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Feb 2012 GTM Magazine Article


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#1 Dark Young

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 02:43 PM

For those of you who don't read GTM (Game Trade Magazine) they had an ad/article by FFG in their February issue about Descent Second Edition. Not a ton of new information, but here some points I found interesting, anything in italics is my speculation:

9 monster types

As opposed to having to remember status effects from tokens (which there will still be) you'll also receive a card with the rules for the effect. (Ex. Stunned card reads: Exhaust: Discard this card. This is the only Exhaust you may perform on your turn while you have this card.) Hooray for not having to remember what you have to roll on a die to get rid of a burn or bleed token or having to scour the books for the rule!

Turn markers are now replaced with a turn order card that has Heroes turn procedure on one side and the Overlords on the other.

There will be 20 quests, most divided into two encounters (Encounters = Two map setups?)

These quests can be played individually or as a campaign called: The Shadow Rune

Quote about campaign mode: "The emphasis on narrative, coupled with the campaign's many possible plot branches, creates the feeling of a living breathing Terrinoth" (Are we looking at something like the overlord making decisions in the set up like the Keeper in Mansions of Madness for campaign mode?)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

We already know that there are four classes with 2 archetypes each. Here's some text for Knight and Berserker class cards for the Warrior archetype:

Knight: Shield Slam: While to have a Shield equipped (even if exhausted), all of your attacks with a Melee weapon gain: Surge: A single monster of your choice adjacent to you is Stunned.

Berserker: Whirlwind: Exhaust: You may perform an attack with a Melee weapon against all adjacent monsters. You make 1 attack roll; each monster rolls its own defense dice separately. (I hope the rules specify who gets to decide what order they defend in.)

For campaign mode the Overlord will also choose a class. Ex. Saboteur: a master or traps. (Can we assume there will be a master of creature's class and a master of spells/events class like the advancement in RTL?) 

There WILL be a Curse of the Monkey God!

Lastly, the article lists the game as available March 2012.

I hope this info was helpful, please excuse my poor structuring of information and my use of the word "Exhaust" in place of their arrow card turning symbol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#2 Frog

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 04:02 PM

Very interesting details!  Glad to see Curse of the Monkey God is still there!  And yes, I think you are right that it sounds like their are still avatars so they will probably still sell metal minis for that.

9 classes of monsters and 38 monster figures.  So maybe 3 or 4 of each with some having 1 or two for the bigger baddies.

20 quests sounds like a lot, but if each quest is 1 hour than that is about half the adventure you got out of the original base set.  But the images for the quest cards looked like the story was dynamic and would change based on skill checks etc. so I think they will be fun to play multiple times.  But the way it is worded these might be really short.  It almost sounds like how they describe stuff in D&D 4E where an encounter is a battle.  If so, then those quests don't sound very big.

I'm expecting mini Print on Demand expansions like they have done for Mansions of Madness.  I don't know if that is a good or a bad thing yet.  It could be cool if the branching story-system is any good.

I hope they still do big-box expansions with tons of plastic!

I'm hoping there is some kind of overworld map like Road to Legend.

Changing all effects to cards and orders to cards is pretty cool!

While the game is still listed as "At the Printer", the release now says Quarter 2.  So it will hit sometime between April and early summer.



#3 alaterra

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 08:11 PM

GTM #144 - Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition

Last year at Gen Con 2011, Fantasy Flight Games announced Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition, the updated version of its classic dungeon-delving board game. This all-new presentation of the popular title maintains the core experience fans enjoy: an epic semi-cooperative adventure in which brave heroes venture into dangerous caves, ancient ruins, dark dungeons, and cursed forests to battle monsters, earn riches, and attempt to stop the evil overlord from carrying out his vile plot.


