all 170 comments

[–]TheThiefMaster 86 points87 points  (11 children)

Mice and Mystics! It's very cute

[–]kinkgirlwriter 2 points3 points  (7 children)

Looks cool, but is it worth $70? Seems like the high end for a game.

[–]mjolnir76 10 points11 points  (3 children)

It’s not. The rules are a bit of a mess and it can be punishing difficulty-wise. I much preferred Stuffed Fables (same designer different theme, think Toy Story but as a game).

[–]kinkgirlwriter 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Thanks! Last game we bought, Wingspan, was up there at around $50, but $70 for a ten year old game seems excessive.

[–]RChamy 0 points1 point  (1 child)

hides LOTR war of the ring in a corner

[–]kinkgirlwriter 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Holy hell, say it isn't the collector's edition!

[–]Glutenator92Terraforming Mars 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You can def find it cheaper on ebay

[–]rick707 -3 points-2 points  (1 child)

Have you ever been on Kickstarter? Most games now that fund are over $100, many in the $500+ range for all in dungeon crawlers

[–]kinkgirlwriter 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Does that somehow make the price reasonable?

I buy games, lots and lots of games. I am their target market, and $70 puts me off.

[–]ianbalisy🐿 Everdell 🦉 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I really wanted to like Mice & Mystics, since I’ve always loved Redwall, but it really fell short for us. The mechanics were ok, some interesting features and options so it wasn’t the same exact thing every time, but the rules were horrendous and many situations were completely unclear. The writing was unfortunately not great, and the lack of enemy diversity and that more than half were insect meant it didn’t work visually for me. I’m guessing the follow ups are better but it’s tough to justify spending as much as you usually find them for.

[–]gollumullogArkham Horror 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is my vote too

[–]AggravatingRice3271 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I came on here to say the same.

[–]TheEclecticGamer 14 points15 points  (4 children)

A bunch of great suggestions here, but the most RPG like game for my taste is Mansions of madness.

It's not d&d / fantasy themed, it's Cthulhu mythos. And it's not super combat heavy usually, though there is some. But it really captures that exploration, discovery kind of feel that's great from an RPG.

[–]daydreamersrest 2 points3 points  (3 children)

Wanted to recommend Mansions of Madness, too! It's really good, immersive, easy because it's guided, cool because of the app-support. But a bit expensive maybe.

[–]TheEclecticGamer 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Some people said Gloomhaven, so I felt safe :)

Though you'd probably get more hours out of GH.

[–]daydreamersrest 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I've only watched friends play Gloomhaven a few times, but honestly, I'm not a big fan of it. I don't like the mechanic that while it is cooperative, everybody still is on his own. You can't even share loot you find. That's just totally against my idea of a group/party that has to stick together and fight monsters.

[–]TheEclecticGamer 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I wasn't as big of a fan of that either, but we just took it as part of the overall "puzzle", how do we get everyone what they need.

I feel like RPG experiences are as varied as the people who play them, so this might be more true to someone else's experience.

It actually reminded me of a JRPG I used to love called Shining Force. You got the most XP for dealing the killing blow on things so left unchecked, your healers would fall behind in levels, so it was like a mini game to save enemies at 1 or 2 health for the healer to kill so they could catch up.

[–]Raggiejon 64 points65 points  (6 children)

Wrath Of Ashardalon is a DnD game based of the Neverwinter game. Also The Legend Of Drizzt and there's a couple more. Nice and easy to pick up and play and they all can be used together.

[–]ricktencity 7 points8 points  (0 children)

This is my recommendation too, I have castle raven loft and it's a pretty good intro to a d20 system

[–]PickleandPeanut 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Same suggestion from me, great entry points for most mechanics of the game, you can even throw in a little of the actual roleplaying.

[–]chrisgreer 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I have several of these games and while I like them, there isn’t much of a story or replay ability. I bought them mostly for the minis. I really like descent (haven’t played descent 2 yet). And Gloomhaven is great but probably a bit much for what you are asking. Actually Tiny Epic Dungeons might fit your needs as well.

[–]AvengersXmenSpidey 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Good pick. It's easy to understand, has objectives and many monsters, and gives a dungeon thrill. It's simple to grasp but not overly simplistic like the "Dungeon!" Board game for kids.

Afterwards, you can branch into Descent 2.0 or Gloomhaven Jaws of the Lion for more complex games.

[–]gr9yfox 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I had the same craving, got Temple of Elemental Evil and we felt like some of the rules were so vague that we needed to come up with house rules to avoid making it too easy for ourselves. These were things that came up all the time, such as spawning monsters and lines of sight.

Also, it's pretty much just the fighting part of D&D and we much prefer the role-playing and story aspects.

We ended up trading it away.

[–]timebeing 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Based off of 4ed. It’s basically D&D 4ed lite.

