Table-top RPGs are my new favorite thing. With my love for fantasy storytelling, renaissance faires, and cosplaying, I don't know why I hadn't started playing Dungeons & Dragons sooner. I suppose it was just one of those things that I thought I was "too cool" for.
I'm not going to lie...it's a seriously geeky hobby...but it's also some of the most fun I've had playing any game.
Now, if you're not hardcore into table top gaming, or maybe you're interested in trying an "easier" version of D&D, you should definitely check out the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure System Board Games. There are currently three board games in this series that give players an opportunity to experience a dungeon crawl, without having to find a DM (Dungeon Master), or create your characters from scratch.
The board games in this series are:
With a quick read of the instructions, you can pretty much start playing with your friends right away. They use the 4th edition rules, but it's not as complex as playing an actual game of D&D. My brother-in-laws received Wrath of Ashardalon for Christmas, and my husband and I got a chance to play this D&D Adventure. The game comes with several prefabricated adventures that you and your party can jump right into.
We played for hours! You and the other players have to work cooperatively to complete whatever adventure you chose. Some of them aren't so easy, and if one of the characters dies (and you don't have any healing surges to revive them), you all lose the game.
What's great about this game is that the adventures play out differently ever time you play it. The game board is made up of map puzzle pieces that you connect together after drawing them randomly from a stack. So the board won't be the same every time you play.
The monsters are also randomly generated by pulling their cards from a deck as well. We played at least 3 games, and we haven't encountered every type of monster yet (just the luck of the draw).
You choose from any of the five characters that come with the game: Dragonborn Wizard, Dwarf Fighter, Half-Orc Rogue, Human Cleric, or Elf Paladin. You get to choose that characters abilities also. So you may choose a certain daily power that might be helpful for that adventure, and choose a different one the next time you play.
From what I've read online, you can also bring in monsters or characters from the other two D&D board games, and make the experience completely different.
We had such an awesome time playing this game, I started searching the web so we can buy a copy for ourselves. Since the in-laws have Wrath of Ashardalon, we decided to buy one of the other two games, so we can combine some of the monsters and characters the next time we're all together.
As far as board games go, this one is definitely one I recommend. My husband and I have a regular gaming group that we meet with now every 2 weeks. But sometimes we just want to play a quick game with all the fun of a dungeon crawl, without all the preparation. D&D Wrath of Ashardalon is a game you can literally take out of the box, and start playing for an hour or two with 1-5 players (yes you can run a single player adventure too).
Each game retails at about $65, and it's worth every penny. If you're on a budget though you can find them online for a little bit cheaper (Walmart, Amazon, and Overstock.com had some in stock).
If you want to find out more about these games, check out the Dungeons & Dragons website.