However, many loyal Descent fans may be wondering exactly how Second Edition differs from its predecessor. While it’s difficult to succinctly list the differences between the first and second editions of Descent (since so many of the enhancements are subtle), here are just a few highlights:


• Players can enjoy single-session scenarios, or they can experience the included campaign rules with its branching story arcs.
• A new character advancement system offers more control than ever before. Whether hero or overlord, players can choose a character subclass and spend experience on unique abilities.
• Second Edition’s eight heroes and nine monster types are all totally new, promising a Descent experience like none before. Of course, players wishing to transfer their existing figures to Second Edition have only to pick up the convenient Conversion Kit!

~ Accessible rules, engaging stories ~

Newcomers, however, will appreciate Second Edition’s emphasis on accessibility. In fact, one of the chief goals in the development of Second Edition was to create a game that anyone could jump into with little preparation or explanation. In short, you needn’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of the rules, or even reference the rules very often, to fully enjoy the Second Edition experience.


How is this achieved? In part, the answer is as simple as the presentation of certain helpful bits of information. In the first edition, for example, each hero player would flip a token upon the completion of his actions, to indicate that his turn was over for the round. In Second Edition, these tokens have been replaced by cards, and these cards list the heroes’ turn procedure on one side and the overlord’s on the other. Likewise, conditions (like poisoned or stunned) are handled with cards as well as tokens, and the cards display everything a player needs to know at a glance. Such enhancements may seem simple, but these are just a few examples that add up to Second Edition’s emphasis on ease of play.

 


But if “accessibility” was one keyword that informed the design process of Second Edition, another was “narrative.” Each of Second Edition’s twenty included quests (most of which are divided into two encounters) tells a deep and engaging story. What’s more, if players wish, they can even link several of the quests together to experience the included campaign, "The Shadow Rune." This emphasis on narrative, coupled with the campaign’s many possible plot branches, creates the feeling of a living, breathing Terrinoth. Meanwhile, the new class and experience systems give players (whether controlling heroes or the overlord) the sense that their characters are reacting, learning, and growing.


~ In a class of their own ~


To more deeply illustrate Second Edition’s new character advancement system, let’s take a look at the Warrior archetype and its two available classes, Berserker and Knight. Every Second Edition-compatible hero falls under one of four archetypes: Warrior, Healer, Mage, and Scout. Each archetype then has two classes, which further differentiate its strengths and play style. For the Warrior, this means a choice between the ferocious Berserker, who can quickly cut a swath through scores of foes, or the leadership and defense-oriented Knight, with his ability to inspire and protect his fellows.

The Berserker’s Whirlwind ability, which can be purchased with enough accumulated experience points, lets him single-handedly take on a horde of surrounding enemies. The Knight, on the other hand, is a defensive powerhouse who can make use of his shield to control pesky attackers. His Shield Bash ability is enough to partially incapacitate an enemy, giving his team a welcome opportunity to take the upper hand in battle.


But the hero players aren’t the only ones who can look forward to customizing their Descent experiences. Second Edition’s campaign mode also gives the overlord a chance to choose a class and improve his powers. One of the available overlord classes is the devious Saboteur; this master of traps is able to, at the cost of experience, add a number of sinister hidden tricks to his arsenal. Whether he’s punishing the heroes with explosive runes, locking them down with immobilizing webs, or transforming them with the feared Curse of the Monkey God, the Saboteur is sure to make the heroes cringe with every cautious step they take.


As a whole, Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition offers a deep and immersive play experience that borders on light roleplaying, all while remaining accessible enough to keep the focus where it belongs: on the quest at hand. And don’t forget! The Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition Conversion Kit includes everything you need to make your current Descent collection Second Edition-compatible. With the necessary cards for every monster and hero ever produced (including promotional heroes!), this convenient conversion kit is an indispensable tool.

Your time is near. Are you prepared to embark on a perilous campaign against evil? Gather your party and forge a new legend!
 

http://www.gametrademagazine.com/Home/1/1/58/591?articleID=117244



#4 Mordjinn

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 11:49 PM

 Thanks for the original info and the link to the article. Great stuff. For me these are the top three great things:

- Keywords in design were "accessibility" and "narrative". Fantastic!
- "The game borders light roleplaying". Amazing!
- Curse of the Monkey God is still there!