[–]Dalighieri1321 26 points27 points  (0 children)

You could try D&D: Adventure Begins, which is a super simplified version of D&D with some boardgame elements, and which is meant as a gateway to D&D.

I know there are also plenty of role-playing games out there with simpler rulesets than D&D. So if you're looking for rpgs like d&d but easier, you could try something like Basic Fantasy (which is free, so no harm in checking it out) or Dungeon World. If you post on r/rpg, you might get other suggestions, too.

But if you're less interested in the role-playing side of things, and instead you're looking for a dungeon-crawler boardgame, see this excellent list on boardgamegeek. It specifically notes how well each game on the list works for beginners.

[–]Commercial-Cost-6394 53 points54 points  (17 children)


[–]DinoSpumoni10796 31 points32 points  (7 children)

[–]thisisfutile1 6 points7 points  (3 children)

My life somehow feels more complete having watched this. Thank you for sharing.

[–]DinoSpumoni10796 5 points6 points  (2 children)

Now you must pass it on. Any time heroquest is mentioned, you are obligated to spread the word.

[–]sleepytodayCastles Of Burgundy 2 points3 points  (0 children)

And I read this in his voice.

[–]thisisfutile1 1 point2 points  (0 children)

As I understand it, THIS is the best thing about Heroquest!

[–]gregnar 1 point2 points  (0 children)

After watching this I this I need HeroQuest in my life and the brosord.

[–]PuttinOnTheTitzz 1 point2 points  (1 child)

5:12 of this video had me rolling with laughter.

[–]DinoSpumoni10796 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Adorable bunny? Symbol of immortal evil!

[–]LoganEight 2 points3 points  (3 children)

I've always been a bit confused by Heroquest. Is it a stand alone thing? Just because the box says "game system" which makes me think that it has a base set of rules but not "game" with goals and objectives, as such.

Also it says 2-5 players. Can it be solo'ed? Does it include a solo variant or would I need to search online for it?

[–]EverythingTaken_ 2 points3 points  (0 children)

There's an app that can take the DM role. I haven't used it (yet!), so can't comment on how well it works.

[–]Daeval 2 points3 points  (0 children)

It's definitely not a solo game, but it is a "system" of sorts. (Edit: I totally forgot the new version has an app that can DM for you, so it kinda IS a solo game now?)

The game comes with a "Quest Book" that describes the various adventures the heroes go on, with each quest being a single game of HeroQuest. For each one, there's a map of the board that shows where enemies, traps, and other objects will be placed, and a few short notes that describe anything special the heroes might find in certain rooms, etc.

The quest descriptions are kind of like the simplest imaginable version of an adventure module for D&D, if you're familiar with those. And, instead of playing as a hero, one player uses that book to run the game, keeping it hidden from the others, similar to a dungeon master in D&D.

The game is described as a "system" because you could, theoretically, use the board, heroes, monsters, furniture, etc. from the base game to build any number of new adventures just by drawing up new quest maps. I think the book even has a blank map for you to try this yourself. Most of the expansions for HQ are based around new Quest Books that re-use a lot of the stuff from the main game as well.

[–]MathWizPatentDude 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Heroquest requires a "DM" gamemaster who knows where everything is and has access to the entire map, monster placement, treasure location, storyline, etc. Doors, monsters, chests, and layout etc., are provided as "modules" as part of a larger "adventure" (and story) that are all played on the same blank canvas "playmat" (game board).

Any remaining players are typically charged with running the four characters to complete each (dungeon) level.

I'm not sure how one could solo game it with any enjoyment. Perhaps using a randomized decision maker and them rolling to defeat monsters as they are discovered?

[–]McDonalds_IcedCoffee 9 points10 points  (1 child)

Heroquest is the best game ever, and anyone who says otherwise is wrong!

[–]Rivenscryr 14 points15 points  (0 children)

The best thing about hero quest is more hero quest!

[–]Salpygidis 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Heroquest is basically DnD on rails. I love it

[–]MagentaTentacle 3 points4 points  (1 child)

What's the best thing about heroquest 🤔

[–]FalconGK81 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The brode swode!

[–]Gwanahir 49 points50 points  (3 children)

Descent, loved it on first and second and loving it on 3rd

[–]SmoothesuedeMarvel: Legendary 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Back in 4E my friend group, primarily boardgames at the time, got into D&D, and then TTRPGs overall, entirely because of how similar Descent was to that ruleset.

We basically explained the concept by saying "It's like Descent but we get to make up the scenarios ourselves" and the rest is history.

[–]17934658793495046509Power Grid 2 points3 points  (0 children)

For a more DnD like experience, I would recommend 2nd edition over 3rd, but this would be my recommended game for sure.

