I only played a couple of games, but all with 3 players total (so 2 heroes and a Overlord). I was on the heroes side. So far, we played the intro scenario and the fat goblin (not sure of the name, but the one with the 4 hostages). The OL made a mistake by overpowering his troops in both scenarios by reading the 3 players setup, but we still managed to win both, altough by a edge.
FFG create great games, i own AGOT the boardgame and war of the rings 1rst ed and Warrior knights and my friend own Descent. But they have a reputation for having problem with game balances (budget cut in playtesting ?), so i was not sure about balance in this game, but i think Descent balance is good enough.
What helped my cause :
1- a bit of luck. In the fat goblin scenario, the OL was moving the 3rd hostage when we won. So if by any luck he would have found the hostage on his first two tries, obviously, he would have won. My friend who play the OL rerun this scenario a second time with another group and he told me he won easily, but the first hostage he moved was the good one. So there is a luck factor that can give a edge to either the heroes or the OL.
2 - I have a really big experience as a RPG master and player. So i know a few things on min/max. In RPG (like the d20 system), some classes are more powerful, but the role play aspect create the balance. But in a competitive board game with no role play, where you cant "perform" or "bluff" your way out of a situation, min/maxing powers combination and party combination is very important. In d&d, the cleric is one of the powerful classes who can fight, cast and heal and Descent is no exception, so i convinced my heroe partner, a experienced board gamer but who never played any tabletop rpg, to play the cleric and i think i was right from what i saw. And i knew beside him, a "blaster" (a mage) would be a must. Altough i changed after for the ranger for flavour, but i had a easier time with the mage to be honest. So i am one of those that think that a bad heroe combination can give a edge to the OL. A thief/ranger combination in a 2 player game is hard to play. So in that sense, giving 4 heroes to two players give more chance to have a good combination, i have to agree with you. At two players, you have to choose very wisely your combination.
3 - As in all games with cards effect that you draw on a random basis, the balance is always hard to evaluate. Except for games like Dominion where everybody take their cards on the same source, games with effects cards make games really unpredictable. there will always be this one or two killer unbalanced card in a deck and a lucky OL will draw them. But thats my opinion on game with cards.
4- i switched one scenario with my friend to do the OL and borrowed the game to run it with my rpg group and i won all of my 3 games, but by a edge everytime. I must admit, i found it a little easier to be the OL, but not much. I had very good hands of cards everytime.
Overall, i think its not perfect, luck and cards can change a game, but i find it pretty much balanced. Everytime, the winner had it by a edge. I agree that with 2 heroes, the choice of characters is very important and that some combination give better chances. So experienced rpg in min/max will understand how to get the best out of this. But i am still pretty impressed with balance on this game, something that FFG usually have problems with in other board games.
Edited by louisloua, 12 August 2013 - 09:23 PM.