Love it or hate, but Dungeons & Dragons has been the most successful tabletop franchise in existence and its popularity is still booming. It has grown an incredible cult following and in recent years, has even branched out into other mediums. From tabletop RPG, traditional board games, video games, and a very, very awful movie, D&D is everywhere.
We’re not here to talk about awful movies, though. We’re more interested in the board game side of D&D. Its humble beginnings as a tabletop RPG and its epic fantasy world translates extremely well to the board game sphere… and not all of them are dungeon-crawlers. Who would have thought?
1. Lords of Waterdeep
Waterdeep, the City of Splendors – the most resplendent jewel in the Forgotten Realms, and a den of political intrigue and shady back-alley dealings. In this game, the players are powerful lords vying for control of this great city. Its treasures and resources are ripe for the taking, and that which cannot be gained through trickery and negotiation must be taken by force!
Instead of delving into the dungeons yourself, why not hire out adventurers to do your bidding?
In this worker placement game, players will take on the roles of the quest-givers as one of the hidden Lords of Waterdeep. Players will compete for control of the city by hiring adventurers and completing quests for victory points.
- An exciting Euro-style board game set in Waterdeep, the greatest...
- This immersive game casts players as Lords of Waterdeep who hire...
- Game play: 1 hour
2. Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate
The shadow of Bhaal has come over Baldur’s Gate, summoning monsters and other horrors from the darkness!
Baldur’s Gate has long been plagued by the forces of Evil.
Ready to battle evil in the streets of Baldur’s Gate? Check out our full review before you buy!
- It's Betrayal At House On The Hill meets Wrath of Ashardalon in...
- Offers a unique and exciting way to experience Dungeons & Dragons...
- Extraordinary replayability: return to Baldur's gate again and...
[Dungeons & Dragons Adventure System]
The D&D Adventure System is a series of dungeon-crawl board games that have been in production since 2010.
Each one is a standalone game in itself and also 100% compatible with the others. They’re all based on previous Dungeons & Dragons campaigns but are streamlined for combat in a board game. You won’t need a Dungeon Master (DM) or even any other players. They all work extremely well as solo games and make for a great dungeon-crawl experience.
One of the great things about the D&D Adventure System is that it does feel like a very distilled D&D experience. You’re thrown right into the world you love and everything is streamlined to get you into the action; killing monsters & getting them loots!
There are other dungeon-crawlers out there that have a lot more customization and fiddly bits, but the setup and playthrough can be a pain. That’s one of the reasons why these keep their place on my shelf and keep getting pulled down to play.
“I want to play a dungeon-crawler, but I don’t want to deal with all the fluff and hassle of setup and tear down!”
Have no fear. D&D is there for you, buddy.
If you’re looking for a heavier dungeon-crawler, or really want all the fiddly bits, then these probably aren’t for you. There meant to be fun, lightweight, and have the ability to get players in and rolling a single D20 (there’s only 1 die).
3. D&D: Castle Ravenloft
The master of Ravenloft is having guests for dinner—and you are invited!
Castle Ravenloft is the first in the D&D Adventure System and although you could start anywhere in the series, this is probably the best place to start.
Your villains include a werewolf, Strahd the vampire, and a Dracolich. The minis are all well done, and thematically everything fits well. There’s a lot of zombies thrown into the mix, it really plays on the horror themes of Castle Ravenloft.
Each game builds upon the previous version’s mechanics. Some people may find Ravenloft a little bare-bones but I think it holds up well compared all of the others and does a nice job of bringing the setting to life.
2010 Origins Awards Best Board Game Winner
- 1 to 5 player game
- 60 minutes to play
- Dungeon crawling action and terrifyingly fun quests
4. D&D: Wrath of Ashardalon
A heavy shadow falls across the land, cast by a dark spire that belches smoke and oozes fiery lava. A cave mouth leads to a maze of tunnels and chambers, and deep within this monster-infested labyrinth lurks the most terrifying creature of all: a red dragon!
The great red dragon Ashardalon has returned. After being mortally wounded, Ashardalon bound a demon into its chest to sustain its life force. Ashardalon is one of the oldest and one of the most conniving dragons in existence.
