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Temple of Elemental Evil Review

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17 Aug 2015 00:43 #208679 by Matt Thrower

Innovation in game design seems to be in short supply nowadays. Yet you can find it in unexpected places. Take all those wargames that use the same basic rules but have new units, maps and mechanical tweaks for different battles. Playing through these franchises can reveal an ocean of wonder inside those tiny details, making history come to life.

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17 Aug 2015 11:14 #208680 by san il defanso
I have the first three games, and I'm tempted by this one too for completion's sake, but I don't play the first three a whole lot as it is. That means a campaign isn't a huge draw, or very likely to happen even if it was.

The biggest draw for these games right now is that my kids love playing with them. Truthfully that's about as much as I play with them these days myself. I'd like to grab this at some point to round out what i have, but each successive iteration is beginning to seem less and less essential. At least Drizzt had some really cool monsters.

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17 Aug 2015 15:59 #208696 by SuperflyPete
I had a chance to buy this at GenCon for 40$ (or 38$?) and didn't, primarily because I don't have all my painting stuff unpacked, and the other 3 are painted. This sounds like it's "more of the same", but really, more of Drizzt, which I find myself liking less than the others from a "story" perspective, which is sad, because Ashardalon has very little story.

I'll probably snatch up the new campaign rules and be done with it.

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17 Aug 2015 21:49 #208714 by aaxiom
For what it's worth, there was a pretty respected effort to provide more levels... a fan-driven creation. When the Ravenloft series gets revisited around here, that's taking priority over any new product, as a result.

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18 Aug 2015 11:14 #208732 by Uethym
A lot of the tiles spawn multiple monsters, more of the monsters have two wounds, and the average XP for each is greater. This had a huge effect on feel for our group. The old Ravenloft strategy of exploring as frantically as possible to avoid Encounter cards got us massacred here. We found it better to clear down to 1-2 monsters before advancing, and the increased XP from so many kills allowed us to cancel the harsher Encounter cards accrued from not exploring. It felt more like a regular dungeon crawl than a mad dash for the finish, while still keeping some time pressure.
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18 Aug 2015 11:36 #208735 by Egg Shen
Yeah, I think Temple of Elemental Evil makes several small tweaks to the system that actually improves it. One improvement that can be seen as a flaw is that it's really not good for one off missions. To get the best value it's meant to be played as a campaign. This is something people have been begging for since the DDAS games debuted. Now that it is here and fully realized, people aren't so keen on it.

If the game has a major flaw for me it's the setting. I don't really care all that much about the elemental cultists and whatnot. It creates a weird vibe were all the enemies are too similar. I still think Ravenloft has the best setting and I'm hoping they do Tomb of Horrors for the next version of this game (if there is one).

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18 Aug 2015 13:26 #208751 by Josh Look
Well, you have to look at _when_ the DDAS games started coming out. Back then there weren't anywhere near as many campaign games around and 4E was kind of a chore. Now that we've had more campaign games come out, some of us finding it wasn't as good of idea as we had originally thought, plus 5E is here and plays *beautifully*, yeah, I for one have little interest in the campaign. Still love these games though.

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18 Aug 2015 21:24 #208791 by Colorcrayons

Uethym wrote: A lot of the tiles spawn multiple monsters, more of the monsters have two wounds, and the average XP for each is greater. This had a huge effect on feel for our group. The old Ravenloft strategy of exploring as frantically as possible to avoid Encounter cards got us massacred here. We found it better to clear down to 1-2 monsters before advancing, and the increased XP from so many kills allowed us to cancel the harsher Encounter cards accrued from not exploring. It felt more like a regular dungeon crawl than a mad dash for the finish, while still keeping some time pressure.


I am a vocal dissenter of DDAS games as I think your point was the main reason why I disliked them so much, besides feeling too abstract for a dungeoncrawler.
They felt like a gauntlet, and lacked any exploration. Exploration does not equal reveal a new tile for yet more shit to kick your teeth in. But it's nearly impossible to get the feeling of good exploration when you rely on a co-op system than a human opponent. Just the nature of the design.
But if they have addressed that somewhat, then this may be the one for me, despite loving the Ravenloft setting more, and heavily disliking the revamp made to Temple of Elemental Evil. No Zuggtmoy? Iuz? Where is the Village of Hommlet near Nulb?

Greyhawk forever, bishes.
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18 Aug 2015 22:26 #208800 by Shellhead
Yeah, I'm very disappointed that the names Ravenloft and Temple of Elemental Evil got dragged into this DDAS mess. Ravenloft in particular should have had gloriously gothic horror tiles, instead of scenes from a warehouse of walls. At least there were minis.

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23 Aug 2015 15:06 - 23 Aug 2015 15:09 #209089 by wkover

SuperflyTNT wrote: I'll probably snatch up the new campaign rules and be done with it.


It isn't easy to retrofit the ToEE campaign system to older games in the series because of how specific monster/item/encounter cards are added into their respective decks after each scenario.

There is a small flavor of Descent 2nd ed in the campaign, as well, where if the heroes accomplish a particular goal then cards x,y are added to certain decks as a 'reward'. In essence, if you do better, then better treasures are added to the treasure deck, but worse events are added to the encounter deck as well.
Last edit: 23 Aug 2015 15:09 by wkover.

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