#5 Dark Young

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 02:13 AM

alaterra said:

Doh! I don't know why I didn't even think of looking for a site with the article. But hey, I did add some card text that you don't get to see on that page! Thanks alaterra!



#6 Steve-O

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 02:26 AM

Frog said:

I'm hoping there is some kind of overworld map like Road to Legend.

This is nothing official, mind you, but I seem to recall someone dissecting the images from the original announcement here on FFG's website and finding some vague evidence that there would be an overworld map.  Time will tell, of course.

 

All this news is very exciting!  Big thanks to the OP and Alaterra for sharing with those of us who don't bother following gaming magazines. =P



#7 Kartigan

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 07:07 AM

 Thanks for the link, it was a fun read.  That Corey would change every component he possibly could into a card does not surprise me at all , I swear he'd change it to card based combat if he could.

The two great things I always think of when I think of Descent are Epic Feel & Tactical Depth.  In this preview it looks like they've retained the Epic Feel with a great storycampaign and have not sacrificed that Epic Feel for the sake of playtime (by allowing the multiple encounters and stopping points).  I just hope they retain the Tactical Depth of 1E, some of the comments in the original preview about "simplified LOS", "reducing the tendency to 'math out'  attacks" (I'm still not sure what they meant by that), and removing the Overlord's threat makes me worry that they are removing much of the depth of choices available in the 1st Edition for the sake of "streamlining".  

Hopefully I'm just needlessly worried though.  And if they managed to add "Narrative", "Accessibility", and "RPG-Lite" to the things I think of when I think of Descent I'll be a happy camper 



#8 Mcmanus

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 02:11 AM

alaterra said:

Every Second Edition-compatible hero falls under one of four archetypes: Warrior, Healer, Mage, and Scout.

 

Healer! Awesome *o/*



#9 Steve-O

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 02:31 AM

Kartigan said:

some of the comments in the original preview about "simplified LOS", "reducing the tendency to 'math out' attacks" (I'm still not sure what they meant by that),

I believe the "mathing out" attacks comment was in reference to the addition of defense dice. In 1e, defenses were static numbers, so you could pretty easily add up the odds of you rolling enough damage to equal or exceed a target's defense and determine if the attack was statistically worthwhile. With defense being rolled on dice now, too, you can't really do that. Of course, you can figure out the statistical probabilities for your attacks and the probabilities for your target's defenses. If you're a hardcore mathematician, you can probably even find a way to put those two together for a statistical probability of success on the whole. But at the end of the day, with both attack and defense being random, it's not as easy to say "for sure" that your attack is or isn't worthwhile.

To a certain extent you'll be able to "math out" where the overkill line is (assume the target rolls the best possible defense result and then figure out your odds of beating that result), but even if you're not THAT good, there's always the chance that he'll roll badly on defense.

I appreciate what FFG is trying to do here - encourage people to focus more on the game and less on the numbers - but I'm not sure how much it will really change things. There will always be some people who sit down and figure out the odds. There will always be some people who are obsessed with making the absolute "best move." Twinks will always be twinks, no matter what the game engine looks like. And I say more power to them, if that's how they have fun.

Descent is a game known for it's crunch (whether or not FFG intended it.) I'm all for seeing more fluff in 2e, but I hope they don't try to remove the crunch. I wouldn't personally lose too much sleep if they did, but that would probably be a mistake. For what it's worth, I don't think the addition of defense dice will remove any crunch on its own. Of course, there are still other aspects we don't know about yet, but this is what the "math out" reference was about, AFAICT.

Mcmanus said:

Healer! Awesome *o/*

My biggest hope concerning the addition of a healer "class" is that this means healing will be worthwhile in 2e.  If it still turns out to be easier to let heroes die and res, we may end up with a bunch of neglected heroes/path options.



#10 Mestre dos Magos

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 07:42 AM

I know it might not be enough information to judge, but I dont think I like the way the "Campaign" looks like.

It looks too streamlined to my taste... too much like a string of Mansions of Madness type of adventures.

