TABLE GAMES REVIEW: The Legend of Drizzt

The Legend of Drizzt is part of the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game series. The game is based around the adventures of the Dark Elf ranger, Drizzt Do’Urden and his companions – the stars of many R.A Salvatore penned adventures. Salvatore is probably my favourite Sword and Sorcery writer and I was keen to find out how the characters would translate to the D&D branded dungeon delving system.

 

 

 

A cooperative game for 1–5 players based on the New York Times best-selling adventures of Drizzt Do’Urden.

The adventures of Drizzt Do’Urden, as told in the New York Times best-selling Forgotten Realms novels by R.A. Salvatore, come to life in this thrilling board game. Take on the role of the legendary drow ranger or one of his famous adventuring companions, battle fearsome foes, and win treasure and glory.

Designed for 1–5 players, this board game features multiple scenarios, challenging quests, and cooperative game play. The contents of this game can also be combined with other D&D Adventure System Cooperative Play board games, including Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon, to create an even more exciting experience.

  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
  • Number of Players: 1– 5
  • Play Time (Approx): Approx. 60 mins
  • Ages: 12 +

I stumbled across RA Salvatore’s Forgotten Realms offerings while at university. Having played Baldur’s Gate on the PC, I was quite interested in the lore of the Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting. Having heard a second game – called Icewind Dale was in development, I wandered to the university book shop where I was surprised to see a novel with the same name. Salvatore’s characters leaped from the pages and his sword fights are the best choreographed I have ever read.

Imagine my joy when I spotted a board game that allowed me (and my friends) to take on the mantle of these characters while exploring the depths of the Underdark – the world beneath the world.

Cattie Brie During Play

Cattie Brie During Play

Legend of Drizzt Card Decks

Legend of Drizzt Card Decks

The Dungeons & Dragons Adventure System is a dungeon crawler. Don’t let the baggage of the D&D brand scare you off – the system is actually quite simple to pick up and play. The game’s design means that everyone becomes a hero. If you’re a video-gamer, then think of the system as being in the vein of Diablo, Torchlight and the like. It’s a co-operative experience wherein a group of heroes attempts to achieve an objective with the game’s mechanics being the opponent.

The nature of the game’s mechanics mean that not only can a player give this a go on their own (in fact, I did just that a couple of times to get the rules implanted before playing with others) but also adds to the replayability. Even if the same “adventure” is played, the experience will vary. You see, the dungeon is not laid out according to a set map. It is generated from a stack of tiles that represent the corridors and rules. A certain number of these are shuffled and stacked before the adventure begins. On top of this, encounters (and treasure rewards) are randomised in decks of cards that are drawn at key points.

This system should be familiar to anyone who has played a dungeon-crawler before as it’s quite a common set up now. I first encountered it back in the 1990s with Games Workshop’s Warhammer Quest. The random nature does mean that the challenge offered by an adventure can vary up until the end game. The Monster deck could feature only “easy kills” and traps at the bottom of the deck. Then again, the party may encounter a horde of trolls and become cursed before the game has really progressed.

I found The Legend of Drizzt an easy to learn game. I’ve played alone, with my wife and a couple of other groups and within a full round of play the core mechanics seemed lodged in everyone’s head. Each player can move and attack or use an item or skill that is represented on their card. I think I was mildly surprised that expert-dual-scimitar-wielding Drizzt required the same dice result to hit an enemy as the diminutive thief, but the variety of weapons and skills available to each character provides plenty of unique flavour to each. Monsters and villains (these are the end-game bosses) are encountered as new areas are explored and then controlled by the player that activates them according to some simple “Artificial Intelligence” rules.

Legend of Drizzt Books

Legend of Drizzt Rules and Adventure Books

Legend of Drizzt Miniatures

Miniatures in the Box

A nice touch in The Legend of Drizzt is the fact that some of the villain characters can be played as heroes if the player chooses. These villains are actually the heroes of several of Salvatore’s books and the game has a player-vs-player adventure designed to pit heroes and villains against each other amongst its other offerings.

The game’s randomised nature can also be enhanced by purchasing “Dungeon Command” sets. These are currently still available, though I think the line has been discontinued. Dungeon Command was a skirmish game and packs contained a themed set of miniatures of the same type used in Legend of Drizzt and the other Adventure System games. The sets come with monster cards so that they can be shuffled into the monster deck and used in a game session.

Legend of Drizzt Game in Session

Legend of Drizzt Game in Session

One of the joys of the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure System is that components from different games can be mixed and matched for differing experiences. One of my friends, for example, bemoaned the lack of a Wizard character in Legend of Drizzt. If I’d owned (which I intend to) say The Wrath of Ashardalon or The Temple of Elemental Evil then this could have been rectified! After playing a few adventures, I also reckon the budding Dungeon Master could come up with her own scenarios easily enough.

Speaking of the components, there are plenty in the box. The quality of these is generally high. The board sections (which will take a beating over multiple play sessions) are a thick and robust card and the other printed components are clear and made to last. If I were to point out a negative it would be with the quality of the miniatures that Wizards of the Coast are using in these games. They are quite a soft plastic and the level of detail on the miniatures is somewhat lacking. Originally I was going to paint the selection that comes with The Legend of Drizzt, but the sculpt quality put me off this idea.

Legend of Drizzt Miniatures

Close up of the Miniatures

Ideally, the game needs quite a bit of space to play due to the expanding nature of the board and the fact that player skills are managed through cards that should really be on display – but I’ve always managed with our IKEA expandable gaming table!

Overall, The Legend of Drizzt is a fun dungeon crawler that is quite quick to set up and should provide hours of entertainment. Admittedly there are only a few adventures included in the box, but the randomised, replayable nature of the game makes this a fun distraction – either on its own or as part of a larger gaming session.

If you want a taste of how the game plays, be sure to check out the official tutorial video that highlights the gameplay mechanics:

Rating: 4 / 5
Reviewer: WedgeDoc

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: