Sometimes I wonder why DM/GM/ST's put so much time and effort into crafting intricate stories with depth and rewards. This will be *at least* the sixth time I have spent many hours developing a world to run a game in that lasts all of 3-4-5 game sessions before the real world smacks it into a thousand useless pieces.
So one player moved out of state, one player decided they were uncomfortable without the player who moved out of state and one player has decided that they just don't have enough time to commit. All reasons I can respect and understand. I'm still totally bummed. So what are my two remaining players and I to do? Well, this week we ran by our local game shop and picked up a board game to try out. That game was Castle Ravenloft Board Game.
It's 4th edition D&D the way it should have been - a board game. Yes, it is 4th edition D&D the board game - it was actually fun, unlike the RPG version, which is...not. The set-up was interesting, the randomness of the tiles/dungeon make each game unique (sorta). The rulebook is lacking in full explanation of all the pieces in the box and some questions that arose during game play - does it take an action to open a coffin? We decided that yes it does, but grabbing the "win" token may or may not. However, it is very well balanced - assuming you don't pull Strahd on the first coffin you open - yes, we pulled Strahd on the first coffin we opened, but it was in the 2nd game we played - the first saw no coffins opened due to monster placement and timing. It took us about an hour to play through a game, which is good, but I can see it taking much longer with more players.
I'm not sure it is worth $65-$75 to just play occasionally, but it is certainly worth a look if you like board games. Because it is cooperative, most people over the age of 8-9 can probably grasp the rules well enough to participate and that makes it worth a lot more than most other board games.