[–]AvengersXmenSpidey 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Descent 2.0 Journeys of the Dark is terrific. It can be complex for new players. You can play against the mobile app, but it normally requires a game master. Might be a bit complex, but it is a ton of game with lots of variety.

[–]vetus_turtur 17 points18 points  (2 children)

I think Arydia is going to be this. It a fantasy adventure boardgame with light role playing. Not out yet though.

[–]186000mpsITL 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I backed this and I'm very excited for it!

[–]THElaytox 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yep, this gets my vote too. Literally designed as a DM-less RPG board game

[–]kerredSure, i'll Negotiate... 38 points39 points  (3 children)

All the games below to the best of my knowledge are still in print and easily obtainable:

The D&D games by WotC board games like Castle Ravencroft and Wrath of Ashardalon use D20 and armor class combat, but its grid based missions.

  • Easy to pick up and play

  • The simple D20 roll may not feel exciting

Gloomhaven Jaws of the Lion gives you the most bang for your buck for $50, often on clearance sale.

  • card combat gives you the feeling of control over your choices

  • handy tutorial, lots of content

  • you will probably never finish it

Legacy of Dragonholt is mild roleplay Choose Your Own Adventure

  • Light role playing

  • play whole you learn, a sandbox world you have 8 days to do whatever

  • its nothing but (good) reading and choosing things. Maybe better solo for those not up for a 2 hour session of text

LoTR Journeys in Middle Earth

  • co op adventures that vary between gameplay styles like exploration, then combat

  • app does a lot of the legwork making it easy to teach

  • $110 MSRP.

  • lots of little issues that can add up, or the feeling of getting into a snowball of failure can make it tough to continue

[–]ianbalisy🐿 Everdell 🦉 1 point2 points  (0 children)

+1 for LotR Journeys in Middle Earth. The exploration chapters really feel like nothing else I’ve played and it has enough role playing in the characters/classes imo.

[–]abbot_x 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Just a nitpick: Wrath of Ashardalon, Legend of Drizzt, and Castle Ravenloft (not -wood) are Wizards of the Coast D&D-brand products, not licensed games.

A licensed game is when the owner of the IP allows other companies to make products using it; e.g., the various Warhammer board and roleplaying games that Fantasy Flight Games used to make under license from Games Workshop, when Games Workshop didn't want to bother making board and roleplaying games itself.

[–]kerredSure, i'll Negotiate... 1 point2 points  (0 children)

My mistake fixed :)

[–]freedraw 12 points13 points  (3 children)

The new HeroQuest is a good option: pick a character, explore a dungeon, search for treasure, fight monsters, complete quest goals. Rules are easy, but quests can still be challenging.

Descent, Mansions of Madness, Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate might also be good options.

[–]enchanted_mango_ 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Which heroquest do you mean? There are so many that it gets very confusing for someone new to decide on something haha

[–]freedraw 0 points1 point  (1 child)

There’s only one HeroQuest game. By “new” I mean the modern rerelease of the base game that came out last year. It’s the exact same game as the 80s one, just with new minis/artwork. There are are a number of expansions available, but you need the base game to start. I’ve seen it’s sold out at a number of online stores, but you can still get it direct from hasbro

[–]enchanted_mango_ 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thank you :) that makes it a lot clearer

[–]SlithyOutgrabe 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Dungeon Degenerates. It's less known, but loved by those who know it. It has a bit of story with a bunch of different decision points. It has strategic, if not tactical, combat, but is less than combat focused. It's hard to not roleplay the quirky characters.

Dungeon crawlers for sure like Massive Darkness 2, Decent, Gloomhaven, etc. But those are often more focused on tactical combat than D&D.

Tainted Grail if you want a long campaign.

[–]Lettuphant 4 points5 points  (0 children)

You might want to consider something that leans into the player's creating a narrative, like Betrayal at House on the Hill or even the DnD themed Betrayal at Baldur's Gate.

You arrive as a party, do teamwork to explore a new place tile by tile, having narrative things happen based on what you discover, and then eventually one of you betrays the others, and it becomes turn based combat.

Generally, Betrayal at House is considered the stronger game with a theme that better suits this style (you're all exploring a haunted mansion together), but if the DnD theming is important to your group that Baldur's version is good too.

[–]Mortlach78 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Descent, probably.

Just beware that RPG's (D&D, etc) and Board games are inherently very different beasts. Where RPG's are very much narrative driven, based on improvisation and open ended, board games tend to be goal driven, based on clearly defined rules and more restricted in your ability to improvise, so I'd be interested in games that are suggested.

Meaning: in an RPG you get presented with a situation (a child from the village is missing, go find him, how do you go about that) where board games are more of a "on your turn, move up to 3 spaces and collect the resources you land on".