In Wrath of Ashardalon, you’ll band together with a group of heroes to ultimately stop Ashardalon.
Wrath of Ashardalon is a dungeon-crawler for 1-5 players. There are multiple scenarios to play from and 5 characters to choose from: rogue, thief, warrior, cleric, and wizard. The shelf life of the game is further extended by choosing the abilities of your character. In every game, characters will choose a set of abilities and they are mutually exclusive. You’ll have to play multiple games to see everything the game has to offer.
- A heavy shadow falls across the land, cast by a dark spire that...
- A cave mouth leads to a maze of tunnels and chambers, and deep...
- Designed for 1-5 players, this boardgame features multiple...
5. D&D: Legend of Drizzt
Legend of Drizzt is the third addition to the D&D Adventure System.
Just like the previous 2 installments, Legend of Drizzt is a cooperative board gaming experience, where players will be working to accomplish the scenario’s objective. Drizzt is also compatible with any of the D&D Adventure System games, so you could potentially dive into any game and start to mix-and-match monsters, heroes/heroines, scenarios, and tiles straight out of the box.
So what does Drizzt bring to the mix?
Well… Drizzt, for one thing. The legendary drow elf and his companions will all be playable characters that you can control. They join the fray and mix it up quite well without outshining the generic heroes from previous versions. After all, it’s no fun if you spent 3 games building up your favorite rogue only to have a hero of legend show up last minute to take all the credit.
This expansion also brings in a new tileset: caverns. Players will have the opportunity to explore treacherous tunnels that can possibly lead into hidden dungeons, adding a lot of new thematic flair to your adventures.
Character abilities have been given an overhaul with a stance system. Players can use different stances to add a tactical element. Each stance gives different bonuses and all of them seem useful in different situations.
The best thing about this expansion, however, is the competitive elements added. There are a few scenarios where players will be working in competing teams to complete objectives or one where there’s even a hidden traitor among the player characters.
Legend of Drizzt is a fantastic expansion and the best part is it’s not 100% necessary to read the Drizzt novels beforehand. You should read them though. They’re pretty good.
- Designed for 1 to 5 players
- Features multiple scenarios, challenging quests and cooperative...
- Contains: 42 heroes and monsters, 13 sheets of interlocking...
6. D&D: Temple of Elemental Evil
In the Temple of Elemental Evil board game, you play as a heroic adventurer. With amazing abilities, spells and magic weapons, you must explore the dungeons beneath the Sword Coast where you will fight monsters, overcome hazards and find treasure. Are you ready for adventure?
The Temple of Elemental Evil allows players to run an official campaign element in the game. Before this game, the Adventure System was basically a series of missions only connected through a light bit of theme and your own headcanon. Having an official campaign (finally) is a nice touch for the series.
You’ll still only be able to level up your character to level 2 but as you continue on with the campaign, you’ll be able to get small bonuses that can be used throughout the campaign.
- For 2+ Players
- 60 minute playing time
- Can be combined with other D&D Adventure System Cooperative play...
7. D&D: Tomb of Annihilation
The death curse grows and the souls of the world are in peril! Are you ready for adventure?
Tomb of Annihilation vastly improves upon the campaign system and refines a lot of the rules, adding much more complexity to the game. The upgrades and leveling systems are much more balanced and work much better here.
One of the interesting parts about the D&D Adventure System is that the rules and mechanics grow with the series. All of them are great on their own but they keep updating and growing with each new set.
If you’re looking for series campaign play then this would be a good place to start.
- For 2-5 players
- 60 minute playing time
- Features multiple scenarios, challenging quests and game play...
8. D&D: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
In the city of Waterdeep rests a tavern called the Yawning Portal, named after the gaping pit in its common room. At the bottom of this crumbling shaft is a labyrinth dungeon known as Undermountain, domain of the mad wizard Halaster Blackcloak, who has seeded his lair with monsters, traps, and mysteries.
The latest expansion to the D&D Adventure System just recently came out.
