D&D Adventure Game Analysis: The Scenarios

We have four boxes of the D&D Adventure Game, each with 13 different adventures, for a total of 52. Some of course, are more different than others.

Each adventure is listed with it’s adventure number, the tiles needed to trigger the victory condition, the victory condition itself, and any other notes.

If the tiles is written as a number- like CR-1: 11, it means that the 11th tile will trigger whatever needs to be triggered. If it’s written as two numbers separated by a slash, like CR-2: 9/12, the first number is the minimum tiles needed to be placed, and the second number is the maximum.

Some terminology:

Defeat Boss: A villain spawns. Reduce it to zero hit points.

Destroy Object: An inanimate token that has AC and/or hit points needs to be defeated.

Dire Chamber: Wrath of Ashardalon introduced the Chamber mechanic, whereby finding the objective tile spawns a number of tiles.

Exit: Do a thing, and then go to the start tile or some special tile and then remove your character off the board.

N Monsters: Each player spawns a monster.

NPCs: Friendly NPCs have NPC cards and can be attacked by monsters. It’s often good to keep them alive, and sometimes they help attack the monsters.

Random Boss: The boss is determined by draw of a card, token, or tile. Often a limited subset of bosses from the set.

Random Chamber Objective: In some Wrath of Asharalon encounters, a Chamber card is drawn. It might involve fighting a boss, fighting a bunch of monsters, or some other victory condition.

Solo: This adventure is designed for one player.

Special Setup: The adventure starts with lots of tiles already placed, possibly the whole board.

Town: The adventure is played with the Town setup. Some of the event cards have different effects in town.

Castle Ravenloft:

CR-1: 11. Solo. Find exit and escape. Spawn boss to pursue player (Strahd!) after timer track runs out.

CR-2: 9/12. Defeat N Monsters.

CR-3: 9/13. Chaos Magic- gain new powers. Defeat boss (Klak) and destroy object.

CR-4: Gain 12 treasure cards and exit. Spawn boss to pursue players (Strahd) after timer track runs out.

CR-5: 9/13. Escort NPC (who turns into a Young Vampire and back again). Spawn extra monster each round and defend adventure location.

CR-6: 9/12. Defeat boss (Dracolich). Can destroy object for extra damage.

CR-7: 17/24. Solo. Defeat three random bosses.

CR-8: Special setup. Characters are separated at corners of map. Make way to center, defeat boss (Howling Hag) and hold center tile.

CR-9: Special setup. Wandering monster tiles patrol the board. Defend start tile from monsters. Defeat 20 monsters.

CR-10: 11/14. Encounter deck is seeded with specific cards. Spawn boss midway through to pursue player (Zombie Dragon). Find exit and escape.

CR-11: 9/12. Defeat boss (Flesh Golem). Random tokens can be gained instead of treasure to calm boss down instead of fighting it.

CR-12: 9/12. Defeat two bosses (random boss, and Strahd). Extra treasure cards.

CR-13: 10/12. Defeat boss (Strahd) and destroy objects. Objects heal Strahd until destroyed.

It’s notable that four of these adventures include Strahd, one of the most powerful bosses in any of the sets. It’s certainly accurate for the Ravenloft experience.

Wrath of Ashardalon:

WoA-1: 7. Solo. Defeat boss (Kobold Dragonlord). Find exit and escape.

WoA-2: Defeat 12 monsters over course of the dungeon.

WoA-3: 9/12. Defeat 2 monsters and get object token.

WoA-4: 9/12. Dire Chamber. Defeat Random Chamber Objective.

WoA-5: 9/12. Dire Chamber. Defeat boss (Gauth) plus N monsters.

WoA-6. 9/12. Dire Chamber. Defeat boss (Duergar Captain/Kobold Dragonlord/Orc Storm Shaman). Three part mini-campaign.

WoA-7: 9/12. Dire Chamber. Defeat N monsters. Find exit and escape.

WoA-8: 9/12. Dire Chamber. Defeat Duergar Captain plus N monsters. Defend at least 1 NPC (of 5).

WoA-9: 10/13. Dire Chamber. Spawn two bosses (Rage Drake and Ashardalon) to pursue players. Find treasure, exit, and escape.

WoA-10: 9/12. Dire Chamber. Defeat N monsters and destroy object before timer tokens run out.

WoA-11: 9/12. Dire Chamber. Extra monsters spawn each turn. Find exit and escape.

WoA-12: 13/16. Dire Chamber. Defeat Random Chamber objective. Then defeat boss (Ashardalon).

WoA-13: 9/12. Dire Chamber. Defeat Random Chamber objective. 11/14 part campaign. Complete series of Chamber cards (cumulating in Ashardalon).

We mostly played adventure 4, the random boss encounter, which seems to have informed most of my design on the gestalt boardgame. I don’t have any experience doing the campaign adventures. ToEE certainly seems more interesting for it.

