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Point of winning quests and a feeling of accomplishment


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#1 jamesmuia

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 11:03 AM

Hi everyone.

 

I ordered Descent and I've been doing a lot of reading while I wait for the game to arrive. I'm excited to start playing with my girlfriend. I am an original owner of Hero Quest and its expansions, and consider it my all time favorite board game. However I've read a lot about Descent, and it seems like a lot of fun, with a whole lair of underlining strategy involved to win each quest.

 

My question is basically what is the point of winning quests if you win the finale? Since you gain experience even for losing a quest, it would seem that you could still win the finale. So here you are, the OL pitted against the heroes and vice versa, and it seems there's very little incentive to "win" a quest. A sub question to this would be do heroes keep their gold they gained in a quest even if they lose it?

 

In my mind I had a few ideas of changing the rules (granted I have not played the game yet, so it may be to early to judge) so that it would make questing and winning more meaningful.

 

For instance, let's say losers of a quest do not gain experience, but they keep any gold obtained. On top of this, what if, the campaign finale was just 1 round, which didn't mean the end, and another campaign starts for the heroes to push back the OL from world domination. If anyone has played the recent computer game XCOM Enemy Uknown, you'll understand what I'm talking about where countries pull out of the project and you lose their support. Basically world domination from aliens. What if the OL wins the finale, he gets just a little bit closer to world domination, but he has not "won" yet. Campaign #2 starts, each with separate quests. If the OL wins again, maybe he's 50 or 75% close to world domination. 

 

You could make this go longer if you wanted, or shorter. Maybe it would be 3 campaigns of OL winning to "Dominate" the world, thus winning completely. If the heroes win a campaign, they "push back" the OL and his minions, and thus "good" gain back a percentage of the world. Continued campaign finale winnings would mean the heroes would finally surround the OL and kill him off completely. This in my mind, sounds like a lot of fun. Each campaign would need different quests, so you would probably need all of the expansions and/or quests that people have created using the Descent creator. The cool thing about this is that you could start the first campaign with quests that are within a dungeon setting, but as the OL wins the first finale, he emerges outside of the dungeons, and the second campaign has the heroes pitted against the OL in forests, swamps, etc. Again, just speculating, but it seems like you could really make this seem as if the world is changing after each campaign.

 

There's probably quite a few details I'm missing, as far as equipment, skills, and so forth, but I'm curious if anyone's ever tried to do something like this to make winning more meaningful. To make it a real challenge not only to win quests but to feel a big "accomplishment" when you win the finale.


Edited by jamesmuia, 27 November 2013 - 11:10 AM.


#2 Robin

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 11:21 AM

The main source of pleasure - as for many games - is playing Descent.

Trying to win is a way to honour your opponents, but (most of) the fun occurs before the final result.

JMO YMMV


An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.
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#3 SolennelBern

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 12:02 PM

Yeah it's one of those games where the road to the finale is as important as the finale itself.  One side could lose all the quests and still win the Finale and be declared the winners!

 

One piece of advice that I think is the most important thing to look out when playing D2E: Find the right players!

 

What I mean by that is you want to play with friends that love to play games and that are prepared and can handle losing many quests in a row.  Be it the OL or the Heroes.  Plus, the Heroes group should be in a coop state of mind so it's more fun for them as they feel part of a group of adventurers and more fun for the Overlord seeing them having a blast and ultimately destroy their plans in the most clever ways possible.  It's a great satisfying moment when you think all is lost and then grab the win!

 

As an example i'm currently the OL in a new campaign.  I have a group of 4 Heroes each with it's own behavior and mentality.

- Player 1: My best friend who is a great gamer, a teaser and a templayer.

- Player 2: My brother who is the quiet type and will lose interest after too many bad rolls and bad lucks

- Player 3: The Loner who always delcares "It's my turn now!", don't teamplay at all and will often slow down the group by blocking LOS of 2 or more Heroes and laughing or by trying to kill monsters when they urgently need to find the key

- Player 4: The Negative who bashes the games when he rolls bad or when he's not winning

- Player 5: Me the thin-skinned Overlord that get moody the more he's teased 

 

A most varied group that is best for the OL.  I'm alone on my dark throne and I don't even have to do anything since I have "my special agent" (player 3) working for me hahahahh.  What I don't like about it is some moments will drop the overall mood of the evening, especially when Player 3 do his stuff and put the rest of the group in a wierd spot.

