Monthly Archives: September 2012

Rebuilding D&D Boardgames: Dungeon Tiles

So the first thing I notice, upon laying all the tiles out, is that Castle Ravenloft has by far the most tiles. Once you filter out the Dire Chambers, Wrath of Ashardalon has the least, and Legend of Drizzt is somewhere in the middle.


Futhermore, in looking at these tiles, there’s a couple of things to keep in mind: tiles with rules, percentages of black/white arrows, having a mix of facings, and whether or not to keep scenario-specific (“named” tiles).


Castle Ravenloft:

40 Tiles


18 White Arrows

22 Black Arrows


0 Tiles with Mechanical Effect

20 Named Tiles (including 8 Crypts and the 4 Crypt corners. The 8 Crypts have 10 Coffin spaces amongst them.)


Tile Orientation:

4 Right Turns (10%)

4 Left Turns (10%)

6 4-ways (15 %)

7 Forward (18%)
6 T-Junction (left/right) (15%)

6 Left T-Junction (left/forward) (15%)

7 Right T-Junction (right/forward) (18%)


There doesn’t seem to be any balance particularly of white/black within different kinds of tiles. The more open tiles tend of have more Black Arrows, since they are more likely to be Crypts.


Wrath of Ashardalon:

24 Tiles


10 White Arrows

14 Black Arrows


8 Tiles with Doors (Note that the Vault has a door)

3 Tiles with Mechanical Effect (2 Long Hallways, 1 Tunnel Exit)

1 Named Tile (Vault, which we have special house rules for, making it another Mechanical Tile.)


(Note that I’m not counting the Dire/Horrid Chamber entryies or rooms in here, as they are scenario specific tiles.)


Tile Orientation

2 Right Turns (8%)

2 Left Turns (8%)

2 Dead Ends (8%)

3 4-Ways (12%)

6 Forward (25%)

3 T-Junction (12%)

3 Left T (12%)

3 Right T (12%)


Note that many of the more open tiles have doors on them, making them actually more restrictive in play, and adding elements of risk.


Legend of Drizzt

32 Tiles


16 White Arrows

16 Black Arrows

Interestingly, Legend of Drizzt is the only set with an even arrow makeup; all the other ones have more black than white.


A Whopping 13 Tiles with Mechanical Effect (4 Narrow Passages, 1 Secret Cave, and 8 Volcanic Vents)

7 Named Tiles


Tile Orientation

3 Right Turns (9%)

3 Left Turns (9%)

7 Forward (22%)

1 Dead End (3%)

6 4-Way (18%)

6 T-Junction (18%)

3 Left-T (9%)

3 Right-T (9%)



96 Tiles


9 Right Turns

9 Left Turns

20 Forward

3 Dead Ends

15 4-Way

15 T-Junction

12 Left T

13 Right T




First I take all the tiles with mechanical effect and see what it looks like. That includes all the Doors, Vents, Secret Exits, Caves, and the Vault.


This is 25 Tiles, 10 of which have white arrows, 15 of which have Black. I want about 32 tiles, so I want 6 more white and 1 more black. These are the orientations of the tiles so far:


2 Right Turns

3 Left Turns

7 Forward

3 Dead Ends

2 4-Ways

2 T Junction

3 Left T

3 Right T


So I want 1 Righty, and lots more 4 ways and basic T Junctions. The other numbers look pretty good.

I pick the following tiles, all named: King’s Crypt, Strahd’s Crypt, 2x Dwarven Statue, the Broken Door, the Drow Glyph, and the Rotting Nook.


Along with those I pack the Dire Chamber tiles, the start tile from Castle Ravenloft, and the Rocky Lair/Ancient Throne/Surface Hollow in case I decide I want them.


Top Ten Game Changing Cards in Ascension: Immortal Heroes

These cards are some of the most influential cards in Ascension: Immortal Heroes. Game-changing does not mean powerful (although many of these are that)- a Game changer fundamentally changes the way people play, looking for new strategies, or taking different actions. Some of these don’t even half to flip from the center row to change the game: the mere fact that they are there, in the deck, is enough to change the way we look at the game.


10: Growmites:

Military is all about having an effective resources to point total payoff. You’re looking to get more points for your fighting than your opponents will get out of their runes, and to do it faster. Normally 2:1 is the baseline from cultists, and a 75% return or above is always lovely. Growmites start at a respectable 3 for 2, but your second one becomes 3 for 4, and it only gets more broken from there. There are five Growmites in the deck, and the threat of a single player accumulating too many of them can drive other players into a panic.


9: Void Avenger

One of the more regularly potent ways to get Soul Gems, Void Avenger comes with 3 fighting and a Soul Gem award. My impression is that Soul Gems are more useful in a military deck because they are more likely to benefit from a splash of money; Void Avenger lets you get those gems. With so many good 3-cost monsters, this is also a great buy for a mostly runes deck.


8: Stone Circle Elder:

It’s a toss-up whether this, or its cohort Temple Guardian is more broken; both cost 5, both are highly upgraded versions of a 4-cost core card (Stone Circle Druids and Arha Templar), and both draw a card for you if there’s a matching event. The ability to put a Lionheart on top of your deck and immediately draw it and get Unite is not to be underestimated.


7: Soulshaper

A great early buy, Soulshaper lets you cull through your deck, getting valuable Soulgems, and banish itself for effect as well. Since most soulgems have an expected purchasing value of at least one point, you still get ahead when you banish itself.


6: Souls Unbound

Monsters getting unbanishable completely changes the game, swinging the balance of play firmly towards military, making big beasts like Tarik, Kythis, and Acidic Crawler inevitable. But the Fantatic effect is really interesting, allowing Soul Gems for everyone, as long as they have the cards to discard. Since it hinders center row cycling, it also tends to stick around longer.


5: Beast Staff

A mid-game must buy in my opinion, the free fighting is nice, but it’s the ability where Beast Staff really shines. Cull all your starting cards and it’s 1 money for at least 1 point, possibly more. Combo with top-of-deck manipulation like Honey Siren, Stone Circle Elder, or a Fateful Nook Hound for better results.


4: Sabre, the Moonlit

We like to call him Sabrecat, after our friend Sabe, this beast is a big fat Starchild that provides fighting and doubles if you have Unite. Unite is already plenty good; combo him with a Wolf Acolyte or Lionheart for 3 draws, or a Spider Witch for a Soul Gem. Arha Sanctuary, Ogo Rising, and The Great Eclipse all help you make sure you get Unite, in different ways.


3: Energy Monk:

Experienced players know how much they can get out of Dream Machine: Bouncing a second construct allows one to play it again, getting it’s ability twice. Energy Monk is a 4 cost hero that brings that with him as its ability, and works on any construct, not just mechana. He’s a lot easier to get into your Deck than Dream Machine, and works great with the new Driller Mark IV. He’s a must buy for Mechana strategies.


2: Kythis, Rebel Godling

The new big bad, at 8 beefy fighting and 8 points, and a free Soul Gem every turn, Kythis is awesome. If you get Kythis early enough, you will win. You will outproduce all the other players and get so much good stuff you will be unstoppable. When I Kythis, the Guardian’d into Kythis, Rebel Godling the other day I audibly squeed, and proceeded to win. Kythis is a powerful, powerful card.


1: Moment of Clarity

This card is a huge accelerator. A free draw when buying an Enlightened card is massively helpful lategame in chaining points purchases, and the Trophy effect allows military decks to upgrade their apprentices and actually get some purchasing power. Not to be underestimated, this is likely to be the most game-changing event when it flips, and will likely effect everyone at the table.