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General Overlord Strategy/Tactics?


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#1 Zygomax

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:29 AM

As Overlord, I played First Blood and A Fat Goblin the other night. Both ended in defeat. I had a chance to pull it out with Splig, but it didn't happen (see my other recently posted thread for details).

So with a campaign looming, I need some tips. I am up against Hugo (from DungeonQuest)--quite the tank--Lindel (also DQ), Widow Tarha, and the star of the show, the Reanimate (eesh).

One tactic idea was "attack-and-back." If a monster starts the turn in base contact with a hero, make the attack and then back up at least one space. This would force the hero to at least use fatigue to get a double melee attack.

I also had an idea of larger monster groups (3+) approaching heroes in a column, to block line of sight to monsters farther back. Eh, I guess with the twists and turns it may not work.

I need to work on the effort I put in at positioning and other tactical thought. I don't like to do much deep thinking when I play a game, since it would just slow down play and I would second-guess myself. Nonetheless I hope to provide a challenge for the heroes.

Ultimately I will just try to have fun--which is the main thing, isn't it?

Thanks!

 



#2 Lord_Nikon

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:21 AM

The best way to win as the overlord is to make sure you focus on the correct objective during the first encounter of each quest.

Your primary goal as OL in the first encounter should be to leave the heroes depleted, and have as many OL cards as possible in your hand going into encounter 2.  Actually achieving the first encounter objective should be secondary.  So focus on hurting the heroes and try to be judicious in your use of cards.  Oftentimes if you try to hard to achieve the objective, you actually expedite the encounter.

Take for instance encounter #1 in the First Blood quest.  If you send all of your goblins to steal crops, maybe you'll get 3 stolen and the heroes only get 1, maybe you steal all 4.  But the encounter will be over quickly (which means less cards drawn) and the heroes will probably be fairly unscathed (since you weren't focusing on using the goblins to hurt them).  However if you send most of your goblins after the heros, the heroes may slog through and get most of the crops.  However they'll probably have depleted a lot of hit points, and more turns will likely transpire for you to draw more cards.

With a handful of OL cards, and the heroes just a few hits from getting KOed in encounter 2, victory should be easy!



#3 Steve-O

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:49 PM

Zygomax said:

One tactic idea was "attack-and-back." If a monster starts the turn in base contact with a hero, make the attack and then back up at least one space. This would force the hero to at least use fatigue to get a double melee attack.

Keep in mind that Move Actions can be interrupted to perform other actions, so a monster could run up to a hero, interrupt to attack, and then retreat again provided it had enough MP.



#4 Zygomax

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:56 PM

Thanks for the thoughts!

My players have Hugo tanking up front, with Widow Tarha and Lindel towards the back. I've been trying to "ignore" Hugo and go after the others, but you can only ignore Hugo for so long. I have managed to KO Lindel and Hugo once. I need to put more hits on Tarha, but her heal-on-damage ability alleviates those.

 



#5 JorduSpeaks

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:56 PM

If you're talking about the necromancer's reaper scythe ability, that only heals her when she kills a monster, not when she damages it.



#6 Rico

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:02 PM

That also means NOT killed by her familiar, either.



#7 OverWard

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:21 AM

Lord_Nikon said:

The best way to win as the overlord is to make sure you focus on the correct objective during the first encounter of each quest.

Your primary goal as OL in the first encounter should be to leave the heroes depleted, and have as many OL cards as possible in your hand going into encounter 2.  Actually achieving the first encounter objective should be secondary.  So focus on hurting the heroes and try to be judicious in your use of cards.  Oftentimes if you try to hard to achieve the objective, you actually expedite the encounter.

Take for instance encounter #1 in the First Blood quest.  If you send all of your goblins to steal crops, maybe you'll get 3 stolen and the heroes only get 1, maybe you steal all 4.  But the encounter will be over quickly (which means less cards drawn) and the heroes will probably be fairly unscathed (since you weren't focusing on using the goblins to hurt them).  However if you send most of your goblins after the heros, the heroes may slog through and get most of the crops.  However they'll probably have depleted a lot of hit points, and more turns will likely transpire for you to draw more cards.

With a handful of OL cards, and the heroes just a few hits from getting KOed in encounter 2, victory should be easy!

 

Hang on a second - so with the transition from Encounter 1 to 2 (of a given quest) hitpoints/fatigue don't reset?!

I must of missed that in the rules avergonzado_triste



#8 Dam

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:46 AM

Heroes remove all fatigue tokens, but keep any damage and Conditions (latter is great if you have Immobilize monsters like Merriods, before running the last Goblin out, first Immobilize all the heroes you can manage, now they can't move on the first turn of E2).


"A dirty mind is its own reward."


