Saturday, December 17, 2011

Microlite74/Castle Ravenloft Mash-Up, First Playtest

Castle Ravenloft/Microlite 74 MashUp

So last night I ran the minions through a playtest of the Castle Ravenloft board game, using mostly Microlite74 rules. Due to a dead battery in the family minivan that needed to be removed and recharged at the auto parts store, I didn't have quite as much time to prepare as I would have liked, so I wound up winging a lot more of it than I would have liked.

Everybody still had a blast though. They're at the age that (mostly) mindless hack n slash is a lot of fun, and I gave them that in spades. The basic scenario was that they are all residents of Barovia. A werewolf recently attacked the town and they followed it into the crypts below Castle Ravenloft, and set about exploring these crypts to find it and slay it.

We went around the table, with each hero taking a turn to move and take an action of some sort. I had a d12 set to count upwards, ticking up on every player's turn. On their turn, I had the player roll their own d12. Rolling at or below the number on my set d12 resulted in drawing an "Encounter" card.

I used the Castle Ravenloft "Encounter" deck right out of the box, and this is something I will change for the future. Quite simply, many of the encounters don't translate very well between the board game and Microlite, so I will be going through them all and making a randomized list for next time, instead of drawing cards.

Every time they explored into a new tile, I had them roll a d10 and I consulted the following list.

When exploring a new tile:
1 Nothing
2 Nothing
3 Nothing
4 Draw Encounter
5 Monster
6 Monster
7 Draw Encounter
8 2 Monsters
9 2 Monsters
10 3 Monsters!

This worked fairly well, although I will probably change a roll of 3 from "Nothing" to "Monster". There were a couple moments when it seemed they were almost overwhelmed by numerous monsters on the board. This happened when they split up and started exploring without communicating with each other or having any kind of plan.

Monsters were determined according to a random list. 2d20, with each result getting crossed off after it was rolled and the rest of the list moving closer to the middle. This was, I believe, too many. Next time I will trim down the list (although most monsters appeared 2 or 3 times), and have full stats printed on the list. My lack of prep time meant I was running it using the list I had typed out on my phone, which was not ideal.

This brings up another point which I was foolish to overlook: I constructed the list from what minis I had, mostly from the Castle Ravenloft board game, and a few others. Unfortunately, not all of these monsters appear in the Microlite74 monster list. So I had to wing a lot of that, and I think the monsters could have been a lot more interesting than what they wound up being. Grells and Gibbering Mouthers, for example, do not have a counterpart in the M74 monster list.

Monsters acted after the hero who discovered them. This I would change to a die roll to see if the monster wins initiative, which could be as simple as an "evens or odds" roll (or even a quick paper-rock-scissors against the player!). I also tried to keep track of which monsters appeared on which player's turn, and have them act in that initiative order. In the future, they'll be acting when the turn order comes around the table to me.


We'll make a complete switch and do it as a group thing. That might make a lot more sense. Actually... Yes. We'll get rid of the round-the-table turn thing and force them all to work together and decide what to do as a team.

Another thing I'll add is more treasure. I didn't give out very much, mostly because they didn't fight many monsters that would really necessarily drop treasure. Granted, the kids never asked to search any of the monsters for treasure either, but... it'll be more fun if they do find more treasure.

All in all, the kids had a good time. One of the best things you can do for kids when playing D&D is have them roll lots of dice, even if they don't really do anything on their turn, and this system did that, which kept them engaged and focused. I definitely have a nice big list of things to do now, which I'll be posting up here as I accomplish them. Once I have a nice tight package, I'll put it all together in a PDF.

To Do:
Random Event Chart in lieu of drawing CR "Encounter" cards.
New list for "What's in the Newly Explored Tile".
New random monster chart. This must include monster stats and possible treasure.
Chart for determining if a tile has a trap in it, and what kind of trap (this should be separate from the Random Event Chart).


  1. I'm going to be using your 'countdown method' for games of 'D&D Quest' now. We us the D&D Adventure System Games as a nice one night, DM-less game with some tweaks.
    On this thread there are some custom monsters;
    In addtion the Board Game Geek Community has a TON of interesting mods, additional Monsters, Encounter decks, and Villains.
    Great blog!

  2. Thanks for the comment! I occasionally lurk around the BGG forums to see what good stuff has been posted there. I've put a number of the custom heroes to use in my CR and WoA games.