Castle Ravenloft boardgame questions ...

Jeff Wilder

First Post
We've played this game three times now (five players twice, three players once) and definitely have questions that don't seem to have been answered in the Unofficial FAQ collected at boardgamegeeks.com.

First, a very general question/observation:

The game seems too easy. In three games (Adventures 2, 3, and 4) we were never seriously at risk of losing. We never, e.g., used a Healing Surge.

Is there something that folks commonly do wrong that might account for this?

Second, the one specific question I can remember arising:

How are the initial Treasures (one for each player) adjudicated? Many of them are "play immediately" cards, and many of those either make little sense if played immediately or provide no benefit.

We "solved" this by having each player keep their initial Treasure face down until their Hero Phase, and playing from there, and it seems workable. I'd like to know if anybody has any insights on this, though.

The general consensus is that the game is fun, and we'll likely play it from time to time, but that the lack of threat of losing detracts from the fun. I am looking forward to replacing the monochrome minis with painted minis from my collection. I have all of them except (obviously) those that haven't actually been released in prepainted sets. I think it will increase the appeal of an already visually striking game, and I think game stores would do well to encourage playing in their publicly accessible tables.

As we play more, and more specific questions arise, I'll post them in this thread. I hope other folks will feel free to post their questions here, also.
 

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Frostmarrow

First Post
The game is not easy. Exactly how hard it is depends on luck of the draw. Luck is more important than tactics. If you feel the game is too easy and suspect you've forgotten something maybe you are not drawing an encounter card every time you place a tile with a black triangle?

Most people I've talked to, rule that if you draw a treasure that is not an item you simply discard the card without drawing a new one.
 

Jeff Wilder

First Post
If you feel the game is too easy and suspect you've forgotten something maybe you are not drawing an encounter card every time you place a tile with a black triangle?
No, we definitely remember those. I think we may have forgotten to draw an encounter card when there's been no exploration, but if so, only once or twice. We're still very careful about following the sequence of play from the cards.

Most people I've talked to, rule that if you draw a treasure that is not an item you simply discard the card without drawing a new one.
That's workable, but so few treasure cards are items, it seems kinda odd. "Everybody gets to draw a card that is probably useless." You know?

Thanks for the response!
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
The game seems too easy. In three games (Adventures 2, 3, and 4) we were never seriously at risk of losing. We never, e.g., used a Healing Surge.

You might just have been lucky, Jeff. :) Or played very well.

What normally happens when we lose is that we miss a few attacks against the monsters, so they begin to pile up. Note that if two Wraiths are on the board, both of them activate during the two players' turns who have the Wraith cards. So, if player A draws a Wraith card and activates it, when player B draws the Wraith card, both will activate... and again when player A's turn comes round again.

If your PCs cluster together on a single tile, several Encounter cards and Monster cards can damage you all quickly. Avoiding that makes the game easier, although it is then not so easy to defeat monsters!

Note that when drawing treasure cards, item cards can be given to another player. That's a rule I missed when I first played through the game.

Cheers!
 

Jeff Wilder

First Post
You might just have been lucky, Jeff. :) Or played very well.
I'm never lucky and rarely play beyond mediocre. In any game (except poker).

Note that if two Wraiths are on the board, both of them activate during the two players' turns who have the Wraith cards.
That is what we were missing. I clearly remember having multiple Skeletons, Blazing Skeletons, and Wraiths during our games. That change alone could easily have turned wins into losses ... or at least would certainly have made it much closer.

Thanks!
 

Flatus Maximus

First Post
We "solved" this by having each player keep their initial Treasure face down until their Hero Phase, and playing from there, and it seems workable. I'd like to know if anybody has any insights on this, though.

That's how our group solved this problem as well. Seems like a reasonable thing to do since otherwise, as you said, you often start off by drawing and immediately discarding with no effect. We have also played it so that you draw until you get an Item (something you can keep), and we have not seen that the game becomes significantly easier.

Actually, we either get crushed or barely win, but we've only played a handful of times.
 

MrMyth

First Post
For initial treasure cards, we just have people draw until they get an item, and then reshuffle the rest. I do like the idea of instead having treasure 'activate' on your first turn instead.

As far as difficulty, my results have been pretty much across the board. Some cakewalks, a number of very close victories, and several losses. Some of it due to luck, some of it due to poor tactics.

Possible ways to boost difficulty, if it somehow remains really trivial for you guys:
-Reduce number of Healing Surges available.
-Shuffle some of the 1-3 monster tokens and have a stack of them. Whenever you would draw a monster, instead draw a token and see how many monsters you get.
 