Legend of Drizzt:

LoD-1: 9. Solo. Find exit and escape.

LoD-2: 9/12. Defeat boss (Artemis) and get Treasure.

LoD-3: 9/12. Defeat boss (Shimmergloom.)

LoD-4: 9/12. Defeat boss (random villain).

LoD-5: 5 Black Triangles. Traitor! Defeat traitor. (If no traitor, defeat boss- Artemis).

LoD-6: 9/12. 2v1, semi-cooperative. Find exit and escape.

LoD-7: Special setup. Fissures spawn a monster each turn. Second sealed fissure summons boss (Yvonnel Baenre.) Destroy fissures and defeat boss.

LoD-8: 9/12. Defeat boss (Errtu). Destroy object to release NPC.

LoD-9: Special setup. Competitive. Fissures spawn a monster each turn. Kill the most XP worth of monsters.

LoD-10: 9/12. Find exit and escape.

LoD-11: Special setup. 6. 2v2 semi-competitive. Clear objective tile of N monsters.

LoD-12: 15. Explore as much as possible. Total score is tiles revealed. (Minimum 15 for victory).

LoD-13: 9/12. Defeat boss (Errtu). Inflict extra damage by defeating specific monsters.

Drizzt certainly has the highest variety. Like Ashardalon, adventure 4 has the most replay value.

Temple of Elemental Evil:

ToEE-1: 9/12. Find exit and escape.

ToEE-2: 9/12. Defeat boss (Air Elemental). Optional objective to protect NPC.

ToEE-3: Town. Investigate NPC tokens to find doppelgangers.

ToEE-4: 9/12. Defeat boss (Arkashic Thunn).

ToEE-5: 4 tiles of same elemental symbol. Defeat boss (random elemental).

ToEE-6: 9/12. Defeat boss (Fire Elemental). Optional objective to defeat Fleeing Cultist.

ToEE-7: Town. Rescue NPCs before they are all killed by monsters.

ToEE-8: 9/12. Defeat boss (Water Elemental). Optional objective to protect NPCs.

ToEE-9: Get the Devastation Orb card (the 9th treasure in the deck.) Defeat boss (Earth Elemental.)

ToEE-10: 9/12. Bring Devastation Orb to target tile. Defeat boss (Swerglemergle.)

ToEE-11: Town. Defeat boss (Velathidros). Optional objective to rescue NPCs.

ToEE-12: 4 tiles with Water symbol. Defeat boss (Water elemental.)

ToEE-13: 9/12. Defeat boss (Velathidros.) Possible to set up trap to do massive damage. Optional traitor mechanic.

We can see a clear trend here: there are some exceptions in Curse of Strahd and Wrath of Ashardalon, then adventures in Drizzt or ToEE that explore different triggering mechanics, but for adventures that are “explore until you find the thing, then do a thing,” 9/12 clearly settled on being the optimal choice. Once you’ve gotten through eight tiles, you know that the next tile could be the boss.

We can divide these into some categories:

Defeat a specific boss: 24. (48%) The biggest group of adventures involve plunking down a specific mini and reducing it to zero hit points.

Defeat a random boss: 7. (13%) Much fewer adventures involve a boss that is not known ahead of time, though these adventures have more replayability.

More than one boss: 4. (8%) One of these spawns the Rage Drake and Ashardalon simply to pursue the player, however the other three are grueling meat-grinder gauntlets where you must defeat a series of two (or even three!) bosses.

No boss at all: 16. (31%) Often escaping the dungeon, or accumulating loot or some other goal. 6 of these are in Legend of Drizzt.

Explore the dungeon so you can escape: 11 (21%). Sometimes you have to do something else along the way (find a treasure), sometimes there’s a boss making your life miserable. 3 of these are introductory tutorial scenarios.

Special Setup: 8. (15%) 3 of these are ToEE’s town adventures.

Destructible Object: 6. (12%)

NPCs: 5 (10%) 3 of these are in ToEE.

Special Mechanics: 18. (35%) A catch-all category for any other mechanics of note- extra treasure/encounter cards, rules tweaks, or modifiers.

I found it a bit surprising just how many bosses aren’t featured as a primary adventure antagonist: CR’s Young Vampire, Werewolf, and Zombie Dragon, for example. The Otyugh in Ashardalon, Methil the Mindflayer, Jarlaxle, and the Yochol in Drizzt aren’t even featured as cameos- they only come up as a random boss. As a result, I don’t think I’ve even played against all of these bosses.

My conclusion is that any custom set should try to incorporate as many bosses as possible, and also try to include tweaks or other special mechanics to keep things fresh. Still, even without out that, I greatly enjoy the game and feel it has pretty massive built-in replayability.

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