In this version, we’re off to Waterdeep to make our fortunes delving the depths of the Undermountain. This further expands the campaign system and now players will be able to progress up to 4th level, which grants all-new power abilities.
The monsters and creatures of the Undermountain haven’t been sitting idle either. You’ll find much stronger encounters here and new conditions like “weakened”, which makes it much more difficult for players to heal.
Overall, it’s an excellent progression of the game that still keeps the mechanics streamlined and simple while offering more of the same theme from the Adventure System.
- For 1-5 Players. 1+ hour playing time. Ages 14 and up
- Players can now get to level 4 with their characters and gain...
- New! Environment cards that get replaced when a new Environment...
9. Assault of the Giants
The Ordning, the ancient caste system of the Giants has been destroyed. All of Giant society is in chaos and any Giant with the right ambition and cunning can rise up to become the ruler of all Giantkind.
Players can control a different tribe of giants, as diversified as humans, each with their own special abilities and goals.
Storm Giants: Their goal is to restore their King who was imprisoned by a Blue Dragon. They seek an alliance with the little people to restore order to the land.
Cloud Giants: They seek an ancient dragon treasure trove to usurp the Storm Giants’ hold over them.
Fire Giants: They aim to steal the primordial flame from the Dwarves to relight ancient forges. They hope to revive an ancient titan to seek revenge against the dragons.
Frost Giants: They seek an ancient ring that has the power to turn the world into a winter wonderland (for the Frost Giants).
Stone Giants: They have basically gone insane and are rampaging through the world looking to be awakened from reality, which they believe is just a dream.
Hill Giants: Bigger is BETTER! The matriarch of the Hill Giants has married all of the males and given one order. “BRING ME FOOD”.
Assault of the Giants is a standalone area control game for 3-6 players in which each tribe is raiding and completing individual objectives to become the ruler of the Giants.
- For 3-6 players
- 120 minute playing time
- Contents include 12 fully painted Giants miniatures, measuring...
10. Tyrants of the Underdark
A deck-building/area control game? I’m interested…
Tyrants of the Underdark puts players in the shoes of one of 4 Drow houses that are vying for control of the Underdark.
Players must outmaneuver each other to gain control of the Underdark. Each player’s deck will be full of different minions and players will be able to draft cards to hire stronger minions for their house.
Interestingly enough, although Tyrants of the Underdark is for 2-4 players, it plays surprisingly well with only 2 players. That’s an achievement in and of itself.
- Tyrants of the Underdark pits 2 to 4 players against each other...
- Tyrants of the Underdark is a competitive board game in which you...
- Using power and influence as resources, Tyrants of the Underdark...
11. Rock Paper Wizard
In every great dungeon-delving adventure, players must come face-to-face with their toughest trial: dividing up the loots after killing the BBEG (Big Bad Evil Guy).
As a party composed entirely of wizards, there’s really no better way to divide up your loots than the age-old tradition of Rock Paper Wizard… it’s basically Rock Paper Scissors, but with spells.
You’ll be able to cast iconic D&D spells like Vampiric Touch and Fireball at your opponents. Seriously, who’s never had that one friend that you’ve been dying to cast a silence spell on?
Each spell has a corresponding hand gesture, just like in Rock Paper Scissors. Fireball, for example, looks like a fist when played and meteor swarm, when cast, looks like jazz hands if you’re doing it right.
It’s silly and doesn’t take itself seriously, but it’s a hilariously good time. Especially the first few rounds when you’re trying to figure out the spell hand gestures.
- Fast Paced spell casting makes for quick games with endless...
- Utilizes known spells from the popular Dungeons & Dragons...
- Easy learning curve makes it accessible for players of all levels...
In each game, players will be playing a different scenario, taking on the role of classic D&D characters. You’ll be exploring different Forgotten Realms settings such as Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter, and Waterdeep.
As players level up, they’ll have access to newer cards to include in their decks and every turn, more monsters and traps will spawn that you’ll need to deal with.
The game has an amazing feel and play experience but has been known to feel a little unbalanced with less than 4 players. My suggestion is if you are playing with only 2 players, then each of you should control 2 characters. It feels much better with just that one change.