 

So having the right group is really important for the immersion.  Take the group above, if only they were working as a team it would be a lot more fun for them even though you still have the Loner who doesn't care and the Negative who critisize every rules.

 

If you're playing with good friends that like to have a good time playing a great game you won't have any troubles and your campaign will be a blast.  The most important thing: Have fun and roll dice!


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#4 kerred

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 12:21 PM

My question is basically what is the point of winning quests if you win the finale?

 

Its somewhat noticable when the heroes win.  Heroes winning quests gets them better stuff for the finale, as the Overlord losing quests gets better stuff for the finale.  That extra experience or that cool new Shield of the Dark God from winning a quest may come in really really handy.  From a gameplay standpoint, its building up sides to an epic finale, but making sure both sides still have a chance, even if one side lost all the time.

 

I think the main reason for winning/losing quests is just so the campaign feels different every time you play with different outcomes (I felt naked not having the Bones of Woe like I did in the last campaign).

 

Do heroes keep gold?

Heroes keep gold each quest, just like Hero Quest.  But unlike Hero Quest's [somewhat odd] rules, heroes share the gold.  When the heroes go shopping for items in between quests, they can discuss what they should buy and who gets what, if anything.   

Tip: It may be good to make sure each hero gets something at some point, so that each hero gets their moment in the spotlight instead of being suck with default gear every week :)

 

As for your XCOM-like variant (I love XCOM), I like the idea.  Didn't Descent: 1st Edition's Road to Legend have a campaign similiar to that?  Where it was more of a slow domination than it was the 2nd edition's building up to a finale? 

 

I suggest thinking up of a framework for that variant before you play Descent (so playing the game will not restrict your thinking), then maybe go back to the variant after you play the campaign to see how it will influence or change your original design.

 

Regardless, like Hero Quest when I was 10, I use Descent more as a 'toolkit' to create my own game [Descent Cataclysm] than as a game itself. 


Edited by kerred, 27 November 2013 - 12:22 PM.


#5 Kunzite

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 01:55 PM

I have to agree that trying to win in honor of all players. It's not as fun if one side is sacking the game for one reason or another. Any reward for winning is much better then losing. In some ways I feel this is very true for the Overlord character. This player can ALWAYS become more powerful in some way, shape or form. After a campaign where I, the Overlord, won three out of 10 quests, I still had everything I needed to win the final, and did. This whole thing about winning and losing a vast number of quests and still coming back is still very true. The same is true for the heroes. In our first campaign I won most of the first half and the heroes made a come back in act two and cleaned house on the final.

 

You play descent and aim to win the quests for the sake of playing and trying to win and making lots of noise with friend you like hanging out with. Whether you play a nefarious evil or a rag-tag general do-good-ers, the game is about being against outstanding odds and coming out in one peice in the end.

 

My final note is to complement SolennelBern's. Having a group of level headed, joy loving friends that all know this is a game is the best. Nothing is more frustrating then being in a group where someone is truly not enjoying it. Next to that is the sore loser. In the end, all players need to be willing to except that their buddy(s) across the table was in the game that night.

 

On the same note, the Overlord character MUST have a thick skin. When the Overlord wins they win by them selves and sometimes celebrating seems really... odd when the rest of the room is kicking dirt. Rarely does the group want to go to him and tell him what an awesome guy he is. After all, you threw down the shining light of hope! And when he loses, he loses on his own. No one is there to tell him "hey, next time you should try this." or "remember when this happened? Don't do that again, but rather-" You have to figure that all out on your own. I do pretty good most of the time, but I have to say three wins out of 10 was waring on me there for a while, but in the end I am glad I had not won more then that.

 

And most of the time is all comes down to the dice. You will ALWAYS miss when you need the hit to land so your awesome plan you have brewed will come to light. Your advisory will always roll three shield when you need them to roll two. And that one time you need 5 range, you will get two. Expect it. Don't get mad. Unless your adversary already has this in the bag, there is always, ALWAYS a plan b. Look for it.

 

I really hope you enjoy it. I know my group does. And often my bo and I will play. He takes four heroes and I take the Overlord and fun was enjoyed by all. Even if I did win the opening quest x.x

 
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#6 SolennelBern

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 02:17 PM

Kunzite, i'd LOVE to pay descent with you lol!  Looks like were on the same page most of the time and we're both enjoying being OL and burning those pesky Heroes.

