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Selecting Class and Activating

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#1 nirumaru



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Posted 12 August 2012 - 10:18 PM

Hi, I just got this game and played te first quest with my wife on Saturday. We've never played this type of game before so a lot of time was spent with the rule book open. While we did enjoy playing we didn't feel we were playing it right and a lot of this was to do with the hero classes and also the activation of the heroes. So my questions are:

1) I've gone through the rules a few times now about skill cards and classes and archetypes and while I think I'm getting clearer about I would like it spelled out for me. When you choose a hero you then choose an archetype to go with it and then you break that into a class (or is class and archetype the same thing?). We made the mistake of taking all of the basic cards from a deck (e.g. the warrior deck) and giving them to the hero. I think that was very wrong. The rules don't make it clear as to how you 'create' your hero - could someone help with that please?

2) the second issue arose about the first step on the activation card. What are 'start of turn abilities'? Are these the hero abilities as per he hero sheet? Or are there different abilities which might be acquired through play in other quests (we just played First Blood). Or are these part of the cards we get through choosing the class? We got confused between skills with the black arrow and class cards without that arrow and when they can be used.

The 2nd query also links into  playing overlord cards at the start of the overlord turn. Does the OL draw a card first and then play a card (or cards). It gets kind of messed up in the rules. Similarly if the OL plays a tripwire card at the start of his turn does that last through to the start of the next OL turn and if so is the card in the 'exhausted' position until then?

Sorry for these dumb questions and thanks in advance for your help.

#2 Rico



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Posted 13 August 2012 - 12:39 AM

This being your introduction to RPG games, it can feel a tad overwhelming. However, I think you made a good first choice in that, while complicated, Descent 2e is a great starter for this genre. That being said, your first question pertaining to Archtypes and Classes can be better explained with a culinary example.

1) Think of the Archtype as the type of food you want to dine on: Mexican, Chinese, Italian, etc. Think of Classes as entrees. Now, in the case of the current shipping edition of Descent 2e, there are two entrees to choose from each food type: Enchilada or Burrito for Mexican. Won Tons or Kung Pow Chicken for Chinese. Pizza or Spaghetti for Itallian, etc. Finally, consider each hero as the delivery person of one of these food types - remember though, that while you can choose a food type and even an entree, the restaurant the hero is working for is NOT in your control. They already have an employer and that company's logo is represented by the red/green/yellow/blue icon in the top center of each hero card. If you are with me still let's translate: a hero has a predefined Archtype (food type) which offers a player a choice of class (entree) to play. Each hero is predefined as an Archtype (company logo).

What this means in the game is that you may select a hero with a Warrior Archtype (red icon) who may be either a Berseker Class OR a Knight Class.  When issuing the BASIC cards every Class has at least one item (typically a weapon, but could also include shields or accessories) and they all start with just ONE skill (the one without the XP number on the upper right of the card). If you take a close look at the BACK of each Class Deck you will see their Class Name printed beneath the red/green/yellow/blue Archtype Icon (Berserker, Knight, etc). You only use the corresponding items and single skill card. All future skill cards purchased are only purchased from the same Class Deck. It sounds like in your example you took BOTH the Berserker AND the Knight starting items and starting skills.

2) Start of Turn abilities are just that - anything specifically stated as transpiring at the start of your turn. In these types of games verbiage is not chosen lightly. What may appear as a question of symantics to you is NOT how the rules are to be interpreted. They are written very specifically to alleviate questions pertaining to said rules. In this case, while you may not have any current skills or attributes or heroic feats that permit you to take such actions, rest assured that something does and once that something comes to be in your gaming session THEN it will be played as intended (which could very well be "at the start of a hero's turn"). A good example is Poison. When a hero is poisoned they roll an attribute test "at the start of their turn". The reason it is played as such is that a player could very well be knocked out by poison before they have an opportunity to heal themselves - this is how poison is intended to be played. This segues into the OL…

3) The OL always picks a card from their deck at the start of their turn and can immediately play that card if it states it can be played at the start of the OL turn (along with any others with instruction to use "at the start of your turn") if he so desires. The rules are a bit scattered in three different sections of the rule book but if you lump up all the OL sections you will find the information. As far as exhausting OL cards there are no such cards in the basic deck. Once you use it it goes into the discard pile. With regard to Tripwire you only play it once against a single hero and then discard it.

Lastly: the funny arrow icons represent actions. If a skill has one, then that skill must be used as one of your two actions. If the skill has no arrow it can be used without taking away one of your two actions and is typically exhausted to show that you have used it that round.

On a side note always keep in mind the following when determining the rules: Cards > Quest Guide > Rule Book.

Hope this helped. Have fun playing!


