What Is The Best D&D Board Game?

The D&D adventure system is a collection of board games based on the Dungeons and Dragons franchise. These games are all enjoyable and provide a sense of dungeon crawling and monster fighting without requiring the same level of commitment as traditional Dungeons and Dragons.

I should point out that all of the games are quite similar; they all function in the same way, with similar mechanics in which you lead a group of adventurers through a dungeon and fight monsters. The setting and scenario are the main differences, so I’d recommend picking any of these games and giving them a shot.

These games are also compatible with each other, so you can buy one and then buy another and add the additional tiles, heroes and villains together to make a larger game.  The games also come with miniatures, and the miniatures are great to use for D&D if you transition to playing D&D in the future.

Note that the last two games we mention in this list, Assault of Giants and Adventure Begins are not part of the adventure system range of board games, so are a little bit different and not compatible with the other games we talk about.

What is the Best D&D Board Game

In my opinion, the following 3 are the best D&D board games, being a cut above the rest.  So if you want to pick up a D&D board game you can’t really go wrong with one of the following:

RankGameBest For
#1Dungeons & Dragons: Castle RavenloftMost interesting scenarios
#2Dungeons & Dragons: Legend of DrizztThematic with great heroes
#3Dungeons & Dragons: Tomb of AnnihilationBest campaign

We go more into why we like each of these games and what is unique about them below.

1. Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft

The first in the D&D adventure system, and in my opinion the best of the lot.  This one is my favourite because it feels the most thematic, and has some great adventures that can be played over and over.

In this game,p you are a party of adventurers going through the Castle Ravenloft which is ruled by an evil vampire, and you are trying to survive horrors while completing different quests.

Pros

  • Classic set of heroes in the party that consists of a fighter, wizard, cleric and rogue
  • Best thematically – really feel like the vampire is watching you through your adventure in his castle
  • Most interesting scenarios – see our full review for a breakdown of the scenarios included
  • Best solo play

Cons

  • Not many interesting items in the item deck
  • No real campaign to string games together

2. Dungeons & Dragons: Legend of Drizzt

The third release in the D&D adventure system, and my second favourite.

In this game, you get to be the famous Drizzt, a drow (dark elf) in exile from his home for not being completely evil, and his party of companions.  If you are a fan of the books or the Drizzt storyline you will love this one, as you play through a range of adventures that make you feel like you are part of the books, such as escaping from the drow to rescuing friends.

It also has different play modes, so you can play this game coop, as teams, or against each other.

Pros

  • Has 8 heroes (most of the others have 5) with more interesting abilities
  • Tiles have mechanics attached to them such as end game chambers being activated and monsters being tied to specific tiles
  • Most variety in monsters (though they aren’t all the most interesting)
  • Has the best balance of items
  • Feels dangerous – not too easy and not too hard
  • Good variety of monsters
  • Different play modes – can play coop, semi coop or against each other

Cons

  • Heroes can be subject to power creep making them difficult to mix with those from other sets
  • Lots of scenario specific tiles, not as useful for a generic dungeon crawl or mixing with the other games
  • Lower win rate than the others (I like this but it may be an issue with children)
  • No campaign to string games together

3. Dungeons & Dragons: Tomb of Annihilation

The fifth release in the D&D adventure system, this game uses the better campaign system first introduced in Temple of Elemental Evil.

The story in this game is based on the very popular AD&D module called Tomb of Horrors, where the players are trying to go through the tomb of an undead wizard who is said to still be there in undead form.  As the players go through the tomb they encounter a bunch of tricks, traps and monsters.

This is by far a better campaign than in previous games, but it’s not as good for one-off playthroughs.

Pros

  • Probably the best campaign story-wise and has a more refined campaign system than other games
  • Introduces the bard class and additional races
  • Has a different set of heroes than the other games – a ranger, wizard, bard, paladin and druid
  • Great encounters and an interesting villain
  • Fun trap system which is improved over the other games
  • Enemies have spells which makes them more unpredictable

Cons

  • Minis are of a different plastic than the other sets which really put a lot of people off the game
  • Later scenarios get too easy
  • Less replayability as one-off adventures after you’ve played through the campaign

4. Dungeons & Dragons: Waterdeep – Dungeon of the Mad Mage

The sixth and most recent release in the D&D adventure system also uses the better campaign system found in Temple of Elemental Evil.

Going through the Yawning Portal the party finds itself in a maze in the Undermountain, the Dungeon of the Mad Mage.  Similar to Tomb of Annihilation, this dungeon has been set up by the mad mage with traps, tricks and monsters to stop anyone from getting through.

This feels very similar to Tomb of Annihilation, and while the production seems to have been more rushed than the previous board games (there are lots of errata to the rule books), you can level up your characters to level 4 instead of 2 which is a nice touch.

Pros

  • Powerful villain (the mad mage is probably the best villain of all the board games)
  • Good component quality
  • Interesting environment to explore with nice dungeon tiles
  • Characters can level up more than in previous games (to level 4 instead of level 2)
  • Introduces new mechanics for heroes such as rune cards and conditions
  • Can get a premium version with painted minis which look cool

Cons

  • A lot of errata in the rulebooks that can break the game (can find the correction to rules on BGG)
  • Has a more challenging campaign than other board games (you may see this as a pro)
  • Heroes play quite differently from a traditional D&D party (you may also see this as a pro)
  • Less replayability as one-off adventures after you’ve played through the campaign

5. Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon

The second release in the D&D adventure system,  this feels the most like a classic D&D story.  A town is located near volcanoes, that has all the usual problems of goblins and orcs that classic D&D towns seem to have.  Then a red dragon decides to make the volcanoes its home and everything gets worse for the town, and it’s up to you as the party to save the day.

