The Thing In The Attic said:
no its not the only reason, the main one really is replayability, If replability is good then I'm sold
I would say replayability in Descent 2E is very strong.
In any individual quest, all rules and figures on the map are placed at the beginning. There are no surprises for either side, so the enjoyment factor is not impacted by repeated plays. When playing in campaign mode, as others have mentioned, the flow of the game depends on who wins each quest. There are a total of 20 quests in the campaign, of which only 9 get played in any one play through. So there's plenty of mixing and matching to be done there.
The game has rules for playing individual quests in "one-shot" mode, but it was quite clearly built for campaign mode. If you have no interest in playing the campaign, you may find yourself thinking that there are a lot of components you never get to use. Or you may not, personal opinion will be the determining factor there, it's just something to be aware of.
The Thing In The Attic said:
Hopefuly the lieutenant packs might come with say special unique spell or item cards but if its just minis to replace cardboard chits…you can see my hang-up here surely. Did FFG use this marketing strategy in Decent 1?
The LT tokens are no different from any other hero or monster figures with regards to how they get used in game. LTs have special rules and abilities, of course, but nothing that would mechanically require a token instead of a figure. I also doubt that the LT figures will come with any extra components besides the figure itself. 3 of the 6 LT figures are technically already released, since these same 3 LTs appeared in 1E as well.
I think the big reason that the LTs are tokens is probably just following tradition, and arguably cutting costs on production of the core box (though probably not by much for just 6 figures.) Your opinion that it sounds like a cash grab is not entirely out of line, as far as 2E goes, though in FFG's defense, you don't need the metal figures. You can play with the tokens, or you can use proxy figures you have available if the "it's not a figure when it should be" thing is really killing you.
There's a bit of a story behind why LTs are tokens, traditionally. (You can stop reading now if you don't care. This story isn't being told to justify anything, but merely for your own edification.) You see, Descent 1E was originally built such that quests were always one-shots. The heroes lost everything they had bought at the end of each quest and had to start over, win or lose. There was a very pitiful "basic campaign" mode proposed as an optional rule, but nobody really enjoyed it and all generally agreed that it lacked the sort of character progress that a campaign mode should have. On the plus side, all of the figures were figures and all were included in the box.
Eventually, FFG responded to fan demand for a proper campaign mode by creating an expansion called "Road to Legend." This was a massive undertaking that completely reworked the rules to allow the game to play in a long-term mode that permitted heroes to keep their gear and training and to advance over the course of time to prepare for an epic final battle. As you might imagine, this required a lot of new components to be made for the game. It was to include an overland map of Terrinoth, a significant number of new tiles allowing for both indoor and outdoor maps to be built, and also support for higher tiers of power dice (necessary to increase the granulatiry of attack power for long-term advancement,) among other things.
Because space was so tight in the expansion box (and probably in an effort to keep the price point at something reasonable), FFG decided to include cardboard tokens of the new LTs they were adding to the game, of which there were about 10 or 12 I think, rather than plastic figures. And believe you me, that box was packed solid with shiny goodies as it was. Of course, once it was out, fans wanted proper figures for the LTs, so FFG began producing these metal figures for all those LTs. People who really wanted figures could buy them, and those who didn't care or didn't want to pay the added cost could continue using the cardboard tokens. Everybody won.
There was a second campaign expansion that came along later, following the same production model. It had to rebuild everything about the campaign mode, of course, in keeping with FFG's business model that no expansion ever requires more than the core box to be played. So it also included cardboard tokens for the LTs, and again a line of metal figures was to follow, for those who really wanted them.
Now we have the fancy new 2E core box, built with a proper campaign mode in mind, and it is generally much better for that fact. The LTs are still cardboard tokens, even though they probably didn't need to be, but it's sort of the way things are with LTs in Descent by now. I'm also not sure if there are manufacturing issues with casting plastic figures from a mold originally designed for metal ones - perhaps the cost of making new molds for the 3 LTs that appear in both editions put them off the idea of making LT figures included in the core box. I'm reasonably certain the rising cost of plastic was also a consideration, since FFG seems to be reworking a lot of their titles that have lots of plastic lately.
Again, none of this is intended to justify the use of cardboard tokens instead of plastic figures for the LTs. You're perfectly justified in your opinion that it's a cash-in strategy, and there's nothing I can honestly say to contradict that idea. I just thought you might be interested in how things got to be the way they are.