I don't think you're wearing that bandana correctly...

D&D board game, Tomb of Annihilation, appears on Steam

PC/Mac •

While I try to stay on top of all the digital board game happenings out there, I do tend to miss some. Okay, more than some. This one’s not my fault, though. Having never heard of developer BKOM Studios before today, I had no idea they were in the digital board game biz. Thankfully, a reader over at BGG tipped me off that not only are they making board games, but they’ve translated one of the most anticipated dungeon crawlers out there: Tomb of Annihilation.

Tomb of Annihilation is the latest in the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure System series of games, made popular in the early 2010s by games like Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon. Those games used a simplified version of the oft-maligned 4th edition of D&D. Considering that this title is based on a 5th edition campaign, The Tomb of Annihilation, I’m guessing that the mechanics have been updated to match 5th edition’s as well.

It really doesn’t matter much, as the Adventure System boils the RPG down into bite sized chunks that even kids can play without much difficulty. In other words, it focuses more on the “game” part of RPG than the role-playing. Those early games were light on story, offering mostly one-shot dungeons with a hint of continuity. This game seems to offer a more coherent campaign, but one still broken down by individual quests, which all boil down to dungeon crawling in some fashion. It’s kind of like Pathfinder Adventures, but the RPG elements aren’t quite as abstract. Oh, and this one has a board.

While the board game plays up to five players cooperatively, the Steam version is single-player only, allowing one player to control up to four adventures doing all sorts of adventurer type stuff. Casting spells, turning undead, finding traps, bonking baddies are all here in abundance. If you’re bemoaning the single-player aspect, you should know that they have mentioned multiplayer being a possibility in the future. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I don’t see solo play in cooperative games as a negative. That’s just me, though.


  • Unique Quests: The procedural map generation allows every quest to remain unique even when replaying them multiple times.
  • Over 30 Quests: The game features a mix of Main Story quests and Side quests.
  • A board game experience brought to life: The game highlights most of the features from the popular board game, combined with features unique to the digital version.
  • Craft your way to Victory: Collect rare crafting materials. Craft powerful weapons and armors to strengthen your heroes.

If you’re a RPGer who doesn’t have the time to get your fix, or just love the D&D Adventure System games or dungeon crawlers in general, this is a no-brainer. It’s available for both PC and Mac, but BKOM hasn’t ruled out a mobile version at some point down the road. Right now, however, there’s too much going on for tablets to handle. I will say, I just downloaded the Steam version and it is pretty shiny. It’s also currently on sale through October 18, so if you’re thinking of picking Tomb of Annihilation up, now’s the time.

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Notable Replies

  1. I bought this on Day 1 and don’t regret it, since I own the first (2010) and third (2011) board games in the D&D Adventure System series. The devs are very receptive to improving the quality of the product. So if what’s been written here and in the OP pique your interest and you’re not familiar with this series of board games, do yourself a favor and watch some video reviews on BGG. Tom Vasel’s a huge fan of the system, so check out his videos for his reasons why.

    Also, I wouldn’t put much value in the negative Steam reviews. Most were written by those unfamiliar with the series who slam the game for not being what they want it to be (a true D&D RPG) rather than what it is (an adaptation of a D&D board game based on an established and successful system).

  2. How easy is it to get a Steam refund?

    I only ask because I think I’d love to get this game, but I got burned on X-Com 2 that my computer can’t really run it very well. (I decided to just keep it and wait until I do get a new PC)

    For $15 CDN, I’d like to try it, but don’t want to get stuck with it if my computer can’t handle it.

  3. Really wish it were iOS. Here’s hoping the sales are good enough to get the developers thinking of mobile.

  4. As long as you stay within the 2-hour window, you should be fine. Otherwise, it’s up to Steam. But I’ve heard others say they’ve received refunds despite going beyond two hours played. And this game is not as much of a resource ogre as XCOM 2, as far as I’ve seen.

  5. That’s good. When you say “2 hours,” do you mean 2 hours played or 2 hours after download?

    Because I think I would know immediately before 2 hours played. :slight_smile:

  6. Played, as listed in your Steam Library for the game. :slight_smile:

  7. Thanks for bringing this my attention! I own Legend of Drizzzt, but don’t get to play it much. This may help quell my thirst for a dungeon crawl.

  8. I had been thinking about getting the board game, but dang, this looks tempting.
    (I own the Temple of Elemental board game, but haven’t had a chance to break it out yet)

    @Whovian223 : If it helps, system requirements are:
    Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.3 GHz
    Memory: 4 GB RAM
    Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560, 1024 MB
    DirectX: Version 10

  9. Sorry, should have chimed in.

    Downloaded it and greatly enjoying it!

  10. A forum member from another site just asked me if I’m enjoying the game. Here’s my reply:

    I am, but the devs added LoS rules in lieu of the Targeting system explained in the board game’s rule book. The Targeting system is the core foundation upon which the hero powers and monsters operate. So either the devs misunderstood how Targeting works, or made a conscious decision to replace it with traditional LoS.

    If you’re considering purchasing it and enjoy the board game series upon which this one is based (the fifth and latest in the series), I’d hold off until the devs make a decision on their LoS system. They’re currently discussing it and said there will be a patch to address it in a few days. We’ll see.

  11. I also hope they add the ability to transfer equipment found.

    I think in the board game, when you find something, you can give it to somebody? Hate having to drop something because my inventory is full when another guy hardly has anything

  12. Just out of curiosity, how does this game handle dice rolls? Are they visible?

  13. Currently, no; rolls are listed in the on-screen log. But it’s been suggested by many in the community and the devs have taken note.

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