This was perhaps my 5th game of either Wrath of Ashardalon or Castle Ravenloft, so this session includes some rules questions - rather than dig through the book, we played on through a couple of questions that popped up, but overall felt pretty good about how the game went. A few details are left out, as we were drinking a good bit, but overall you get a sense of how things went for us.
Heskan - Dragonborn Wizard
Played by me, using the Wizards Eye and flame spheres for the first time
Keyleth - Elf Paladin
Played by my wife, who has only played once before, also as Keyleth - I think it will be hard to get her to play as anything else, as it's the prettiest hero available.
Vistra - Dwarf Fighter
Played by our friend, who had never played before and was only mildly interested at the beginning.
We didn't play with any special rules, wanted to keep everything as basic as possible for their sake and mine, so we do the normal setup, everyone (kinda) figures out their powers, and we jump right into the dungeon.
Heskan goes first - I summon the Wizards eye and explore a nearby tile, revealing an easy Human Cultist for the girls to kill. He is equidistant to Heskan and Keyleth, so I have him attack the higher-AC paladin. Successfully, much to my wifes disappointment. She's now poisoned and down a HP.
Keyleth goes next, closing in on the Human Cultist and easily killing him. She did not end on the edge, so she goes into the Encounter deck, drawing the Kobold trapper environment card, making traps -4 to the disarm roll. Ouch.
Vistra sets off in the opposite direction and finds a monster when she explores - a Gibbering mouther, positioned where it can attack both the girls, and does so successfully. Now both dazed, and Keyleth poisoned, the party is discouraged.
Heskan zaps the Gibbering mouther from a disance with arc lightning(?) and explores another tile on the opposite side of the dungeon, a long hallway - two tiles (and two monsters?) come out, a Duergar Guard and the highly annoying Legion Devil, who spawns 2 more copies of himself. We played so they all move individually on my turn, each resolving before the next one, with the same stats/tactics moved. Not 100% sure this is correct, but we lived through it so we assumed if it's survivable it is correct.
Keyleth was wounded and in danger of getting swarmed by the incoming Legion Devils, so she helped finish off the Gibbering Mouther and retreated safely behind the dwarf, gaining a level-up treasure card in the process and exploring to find an Orc Archer.
Vistra, who had previously found a box of caltrops and leveled up with a 20 on her last attack, charges towards the Guard, rolling a 20 to kill him with the +1 damage of the critical hit. Then, dropping her caltrops, Vistra was positioned so the only adjacent positions on her tile were caltrops.
Heskan continued exploring with the wizard eye, producing a relatively constant stream of monsters for the girls to fight as we searched for the Vault tile. Another Duergar Guard and a Cave bear begin making their way towards the party. Anxiously, I use my flame spheres and ready for the tide of monsters. The legion devils charged Vistra, but each miraculously (?) landed on a caltrops (since I was controlling the Legion devils, I wasn't really sure of what order to resolve the effects in, but we placed each monster adjacent to Vistra, then as each spot was a caltrops, we killed each legion devil and removed the caltrops, then gave Vistra a treasure for defeating the monster. Any clarification on that?)
Keyleth, confident that Vistra can hold down the long hallway side of the dungeon, finishes off the Orc Archer and finds the Vault, which spawns 2 more monsters, both of which need to be killed, and the gear within retrieved. We avoided a lava flow trap and poisoned dart trap with encounter cards near the vault, and Keyleth easily survives the guardians first attack.
Vistra moves away from the cave bear and horde of monsters the Duergar Guard is slowly uncovering over on the opposite side of the dungeon, getting close enough to use one of her special cards that lets her move adjacent to a hero 2 tiles away and then attack an adjacent monster, which she uses to kill one of the vault guardians. Ending her hero phase next to the gear, she picks it up.
Heskan, so far the LVP (Least Valuable Player) moves his flame spheres into the Vault room and weakens the last guardian, a lone cave bear. The monsters uncovered by the Duergar Guard and the wizard eye are too far away to be a threat.
Keyleth finishes off the last guardian, and with the gear in hand, we pat each other on the back for an easy victory.
This took about 45 minutes to 1 hour, as I skipped describing about half the turns.
Overall pretty easy, compared the last game I played with my wife, where we were overwhelmed by the monster hunt quest playing as the paladin and the cleric. Vistra was easily the best character, with her +11 attack consistently doing damage and her special abilities, such as her +4 HP self-heal really helping not use surges. Leveling on the roll of 20 was a huge help as well.
Heskan was fun, but not very well used in this game - I really liked the Wizard eye exploring while I sat back in safety, but I wouldn't use it AND flame spheres again, as they both rely on my movement phase. I ended the game 1 tile from the entrance.
Keyleth did well and enjoyed the game much more than last time - remembering to draw treasure cards helped a lot, and she was just more comfortable with the rules, which sped up play and she picked her powers, so she felt a little more personalized and knew what everything did. Definitely a strong character with the same AC and HP as the dwarf fighter. Leveling up helped her a lot too, as she was down to 4 HP early in the game.
Overall, we started as two reluctant adventurers lead by one enthusiastic one, and by the end everyone was really enjoying the simple mechanics and excitement of just smacking monsters in the head with swords and spells. Neither of the girls are into DnD or anything remotely fantasy, but play boardgames in general. Both learned quickly and really won the day for us.
It was much better having a goal-oriented quest than the prior game (just kill 12 monsters). I'd recommend skipping the monster hunt when teaching new players/non-gamers. The girls are excited to play again, and want to fight Ashardalon immediately. I'm hoping I can convince them to work our way up to him.
Thanks for any answers as to some of the questions we had as well.
Nice! It's always good when new/casual players leave happy!
2 monsters with hallway is good.
Control of the devils seems ok too.
The Devils did not miraculously land on the caltrop, Vistra tricked them