#9 Robin

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 01:15 AM

Lord_Nikon was speaking of «A Fat Goblin» and not of «First Blood», of course.
An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.
G. K. Chesterton

#10 LyonsDeFlamand

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 07:07 AM

General tips:


-Dictate the pace-

With most encounters having objectives for both Overlord and Heroes, try to keep the pressure high on the heroes so they have to act fast.  Just finished two scenarios with a play group where I, as Overlord, mainly won by grabbing them by the throat and forcing them to go after the objectives, they had to forsake search tokens that had clear paths to them just to have a chack at them.

-Don't be afraid to sacrifice-

Don't be scared to block off a hallway with two Flesh Moulders that you know are gonna die in time if that means your goblin archers will be able to snag 3 guests at the Masquerade Ball (you'll have to translate this to other encounters yourselves

-Straight forward is not always the path to victory-

Take an action that forsakes a quick result but may help you in the long run.  (e.g. Close a door instead of taking that second attack roll)

-Have your minions help eachother out-

Most of the time your main advantage will be that you'll have more pawns on the board than there are heroes.  Use this to your advantage and have your minions tag team on the heroes.  It'll keep the heroes busy longer while you fullfill your objective

-Focus Fire-

Just like any MMO.  Most of the time in the same order too.  Healer, DPS, Tank.  Dodge in and out, And have them spend those actions on dancing around the battlefield.

-Never, ever hold back-

Don't feel sorry for your players, your playing to win, after all and they're ganging up on you.

 

Just my two cents

 



#11 Darkfire14

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 05:20 AM

I've run Descent 2nd edition as the Overlord and find it utterly impossible to win! Killing the heroes seems like a useless ventrue. All killing a player does is cost him/her a turn to get back up or even less if they get help or healing from another player character. The 1 card reward for the overlord is a pretty pathetic reward for killing a player character. The game also does not scale correctly with a lot of players. A 2 player party, the overlord gets 1 card a turn. A 4 player party, the overlord gets… you guessed it 1 card a turn!  4 player games, the Overlord has no additional spawns so while the Overlord starts with more monsters in a 4 player game, his ability to replenish his minions does not change at all. The Heroes also majorly outclass any monsters you throw at them and often it takes focus firing to take down even one hero. I've never dropped more than 2 heroes in a single turn!

My other gripe with 2nd ed is that they got rid of Conquest Tokens. The overlord should be able to win through killing the heroes, without that victory condition, the game becomes a rush for objectives where the Player Characters have major advantages to achieve. I would have perferred that 2nd ed Descent kept the game balance of 1st ed descent and allows the Overlord more power than the PC's and thus allowing the Overlord to provide an adequate challenge. Every time I've run the game the heroes have walked all over me. I have a feeling the slant of the difficulty is toward the PC's and not the Overlord. Then again I haven't yet got a game to chapter II in a run, where the monsters get a stat boust, but even then I don't think the difference will be that grand as the PC's will be more powerful at that stage as well. 

In the end, the Overlord is heavely gimped in 2nd edition.



#12 Dam

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 09:04 AM

Maybe your OL just isn't up to the job and/or the players are Descent-gods. I've run four campaigns, three as OL, one as player (1 2-hero, 2 3-hero and 1 4-hero) and the OL has creamed pretty much everything. In the 4-hero campaign (Berserker, Thief, Runemaster and Disciple) we weren't even close to winning any quests. Granted, this was before the latest FAQ, so back then Kobolds + Unholy Ritual + Reinforce did most of the damage to us.


"A dirty mind is its own reward."


#13 RakaNishoo

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 04:45 AM

Darkfire14 said:

 

I've run Descent 2nd edition as the Overlord and find it utterly impossible to win! Killing the heroes seems like a useless ventrue. All killing a player does is cost him/her a turn to get back up or even less if they get help or healing from another player character. The 1 card reward for the overlord is a pretty pathetic reward for killing a player character. The game also does not scale correctly with a lot of players. A 2 player party, the overlord gets 1 card a turn. A 4 player party, the overlord gets… you guessed it 1 card a turn!  4 player games, the Overlord has no additional spawns so while the Overlord starts with more monsters in a 4 player game, his ability to replenish his minions does not change at all. The Heroes also majorly outclass any monsters you throw at them and often it takes focus firing to take down even one hero. I've never dropped more than 2 heroes in a single turn!

My other gripe with 2nd ed is that they got rid of Conquest Tokens. The overlord should be able to win through killing the heroes, without that victory condition, the game becomes a rush for objectives where the Player Characters have major advantages to achieve. I would have perferred that 2nd ed Descent kept the game balance of 1st ed descent and allows the Overlord more power than the PC's and thus allowing the Overlord to provide an adequate challenge. Every time I've run the game the heroes have walked all over me. I have a feeling the slant of the difficulty is toward the PC's and not the Overlord. Then again I haven't yet got a game to chapter II in a run, where the monsters get a stat boust, but even then I don't think the difference will be that grand as the PC's will be more powerful at that stage as well. 

In the end, the Overlord is heavely gimped in 2nd edition.

 

 

 

Killing the heroes is not your goal. Killing the heroes is not always a good idea.

