Rebuilding the D&D Adventure Board Games: Encounters

One of the recent game projects I have is consolidating the components from the various D&D Adventure Boardgames (Castle Ravenloft, Wrath of Ashardalon, and Legend of Drizzt), into one ‘best of’ set, featuring all the things that are awesomest of each one.

So, the first step is the encounter deck.  I feel the encounter deck has a lot of flavor as to what perils the heroes will run into.  So first, I looked at the various sets and what percentage of the encounter deck corresponded to what kind of card:

Castle Ravenloft: 60 encounter cards

8 Environments (13%)

7 Traps (11%)

15 Attacks (25%)

30 Events (50%)


Wrath of Ashardalon- 53 encounter cards

18 Events (34%)

4 Traps, 3 Hazards (13%)

6 Environments (11%)

8 Curses (15%)

14 Attacks (26%)


Drizzt- 42 cards

19 Events (45%)

9 Attacks (21%)

6 Traps (14%)

8 Curses (19%)


A couple of things noticeable here:

The deck gets smaller each explansion.

Events take up half the deck in Ravenloft, less in Ashardalon, and swing way back up in Drizzt.

Traps and Attacks vary a little bit between sets, but stay pretty close to 12% and 25%.

There are no Curses in Raveloft, and no Environments in Drizzt, and the Curses in Drizzt are lame.


The aggregate totals: 155 encounter cards

Events: 67 (43%)

Attacks 37 (24%)

Traps (and Hazards) 20 (13%)

Environments 14 (9%)

Curses 16 (10%)


My target deck is going to be 50 cards, with the following layout:

Events 19 (38%)

Attacks 12 (24%)

Traps/Hazards 8 (14%)

Environments 6 (12%)

Curses: 5 (10%)



Besieged, Bubbling Cauldron, Cave Fisher’s Lair, Cunning Disguise, Cyrus Belview, Frenzy, Lief Lipsiege, Mists of Terror, Occupied Lair, Overrun, Reinforcements, Revel in Destruction, Rockslide, Thief in the Dark, Treasure Chest, Voice of the Master, Volcanic Explosion, Volcanic Spray x2


About a third of the events straight up damage the hero/heroes. (In this set, that’s Besieged, Mists of Terror, Overrun, Rockslide, Volcanic Explosion, and Volcanic Spray)

About a fifth to a fourth of the events bring more monsters into play. (This is Cave Fisher’s Lair, the hilarious Cunning Disguise, Cyrus Belview, Occupied Lair, and Reinforcements)


I don’t like most of the ones that give benefits (like do this and draw a card), but people seem to have fun with Treasure Chest and Lief Lipsiege, so those go in.

All of the ‘draw a bunch of cards and look for a certain flavor of monster’ ones got nixed.



Animated Armor, Concussive Blast, Earthquake, Gray Ooze, Green Slime, Howling Ghost, Lurker’s Strike, King Tomescu’s Portal, Patrina Velikovna, Phalagar’s Lair, Spellweb, Sulfurous Cloud,


About a third of the attacks target the active hero, and about half target all heroes on that tile. I wanted to keep this ratio.

(Howling Ghost, King Tomescu’s Portal, Lurker’s Strike, and Grey Ooze are the single-target attacks, and two of them involve movement- fun! Animated Armor, Concussive Blast, Green Slime, Phalagar’s Lair, Spellweb and Sulfurous Cloud are the this-tile attacks. Earthquake and Patrina Velikovna are nasty attack-everyone attacks.)



Alarm, Crossbow Turret, Force Trap, Poisoned Dart Trap, Rolling Boulder, Sliding Walls, Volcanic Fault, Whirling Blades

My favorite traps are the ones that do more than just damage. These include ones that move around (Rolling Boulder, Whirling Blades) and ones that move heroes about (Force Trap, Sliding Walls). Crossbow Turret is there because you gotta have one really nasty trap.



Blood Fog, Cackling Skull, Deadly Shadows, Hidden Snipers, Music of the Damned, Surrounded,

The best environments are the ones that encourage people to play differently. Hidden Snipers and Deadly Shadows encourage players to either bunch up or spread out. Cackling Skull makes powers riskier. Blood Fog makes combat deadlier for everyone- it’s just fun. Music of the Damned and Surrounded increase the monster threat level, which means more fighting, which is fun.



A Gap in the Armor, Bad Luck, Bloodlust, Dragon Fear, Wrath of the Enemy.

These all penalize the hero without being overly unfun.


Mark of Lloth just isn’t interesting enough. I’d throw one in the deck, but then it becomes completely boring after triggering.


One thought on “Rebuilding the D&D Adventure Board Games: Encounters

  1. This sounds like a really fun mix! I agree that mark of Llolth is boring. I would be interested in trying this set out!

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