The Legend of Drizzt is the third entry in Wizards of the Coast’s series of D&D based board games. It uses the same basic mechanics as the first two, but adapts the game to the Forgotten Realms, using all the major characters from R.A. Salvatore’s novels instead of generic heroes and villains.
We covered the essential game functions in our review of Wrath of Ashardalon, and not a lot has changed there. It’s a tight rule set that’s simple to pick up quickly, yet offers enough variables and options to stay fun and engaging through multiple plays. The components are of incredible quality as well, and you get a ton of them. The game comes in an enormous box that strains to hold all the counters, tiles, minis and other bits.
The most noticeable difference this time around is the inclusion of the familiar characters made famous by R.A. Salvatore. Drizzt and his companions are playable as characters, and many more characters show up as scenario-specific allies. Even some of the morally questionable characters like Jarlaxle are playable. If you’re a big fan of Salvatore’s work and characters (and there seem to be plenty of people who are), you will obviously love this added setting-specific touch. It’ll add a ton of fun to the game for you. If, like me, you’re somewhat indifferent toward Drizzt and his pals, their presence doesn’t really take away from the game. In fact, even though I’m sort of anti-Drizzt, I did actually get a kick out of playing him in my playtest.
One new twist is the inclusion of competitive scenarios in the adventure book. This fits well with the semi-villainous characters that are playable — you can create two parties that compete as they make their way through the dungeon, vying for treasure or just trying to do each other in. The map tiles in this game are natural cavern formations, so they’re quite different from the dungeon/castle tiles featured in the previous two D&D board games.
So if the game as basically the same as the other two but with different characters, there’s not much to say about it, right? Well, I figured I’d take the opportunity to delve a little deeper into the game and try a little experiment.
The box lists the game as being for 1-5 players. However, all the scenarios require at least two players. Ostensibly this is because one person could just play two characters. I wanted to give it a try as a true solo game, partly to see if it would work, partly because I hate controlling multiple characters in any game.
I decided to use Drizzt himself, and I took on Adventure 10, Escape from Neverneath. This scenario uses a clever mechanic to simulate a frantic search for escape frm a mazelike jumble of caverns, requiring you to place cavern edge tokens instead of drawing encounter cards. This seems like no big deal at first, but eventually you’ll start to run out of exits if you dawdle for too long or draw a lot of black triangle tiles.
Drizzt was a good choice for solo because you can pick his Guenhwyvar utility power. This summons your magic panther buddy, who is very helpful taking out monsters. The end result was a lot of fun. It took me about an hour from set-up to scenario’s end. I did a little tweaking on the fly to manipulate the difficulty slightly. When I got the exit chamber, I decided Drizzt had to defeat all the monsters there before leaving, instead of just slipping past them. That turned out not to be a big deal. I also decided I should draw one Encounter card before I declared him officially escaped. Woops — he fell through a crack and ended up back at the start tile! No big deal, with the cavern devoid of monsters and double moving at seven speed each turn, getting back to the exit wouldn’t be a big deal.
Those encounters, though…another revealed (hilariously) that it hadn’t been Drizzt all along, but a rage drake disguised as Drizzt. This sent me back to the start again (is this Chutes and Ladders?). Low on HP, I still wasn’t worried until a Quickling Ambush finished our hero off. I’d already spent my XP preventing cavern edge tiles from sealing me in, so I couldn’t negate the encounter.
Thus it seems that this system can work as a true solo game, although your mileage may vary from one scenario to another, and depending on what character you choose to play (it’s nice having a sidekick).