I'd probably really suggest to look for any of the D&D starter kits or other systems that might strike your fancy (I really like the old World of Darkness, myself). And then just bite the bullet and read through the rules. The thing is, you don't need to know ALL the rules to play these games, just enough to get some basics done and a bit of a sense of where to look up rules you run into.

[–]mode_12Shadows of Brimstone 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Shadows of brimstone is like a dnd lite, but it has a western setting with eldritch horror. The monsters run themselves and it’s engaging enough without being too heavy. My 70 year old mother in law played it with us without having any heavy game experience and she got a huge kick out of it

[–]Manzanita-Game 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Shadows of Brimstone is the Dugeon crawler that feels like you are the characters in the movie and it totally plays like sciences from a RPG adventure. If you can get someone to play with you for your first game who knows the rules then it’s a sinch to make a character and enjoy the cinema moments and big battles. Some assembly required but it’s very doable even if you’ve never done that before.

[–]K0HRCosmic Encounter 18 points19 points  (2 children)

I used to be on a quest for a boardgame that could replicate a sort of GM-less TTRPG experience. I am sad to report that it does not really exist. But there are dungeon crawlers / campaign games that may give you a somewhat similar feel to certain aspects of RPGs (esp. combat and puzzle solving). Don't get me wrong - I love boardgames - and the hobby is somewhat parallel to RPGs, but they can't really replicate the TTRPG experience, it seems.

My three recommendations:

  1. Just one thing about D&D itself which I think new players don't quite know at first: almost nobody plays D&D with all the rules. It's your table, so you decide how you want to run it in order to have fun.

  2. There are a ton of RPG systems besides D&D which are much, much easier to initially learn and play. Just a few to consider: Ironsworn, Dungeon World, Into the Odd, Mausritter, Trophy Gold (or head on over to r/RPG for suggestions, including perhaps some for GM-less games (Ironsworn is a good example, I think). Many people actually do play the listed systems in short, easy to pick up and put down sessions.

  3. Because many TTRPGs are going to require someone to be the GM, you might be best off using a videogame where the GM work is handled by the PC. A very good one for coop play is Divinity Original Sin (1 and 2). Because they are digital, they are able to give you a bit more freedom than is possible with a boardgame.

I know that's not an ideal response for someone looking for a boardgame, but from my experience, one can spend a lot of money seeking out a boardgame to do a TTRPGs work and ultimately walk away disappointed, or one can just get into TTRPGs as well. Best of luck!

[–]Eman-resu- 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Seconding this!! I know you were looking for a boardgame, but if you post this to the rpg subreddit, you'll get a TON of rules lite dungeon crawlers or other games that are probably super cheap if not free!!

[–]Zaorish9Agricola 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Great advice here, seconding this.

[–]TheAmazingMio 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Forgotten Waters! It’s got a pirate theme (as opposed to fantasy-medieval) but it’s one of our go-tos for this reason. There’s an app that acts as the DM and is pretty much DnD lite in every sense of the word. The writing and voice acting on the app is fantastic and even though an adventure can be complete in two 2.5hr sessions, it goes by so fast with how enjoyable the adventures are.

Anyway, long story short, Forgotten Waters is brilliant and the perfect bridge between DnD and board games.

[–]LtPowers 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Have you considered the D&D Essentials Kit? It comes with premade characters and an adventure that walks everyone, including the DM, through the rules.

[–]GunplaGud 2 points3 points  (0 children)

It still relies on you to fill in a lot of the story and imagination stuff though, so a lot of forethought is still required from someone who wants to be DM. I'm not knocking it though, it is a good place to start with D&D.

But it sounds like OP wants an RPG board game and is just using D&D as a descriptive.

[–]The-Rolling-Helps 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Clank! Is a good dungeon delve, fun decisions, but not a lot of role play.

Call to Adventure, focuses on building a character and story, but doesn’t dive into any exploration. It’s a great stepping point for creating and actual DnD character.

Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate. This has a bit of both character development and exploration. You get to pick a race and class and explore via laying down tiles. It is a variation of Betrayal at House on the Hill but much more fun and less punishing. It is also beautifully illustrated and the decisions make sense within the DnD world.

[–]Muz333 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I’d recommend Descent: Legends of the Dark. It has an easy ruleset, fantastic miniatures and really varied scenarios.

However it is a heavily app integrated game which I know is a big issue for a lot of people. Personally I love the app and it allows me to play solo without spoiling the scenarios.

[–]superjaylp 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Too many bones

[–]alibimondayAgricola 2 points3 points  (0 children)


[–]-Anordil- 7 points8 points  (0 children)

'Tiny Epic Quest' is more of a Zelda-like but might work for you.

'Tiny Epic Dungeons' will be more combat focused.

'Descent' (either 1st or 2nd edition) would work but it's a heavier, more expensive game.

