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Subject: My first five games rss

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Brian Engard
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Let me start by saying this: my win-to-loss ratio in Castle Ravenloft is not what you'd call "good". In fact, at one win and four losses, I'd say it's pretty bad. That does not, however, mean that I think the game is bad. Quite the opposite actually; I enjoyed each game quite a bit, particularly because I never really felt that losing (or winning) was a foregone conclusion until, once or twice, right near the end. Another thing that I'd like to mention is that this game plays very well solo. Three of my five plays have been solo (using the included solo adventures), and they've all been a lot of fun.

Game One: Escape from the Tomb
I played the introductory solo scenario as my first game, using the dragonborn fighter and his recommended-for-beginners loadout of powers. I rolled badly initially and wound up swamped by a bunch of monsters that I hadn't taken care of, but my dragon breath power got me out of that sticky spot. I used a wand of teleportation to get a wraith out of my hair and ran down a hallway, but I drew too many tiles with white triangles on them (in the initial scenario, these advance the sun track by a step, bringing you closer to Count Strahd's awakening), and the vampire lord awoke and came to get me. I continued running down my hallway while Strahd and the wraith chased me, and eventually found that it was a dead end. I doubled back, but got stuck in a room with a crushing walls trap, and the two baddies quickly caught up to me. Between those three sources of damage, I went down pretty quickly. Game over.

I feel I made some tactical errors in this game, the most notable being that I had eleven or twelve experience points at the end, and hadn't spent a single one. I could easily have canceled that crushing walls trap, which would have made things considerably easier, but forgot that I could. Lesson learned: spend your XP, don't hoard them.

Game Two: Escape from the Tomb, Redux
This time I went in with the ranger. I was a little worried because of her relative squishiness compared to the fighter, but she more than makes up for it with offensive power. Careful attack is easily one of the best at-wills in the game. It may not seem like much, but the ability to automatically deal one damage to an adjacent monster at will is pretty big. Sadly, she didn't fare much better. Strahd didn't awaken this time, but pure attrition brought the ranger down. I do feel that, if I had had twin strike as an at-will instead of hunter's shot, things might have gone better; there was one situation where it would likely have saved my life.

Game Three: Adventure - Impossible
This is a great adventure. It gives you the opportunity to play all (or most) of the characters, and gives you some experience with the villains, too. I started off with the cleric, and very quickly ran into the werewolf. What I discovered in short order is that the werewolf is extremely hard to kill if you don't have a silver dagger or an at-will that does more than one point of damage. He regenerates one hit point every round, making it very difficult to make any headway against him. I mostly avoided him and explored, and soon ran into the zombie dragon. While the zombie dragon lacks the werewolf's regeneration, it does have thirteen hit points, which is a challenge in and of itself.

The wizard followed the cleric, and he managed to deal some decent damage to the zombie dragon and take out a number of monsters before he went down. He didn't last that long, though. Next came the rogue, and she was the one who finally bested the werewolf. A well-timed sneak attack, combined with a snipe shot and a riposte strike, took that beastie down. She also made some decent headway against the zombie dragon, and even leveled up, but failed to kill it. She went down, making way for the ranger.

Because of the ranger's strong offensive capabilities, I was able to finally slay the zombie dragon, but not before an encounter card drew a tile from the bottom of the stack and teleported the dragon to that tile. Interestingly enough, that tile happened to be another villain-spawning tile, bringing the young vampire onto the board. The ranger killed the zombie dragon while the vampire slipped past her toward the entrance, and when she pursued, he killed her quickly.

Last was the fighter, and I was pretty sure I had it in the bag. Famous last words. Although the fighter is durable and can deal pretty good damage, the vampire heals himself every time he hits, and he was hitting a lot. He finally whittled me down and dropped my last hero.

Game Four: The Icon of Ravenloft
I finally convinced my wife to give the game a try, and she enjoyed it. She played the cleric while I played the rogue, and the two of them make a good team. Between my backstabbing and her lance of faith, we could one-shot pretty much any monster that got in our way, and we did so. We were getting a little worried when we got down to our last two or three hit points each, but we still had both of our healing surges when we found the chapel. We killed the two monsters on the tile (a wraith and a gargoyle), and made off with the Icon for my first win!

Game Five: Klak's Infernal Artifact
Immediately after playing that game, I convinced her to play again. It wasn't hard. This time she played the wizard to my fighter, and we went after that sneaky kobold sorcerer. We drew some nasty monsters early (wraiths, blazing skeletons, and gargoyles), and I had the misfortune to pull a spear gauntlet trap that did some significant damage to my poor fighter. We ran in the other direction, leaving it to do its thing. We started down a corridor and ran into a blazing skeleton, but by that time we each had two hit points and we had used both of our healing surges. Actually, I had used both of them; I had taken the tank role a little too seriously. The skeleton took the wizard out, and it was curtains for our mission.

Again, there was a tactical error that we made there. I had the bodyguard utility power, which would have allowed me to turn that hit into a miss. The next treasure card I drew (I killed the skeleton in the hopes that I'd get a healing potion for her) would have allowed us to heal one hit point every time we hit a monster, but that was too little too late. By the time we had figured out our error, though, the game was cleaned up.

