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boardgame

Adventuring for Dummies: Princes of the Apocalypse, The Temple of Elemental Evil, The Curse of Strahd, and Castle Ravenloft

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Adventuring for Dummies: Princes of the Apocalypse, The Temple of Elemental Evil, The Curse of Strahd, and Castle Ravenloft

This week we're looking at products that make great introductions to the gameplay and settings of Dungeons & Dragons. Today, we'll be looking at two more games for the adventure and campaign building co-operative board game adventure system series from Wizards of the Coast. 

The Temple of Elemental Evil, from WizKids, is compatible with Wrath of Ashardalon, Legend of Drizzt, Tomb of Annihilation, and Castle Ravenloft. If you're looking for a traditional fantasy campaign where the big bad isn't an evil dragon, we recommend The Temple of Elemental Evil as a primer for the Princes of the Apocalypse campaign and a quick overview of the Sword Coast's locations, denizens, and culture!

Check out this great "Let's Play" from Wizards of the Coast and dive right into the second adventure!

This is the title that started the D&D board game series from Wizards of the Coast. If you're thinking of embarking on a gothic horror themed adventure in Barovia via the Curse of Strahd campaign, then this Castle Ravenloft a perfect opportunity to explore Strahd's infamous castle and play as several classic class archetypes. 

For a quick breakdown of this classic, watch this review from GamerNode!

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Adventuring for Dummies: D&D 5e Starter Set, Tomb of Annihilation Board Game, and Wrath of Ashardalon

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Adventuring for Dummies: D&D 5e Starter Set, Tomb of Annihilation Board Game, and Wrath of Ashardalon

This week we're looking at products that make it easier to jump into D&D or the worlds of the various published campaigns so you don't bite off more than you are prepared to chew. Here are some more great tools to introduce you to campaign settings and Faerun at large!

Even if you've moved past board games and want to jump into a role playing adventure, being handed a Player's Handbook or the Dungeon Master's Guide with 200+ pages of info per book can be a hard pill to swallow. Why not start out with a 5 pre-generated characters, a 64 page adventure module (Lost Mine of Phandelver), and a 32 page rulebook focused on levels 1-5? This box gives you everything you need to get playing quickly while keeping you from getting overwhelmed so you can focus on falling in love with Dungeons & Dragons. Before you know it, you'll be jumping into a published campaign or creating your own adventures!

Learn more about the D&D Starter Set from Dice, Camera, Action! star, ProJared!

Not sure Tomb of Annihilation's tropical island full of volcanoes, overgrown jungles, dinosaurs, and pirates is right for you next adventure? Take a tour of the setting with the Tomb of Annihilation Board Game from WizKids and face the classic Dungeons & Dragons arch lich villain, Acererak! Unlike the other games in the D&D Board Game in the series, this game adds the Bard class and outdoor tiles to the mix.

Learn more about the Tomb of Annihilation Board Game from Board Game Geek!

Are you considering running Rise of Tiamat or Hoard of the Dragon Queen from Tyranny of Dragons with your gaming group? Fan the flames with Wrath of Ashardalon by Wizards of the Coast! This game offers one session stories or campaign style play with classic D&D archetypal characters and no need for a Dungeon Master. This game will introduce you to classic dragon related story elements, behavior, and minions who typically serve/protect the terrifying wyrms that you're sure to meet when you play a Tyranny of Dragons campaign. 

Learn more about game play from Watch It Played!

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Adventuring for Dummies: Dragonfire, Betrayal at Baldur's Gate, Rock, Paper, Wizard

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Adventuring for Dummies: Dragonfire, Betrayal at Baldur's Gate, Rock, Paper, Wizard

Let's kick off Dungeons & Dragons: Let's Roll Week One- Adventuring for Dummies!

Many of the D&D board games are great primers or companions for the Player's Handbook.

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Dragonfire is basically the closest thing you can get to playing Dungeons & Dragons without role play. Everyone gets very basic versions of characters based on the classic RPG archetypes with relevant statistics - you can familiarize yourself with the feelings of playing lot of classic characters and using their abilities without the pressure of building a character from the ground up and looking at a million numbers on a character sheet. 

No need for a Dungeon Master! Adventure Cards lay out the stories in a series of scenes with individual set ups and guide you through each scenario. 

Each turn has 7 phases which is a great prep for rounds of combat in traditional Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition where each player can take a series of three actions during their turn.  When you're done with Dragonfire, 3 actions in combat will seem like a piece of cake!

In Dragonfire, certain Different damage types prepare you for the strengths of the classes you can choose to play in D&D and certain encounters in Dragonfire require certain damage types to defeat. This can be a key factor for those struggling to choose between a few classes. 

