I have a couple of questions for players that are a bit more experienced in Descent SE (and maybe FE as well)
First let me briefly "set the scene", describing circumstances and my thoughts behind it:
Although I've been a fan of Descent first edition and have all Expansions sitting on my shelf, since I never got around to excite my gaming group for a try, since the rules were q bit complex and the scenarios took quite a while to play- they prefer a hands-on approach.
That's why I was more than happy to find that the Second Edition worked just in favor of these problems.
However, after trying the SE with two of them last wednesday, both of them were so disappointed that we decided to stop playing mid-scenario. Now I'm wondering what went wrong and if there is a possible explanation as to why this highly-praised game just left them cold…
They chose Grisban the Thirsty, played as a Berserker, and Ashrian, played as Disciple, and we played the "First Blood" and first half of the "Fat Goblin"-Scenario.
"First Blood" went pretty smooth for them, however the heroes only were able to search the spot near the entry since the Ettin blocked passage to the second one. Gisban eventually smashed his heads in, the heroes won.
"Fat Goblin, Pt. 1" is where things turned sour. I chose the spiders as a second group, since I figured poison would be a huge problem for Ashrian and 4 movement should let them catch up to Grisban .
The players spent one round to fight the spiders in the grasslands, then pushed on to the entrance of the fields where a stalemate between heroes, spiders and goblins came to be, with the heroes getting weaker every round. They never were able to kill more than 2 monsters in one turn, usually a goblin and a spider. That resulted in the same thing over and over: Same turn, the monster respawned, went for double-move which put it in range to execute a move-attack next turn.
The heroes were forced to stay side-by-side, since I usually knocked one of them out, and they could not affort to lose a turn standing up by themselves or the other one would have been knocked out as well.
Eventually they wound up in a no-win-scenario with less than 6 health (enough to be chipped away by 3 goblins and 3 spiders with no problems), little or no endurance to spend and with no chance to survive in the long run.
No need to say, they were more than a bit frustrated to a point where even I had no real fun playing as the Overlord without "throwing them a bone", i.e. "forgetting" to play my hand cards or something alike. I also couldn't figure out what else they could have done differently. In the end, we just stopped playing. Next day, we sat together and discussed what the problem had been.
Now, to my questions:
1. Respawn: One of the main reasons the players felt frustrated was the respawn mechanism- first turn they killed the champion spider in the grasslands only to have it spawn in their back as soon as their turn ended.
Did I misread any respawn-delay-rules or something alike?
2. Reward for killing monsters: The heroes get nothing-nada-zip-zilch for killing any monsters. No money, no experience, nothing. Correct?
They couldn't ignore them and focus on the objectives since they would have been completely killed off in one turn if they did, but had no benefits from killing them either. Needless to say, in combination with the respawn, was a quite demotivational for the players.
3. Gold issues: With a maximum of 2 search spots in every map, one usually in an area where it would be more sensible to focus on pushing on or combat, the average turnout for a map for heroes is somewhere between 25 and 50 gold. So, in order to buy ANY equipment in the 75-100 gold range (rune, chainmail) the heroes have to save ALL their money until after 3 maps to buy one of them an item that helps in a minor way(same damage-weapon with a slightly better surge ability, one extra health…), not to mention the 125-150g range. And that's IF one of the store cards is suited for one of the heroes.
How on earth should heroes ever even think about buying any T2-shop items?
The post got a bit longer than initially expected but I really, REALLY want to have a chance to pitch this game to my group once again and to do so, I need to figure out what went wrong.
Thanks for taking the time to read and answer!