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Bagged my copy, punched it out and sleeved it on Tuesday but didn't get to play it until last night. So, just a few quick catch up notes that have mostly been discussed elsewhere on the boards already...

Wrath of Ashardalon seems a bit more intense than Castle Ravenloft somehow. There are a bunch of “sentries”, which are monsters that summon other monsters so the board fills up much more quickly. Hallways that add extra tiles when you place them (and therefore extra monsters). ALL the treasures are actual items, and some of them are awesome (e.g. Captain America Shield which gives +2 AC AND a free attack!), so none of that whimsical “take a breath - heal 1hp” malarkey from CR. There are super-basic campaign rules in a couple of the quests, which could be adapted to fit all of the quests, including Castle Ravenloft if you were so inclined. In fact, pretty much everything is cross-compatible with CR: monsters/encounters/treasures/tiles/heroes. We’ll probably play through them all individually per game first though, maybe mix up the heroes a bit.

WoA also adds Doors, Hazards, ‘beneficial’ Encounters (which immediately make you draw another encounter, so not actually that beneficial!), and Chambers, which are massive showdown rooms – when you draw the first chamber tile you immediately supplement it with more added tiles and monsters and a random Quest you must beat to defeat the Chamber/mission. These are only used in certain quests though.

In WoA there are far less tiles used per game (I think about 22 tiles total) than in CR as most of the chamber tiles and special tiles are removed from the stack straight away. And they draw a much different map to CR as there are more twists and straight hallways as opposed to just rooms with exits on every side.

The first solo adventure in CR has you draw 10 tiles before you get to the end piece and run away from Strahd as he chases you. The first adventure in WoA is the only one listed as “solo” but there is a note saying that all the quests can be played solo with 2-5 heroes, “or just with one hero for the ultimate challenge”. This first WoA quest has you draw only 6 tiles to find the exit and then you have to kick a kobold’s ass. So I was thinking, this’ll be a doddle. I was wrong.

A lot of the new hero powers are very cooperative and allow you to interact a little more with your team, which is very cool. Unless you’re playing with one hero, in which case some of them are useless. First up I sent in the Paladin as I was curious to see how this new class played out (nicely, as it happens). Very quickly bad things started to happen. A couple of “sentries” in the first few tiles led to cumulative tile draws and a trio of legion devils, which are inexplicably nasty – they get +11 to hit you.

Before long the table was filling with tiles, including a back to back draw of the two long hallways which cause you to draw another tile, and, due to terrible attack rolls by me, I soon had one of every monster on the board. I had barely done any exploring myself and had no idea how many tiles out of the 6 I had left to get through. There was no choice but to run for it. I lured the gigantic monster conga away from the super long hallway and got a healing surge beaten out of me for my efforts. I’d also already used up my starting item – a measly 2hp healing potion. Upon recovering I staggered up and legged it down the super long hallway tiles and around a corner at the end to run face first into the kobold boss. He only has 6 hit points but he has a nasty pokey stick which he likes to stick you with. He was also sporting a suspiciously large backpack. I started chipping away at him whilst he did the same to me, and the monster conga realised the dance was over and came running after me. By the time they arrived my Paladin and her kobold nemesis were down to 1 hit point each, duelling away up the secret staircase, and I had no surges left. It came down to my final attack roll which, if I’d missed, would have spelt certain doom.

Natural 20.

My yell of delight became an embarrassed giggle when I realised I had only a lame 2XP worth of monsters and couldn’t even have levelled up if I’d wanted to. Luckily I didn’t want to. From the dying kobold’s bulging backpack a magical flying carpet unfurled before me. I leapt on and swooped up the stairs and out of the dungeon to victory, the braying of frustrated monsters echoing behind me.

Since this mission takes about 20-30 minutes and was rather addictive I played through it twice more with the fighter and cleric to see how they fared. Each time it came down to the final roll. The bloody kobolds and duergar kept running off and getting their mates so all I could do was run through to the end on both attempts, you just don’t have enough attacks to clear a path with only one hero. The rather ugly dwarf fighter made it to the tunnel exit and was loaded with gear and kills and the infamous Captain America shield but she got taken down by the sheer force of monster numbers. The cleric guy made it to the tunnel exit too and with careful execution of Astral Refuge I nipped off the swarmed board at the most dangerous moment, only to reappear next turn right up the kobold boss’ backside with an ice pick. Nicked his Bracers as a memento and made it out the back door with 1 hit point and no surges.