 

I never thought i'd like the OL role but I do, in victory as in defeat.  I like the dynamic that one player can overcome the pression and teamwork of four.  It's an awesome feeling!

 

The best games I had was those quests where it's so tight that you never know who is gonna win.  What's magical about those moments is that EVERYONE is jumping in joy when the deed is done, the winner AND the loser.

 

That's the really reward.


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#7 jamesmuia

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 04:03 PM

These are some great responses. Growing up I never really had any friends that liked board games as much as I did. Most of the time I played Hero Quest by myself, playing both sides which I'm sure you all agree is not very fun at all. I just started getting back into board games, and my girlfriend loves them as much as I do. We are both people who play to win, but aren't "sore losers" so I feel like the game will be fun for us. Perhaps we can get more people involved so I appreciate your responses involving other players.

 

I guess the issue for me is that the game rewards both parties even though one side lost the quest. I agree that if you go on a quest you should gain experience and gold/items that you've acquired along the way, that just makes sense. I feel like the way the game is set up, there's no real point to complete a quest since you gain experience and keep what you as the heroes have acquired anyway. Now if you can earn new skills, find a new spell, or acquire an artifact you can sell or use down the road, (insert other things like this) then that is worth winning a quest over. I'll have to read the quests to see what the rewards are if there are any. Don't get me wrong, I WILL enjoy playing the game, win or lose I will enjoy the experience. That is not really the point of this.

 

It just makes more sense to me to add some sort of additional mechanic to the game, where "winning" a quest matters, and can affect the way the campaign is completed. I don't know enough about the game mechanics yet to speculate what this could be, but here's a few random ideas that came to mind. 

 

NOTE: This may be the stupidest thing you've heard, or a neat idea, who knows. I just like using my imagination along with these games at times.

 

What if the heroes found a map in a quest (such as an OL battle plan map) which leads to a hidden quest the heroes can take next (or skip it). This quest could lead the heroes to a mountain pass which requires them to buy horses at 25g each or something like that to even get there. While the cost to go on this quest is high for the heroes and they may have to sacrifice buying equipment; they could have a chance to ambush one of the OL's lieutenants. Maybe the lieutenant has an encampment or something and the heroes have a chance to attack him. If killed, the lieutenant is discarded from the campaign. This could be a quest entirely created by the quest creator.

 

So while the OL won the last quest, the heroes still may have picked up the battle plan map and can choose to go on that hidden quest which if won removes that particular lieutenant from the OL's campaign completely. This brings an entirely new aspect to the game as now the OL has to not only try to complete his objective, but keep the heroes from finding his battle plans. You could of course substitute the lieutenant for something else or come up with something completely different but you get the idea.

 

On the flip side for the OL, what if a hero discovered a device created by the OL that teleports them out of the dungeon. Do the heroes continue without him, or do they go on a quest to find him? Perhaps a clue is left as to where the hero was teleported, but it will cost an item from the heroes deck to find the exact location.

 

Adding a scenario like this in each quest, one positive for both the heros and OL could make the campaign feel more interesting. "Remember that time so-so got teleported to the dungeon of "blah blah" and we had to sacrifice our armor to follow her through it?"

 

There's a lot of RPG's out there where to get to the end boss you usually have to become stronger, gain better equipment and skills, and continue through the story. While doing this, you also lose equipment, sell it for better equipment, and also have discussions with your companions where they may disagree with your decisions, and ask for your help with a quest of their own.

 

Reaching the end boss is usually done by defeating sub bosses and hordes of monsters following them which lead you to other sub bosses or target locations. Only when all the sub-bosses/locations are defeated do you get the chance to confront the main boss/evil. By coming up with ideas like this, you are making the finale even more interesting because your decisions have helped weaken or strengthen the OL.

 

This is probably the point where you go and tell me to play some D&D :) But seriously just food for thought. I'm not a big fan of 100% imaginative, but combining some imagination with a board game is always interesting.



#8 Steve-O

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 09:47 PM

As for your XCOM-like variant (I love XCOM), I like the idea.  Didn't Descent: 1st Edition's Road to Legend have a campaign similiar to that?  Where it was more of a slow domination than it was the 2nd edition's building up to a finale?



