One of the most famous Dungeons and Dragons settings is Ravenloft, a dark world ruled by the vampiric Count Strahd. This world has been represented in many products but Castle Ravenloft represents the first board game based around this fantasy milieu.
The game pits a group of players cooperating to defeat the Count, by investigating a randomly created dungeon filled with hostile monsters and dangerous traps. The highlight of the game by far is the ease of play as the whole dungeon can be explored in under an hour.
While the game has little to do with the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game (RPG), fans can get plenty of use out of the board game components, which include nice dungeon tiles and unpainted plastic monsters that can be easily used in the RPG.
What’s interesting about the game is the reception reviews have received. Negative reviews on BoardGameGeek got some savage counter-criticisms, citing that the game’s perceived flaws should be overlooked in light of the game being playable in an hour (admittedly, a tough design goal as other dungeon crawling games, like Descent, generally take several hours to play).
The review threads as a whole are an interesting read, as positive reviewers readily put the heat on negative reviewers in their own threads, who generally don’t reciprocate by posting in positive threads. This leads to the negative threads generally being much longer than positives. One negative reviewer actually took down his review rather than endure continued attacks, although the thread is still up under the new title, “apparently da bezt game eva!”
Fans are fans, of course, but shouting down dissent seems an odd way to treat folks that, well, just have a different opinion.