Wizards of the Coast’s latest tie-in adds a new combat experience for Dungeons & Dragons players.
Accompanying their next major campaign release, Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen, they’re also releasing a board game — Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn — at retail for $79.99.
What can be played as a stand-alone, this new release is also a complementary experience, one part narrative engine and one part wargame. As a result, it could become a new way for dungeon masters to supplement homebrew campaigns going forward.
This new battle game emulates large battlefields with plastic markers to stand in for battle formations. It includes tiles to represent different terrain types, shaped in such a way that they can create a single massive front line or multiple discrete battlefields, called “flanks,” in different undulating shapes — maybe even in a circle.
Heroic figures from the world of Krynn in Shadow of the Dragon Queen are represented on the battlefield by miniatures. In fact, there’s nothing stopping players from bringing their own D&D hero miniatures from their campaign into the board game.
Co-designer Rob Daviau is quick to point out that players won’t be battlefield commanders in Warriors of Krynn. They won’t be drawing their troops up into ranks and wheeling them left or right to advance or fall back. In fact, the battles themselves can go off without their intervention at all.
“When we were playtesting, we’d be like, Let’s assume that characters sit in the command tent and literally do nothing,” Daviau said during a press briefing. “If these battles just happen, how long does it take for everything to go wrong? OK, not that long.
“So the characters are important,” Daviau said. They’re just not necessarily leading the charge.
Put another way, Daviau said, “The battle is bigger than you. You are a component, and you can put your finger on the scale and try to tip things in your balance. But, especially at lower levels, you are not commanding. […] The battles are happening around you, and your job as the heroes [is] going to be doing a special mission.”
Both the campaign book and the Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn board game will be available on Dec. 6. Some bundles from Wizards of the Coast will even give groups a two-week head start on the RPG, which launches early for some consumers on Nov. 22.