Not really. There was only one campaign, one plot, like D2E. It just took much longer to play a campaign start to finish. Aside from the Overlord's evil plot cards, which only advanced in small steps as he bought them, there wasn't much of a story either. People may say D2E is not story-heavy, but it's a huge step up from D1E in that regard.

The advancement was broken into three "Acts" instead of two; copper, silver, and gold based on the method of dividing treasure levels in D1E. There was also an option for the OL to advance individual monster groups to "Diamond" level (at a significant price) so that those monsters would always be one step ahead of the heroes' gear.

However, one of the best OL tactics was to go for a quick win by razing the central city of Tamalir. It was often observed that IF the heroes made it to the final battle, they would probably win it, and the campaign.

#9 Kunzite

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 07:48 AM

Jamesmuia, I really think you will like the small expansions that feature hidden passages for gold (but at a price!) and the ability for the OL to reveal an hidden plot, if you will, to force the heroes into more quests. I strongly recommend you going through Shadow Rune before adding more content, but I think that might be a little something you might be itching for. It's not quite like what you described, but close to it.

 

 

SolennelBern: ^.^ If I am in Canada at any point I will try to look you up. I'm all over the USA, so you do the same. It does seem our play styles might be very close.


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#10 rfisha

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 03:19 PM

I have been toying with the idea to put some house rules in to try to encourage the win. What I have been thinking is that heroes cannot save gold beyond the next shop phase if they didn't win the quest. In addition items can only be sold for 24g each rather than half. Maybe even a simpler rule that heroes only receive half the amount of gold if they didn't win the quest would work too.

#11 rfisha

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 03:20 PM

*25g ! Curse my stubby fingers

#12 Kunzite

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 04:36 PM

*25g ! Curse my stubby fingers

 

Curse you, one gold! The Bow of the Sky would have been mine!!!


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#13 griton

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 10:11 AM

Jamesmuia, I think you'll definitely find what you're looking for once you start to see all of the actual quest content.

 

  • Experience isn't the only reward. In the base game, every quest (except for the very first one) has additional rewards for the victor. Sometimes it's a Relic that goes to whoever won the quest, sometimes it's just more gold and/or XP, and sometimes it's a new ability or quest option.
  • A big part of winning a quest is the ability to choose the next quest. Not every quest is balanced down the middle: some lean a bit toward a hero win, some lean toward the overlord, and some will depend on the hero party composition (e.g. if a quest requires the heroes to perform Might and Awareness tests, a party high in those stats will do well, and a party low in those stats will do poorly). Heroes are also relatively weak early in an Act and stronger later in the Act while an Overlord's growth is slower during each Act, but makes a significant jump as soon as you hit Act II. So even if you don't know the specifics of each quest, you may want to look at the rewards and just base it on relative power. e.g. Heroes may want to avoid chasing relics early on because it's more likely the Overlord will end up with it (if you don't do the quest, nobody gets it).

I think you'll also find a bit of what you're looking for story-wise from the Travel cards from the base game and Rumor quests that come with the small-box expansions (Lair of the Wyrm and Trollfens). The travel cards introduce minor story elements with a small amount of gameplay that happens right before each quest (a traveling salesman, attacks requiring attribute tests, etc.). The Rumor cards are something that the Overlord can choose to play that either affect the heroes or open up new quest possibilities (though these don't provide XP, they do often offer up Relics). Though it's possible that the Overlord may play one that he really wants to play, but if the heroes keep winning quests, they may choose to avoid it entirely.



#14 rfisha

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 04:22 PM

Jamesmuia, I think you'll definitely find what you're looking for once you start to see all of the actual quest content.

 

  • Experience isn't the only reward. In the base game, every quest (except for the very first one) has additional rewards for the victor. Sometimes it's a Relic that goes to whoever won the quest, sometimes it's just more gold and/or XP, and sometimes it's a new ability or quest option.
  • A big part of winning a quest is the ability to choose the next quest. Not every quest is balanced down the middle: some lean a bit toward a hero win, some lean toward the overlord, and some will depend on the hero party composition (e.g. if a quest requires the heroes to perform Might and Awareness tests, a party high in those stats will do well, and a party low in those stats will do poorly). Heroes are also relatively weak early in an Act and stronger later in the Act while an Overlord's growth is slower during each Act, but makes a significant jump as soon as you hit Act II. So even if you don't know the specifics of each quest, you may want to look at the rewards and just base it on relative power. e.g. Heroes may want to avoid chasing relics early on because it's more likely the Overlord will end up with it (if you don't do the quest, nobody gets it).

