Castle Ravenloft is a board game that was released this year by Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro. The basic idea of the game is that you’re playing fourth edition Dungeons and Dragons in the Ravensloft setting only the rules are simplified and the characters are pre-generated. One of the best things about Castle Ravenloft for those of us who haven’t got people to play with all the time is the solo adventures that are included. The adventure booklet is your DM and you are the hero(es) and the monsters. Both of the solo adventures are well written and easily explain the fact that you’re one adventurer on your own in the world where normally adventurers travel in packs.
The art and the miniatures are gorgeous. The miniatures for this game are plastic casts of the real miniatures released for use with Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve actually had my roommates raiding my copy of Castle Ravenloft for their D&D game. The art on the cards for the attacks and items are also really nice. Everything is color coded and easy to use. Even the miniatures are color coded, heroes being one color, low level monsters another, etc.
Castle Ravenloft does very well at maintaining a level of urgency. It always feels like you’re about to lose any second now, especially in the solo missions. I actually finished one of them, a mission where you have multiple heroes you can use but only one at a time, and the last one I had left was the wizard. It was really close, but I barely scraped out the victory. The level of urgency is wonderful. The stories are also well written which helps the feel of the game.
My one problem with Castle Ravenloft is really just a petty grievance from a gamer who has played 3.5 and 4.0 D&D. The rules are way simplified. But that is also a good thing, really. It means that people who don’t normally play table top roleplaying games can play this and not feel like they’re left behind or slowing down play like can be the problem in real tabletop play.
In conclusion, Castle Ravenloft’s solo game play is very well done. I really love that it exists. Most games like this don’t acknowledge the fact that its very difficult sometimes to find other people willing to play. And so, I give Castle Ravenloft’s solo adventures a 5 out of 5 hearts and thoroughly suggest at least that you try playing it at some point.
Hopefully soon I will get some people to play Castle Ravenloft with me and a camera so I can take some pictures of the board while in play. Once I have, a review of the multiplayer portion of the game will be available.