Festivus

First Post
Wait, initial treasures? I have only played a hand full of times but I don't recall that being a general rule. Is that is scenario specific thing or did I miss a rule?
 


Treebore

First Post
We played our first session last night, Scenario #2, and had a good time. It appears we have most of the rules down correctly, we even remembered to activate the monsters. In fact I think we activated them during every Villain phase for every player.

The rules on how players got a monster in their "hand" were unclear, so we just assumed it was whoever activated that monster controlled it until destroyed, which makes sense since this is a co operative game, with no DM or controller.

Since there were 5 of us we got through the scenario without using a healing surge and one player got down to 2 or 3 hit points.

Is there a website somewhere where even more scenarios are available? Fan made or WOTC made?

I think we are definitely going to play this regularly, and I am already looking forward to seeing what they do in the expansions. Like will we be able to go down or up the stairs? Will we be able to open the coffins, etc...?
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
I thought it was too easy the first game. But, then, the PCs rarely missed in their attacks.

In our 2nd game, we couldn't hit even half the time, and lost relatively quickly.

For the Treasure:
We returned any initial treasures that were not items to the deck. I thought this was a rule, but I can't find it right now in the book.

Re: other scenarios, WotC did publish one, but I don't have a link handy. It is on the site someplace, but is not easy to find, as I recall.
 


Samurai

Adventurer
I am looking forward to replacing the monochrome minis with painted minis from my collection. I have all of them except (obviously) those that haven't actually been released in prepainted sets. I think it will increase the appeal of an already visually striking game, and I think game stores would do well to encourage playing in their publicly accessible tables.

Part of the reason I bought the game is to paint the minis that came in it!

Is anyone else doing this? Maybe we should post some pictures as we do them...
 

Frostmarrow

First Post
We played our first session last night, Scenario #2, and had a good time. It appears we have most of the rules down correctly, we even remembered to activate the monsters. In fact I think we activated them during every Villain phase for every player.

The rules on how players got a monster in their "hand" were unclear, so we just assumed it was whoever activated that monster controlled it until destroyed, which makes sense since this is a co operative game, with no DM or controller.

Since there were 5 of us we got through the scenario without using a healing surge and one player got down to 2 or 3 hit points.

Is there a website somewhere where even more scenarios are available? Fan made or WOTC made?

I think we are definitely going to play this regularly, and I am already looking forward to seeing what they do in the expansions. Like will we be able to go down or up the stairs? Will we be able to open the coffins, etc...?

You can get some unofficial stuff here: Dungeons & Dragons Castle Ravenloft Adventure Database | BoardGameGeek

Note that if you kill a monster during your turn, you discard a monster card of the corresponding type from your hand. Regardless of which actual monster you kill. If you don't hold a card the first player to your right that does gets to discard his. If you activate one monster you activate every monster of the same type at the same time. If you happen to draw a monster card you already have you redraw.
 

Samurai

Adventurer
Part of the reason I bought the game is to paint the minis that came in it!

Is anyone else doing this? Maybe we should post some pictures as we do them...

I've finished the first few figures... the Flesh Golem (which really is an awesome figure!), the werewolf, and the 3 gargoyles.

DSC00255.jpg


DSC00244.jpg
 


Agamon

Adventurer
Okay, so I attended FallCon in Calgary this weekend, and they have an extensive game library to borrow games from to play. So, I decided to check out Castle Ravenloft with a couple buddies.

We barely started before it ended. We played the 2nd adventure, Find the Icon of Ravenloft. There's an encounter card that says something like "take the bottom dungeon tile from the stack and add it to the board closest to the active player." So we do that, which makes it our 3rd new tile, and the 1 in 4 chance of pulling the end game Temple room happens. My Cleric uses his daily, kills all the monsters on the tile, game over.

On the plus side, it doesn't have that drawn out, claw-at-your-eyes-it's-taking-so-long-to-finish game time that most of these kinds of games tend to have, but 10 minutes is a bit ridiculous. I understand that it was a random encounter that did it, but what is the point of burying the final room, only to have cards draw from the bottom of the stack. Silly. I played about 10 new board games at the con, and though I'm a D&D player, the experience from this one was bottom of the heap.
 


Treebore

First Post
Yes, if I remember correctly the earliest that tile should have been is the 7th tile. Or maybe it was as soon as the 5th. It certainly wasn't one of the first 4.
 

Jeff Wilder

First Post
The poster is making the (common) mistake of not using all of the dungeon tiles is the deck. I think this happens because the rules specify a number of tiles to pick to shuffle the target tile into, but never actually say, "The tile deck contains all the tiles. Drawing a tile from the bottom is thus a penalty, not a shortcut."
 

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