play of 4E in the sense that you mive and attack. In 4E, all characters are vehicles for "powers," which will be at- will, utility and daily. 4E also has "encounter" powers, which are used once each combat encounter. In terms of the numbers you see, HP, AC and damage in the board games is totally unlike the 4E heroes and monsters.

Depending upon your gaming group, you may want to graduate onto the "Essentials" line of 4E products, which are affordable, streamlined, easy to level/ operate and extremely well-written.