It's been several months, but The Wife and I finally got a chance to play Wrath of Ashardalon again. In "The Closed Doors", the heroes unwisely decide to investigate a section of the tunnels below Firestorm Peak that are mysteriously closed off. The adventure makes use of the door tokens, which frankly are not particularly interesting. Generally speaking, the heroes wander around until they reveal the Horrid Chamber Entrance tile, at which time they place a beholder (Gauth) and several additional monsters in the Horrid Chamber tiles. The heroes win if they defeat Gauth and those new monsters.
The Wife and I had a strange experience with this adventure. The first two times we tried it, we got massacred, and lost before we even unveiled the Horrid Chamber. Those games were long and featured our heroes getting worn down by enemies and traps with seemingly little to be done about it. We decided to tinker with our strategy just a little in the third game by using four heroes instead of five (by ditching the thief), and, inexplicably, cruised to an easy victory. Not only did we reveal the Horrid Chamber while our heroes were all still in good shape, we defeated Gauth and the new monsters without even using a single Healing Surge. I can't imagine using four heroes instead of five as having made such a big difference, as the game is designed to balance itself for the number of heroes used. All I can point to for the easy win after the two crushing defeats is, perhaps, pure luck; we drew a lot of tiles with white triangles (no encounters), got some very good treasures, and were able to keep the monsters from ganging up on any one hero.
The next adventure looks quite fun, as it's a "campaign" of three mini-adventures strung together . . .