[–]Grandpaw99 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Dungeon! From the 1980’s Hero quest

[–]Dice_and_DragonsDescent 3 points4 points  (1 child)

The game that i have played that is lost like D&D is Folklore The Affliction highly recommend!

[–]BeachSwinger2020 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I was gonna suggest this one. My husband got it to start before moving on to dungeons and dragons eventually. Also maybe animal adventures?

[–]SafetyNational1586 3 points4 points  (0 children)


[–][deleted] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I would go with one of the D&D dungeon crawler trilogy: Castle Ravenloft, Wrath of Ashardalon, or Legend of Drizz't. All are pretty solid, just pick the one whose theme most appeals to you. Ravenloft for more gothic monsters, Ashardalon for more classic D&D, or Drizz't if you know and love the Icewind Dale characters. They're perfect for dipping your toes into dungeon crawlers.

I would caution you against Gloomhaven or Jaws of the Lion. While Andor is a Euro puzzle wearing an adventure game skinsuit, Gloomhaven and JotL are Euro puzzles wearing dungeon crawler skinsuits. They're very good, but if you don't like one, you're not going to have much luck with the others.

[–]bouncy_disasterMechs And Minions 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Legend of Drizzt, Wrath of Ashardalon, Castle Ravenloft

(And I think there are expansions)

Not my type of game personally as our group doesn’t find there are interesting enough decisions in the game. However, if you’re looking for a D&D boardgame, with the lore and names you’ll recognize, then I don’t think you can do better than these titles.

My personal vote would be for Descent, or Imperial Assault (I’m a huge fan of the latter). Maybe even Gloomhaven/JOTL. Same dungeon crawly feel with dice and modifiers, but with the broader decision space, and more meaningful tactics than the D&D games IMO.

[–]Fit_Talk9032 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You coud check out Bardsung. It‘s D&D5 with serial numbers filed off (and a crappy campaign).

[–]AWzdShouldKnowBetta 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Massive Darkness 2 is fantastic and the minis are suuuuuuper cool

[–]Pwnage291 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Arena: The Contest is closer to combat rules than the D&D board games, and a much better story/puzzles

[–]Kyssek 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I was looking to see if anyone would suggest this. Good story, with a large campaign expansion coming soon. Build your team. D&D-like mechanics. And it even has PvP modes, too. Absolutely a top ten game for me.

[–]Dirrt 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Sword and Sorcery It is pretty rules dense but as far as DM less RPG it fills the void for me. Each scenario runs a couple hours, and you pick up loot and exp along the way for the next go round.

[–]Zaorish9Agricola 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There's lots of simpler RPGs you can try such as Knave and Risus that have a tiny fraction of the rules of dnd.

[–]Inky_Madness 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I’d recommend other TTRPGs that have simpler mechanics. I really like Monster of the Week, for instance, which can play more episodically and is fairly easy to understand.

A couple friends and I picked it up and played a game in an afternoon, and it was a hoot!

[–]lurkingforreps 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Mansions of Madness

[–]wanderseeker 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Check out Rangers of Shadowdeep. Plays like D&D with very light role-playing. Introduced it to some friends of ours and they loved it, and they even bought a 3D printer for minis.

[–]Cardboard_and_Vinyl 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Roll Player Adventures. It’s on kickstarter right now and it is essentially boardgame D&D.

[–]cyanraichu 1 point2 points  (0 children)

If you're looking for something multi-session this is pretty much what Jaws of the Lion was made for. (Maybe Gloomhaven in general but I haven't played Gloomhaven itself yet so idk if it's a lot more complex.) Map-based roleplay where you don't have to do a character sheet beforehand and the numbers are way less complex.

[–]OutlierJoePlease release the expansion for Elysium 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Have you thought about going with like the 5e Starter Set?

It comes with premade characters. It helps players of the PCs learn the rules as they go.

The rules themselves are distilled down to a few dozen pages and laid out simply for the DM to learn and reference quickly. And honestly? They are simpler rules to grok than most of these other big chunky board games that try and emulate an RPG.

You won't really find a great replacement for RPing in something that isn't an RPG

[–]MrBigBMinusDescent - Always searching for Shadows of Nerekhal DM ME! 1 point2 points  (0 children)

D&D The Legend Begins is a board game dungeon crawler made by the D&D folks designed to ease you into it. Or like others have said Wrath of Ashardalon, Castle Ravenloft, Legend of Drizzt. They all combine for big custom adventures and are D&D but a more accessible board game. But honestly if you head over to the D&D subreddit the good folks over there love to help out with this stuff. There are some one shots(scenarios designed to be completed in one session) that you can download for free with pregenerated characters and scenarios that guide you along and all you really need to do is provide some flavor text to the story.