In all 3 games I managed to get Poisoned (annoying!) and Dazed (also annoying!), met with some nasty new traps (lava, lava, lava), overcame hazards (like traps but... brown), suffered through beneficial encounters (Woohoo – free treasure) and into detrimental encounters (Boo – monsters and damage and more tiles and more tiles and more tiles), and enjoyed the pesky new monsters’ tactics. Some people have complained that sentries don’t move adjacent to you and it’s possible for them to just stand there if they’ve explored all their tile’s exits already. Believe me, if that happens you will be thankful for it! All in all, some great new mechanics and I’m looking forward to trying out the new doors and chambers and treasure tokens and so on.

So: 2 very close wins and 1 very close defeat. This mission will definitely get a few more plays before my mates come over this weekend and have to choose between wailing on Strahd or Ash. Or both...

ninja


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Justin Egan
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Man, you should have posted this as a review. It's worth the .
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Nevin Ball
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jegan22280 wrote:
Man, you should have posted this as a review. It's worth the .
Agreed. Nice write up!
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Tristan Hall
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Cheers guys, I think I'll wait till I've played a few other quests with other people before I post a proper review. ninja
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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ninjadorg wrote:
Wrath of Ashardalon seems a bit more intense than Castle Ravenloft somehow. There are a bunch of “sentries”, which are monsters that summon other monsters so the board fills up much more quickly.
You can say that again. Our first game, we were using CR tactics, which is the faster you go, usually the better. Soon we had I think eight monsters on the board and the Kobold Villain (we found his chamber). Without any AOE At-Will powers, it was difficult to not be overwhelmed.

I do like the new board tiles. The dead-end pieces are great, and the 90-degree corners can let to other dead ends, forcing the heroes to backtrack. Would be interesting to see how CR plays with these tiles.

-shnar
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shnar wrote:
I do like the new board tiles. The dead-end pieces are great, and the 90-degree corners can let to other dead ends, forcing the heroes to backtrack. Would be interesting to see how CR plays with these tiles.
This is a really good point that I forgot to mention in my OP. Those 90 degree bends into a dead-end can be a killer, especially if you've been 'fed' down a hallway with no other exits. And with the new monsters' scorch mark to scorch mark movement rule it took some tricksy positioning of the monster conga to escape back up that super long hallway.
 
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Mike Stevens
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Great write up NinjaDorg, I felt like I was playing the game with you. Please keep your write-ups coming since I dont have the game yet. I can live vicariously through your adventures until I get my own copy
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Nico Buffing
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I got the game today too, and played some scenario's solo. I had a simular experience to you I guess.
I chose to play the paladin and continued with her past the first scenario and to play them with just one hero. The first two scenario's I developed the tactic of kiting a horde of monsters through the tunnels, desperately hoping for my target tile to turn up. At that point it worked pretty well, I got the kobold lord and even the 12 different monsters with one healing surge left by bursting the kobold down in 2 turns (lvl 2, with 2 dailies doing 3 damage each), and in the 2nd scenario kiting the monsters over the place and dropping some caltrops to kill some on the start tile (no scorch mark there so I could place the weak 1 hp monsters on the caltrops) and killing anything that came close to me with the 2 damage overpowered holystrike.
The third scenario was a slightly longer journey and actually came down to the last roll when I got the Gear, killed one of the two monsters that spawned earlier (a bear) and was getting swarmed in the dead end piece, positioning myself so I could only be attacked by 3 monsters. The 2nd monster I had to kill to win the scenario, a snake moved adjecent to me, and two of his legion devil friends as well.
With me being on just 1 hit point and the devils +11 attack, the situation looked pretty dire. Luckily I had managed to find some stuff and get my AC up to 19, since I didnt manage to level in that scenario.
First the snake missed, the 1st legion devil missed, then the 2nd last roll to win the scenario the 2nd legion devil actually hit me.
Then I remembered my old friend from Ravenloft, the lucky charm! I rerolled the die and the devil missed that time around.
Next hero phase I became victorious by slaying the snake.
Even the fourth scenario was workable by kiting the monsters around, rushing straight for the dire chamber. I found it with a healing surge left, as lvl 2 and with an AC of 20 due to my items, with a +3 attack if I didn't move and a +1 damage on a 18+.
I checked the chamber out and found the duergar champion, who turned out to be pretty much a pushover.
As I moved next to him and was getting surrounded by monsters that had a lot of trouble getting through the massive armor class I was just chipping away at him and finally managed to get him down with 3 hit points and no healing surges left. Lucky I guess that the only goal was to get him down so I didn't have to worry about the other monsters.
Sadly the 5th scenario with its doors turned out to be the nemesis of my kiting strategy, and I didn't even reach the horrid chamber after getting mercilessly swarmed, dazed and chopped down to a bloody pulp by a host of monsters.
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Doug Adams
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Nice reports. I just took this out for a spin tonight with the chesty dwarf fighter. Wow, very intense - two defeats. First game I was surrounded by legion devils and pulped. Second game I drew the devil guard, who simply expanded my dungeon for me and filled it with monsters, including the devils (they arrive in 3's, btw). I fled the other way, draw two long corridors in a row which ended in the exit - cave bear, orc archer (who was good with a bow) and the big bad on the staircase. Rock, dwarf, hard place.