- Set within the world's greatest roleplaying game setting
- Based upon the critically-acclaimed Shadowrun: Crossfire Engine
- 2 to 6 players ages 13 and up
A reinvention of the 70’s classic D&D game is back.
It’s not as glamorous and high-production as some of the newer D&D Adventure System games but for around $20, you’re going to find yourself dungeon-delving with a classic set of heroes and adventurers.
It’s by no means the greatest game on this list, but it is part of classic D&D history and does manage to hold its own as a complete and fun gaming experience, all in one box.
In addition to upgraded components (cards, tokens, and cardboard quality), there have been improvements to the general rules that make the game much more playable and far less frustrating.
If you want that D&D itch to get scratched on a budget, Dungeon! delivers the goods.
14. Dungeon Mayhem
Dungeon Mayhem is a nice little filler card game. Perfect for playing a few rounds when you’re waiting for your D&D group to gather. Nobody is ever late to those, right?
In this card game, every player picks a quirky character and everyone basically pummels each other to death, until there’s only one player left standing.
- Sutha Skullcrusher, the Orc Barbarian
- Azzan, the Mystic Wizard
- Lia, the Radiant Paladin
- Oriax, the clever Tiefling Rogue
This fast-paced game has players drawing and using cards for their abilities like healing, throwing daggers, and, of course, crushing skulls.
It’s one of those great games to get everyone in the mood for a larger game or to take a break from one of the big box 2+ hour games.
- Easy-to-learn card game for 2-4 players.
- Party game for friends and family, ages 8+.
- Games are fast, 5-10 minutes.
15. Conquest of Nerath
War has come to the Dungeons & Dragons world! In the north, the undead legions of the Dark Empire of Karkoth march against the fragile League of Nerath, determined to sweep away the human kingdoms forever.
Surprisingly, this is one of the few D&D wargames that I could find.
In Conquest of Nerath players will choose one of 4 factions:
- Dark Empire of Karkoth (Karkoth): Undead
- Vailin Alliance (Vailin): Elves
- Iron Circle: Goblins
- Nerathan League (Nerath): Humans
The Conquest of Nerath does a lot of things right. Unlike other wargames, starting positions are already set, which allows players to set up much quicker and jump right into the action. They’ve also managed to integrate a hero system as well as a quest and dungeon system (who would have expected that from Dungeons & Dragons?).
Overall, it’s just a unique game that offers way more than a traditional wargame. If you can find a copy, definitely take a look. It’s worth it.
2011 Origins Awards Best Board Game Winner
- Allows players to wage war and plunder dungeons in a medieval...
- Inspired by the 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Roleplaying game
- Provides never-before-seen information about the core Dungeons...
16. Dungeons & Dragons: Attack Wing
Have you ever wanted to be a dragon? If not, you should.
Dungeons & Dragons Attack Wing puts you into a dogfight (dragonfight?) for supremacy of the skies.
Attack Wing uses the HeroClix system to track your miniatures on the table.
The base box comes with enough for a small skirmish for 2 players and just like the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game, you can purchase additional booster sets to add to your game.
Players can eventually add siege engines, giants, and smaller land units to blast the dragons out of the sky.
It’s an excellent starter but be warned: there is a collectible component and you’ll need to sink a fair bit of money into it if you want that big table experience. On the plus side, all minis can double for your tabletop RPG sessions.
- For 2+ Players
- 30 minute playing time
- Includes 3 pre-painted plastic dragons (red, blue and copper)...
I have no doubt that Dungeons & Dragons will continue to grow in popularity and with that growth, newer and better games will continually be produced.
Some of my favorite D&D games are the ones you wouldn’t expect. I love the thematic elements of Lords of Waterdeep. Becoming a quest-giver in a worker placement setting just tickles my fancy. The deck-building D&D games are also a lot of fun to play, and if you really feel like some sword & spell swinging action, the D&D Adventure System games basically play as D&D-lite.
So the next time your D&D group actually makes it together for a session, try and pull one of these off the shelf.
Which of these Dungeons & Dragons board games have you tried? Drop a comment below and show us what you got.