 

Road to Legend / Sea of Blood is a lot more open, elastic. I dont like the idea of a linear string of adventures, if you know what I mean.

 

I hope my fears are unfounded... but it does look like a mansions of madness like thingie where you will have to keep buying adventure expansions...



#11 Mestre dos Magos

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 07:45 AM

Well or hopefully, a fully fledged, advanced campaign could be released later?

I dont know, i just hope they do not forget people who like complex campaigns...I hate how lately it seems the top priority is "accessibility" and how that translates into dumbing down complexity, and lowering play time.



#12 Kartigan

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 02:59 PM

Mestre dos Magos said:

 

Well or hopefully, a fully fledged, advanced campaign could be released later?

I dont know, i just hope they do not forget people who like complex campaigns...I hate how lately it seems the top priority is "accessibility" and how that translates into dumbing down complexity, and lowering play time.

 

 

QFT

 

Btw Steve-O you are probably right about the defense dice thing.  However I really don't see how that helps anything, in fact if anything it may actually make it worse.  I suppose that is just the play-style of myself and my players but I know that we will all at least roughly figure our statistical odds of dealing "enough" damage to make an attack worthwhile, but that will just make it take slightly longer by having to figure for the defense dice.  I suppose this comes from playing Descent 1E enough to have every die's sides/average damage or range memorized ahead of time.  

I actually think I will like the addition of Defense dice, since it will make heavy armored heroes and monsters not quite so invincible or impossible to damage every time.  But if FFG's idea of "streamlining" combat is "Hey let's just make it more chaotic and random so people don't think about it." I'm not sure I like where this design is going.......   



#13 Steve-O

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 03:09 PM

Kartigan said:

I actually think I will like the addition of Defense dice, since it will make heavy armored heroes and monsters not quite so invincible or impossible to damage every time.  But if FFG's idea of "streamlining" combat is "Hey let's just make it more chaotic and random so people don't think about it." I'm not sure I like where this design is going.......   

I do agree that intentionally adding chaotic elements in an effort to stop people form analyzing the rules is a bad practice.  Firstly, it won't stop people who enjoy/insist on analyzing the rules from doing so, and secondly it could ruin an otherwise perfectly acceptable system by making it too chaotic to properly balance.  I don't think defense dice alone are a death knell to the game, but I certainly hope this idea isn't extrapolated on too much.



#14 gran_orco

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 11:15 PM

Steve-O said:

 

Kartigan said:

 

I actually think I will like the addition of Defense dice, since it will make heavy armored heroes and monsters not quite so invincible or impossible to damage every time.  But if FFG's idea of "streamlining" combat is "Hey let's just make it more chaotic and random so people don't think about it." I'm not sure I like where this design is going.......   

 

I do agree that intentionally adding chaotic elements in an effort to stop people form analyzing the rules is a bad practice.  Firstly, it won't stop people who enjoy/insist on analyzing the rules from doing so, and secondly it could ruin an otherwise perfectly acceptable system by making it too chaotic to properly balance.  I don't think defense dice alone are a death knell to the game, but I certainly hope this idea isn't extrapolated on too much.

 

 

Chaotic? Long Life to HeroQuest!!. I never liked D&D system, because you are really trying to parry and you cannot have the same parry success everytime; although, paradoxically I enjoyed it in Descent.



#15 Sausageman

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 12:48 AM

Frog said:

I'm hoping there is some kind of overworld map like Road to Legend.

This is the thing I want to see most.



#16 Ispher

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 10:48 AM

Sausageman said:

Frog said:

 

I'm hoping there is some kind of overworld map like Road to Legend.

 

 

This is the thing I want to see most.

I remember being attracted to The Lord of the Rings as a 15-year-old because of the map at the beginning of the book.

Yes, an overworld (or even underworld) map would be great.



#17 Beren Eoath

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 08:13 PM

This preview in GTM is a really good one. Can't wait to see more official news and have this game in my hands.

The 1st edition was great but it took too much time prepering the maps and playing - sometime I just did not have engough time to play it even whrn I wanted to. But this edition will change it so - can't wait for it!






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