Conclusions
I'm enjoying this game so far. I'm going to play some more over the weekend, probably both solo and group play, and I'm itching to try some of the more elaborate scenarios. I like that each of the characters feels different and has powers of varying complexity to use, and the monsters really wind up feeling pretty different from each other. I like that traps are deadly and nasty, and the encounter card system is a nice touch that makes it so that you never know what's around the corner. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I may have rose-colored glasses on when I look at this game; I've been pretty excited about it for a good long time now. On the other hand, I've built it up in my head for quite a while, and so far it hasn't disappointed me. Time will tell, but so far, so good.
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Tor Sverre Lund
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Hate to burst your bubble, but I think you missed a monster on your winning play. I believe the consensus so far is that the "one monster each" on the chapel is in addition to the usual placement of a monster.

Other than that, thanks for sharing! :) Nice read.
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Merric Blackman
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Excellent report!
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Vinny
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My comments are only going to be about Adventure: Impossible

Based off the attacks you did against the werewolf you did a total of 5 damage over two turns. However after the first attack he would have regained one hp so the second attack would have left him with one left. Did your wizard use their daily the turn before she died on the werewolf to knock his hp down? Otherwise it wouldn't have been possible for you to kill the werewolf.

I was actually going to make a post about the werewolf in this adventure because I had the same thing happen with him spawning first and pretty much you can't kill him without being extremely lucky.

My next question is you mentioned that you pulled a villain spawning tile off the bottom of the tile deck. How was this possible? Based off the instructions of setting up the tile deck there should have been only three spawning tiles in it, with one being at least the 25th from the bottom.
 
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Vance VanGogh
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Agreed, I don't believe the three unused spawning tiles get shuffled into the bottom.
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Brian Engard
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Yeah, I realize I probably made some mistakes along the way; I'm still learning the subtleties of the game, and some things in the adventures and rules could be worded a little less ambiguously. Anyway, responses.

Gawain: This is entirely possible, and I'd kind of like to hear an official ruling on this. Also, we forgot about the rule that would have caused us to draw extra Encounter cards after picking up the icon. Either way, I think we would have won; we still had two surges, and one of the attacks against the monsters on that tile was a daily that attacked every monster on that tile, so an extra monster would likely have died. Even if it hadn't (and even if we had remembered to draw the extra Encounters), with two surges left, I think we probably would have won. We'll play it right the next time, though.

maggotv: The werewolf had been damaged by dailies on previous occasions by both the cleric and the wizard. It had healed most of that damage, but it was still one hit point down; that's how I was able to kill it. Your damage calculations are, however, correct.

As far as the unused spawning tiles, the adventure says to put the remaining tiles underneath the prepared tiles; I assumed this meant all of the tiles, not just the remaining tiles in the tile stack (as opposed to the lair stack, which I just shuffled into the remaining tiles before putting them on the bottom). It's possible that I did this incorrectly. It's also possible that, if I had done it correctly, I might have actually won. That young vampire really cleaned my clock; fighting the golem or the hag might have gone differently.

Thanks for all the responses. I'd like to mention that we tried Klak's Infernal Artifact again, and just barely squeaked out a victory. My wife played the ranger while I played the cleric, and once we discovered Klak and his artifact, things started to go to hell quickly. There were a lot of monsters near us, and a lot more getting closer. Not only that, but Klak was summoning monsters like nobody's business. A few things conspired to save us, though.

First (and you guys can tell me if I played this correctly), the cleric's utility power, Consecrated Ground, says to "Choose a tile within 1 tile of you. If there is a marker on that tile, discard it." Klak's artifact is a marker, so we ruled that playing Consecrated Ground destroyed the artifact. Playing that utility costs you an attack, so I don't see that as a huge problem, but I'd like to hear what others think.

Second, we were both down to 1 hp each, and we were surrounded by monsters. Klak had about 2 hit points left after a combination of Flame Strike and Healing Strike, but we were surrounded by monsters and things didn't look good. We were also out of surges. However, my wife attacked Klak with Twin Shot (also attacking a skeleton and missing it), and rolled a natural 20. She leveled up and got a new daily and two more hit points, and that extra point of AC helped, too. I (thankfully) got missed by every monster that attacked me, smacked Klak with an at-will, and my wife finished him off with her new daily. Luck really helped us out there, but it was a really fun and tense game.
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Tor Sverre Lund
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Zelgadas wrote:

First (and you guys can tell me if I played this correctly), the cleric's utility power, Consecrated Ground, says to "Choose a tile within 1 tile of you. If there is a marker on that tile, discard it." Klak's artifact is a marker, so we ruled that playing Consecrated Ground destroyed the artifact. Playing that utility costs you an attack, so I don't see that as a huge problem, but I'd like to hear what others think.
Hah, you little Munchkin you :D Not so sure if Klak's artifact is a "marker". It's definitely a token, but a "marker"? I thought that was reserved for the traps, but I'm definitely not 100% sure.
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Brian Engard
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Yeah, it's a little unclear. I've been of the opinion that all of the large, 2x2 square tokens are 'markers'. Playing by that rationale, though, the wizard's freezing cloud or illusory crowd markers would prevent traps from appearing on those tiles, because if there's already a marker, you discard the trap and draw again. I'm not sure if that's the intent or not.
 
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Mr G
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Brian,

Excellent thread.

What have you learned regarding tactics, both in general and hero specific, in all these plays?

Regards,

fentum
 
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