#3 wootersl



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Posted 13 August 2012 - 01:23 AM

To just clarify a little on the OL card play. You can play OL cards during the Heroes turns. That's what Tripwire is for. You wait for the Hero to move, then tell him to stop at any point during his movement and play your card. Basically, any card that says it's against a Hero you typically play during their turn (kind of pointless to play tripwire during the OL turn, since the Heroes are not moving).

#4 nirumaru



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Posted 13 August 2012 - 01:35 AM

Thank you,

Both of your replies make a lot of sense (even the take-out food analogy).

I think we'll have a lot more fun playing the game now. It would be good if the rules had been clearer about choosing class types, the rules rushed passed the choice of a knight vs. beserker for example. Certainly it would make a difference to my wife when choosing her heroes.

I did wonder about the OL card play. We've been playing Dominion and Discworld AK a lot recently and I think we need to adjust from card hand play to the more mixed style that Descent is.

Probably a lot of the 'start of your turn' cards and more advanced cards will only come into play if we choose Epic or Campaign. I think we'll play some of the other quests and then perhaps go for the extended versions of the quests.

#5 Rico



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Posted 13 August 2012 - 03:15 AM

Yes. OL can be a bit of a head spinner with all of the limitations set on WHEN they can be played. Don't feel the least bit discouraged when you find yourself cursing "If only I had read that BEFORE all of this just happened!" Definately spend some time becoming familiar with the various roles before commiting to the Campaign.

Play several one-off quests with differnt heros and starting gear only and feel your way around any unconventional scenarios. Once you are more comfortable try a couple Advanced or Epic variants to get a feel for the power that opens up (and is required) to go toe-to-toe with more powerful monsters and deeper OL decks. Then, when you are ready to commit, start up the campaign. The nine quests of a campaign will take many sessions to complete and a certain level of commitment is required (you can't change the number of heroes, the hero itself or it's class once the campaign starts).

If you think Descent 2e is your cup of tea you should consider purchasing the Conversion Kit which boosts your monster variety considerably (25 more monsters from Descent 1e - cards only, the miniatures will need to be proxied or found as FFG no longer sells them) and an additional 48 heroes (again, cards only). My advice is to not get hung up on an issue during your session. Do your best to come to an agreement with all involved to keep the game moving and then research the solution before your next session when you can clarify for everyone going forward.

#6 Triu



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Posted 13 August 2012 - 05:10 AM

Even experienced gamers spend the first few games with the rule book open (if not all of them, arguing semantics). Trying to take a step back and look at the rules from a novice perspective (since I've been a gamer for several decades, not to mention being a Math & CS major), there is a lot of jargon that isn't as obvious to a neophyte. Years of Dungeons & Dragons and other FRPG, and elaborate tournament rules for trading card games, have resulted in a lot of common verbiage that serves as a kind of shorthand for experienced gamers. Sometimes that works against us, as in some of the “timing” debates that can cause an over analysis of fairly simple rules. 

Because the game is designed for heroes to develop -- or advance -- over time, many of the cards won't be used when you are starting out.  There are four basic types of cards or abilities:

  1. Those that require an action [indicated by the arrow icon; limit 2 per turn].
  2. Those that are “exhausted”, which normally means they can only be used once per turn.
  3. Those with a fatigue cost that can be used as long as your stamina hasn’t run out.
  4. Those that have a specific trigger, such as another player’s action or a specific phase of the game.

Some may use a combination of these restrictions. Many cards are really just quick reference guides or rule extensions -- they normally go face up on the board, and aren’t part of a “hand”. Because this is a competitive game, where you may be a hero one time and Overlord (OL) the next, there is very little “hidden” information. The OL’s hand of cards is hidden from the heroes, as are the placement of some tokens – search or objective – in some encounters.

#7 nirumaru



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Posted 13 August 2012 - 08:32 PM

Thank you for your replies.

I had another read through of the rules last night - there is a lot of information to take in and there are contradictions and inconsistencies in the rules and cards which make it confusing for novices. As my wife is a fluent but non-native English speaker I need to be really clear when explaining rules so that we can both enjoy the game and not get confused or frustrated (while we still have a copy of Risk it is the unmentionable Pandora's box of our family).

I have played RPGs on computer and consoles over the years (I never got out of the dungeons in Eye of the Beholder 2) but the gloss of graphics does hide the fact that these types of games are stat driven to a large extent. I want our son to have a better relationship with math than we did and I think playing these types of games will aid him with that (he is only 5 months old so there's no rush!!). Inconsistencies and lack of clarity in rules can be expected and perhaps even enjoyed (the playground lawyer) but I hate getting the basics wrong. Playing the game the other night we both felt the way we were playing was wrong. But thanks to everyone's feedback I think we'll be able to fail better the next time.

I might have to put together a crib sheet breaking down the archetypes, classes and associated basic skills/equipment and the related heroes. It would make it easier to select heroes that make the 2 player game fun and challenging for our novice level.

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