This game introduces the campaign system, where all the adventures join together.  Though it doesn’t really feel like a campaign, more like a series of one-shots that string together with an overarching theme.

Pros

  • Classic set of heroes in the party that consists of a fighter, wizard, cleric and rogue
  • More interesting monsters that can call for help not just attack the heroes
  • Introduces campaign rules where the adventures join together
  • Most interesting villains
  • Classic D&D feel with dragons, orcs etc.

Cons

  • The least interesting thematically
  • Weak storyline and scenarios
  • Overpowered magic items
  • Has a campaign but still feels like you’re playing a bunch of one-shots

6. Dungeons & Dragons: Temple of Elemental Evil

The fourth release in the D&D adventure system, and has the introduction of a few new mechanics including a better campaign system.

This board game feels like a linear campaign where you are actually playing through a storyline.  This again has a very classic D&D feel, you are tromping through a dungeon underneath a temple, fighting monsters to extinguish evil.

In my opinion, it’s a fun game with better mechanics than the others, but the theme falls a bit flat and it has nothing special going for it.

Pros

  • Has a campaign that is more story-driven than in the Wrath of Ashardalon
  • Has the best variety of monsters
  • Good mix of heroes
  • Has multi-enemy tile mechanics
  • The trap system works better than most of the other games

Cons

  • Tiles and encounters are not the most varied
  • Campaigns and adventures don’t feel unique in any way

7. Dungeons & Dragons: Adventure Begins

This game is not part of the adventure system, but rather a stand-alone game designed to introduce players to the world of D&D.

It’s a cooperative game, but there is still a dungeon master which everyone playing takes turns being.

Like the other games in this list, you get to be characters battling monsters and overcoming obstacles, however, it is a much simpler game than the other options in this list.

Pros

  • Simple rules introduce concepts well and are well suited for children to play
  • DM role switched between players
  • Cheaper than other board games
  • Lots of traditional D&D monsters and lore

Cons

  • Not part of the adventure system of games
  • Much simpler than the other games listed
  • Expensive considering the limited components and replayability
  • Not many miniatures that can be used later for D&D like the other board games

8. Dungeons & Dragons: Assault of the Giants

This is quite a different game from the others, as you’re not really playing through a D&D adventure.

In this game, each player controls an army of giants, and the point is to attack settlements and other giants in order to get the most points.

This doesn’t feel like playing D&D, it’s much closer to an area control board game which I think there are much better options in the board gaming world such as Blood Rage.

Pros

  • Covers the story from Storm King’s Thunder and has great lore
  • Great artwork
  • Good for people who like dudes on a map wargames (like Risk)
  • Fun games that involves using good strategy and is thematic for D&D
  • Comes in a premium version with painted miniatures

Cons

  • Miniatures are not compatible in size with the other games (or D&D miniatures)
  • Not part of the adventure system of games
  • Rules can be misinterpreted, you may need to go on BGG for clarification
  • Long game setup
  • A competitive game where you play against each other
  • Not the most replayable – it starts to feel very samey after a while
  • Not that similar to playing D&D

Other Official D&D themed Games

There are a few other official D&D board games, mostly made by Wizards of the Coast or Wizkids. These aren’t meant to emulate D&D in the same way that the majority of those listed above are, rather, they’re inspired by D&D and give the board games a distinct D&D flavour.

In my opinion, the first 3 (Lords of Waterdeep, Tyrant of the Underdark, and Betrayal at Baldurs Gate) are great games, the next two (Dragonfire and Dungeon Mayhem) are worth checking out, but the rest are not worth your time.

  • Lords of Waterdeep – You are a lord who deploys agents to take control over Waterdeep.  This is a great strategic worker placement game set in the city of Waterdeep.
  • Tyrants of the Underdark – A territory control deck-building game where each player plays as a faction of drow trying to control the Underdark.  
  • Betrayal at Baldurs Gate – a reskin of a famous board game, Betrayal at House on the Hill.  In this game, you are working together to survive horrors at Baldurs Gate, when something horrific turns one of you evil and you have to figure out who is playing against you.
  • Dragonfire – a follow on to the game Crossfire, this is a cooperative deck-building game where you are the classic D&D heroes trying to complete a quest.  
  • Dungeon Mayhem – A quick light card game where you are adventurers going through a dungeon trying to be the last one to survive.
  • Rock Paper Wizard – Another light game where you are wizards using your card deck of spells to try to move closer to the dragon’s treasure, and the first one there wins.
  • Vault of Dragons – An area control, resource management game where you are taking the role of criminal factions in Waterdeep trying to get the rumoured dragon’s treasure.  Based on the game Sons of Anarchy, which in my opinion is significantly better.
  • The Great Dulmuti – A classic card game themed to be each player trying to climb the ladder of D&D social classes.  Fun enough but really not a whole lot to do with D&D.
  • Dungeon! – Another simplified dungeon crawler, but in my opinion, this is a much worse game than any of those listed above.

Non-Official D&D Like Games

There are many great board games that offer aspects that are similar to D&D but aren’t officially licenced D&D board games.  These can cover different aspects of what you like in D&D, such as dungeon crawling and killing monsters, cooperating with friends, or having an epic adventure.  See our article on board games you’ll like if you enjoy D&D if you are interested in more board game options.

Conclusion

If you want to play a board game that is similar to D&D, I recommend Castle Ravenloft, because I believe it is the best game thematically and it’s a lot of fun to replay the adventures. However, any of the Adventure System’s six games are excellent choices and are very similar.

When it comes to other D&D board games there are a few very good ones such as Lords of Waterdeep and Tyrants of the Underdark, but these are just board games set in the D&D universe and don’t feel at all like D&D.

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