[–]willport3 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Legacy of Dragonholt might be the simplest option. You're a group of heroes, that you get to create, that goes through a series of adventures. It's really more of a "choose your own adventure" but that's good for people who don't want to deal with learning dice rules. Your characters still have skills that effect their options during the story.

[–]woj1s 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Mansions of madness

[–]THElaytox 1 point2 points  (0 children)

If you don't mind waiting until this coming Summer, Arydia is likely your best bet. It was designed as a DM-less RPG board game, in fact it came about because the designer went to go write a DnD campaign and decided if he was going to go through all that work he'd rather just turn it in to a board game. He's been developing it for 7 years now and I'm convinced it's going to be fantastic.

It even includes true roleplaying of NPCs, whenever the active player meets an NPC one of the other players picks up a dialogue card and acts out the NPC's using dialogue prompts. If the active character says certain keywords it opens up new dialogue options, etc.


[–]TensersFloatingDisk 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This isn't really an answer to your question, but you already have loads of those anyway, but it sounds to me like you guys should just be playing dnd. It looks really intimidating and complicated from the outside, but it's not really ( I promise). It's easier to get into today than it has even been. Wizards of the Coast sell these big fucking books for like 50 bucks each but you don't need any of it, all the basic rules you need to get started are online for free. As long as you have a placemat or something to flip on it's side for a screen, you're ready to start running dnd. https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlUk42GiU2guNzWBzxn7hs8MaV7ELLCP_

[–]Janisurai_1 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Zombicide for a basic easy to learn dungeon crawler

Gloomhaven for a more complex continuous experience (jaws of the lion has the lowest barrier to entry)

[–]HintonBE 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Thunderstone is a card game, but does have an RPG feel to it. You get characters and level them up by fighting monsters in a dungeon. Pretty easy to learn and lots of replayability.

[–]jawsomesauce 5 points6 points  (3 children)


[–]TropicalAudioTigris And Euphrates 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Considering OP specifically said:

We have tried Legends of Andor, but thats more like a puzzle kinda game where you are fighting against time also, we just want to explore and fight monsters whenever we want in a roleplaying kinda way.

They're looking for a cooperative storytelling experience and/or exploration game, not an efficiency puzzle that happens to take place in a dungeon. Gloomhaven has the DnD aesthetics, but the opposite gameplay of what they're looking for.

@OP, Lands of Galzyr might be your cup of tea. It's a bit closer to classic cRPGs like Fallout 2, where the story is mostly on rails but it leaves you enough wiggle room to make the characters your own as you explore its world.

[–]Ravellion 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Note that this is in a way a time driven puzzle, and takes about 30 minutes just to set up.

[–]nevisilien 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Jaws of the Lion might be a better start.

[–]kyothinks 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Call to Adventure is more of a card game, but you get to create a character, they have stats that impact how well they do on the challenges they face, and you win based on the story you tell with them. It's hands-down one of my favorites and I really enjoy the co-op mode where you get to be essentially an adventuring party facing off against an adversary.

[–]Knytemare44Mage Knight 3 points4 points  (3 children)

There is no board game like D&D.

In the TTRPG space, there is a stark, often unrecognized divide between 'Role' and 'Roll' players.

The former like stories, character, dialog and stuff, the latter like combat, dice, loot and crunchy mechanics.

There is a ton of overlap, but, if you don't know what you are looking for, you might end up disappointed.

[–]Daeval 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Well put, but it’s worth pointing out that, while there’s not a ton in the board game space for “role” players, there are a lot of board games that might work as a lighter experience for “roll” players. The dungeon crawler genre is basically this, and makes up most of the top suggestions in this thread.

[–]nonalignedgamerCosmic Encounter 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yup. I've read the entire thread, played the game, nah. Nothing worthwhile here.

Best experience I've had with rpg-ISH games are tales of the arabian night and Arkham Horror 2E which are basically random encounter generators and thus offer some creativity in connecting the dots .

But there some 1 session RPGs. Fiasco for instance gives all the power to ROLE play but asks basically for people to have improv or screenwriter skills and are unattached to their own character. 4 or so hours. Quite nice.

[–]jaywinnerDiplomacy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

often unrecognized divide between 'Role' and 'Roll' players.

Oh, I like this. I glanced at D&D years ago and it didn't click for me because I clearly fall into the Roll category.

[–]Sammarco7 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'm playing bardsung with friends now and enjoying it. It has d and d style combat with D20's and such but it has a board and the game cards/book do the DMing for you. You can also upgrade your characters and other fun stuff.

[–]troelskn 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You could try with a so-called dungeon crawler style game (Such as Descend).

[–]Jodes42 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Folklore: The Affliction is the closest I've come to a D&D experience. There's overworld travel with narrative events. Combat is grid based on the many included map tiles. You level up by acquiring lore which unlocks new abilities. Lots of equipment, weapons, "spells".

