Get the Gauth!
Last Sunday night we got to play some D&D Adventure System Wrath of Ashardalon with the minions and my father-in-law. We played the adventure that introduces the Door rules (4 or 5?), and ends with finding the Horrid Chamber and the Beholder Gauth and crew inside.
Since all four of my reading-age children wanted to play, and my father-in-law, I opted to simply control the monsters on each player's turn. Whenever I play with the kids I usually have to interpret monster actions from the cards for them anyway, so I figured this would speed up gameplay quite a bit. I had hoped that would be the case, anyway. Like in standard 4e D&D, players taking their time choosing their actions in combat can be a big time-suck in the D&D Adventure System. Having five players can also cause things to drag on. I think three players might be ideal. Regardless, the kids love it. I did eventually wind up taking over for the 6-year-old, because he was getting tired (it was almost 9pm by the time we finished).
Anyways, we were (just barely) triumphant over the beholder, though this may be because we stopped drawing Encounter cards once the beholder was placed on the board. That was more an effort to speed up gameplay, as it was getting to be time to get on home.
We wound up playing with Heroes from both Ravenloft and Ashardalon, and they all worked just fine. I cannot recommend these games enough. The box may say ages 12+, but all my children are younger than that and it plays just fine. It'll probably take them several more sessions before they start to grasp more the more strategic elements of cooperative gameplay, but we all had fun. It definitely gave me some food for though regarding a rules hack to allow for a Dungeon Master, Campaign Play, and more Roleplaying elements, but that's all fodder for another post. The Castle Ravenloft game has given me plenty of ideas for how to play out my 4e group's foray into Barovia in their next session as well, but I'll have to keep those details under wraps until after the session plays out.