Review of DnD Adventure Club: The Wilds Trilogy, a set of tabletop RPG stories for kids!
Check out my previous review of DnD Adventure Club too!
I’ll reference it throughout the article too, but I reviewed the DnD Adventure Club Quickstart Guide and Adventure 001 here about a year ago too! Check it out for core mechanics and system info, and check out below for info on the club’s adventures! I cover Adventures 010 – 012 below!
DnD Adventure Club aimed at kids ages 8-12+ (but also OK for younger kids)
DnD Adventure Club is geared at kids ages 8 through 12+, though it does say on their site that kids as young as 5 could also enjoy it, and I played this most recent set of adventures with my kid (4yo). He does need help with reading, but he handled the mechanics and the stories very well!
You can find out more about how the quickstart guide simplified and condensed the core D&D 5e rules into 9 pages and how it simplified the DM side in my previous review here.
With regards to the adventures, there’s mechanics set up for both combat and non-combat approaches and a significant focus on exploration, social situations, and solving puzzles or mechanics. This variety kept my kid engaged, and allowed me ways to modulate the content to match his interests and comfort level.
DnD Adventure Club’s exciting trilogy settings
The DnD Adventure Club books come in sets, with every three books forming a temed trilogy. Each one is set in a different area or with a different theme, but they are also still linked (so you can keep your same characters to make this one big campaign). So far, the following sets of adventures have been released:
- The Goblin Trilogy
- The Small Trilogy
- The Cheese Trilogy
- The Wild Trilogy
I reviewed the Wild Trilogy with my kid, and we had a great time trying out all three stories. Having books in sets of three allowed us to run a little bit of a campaign with linked elements, but without having to remember big long stretched out stories and details.
The Wild Trilogy is set in a wooded area with the party searching for a missing prince! Players will need to prepare for their trip, survive in the wilds, and manage traps. There’s gnolls, bandits, and critters throughout the woods along with ruins full of treasure and puzzles. There was great variety in the content, and it was all fluidly linked to create a consistent story.
Your character in DnD Adventure Club
You have a couple options with your characters in DnD Adventure Club: you can either use the premade characters or you can make your own using classic D&D! This gives your kids an opportunity to jump right in with a premade option or the freedom to come up with their own characters!
For either, the character sheet is reformatted and simplified versus D&D 5e to make it easier for kids and new players to read and track.
Each DnD Adventure Club book includes an additional pre-made character for your kids to choose and swap into the party. For The Wild Trilogy, these new characters included a bard, ranger, and starlight cleric to add to your character options!
The back of the pre-made character sheets also include detailed explanations like “how to pick a pocket” or easy to understand descriptions of spells so players can feel comfortable with the character’s specific mechanics too. You don’t need to look up spells from another book either – it’s all on this one sheet for easy reference.
DnD Adventure Club introducing new mechanics elements over time
I cover the core mechanics of DnD Adventure Club here in my previous article, so for this review, I want to focus on some of the new mechanics that were introduced.
Surviving the wilds
Adventure 010 of DnD Adventure Club, The Trouble in the Wild, has survival mechanics along with a fun random encounters table full of non-combat encounters for if players fail their survival checks.
I particularly liked this new mechanic from the standpoint of training a new game leader or DM. DnD Adventure Club is intended for kids to be able to play or DM (and swap roles each week), so gradually introducing new mechanics to the DM, in addition to the players, is a great way to build up game skills as well.
The players are probably only going to hear a request for a survival role and then get the random encounter that the DM’s rolled behind the screen. To the DM though, they now know that they can ask for this type of roll and have random encounter tables in their “tool belt” to use in future games that they make on their own. Because it was introduced in a very fluid way in the game without other new mechanics cluttering the process, it is pretty easy to pick up and be able to use on the first try as well.
Introducing headstart points
Headstart points are introduced in Adventure 012, Blackfang’s Revenge, as the party has to sneak past and flee from a group of teritorial gnolls!
This new mechanic is explained within the context of the game and all of the tools needed to try it out are available too. There’s multiple phases to this sneak and chase scene where players earn or lose points by completing a series of skill tests, challenges, and decisions as they escape the wilds. If they get down to zero points, the gnolls catch up to the group!
First, this was a really exciting mechanic to run with my kid – every situation faced had importance and he was jumping with anticipation at pretty much every roll.
Second, this mechanic was beautifully introduced. It lays out within one paragraph how to run headstart points and then walks the DM and players through the process by actually using them. It’s very much a learn-by-doing introduction that felt very natural and added another awesome tool to the adventure creation tool belt.
What did my kid think about DnD Adventure Club?
My kid really liked having a series to play through that linked events from one story to the next. Because we try out so many games, and because my kid is 4yo and can’t take notes yet, we typically run very modular adventures that don’t really build plot elements on each other too much. This DnD Adventure Club trilogy though was a perfect balance of having material tie together between sessions and having that lore be manageable and memorable without needing significant note-keeping.
Like I said before too, my kid REALLY enjoyed the headstart points mechanics – there was a lot of excitement there, and he was very vested in what would happen with every roll.
He (and I) also thought that The Objector was really funny – there’s a magical sword that can be found in the ruins in Adventure 011, and this sword… It heals and also questions players whenever they want to fight. This was A LOT of fun, and he’s asked for this sword to come back in future games too.
Overall impression of DnD Adventure Club
I love the DnD Adventure Club books and I am very glad that, a full year after launch, they are still making awesome adventures and that the quality has kept up. The art and adventure style is great, and there’s new interesting mechanics and characters always being introduced to keep things interesting and for teaching the game via practice.
The adventures in The Wilds Trilogy were a lot of fun and offered a great combination of variety and continuous storytelling that I honestly think my kid is ready to handle now, and this helped me to see that.
I also had the pleasure to work with the creators of DnD Adventure Club to bring their game to families at Dallas Fan Expo! We introduced kids to D&D for the first time using the quickstart guide and The Cheese Trilogy, and I look forward to hearing about more of their adventures getting out there for kids to try!
Where to find DnD Adventure Club:
DnD Adventure Club can be found here on the game’s website.
Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions, tried out DnD Adventure Club because of this post, or have played the DnD Adventure Club games before!Also make sure to subscribe to the TTRPGkids monthly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest reviews, tips and tricks, game and podcast list updates, and more! Thank you for playing tabletop RPGs with your kids and sharing this awesome hobby with the next generation!
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