Fun, but tough.
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Thanks for the report, Nico, sounds like you had fun too. cool
You ploughed right on through the first three scenarios, correct? I like to play the group scenarios with my mates first before soloing them so that I only know as much as they do, but would you say that they're balanced for just one hero? The Castle Ravenloft adventures worked well with the stronger characters solo but the wizard and rogue would really struggle without extra surges...
 
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Omahavice wrote:
Great write up NinjaDorg, I felt like I was playing the game with you. Please keep your write-ups coming since I dont have the game yet. I can live vicariously through your adventures until I get my own copy
I won't get to play it again for a while now thanks to stupid non-gamer family and friends wanting to stupid hang out and stupid do stuff. Hopefully, I'll be with my group next time but if not the piggy-nosed rogue and scaly lizard wizard have an appointment with Mr Kobold and his pointy stick so I'll be sure to report back when I can! (By which point you'll hopefully have the game anyway...)
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dougadamsau wrote:
Nice reports. I just took this out for a spin tonight with the chesty dwarf fighter. Wow, very intense - two defeats. First game I was surrounded by legion devils and pulped. Second game I drew the devil guard, who simply expanded my dungeon for me and filled it with monsters, including the devils (they arrive in 3's, btw). I fled the other way, draw two long corridors in a row which ended in the exit - cave bear, orc archer (who was good with a bow) and the big bad on the staircase. Rock, dwarf, hard place.

Fun, but tough.
Those legion devils really live up to their name, and for a single hero I'd say they're triply frightening. Especially if they've just been summoned by a sneaky duergar who was in turn alerted by a sneaky kobold. Love how those combos play out. I'm really looking forward to mixing up the mechanics of WoA with CR in the future. Better luck next time anyway, hopefully your other heroes will fare better than that suspiciously beardless dwarf.
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Nico Buffing
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I'd say the first three are very doable with one character, especially one that can do 2 damage per turn (and as the paladin with AC17). Even the chamber scenario's scale pretty well with the number of players since you place only one extra monster per player (I think I got lucky with the easy duergar one though).
Main problem is you end up running through the hallways, followed by a horde of monsters (but just one of each in single hero mode)
This means there is more luck involved then strategy or tactics: every dead end is also a dead end for your hero.
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Infyra wrote:
I'd say the first three are very doable with one character, especially one that can do 2 damage per turn (and as the paladin with AC17). Even the chamber scenario's scale pretty well with the number of players since you place only one extra monster per player (I think I got lucky with the easy duergar one though).
Main problem is you end up running through the hallways, followed by a horde of monsters (but just one of each in single hero mode)
This means there is more luck involved then strategy or tactics: every dead end is also a dead end for your hero.

This is all fair comment. I finished the first scenario with each hero multiple times - though I haven't put the CR heroes through the WoA mill yet - and decided to start campaigning through the rest of the adventure book with the randomly drawn Paladin using the Doors and Treasure Tokens rules. After the first 3 quests it all seems to work really well. It's a great little sideline to pursue whilst waiting for my group campaign to start up again.

Incidentally, for anyone interested my first campaign session report is just OVER HERE!
 
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