So it was probably a few weeks ago that this was released...
But we finally got a chance to run it with the minions and my father-in-law this Easter afternoon. In case you didn't click on the link, it goes to an official WotC mini-campaign for the D&D Adventure System that combines monsters, encounters, and treasure from both the Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon board games.
Once again we played with four kids and my father-in-law, and I took care of running the monsters. Dragonborn Wizard, Eladrin Wizard, Dragonborn Fighter, Human Rogue and Human Ranger. They would have won the scenario if the kids had a better grasp of class roles and strategery. As it was, I kept reminding the wizards that they didn't have to get right next to the monsters to attack them with their spells. Hopefully, the more we all play, the more of the strategy and tactics they'll figure out. I don't want to tell them how to play their characters, of course, but it's difficult sometimes when they're completely missing very clear and obvious courses of action.
However, the more I think about it, the more I see how well-suited these games are for introducing new players to full-on D&D 4E. So, once the minions are consistenty kicking Ravenloft and Ashardalon's butts, we'll start introducing more and more concepts from D&D into the games until they are ready to take on a regular game. That's the plan anyway!
Regardless, the new adventures/mini-campaign combining the two games are solid entries in the franchise. The chosen monsters and encounters definitely give these adventures a unique feel apart from the two games they're take from. We played the first scenario, in which the goal is to save the kidnapped villagers from the orcish horde.
It would have been an easy win if the kids had any tactical sense about them whatsoever. As it was, the tile that flipped over that had the villagers was 2 tiles away from the Start tile, which was the escape route for the kidnapped villagers. By that time, the heroes were pretty well beat up and started needing to use healing surges pretty quick, and within a full turn around the table, the game was over with a downed hero.
Maybe next time we'll do some combat and tactics gameplay theory, but I'm not sure it'll hold their attention. We'll see.