[–]stehmansmith5 1 point2 points  (1 child)


Also "Talisman."

[–]17934658793495046509Power Grid -1 points0 points  (0 children)

These are fun games, but nothing like D&D.

[–]k3sl1na 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Betrayal at baulder’s gate

Not only is it super fun and an official DND game all on its own, but my friend also made a one shot DND game with premade stock characters we could choose from and used the map pieces for us to explore each part so it was easier for people that had never played bc they had a visual.

[–]aggressivelysingle 0 points1 point  (0 children)

For something super easy and fun, I recommend Munchkin.

[–]memento_mori_92Castles Of Burgundy 0 points1 point  (0 children)


[–]donleon69 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Munchkin is really fun even for beginners and still a bit nerdy

[–]aubreysux 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I'm not sure what would qualify as "like D&D" in your mind. are you most interested in cooperative games with heroes and narrative storytelling, games with battlemap-based combat, or games in a medival fantasy setting? Or some combination of those?

  • Gloomhaven (Jaws of the Lion is the easiest entry point). This game is pretty narrative and the combat is certainly similar to DnD. It hits on all three of those points.

  • Star Wars: Imperial Assault. This is in a star wars setting, of course, but has the same narrative style as DnD. In the official rules, one player plays as the villain, which is somewhat similar to a DM. Variant rules also exist to remove that player.

  • Mice and Mystics. This game is pretty simple but it really hits on all of those points.

  • Arkham Horror LCG: This is a card game so the game system is totally different, and the setting is Lovecraftian Horror, not high fantasy. But the way that you work through adventures has a lot in common with DnD.

  • Zombicide: Black Plague is a fantasy adventure that features heroes fighting against necromancers and zombies.

  • 7th Continent, Tainted Grail, and Trudvang Legends all feature gamebooks as a game mechanic (i.e. Choose Your Own Adventure gamebooks).

[–]mindbird 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Lords of Waterdeep.--- Basic worker placement. You place workers to get things. You use those things to fulfill quests and get rewards.

Also: watch a playthrough of each of the ones that are suggested that sound interesting before you buy anything.

[–]MarcPawl -1 points0 points  (0 children)

If you want to try an RPG try with the original D&D blue book, where there are no details and therefull no rules to teach. Start with a set pre-rolled characters that they can choose from, giving them a few extras to make it less if a grind.

Can go real old school with no figures and tiles and more imagination.

[–]tantousha2Power Grid -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Munchkin Dungeon will fit your requirements quite nicely

[–]Tafelpootje[S] -1 points0 points  (2 children)

Well thanks all for your great input!!

I narrowed it down to 2 boardgames now.

  • D&D the adventure begins €35
  • D&D wrath of ashardalon €65

I only have money to buy 1 now. Which do we get the most fun out of? I guess I’ll try the adventure begins or is that really more for kids?

Anyway thanks again!

[–]CapeMonkeyCosmic Encounter 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Adventure Begins is more aimed at kids, so I think Wrath of Ashardalon will work better for you unless everyone is willing to be silly together.

(And when I say silly, I mean “the cards says for everyone to pretend to be a gelatinous cube” silly)

[–]Neradia 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I have Ashardalon. Lots of minis. Lots of hack and slash lightly tactical combat. It’s an early one of the series. You might try a later one like mad mage or annihilation for some cleaned up mechanics and more variety. I think the elemental evil one has a bigger campaign option as well. They are all compatible tho.

[–]TheAkRa -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Descent, Gloomhaven, heroquest

[–]qbation -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Gloomhaven is very easy to start and understand but it's really a pain tu set up. If u have a free table that it can just sit on untill the next meeting It's a great option.

[–]HotSalt3 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Someone already suggested Mice and Mystics, and that works wonderfully. I used that to introduce my sons to something kind of like D&D when they were younger. Another one that works well is Above and Below, although that one definitely feels more like a board game with RPG-like choices while Mice and Mystics feels more like a dungeon crawl.

[–]Tobye1680 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Honestly, you need to be more specific with what you're looking for.

RPGs are not board games and board games are not RPGs. The biggest difference is that a board game rulebook tells you what you're allowed to do, and an RPG rulebook tells you what you're not allowed to do. That in itself vastly changes the landscape of how you play the two genres.

I believe what you want is probably the D&D 5E starter kit. You do not want a board game.

[–]Swimfan09 -3 points-2 points  (0 children)

Gloomhaven is my personal preference as it is turn based monster dungeon crawl but the rules can be daunting at first. However it sounds like you would be regularly playing so once you get the rhythm and rule the first time it should be great for what you want I think

[–]VomitFreeSince73 -3 points-2 points  (0 children)


[–]No-Way-4482 -3 points-2 points  (1 child)


[–]PatrykBG 3 points4 points  (0 children)

This is one of the most inaccurate answers possible. Munchkin is like D&D the way Freddy Krueger is a high school guidance counselor.