I think you'll also find a bit of what you're looking for story-wise from the Travel cards from the base game and Rumor quests that come with the small-box expansions (Lair of the Wyrm and Trollfens). The travel cards introduce minor story elements with a small amount of gameplay that happens right before each quest (a traveling salesman, attacks requiring attribute tests, etc.). The Rumor cards are something that the Overlord can choose to play that either affect the heroes or open up new quest possibilities (though these don't provide XP, they do often offer up Relics). Though it's possible that the Overlord may play one that he really wants to play, but if the heroes keep winning quests, they may choose to avoid it entirely.

 

In theory those points are valid, in reality they are pretty minor.  It all comes down to the finale and with beefed up ACT 2 items you have the best shot.  I agree some relics are worth winning for, but it most cases winning is secondary to getting treasure.  Quest choice is an advantage, but I believe heroes would rather play the finale of the OL's choice with top weaponary than their own choice.

I found this is not the case with LoTR so much as the OL's finale sways so much more in favour of the overlord - especially with Queen Ariad if they won the web of power.  If the heroe's don't win quests things will come back to bite them (having splig and Queen Ariad in the Finale rerally hurt, the OL also can possess the hero players ally in a quest as well) 



#15 Kunzite

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 10:26 PM

I found this is not the case with LoTR so much as the OL's finale sways so much more in favour of the overlord - especially with Queen Ariad if they won the web of power.  If the heroe's don't win quests things will come back to bite them (having splig and Queen Ariad in the Finale rerally hurt, the OL also can possess the hero players ally in a quest as well) 

 

First off, I think the heroes have a grand advantage for winning in SR. The best reward for the heroes is not gold or relics, but depriving the OL of his extra exp. Some may argue with that, but my heroes fear my deck when I get new toys. With the advent of Plot decks, that extra exp also means threat.

 

As for LoR, I would agree. Rewards for the OL for extra exp is more frequent. At the end of act one I was holding 2 level one, 1 level three, and, at the end of the interlude, my level three class card. I only won one quest. I was also packing the Sun Stone. Two more wins in act II meant a swing of power. (Though I know the swing of power will be different due to the fact that I am not running with full Warlord ever again)

 

The power creep for the OL is different then for the heroes. Slow steps, but powerful.

 

Guess it all comes down to play style and temperament of players. Some just like the gold rush. I would be alright with that. Swimming in Relics and exp sounds fantastic to me.


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#16 rfisha

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 11:49 PM

 

I found this is not the case with LoTR so much as the OL's finale sways so much more in favour of the overlord - especially with Queen Ariad if they won the web of power.  If the heroe's don't win quests things will come back to bite them (having splig and Queen Ariad in the Finale rerally hurt, the OL also can possess the hero players ally in a quest as well) 

 

First off, I think the heroes have a grand advantage for winning in SR. The best reward for the heroes is not gold or relics, but depriving the OL of his extra exp. Some may argue with that, but my heroes fear my deck when I get new toys. With the advent of Plot decks, that extra exp also means threat.

 

As for LoR, I would agree. Rewards for the OL for extra exp is more frequent. At the end of act one I was holding 2 level one, 1 level three, and, at the end of the interlude, my level three class card. I only won one quest. I was also packing the Sun Stone. Two more wins in act II meant a swing of power. (Though I know the swing of power will be different due to the fact that I am not running with full Warlord ever again)

 

The power creep for the OL is different then for the heroes. Slow steps, but powerful.

 

Guess it all comes down to play style and temperament of players. Some just like the gold rush. I would be alright with that. Swimming in Relics and exp sounds fantastic to me.

 

 

We play random heroes so winning the campaign and 'balance' is not the problem, its more the motivation to win quests.  I absolutely hope plot decks change this.  We had a really close competive game with LoTR - 5 games 6 with the overlord winning and that was due to victory in the web of power quest and getting the preferred finale & velandra's bane.  Awesome, awesome campaign.

I have found with SR once the heroes get their ACT II equipment even the power of Warlord Overlord cards were hard to stop them.  Of course randomness plays a big part, but it is better to sacrifice winning quests and getting the big guns for ACT II IMO.  Haven't played SR with Plots yet, but I can really see these creating some motivation






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