  • If 2 heroes are adjacent and you only kill 1 of them that was already fully exhausted (fatigue = stamina), then as you said you get just 1 card. Hero adjacent to killed wastes 1 action, but hero heals 2-6 damage and 0-2 fatigue. Hardly a wasted action. 
  • If heroes are not adjacent and you kill the one in such spot that the rest of party either can't or will really not want to go to in order to rez, killed hero was fully rested, then you still gain 1 card, but also give that hero fatigue and not only disable him for his next turn but also disable his abilities for turn after that and what stands in the way of using that next turn to kill that hero again? Especially if he gets no luck during stand-up and rolls 2.
  • Killing all heroes at once gives you one full turn for free, and if you managed to do that it is very likely you will do that again. 

The game is about speed and race, not about killing. What is the difference between hero standing up for 1 turn, or hero attacking for 1 turn, killing your monster, when you get it to spawn at the begining of your next turn? A little one. Maybe let's look at the "Fat Goblin" encounter 1. In the begining you have 1 open group of monsters. Heroes can: (a) kill monsters (They will likely succeed.) or (b) run. If they kill your monsters, your goblins are 1 turn ahead in stealing crops. If they run, you can always stop some of them with tripwire/pit trap. And, you get a monster group with some attacks that can and will damage heroes and that will hurt them in encounter 2. 

Scaling: Is ok. True, usually your reinforcement do not scale, but if you don't let hero wiping an entire group, then this is not an issue. Sure, sometimes you get no choice, but that requires all heroes effort and wastes their time, which in turn might win you an encounter even if losing monsters. Also with some tougher monsters -> you still get 1! If you take zombies -> you get 1 zombie per turn which against 4 heroes is not great. But if you take dragons, you get 1 red dragon per turn which is great even agaist 4 heroes, especially if they went melee heavy :) Also some quests do not have any reinforcements, so there is no scaling here really. Anyway, the game is not so simple and scales on many different layers and some of these layers are not obvious. While it is a little bit different game with 2 and 4 heroes, it is still balanced IMO. 

The 1 card per turn is auto-scaled. This is due to 2 facts: 1) you have more attacks and you deal more damage, while individual heroes still have the same amount of hp. There are more heroes so you are theoretically able to kill more heroes per turn. -> this leads to more additional cards on average. 2) cards themselves scale. For example Dash in 2nd encounter of fat goblin is great. No matter how many heroes there are it can win you the encounter. Dark Fortune on failed test with Splig is a big chance to save that wasted turn and speed up the encounter in which time is not your ally.  Dark Might on your red dragon in order to dish out AoE damage and hit each hero? Much better if there are 4 players. Especially if you get to kill some of them at once! Critical Blow or Frenzy will still kill 1 hero and replace themselves with additional card.  Some cards are mutli-target, some cards work better if you have stronger or more monsters. Some will separate heroes for easy repetetive kills from your monsters, some will punish heroes for sticking together. There was a case, where a card scaled "too good". In case of Unholy Ritual it allowed you to draw 1 card per hero, which was so overpowered, that they changed it to constant 2.  

Hero stronger than monster: 

That is generally true in act1. This is why you have more monsters than there are heroes, extra cards for free and reinforcements. Some things to note:

  • Hero start with 1 gray defense die. Some monsters have 1 Black, and some 2 Gray. Most monsters also have 1 gray die. 
  • Monster's abilities are for free and do not cost fatigue
  • Leutenants are stronger and in their strongest form (4 heroes) could beat hero 1vs1. 
  • Some heroes are just not good against certain type of monsters (goblins can kite to death dwarf zerker, dragon vs melee blue+red)
  • Some monsters deal more damage than heroes except their one attack. Buffed with cards monsters can easily outdamage hero. For example stupid red goblin deals more damage per attack than Jain Fairwood with Yaw Shortbow. 
  • Monster hp is very low. (Although, some heroes don't shine here either -> namely Leoric)

You need to pay attention and not let the heroes finish off entire groups of monsters. Your goblins should be afraid to come closer to heroes, and should shoot from range. Kite melee and take down ranged first. Don't make it easy for heroes to kill your creatures, force them to use fatigue or move. Maybe it is good idea to sometimes run away, and join forces with stronger monster groups? Goblins shooting, retreating and shadow dragon blocking entire corridor? How many such turns the hero party will survive? Master zombie can come in, immobilize and go away. This is better than killing off melee each turn. Unless some other hero helps the poor melee character, the zombie will keep him in one spot doing nothing. 

Again, balanced.

 

Well, 2nd edition of descent is different. I think it adds a lot of depth and replayability and is not a simple hack&slash game. Combat is an important part of the larger game. Overlord has an evil scheme and is trying to accomplish something different than just killing some band of random adventurers. I agree with Dam. Give yourself some time to learn and you will see that it is the heroes will have a very hard times winning any campaign. 

 






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