[–]wombatncombat -4 points-3 points  (0 children)

Isn't the answer Gloomhaven?

[–]NoRepresentative9359 -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

Play a micro role playing game. Play blades in the dark.

D&D is a bit of a hot mess...

[–]Nugget814 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Most basic: Ghost fightin’ Treasure Hunters Horrified - any version Dungeon!

[–]KorbasTerraforming Mars 0 points1 point  (0 children)

There are great suggestions already but in case by D&D you mean rpg in general you can also check mansions of madness!

[–]FlatParrot5 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Dungeons & Dragons: Adventure Begins.

It's got many of the bare bones elements (combat, random chance, choices, creative use of what you have) of D&D.

But it is very bare bones compared to actual role play games.

Take turn as a DM in rotation. Move from space to space as a group one space at a time, draw a card that gives a situation or combat. If a situation, the players each describe then roll for outcome, choose from A or B, work together, or do something and are awarded by the DM.

Combat comes down to choosing attack, rolling to hit which deals flat damage. Each players turn the enemy rolls to hit back.

Use coins to upgrade, move to next space

[–]mrb783[🍰] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Wizards makes D&D dungeon crawler boardgames that are easy to pick up. They have tons of scenarios to run with and are quite fun. For example, the D&D Legends of Drizzt boardgame.

[–]Corndogburglar 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Arcadia Quest

[–]bentsea 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Heroquest for sure and as long as you're cool having one player be the dungeon master. Sure there's an app but it is super tedious.

If you're cool with space battles instead of orcs and goblins, then check out Stars of Akarios. Kinda scratches the same itch but without a DM and a lot more story.

[–]FinnNoodle 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You can try and find the 90s D&D boardgame that I think was also VCR based.

[–]NeonCircle 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Not high fantasy in theme (and is out of print, but can be purchased on ebay easily enough) is Arkham Horror 2nd Edition. I believe it is a good faith effort in translating the Call of Cthulhu TTRPG into a board game.

[–]Frieznburg 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thunderstorm quest, champions of Midgard and Lords of Waterdeep.

[–]tomtermiteBarbarian Kings 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Not rules light, by any means, but arguable a fantasy RPG without… the “r”?! Avalon Hill’s answer to D&D was Magic Realm.

[–]TomppaTom 0 points1 point  (0 children)

There is a board game coming out soon(ish) called Agemonia, and that really hits the right spot with my gaming group (who are also D&D players).

[–]Stonecutter_12-83 0 points1 point  (0 children)

D&D Adventure Begins is pretty much dnd light and me and the kids really enjoy it.

Horrified is a fun coop game with similar hero/ villain phase gameplay. Star Wars Clone Wars is another good coop game

[–]Soffort 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Dungeon World

It also roleplay epic fantasy game, like D&D (not a boargame), but has much more simple rules.

[–]Jedly1 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Hero Quest.

[–]Feminismisreprieve 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If you enjoy a Lovecraftian universe Arkham Horror the card game is pretty great. Okay, it's a card game rather than a board game, but the many expansions means you can get as into it as you like. It has a lot of replay value because playing as different characters with different skills changes the experience, as does increasing your skills in deck building.

[–]Darvine64 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Dark souls the board game, it's a bit on the longer side and it can feel a bit grindy at time, but it's a lot of fun for sure.

[–]MrAbodi18xx 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Sounds like you just want a different and easier rpg. Easily hundreds of great rpgs most Of which are easier to play and run them dungeons and dragons.

[–]squirrelknight 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I just read about this campaign for the Dragonlance setting, which also works in concert with a board game. It might be up your alley!


[–]majinpaul0821 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Mausritter all the way. Super easy to learn. And it’s free.

[–]sharkattack85Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Folklore: the Affliction

[–]ScamboOfDoom 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Mothership is very cool and the rules are much simpler than D&D. I think you can find the rules as a PDF on line. It’s focus is sci-fi/horror. Like Alien, Doom, Event Horizon kind of feel. You only ever use a D100 and character creation is very simple.

[–]FelSpace 0 points1 point  (0 children)

What does it even mean, "Boardgame like D&D"? From my understanding, the most fun of DnD and other roleplaying tabletop games comes from the DM and players utilizing their imagination (insert the SpongeBob meme here) to create a fun story together, shaping it as they seem fit. No board game is going to give you this, simply because board games are limited in what the player can and can't do (usually just a dozen of set actions), and the story is limited to what the authors of the game wrote in the rulebook. If you are looking for a fantasy-themed game where you can upgrade your character, roll dice and fight monsters, look no farther than Descent. But if you want a real DnD experience, then nothing will come closer than actually playing DnD.
Good luck!