Wizards of the Coast D&D Legend of Drizzt Board Game
Play out the adventures of the ultra popular drow hero...
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While Dungeons & Dragons has been around for a long time, there aren’t a whole lot of characters from it that have gone on to major fame and popularity. The biggest exception, of course, is everyone’s favorite drow. Author R. A. Salvatore first introduced Drizzt Do’Urden in 1988’s Crystal Shard, and the rest is history. Since then he and his companions have appeared in dozens of novels as well as video games, role-playing games, and more. Originally from the unique D&D world of Forgotten Realms, Drizzt is a renegade dark elf who has traded a life of murder and politics in the Underdark with his people for the rugged wilderness of the surface world. A true hero, he has participated in epic battles and world-shaking events, which you can now recreate! In 2010, Wizards of the Coast unveiled the first in a new line of Dungeons & Dragons-based board games with Castle Ravenloft. Bringing a new kind of cooperative style, these games put 1-5 players through “multiple scenarios and challenging quests.” The latest and greatest is the Legend of Drizzt, which we’ll be taking a look at today.
The Legend of Drizzt board game comes in a hefty, eye-catching box. The front cover features a huge image of the dual scimitar-wielding ranger and his feline friend Guenhwyvar fighting a band of monsters. The back of the box depicts a game in action with tons of monsters and cards in play that looks very exciting. Above that is a brief description of the game while below it is a list of the included components. When you open the box you’ll find two game books (rules and scenarios), thirteen heavy cardstock sheets of interlocking dungeon tiles and other game pieces, a 20-sided die, 200 encounter and treasure cards, and 42 plastic heroes and monsters. Just punching out all of the tiles and other cardstock elements takes a while so don’t expect to be playing right out of the box.
In Legend of Drizzt the players take control of one of the main characters from the novels, with choices ranging from the drow himself, his friends like Catti-brie, and even a few of his most vicious enemies like Artemis Entreri! Powers, equipment, and basic information are provided by cards, and the game includes both standard and advanced versions for plenty of repeat play fun. The rulebook covers all of this and more with plenty of images to help you pick up the game quickly. Once you’re all loaded up it’s off to the Underdark by selecting an adventure from the book of the same name. Each adventure includes a starting map and special rules in an easy to read format; even the most detailed and complicated adventure can be started in no time.
Once the game has begun, players follow a straightforward sequence of actions including moving, fighting, and exploring. As you move further away from the starting tile you “explore” new caverns, uncovering tiles from a deck so you never know what you’re going to find! Other than fighting monsters, players engage in all sorts of encounters, find treasures, and gain experience; earn enough and you can even level up and become more powerful. The game mechanics are similar to 4th Edition D&D, but slimmed down for a faster-paced board game experience. There’s only one die to roll, the attack attempt. Otherwise everything is determined by set numbers on the character and monster cards. Tokens help keep track of game effects like poison and damage, as well as special objects that play a role in adventures.
One of the coolest things about the game is that the adventures are taken directly out of the Drizzt novels, so you’re literally re-playing the major events in his life! Start out Adventure 1 by escaping Menzoberranzan, the dark city of his birth. As you progress you’ll find Mithral Hall, take out Shimmergloom, face the fiend Errtu, and encounter drow, assassins, and hordes of other monsters. Each adventure suggests which characters the players can use to be authentic to the books, but you’re free to choose from any of them (heroes Drizzt, Bruenor, Catti-brie, Regis, Wulfgar, and Athrogate as well as the villains Jarlaxle and Artemis). Because of the randomness in selecting tiles and monsters you can even play this game by yourself, further adding to its replayability. Finally, once you’ve worked through all of the printed adventures, which will still be different every time due to the random elements, you can choose from some advanced optional rules like creating pre-built cavern complexes and competitive adventures pitting half of the group against the other!
Of course, you can’t talk about Legend of Drizzt and the other board games without discussing the miniatures! Since Wizards of the Coast discontinued the official D&D miniatures game, these provide a double benefit; not only do you get a ton of monsters and player characters for the board game, but you also get replenishments for all of your other role-playing games! Included in Drizzt are 42 solid color miniatures that range from tiny goblins all the way to the huge demon Errtu with lots in between. All of them are reprints of characters and monsters that first appeared in the miniatures game, with some going back years and years. Not only that, but the original versions of some of them are incredibly rare and expensive now; for instance, to get the original “Archfiends” Drizzt included in this game now costs about $40. The minis in the board games are solid colors only, but this helps to keep down costs and actually adds to the “board game” feel. And while the Drizzt minis come in a rainbow of colors, the water elementals and hypnotic spirits are really cool in clear blue!
Whether you’re a newcomer to the world of D&D or someone who’s read every Drizzt novel, the Legend of Drizzt board game is a blast and great for playing by yourself or with your best friends. It’s easy to learn, fun to play, and full of cool and interesting components. Legend of Drizzt is a perfect holiday gift for the gamer on your list, and is available everywhere with an MSRP of $64.99.
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Sample Courtesy of Wizards of the Coast
Re: Wizards of the Coast D&D Legend of Drizzt Board Game
Great to see some Drizzt merch!
Me, I'd love to see 7" scale Drow action figures.
Or heck, ANY sort of figs 7" figs from Forgotten Realms or D&D.
There are soooo many amazing characters there to choose from.
Not likely in today's market I know, but hey, I can dream right?