Learn more about the rules from Becca Scott and "How It's Played."

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One of the key experiences of Dungeons & Dragons is revealing dungeons, caverns, and keeps bit by bit as you explore - never knowing what might come around the bend! Betrayal at Baldur's Gate by Avalon Hill mimics this experience very well as players slowly reveal the city and its sewer system turn by turn. 

The game also provides a lot of classic character classes that feature abilities directly out of the Player's Handbook for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Playing this game will give new players a good entry way to a much loved Dungeons & Dragons location and with less phases and more surprises than Dragonfire, but unlike Dragonfire, it confines you to exploring one city. The two games are very different and if you're someone who loves the Betrayal games, you're sure to adore this installment and get to know more about D&D at the time time. For more details on game play, read our feature on Betrayal at Baldur's Gate

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I can't tell you how many times I've introduced a new player to D&D, they got excited about playing a magic class, and then their excitement was equalled by their confusion and utter terror when it came to actually choosing and employing spells in combat. 

That's where RockPaper, Wizard from WizKids comes in! This game, on its own, is a fun, hand signal driven romp that employs various spells from the D&D universe so you can mess with your friends in a board game setting. You'll see spell classics like Color Spray, Chain Lightning, Anti Magic Shield and more. While you'll almost never see a bunch of wizards flinging spells across the table in 5th Edition combat, this is a great way to get to know the kinds of options you might have available to you, so when you roll that Wizard, Sorcerer, Warlock, or Bard, you have a basic idea of the kinds of effects these spells might have. 

Check out this review from The Dice Tower to learn more about how the game is played. 

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Castle Panic - In a Nutshell

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Castle Panic - In a Nutshell

With Gen Con on the horizon, I'm reminded of how important it is to be able to sell your friends on a game by describing it in less than 2 minutes. Justin from Fireside Games can do it for Castle Panic in an impressive 44 seconds! 

What's your best "In a Nutshell" game description? Let us know in the comments. 

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Lords of Hellas - How to Play from Board Game Replay

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Lords of Hellas - How to Play from Board Game Replay

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Have you heard the good word about Lords of Hellas yet?

I have been chomping at the bit to get my hands on this treasure by Awaken Realms. My body is so ready for science fiction imbued Greek mythology. Between painting up all of the miniature elements and having the option to play in single player, campaign, and multiplayer modes, there are so many ways to enjoy this game that it's almost overwhelming.

There's nothing more nerve wracking to me than the pressure filled moments when I open a new game to set it up for my friends and have to explain the rules before we can get started. If you're like me, the anxiety comes from the fact that I want people to be excited about the gameplay and the art on the table rather than worrying about whether they're "doing it right" or having to halt gameplay constantly for rulings. Between shuffling decks and thumbing through instruction manuals, it's nice to have a chance to learn about the gameplay and victory conditions before I hit the table so that I provide my friends with best - and most fun - experience possible. If I have a working knowledge of how things should function, I can usually present the game in layers, providing rules or demo turns as needed to get everyone up to speed as we go, rather than needing to give an overwrought, yawn-inducing rules lecture at the start.

For Lords of HellasBoard Game Replay had me covered with this great "How to Play" video that walks through how to set up the game, hunt monsters, complete hero quests, build monuments, and battle enemies for region control. With all the rules laid out for me for the multiplayer game, I can shrug off that pressure and get to the fun stuff faster.

How do you prep to introduce a new game to your friends? Leave your advice in the comments!

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Greatway Games Takes On the Balancing Act of Gaming

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Greatway Games Takes On the Balancing Act of Gaming

It’s totally different if there’s something going on at the table that’s making you really uncomfortable, but if it’s the game itself that you’re having trouble with then that’s something you need to think about. If you’re having a hard time when you lose or when you win - or any part of it - that’s something that you need to look at.
— Greatway Games: Balancing Act

Gaming has a million benefits from teaching strategic thinking, to improving brain health, to stress relieve, to encouraging positive social interaction. Often times these positives are balanced by negatives - difficult time management, addiction, competitive rush, cost - it really depends on every player's relationship to the hobby and the individual games they play.  

This episode of the Greatway Games Podcast takes on both achieving balance in life through gaming as an escape, but also how to balance your emotions at the table and how to read your gaming group to make sure that you are making appropriate choices when selecting the game and playing it with the particular players involved.

Check out Greatway Games and show them some love if you enjoyed this discussion. What do you think? Do you take extra precautions to create a healthy table? Are there any measures you pursue to keep you gaming life balanced? Let us know in the comments!

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