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Deek

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  • Birthday 03/17/1979

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  1. It's interesting how opinions range re: who has the upperhand, Overlord versus heroes. Variables like player skill, player numbers, CK or no, they all have a huge impact on perceived balance. In my game, we're currently playing 1v1 with no Conversion Kit, but my opponent is controlling four heroes instead of two, giving him total control over equipment, combos, movement, and general shenanigans. Even so, he has lost all three Act 1 quests and managed to win the interlude largely because I failed to recall the win conditions and handed him victory in the final turns. He insists he's fighting an uphill battle, that the quests are designed for him to fail. We're both veteran gamers of similar skill, this is our first campaign (neither of us have any prior experience with Descent). I honestly can't argue with the results, but I also feel that I'm earning my wins. I also believe that his power level is fast outstripping my ability to cope, and that maybe he has yet to realize the full potential of his troublesome do-gooders. Time will tell, I suppose.
  2. Morcamarth, I'm very much the same. I play a lot of Warmachine and Hell Dorado and it's a nice distraction, pushing unpainted plastic around with no tapes or dice math. I'm also a big fan of RPGs but I don't have the time for pen-and-paper anymore. Descent is a great stand-in. I'm not too bad off so far as ranged hate goes, mostly Jain with a crazy bow that can shoot through models. Luckily, she's only 8 health so I can swat her down easy if I commit to it. The heroes do have a pair of serious blockers, though, including a Hexer in Rune Armor with a Rune weapon for black + gray defense and 12 health. And double hex tokens. MEH. The other major issue tends to be the healer who can stun adjacent minion monsters AND an entire monster group, forcing me to decide between attacking and running away. She's becoming a real issue. There's an OL card that allows me to remove condition effects from a monster group. I may have to give it a second look. Kunzite, Web of Power must be a LoR quest? Oddly, I find I'm a bit more open minded with my choices when I have no reinforcements. If I'm not concerned with who gets the coveted reinforement spot each turn, I'm more inclined to consider small/medium groups for pure utility and numbers, especially if setup allows me to deploy them safely and control their exposure to the heroes. If I'm forced to plop them down as a 1st turn welcome mat, however, I'm always choosing large. That said, I love the master Moulder. Healing a large 12+ health beast makes for sad heroes. Really, it's his entourage that skew his usefulness. Minion Moulders are really hard to justify, in my limited experience. Mend is borderline pointless. I wish they inflicted some form of condition with their ranged attack. The Cave Spiders are in the same boat, but worse, as the master Spider has to be adjacent for his Web to work. Great way to drain a hero action or two, but hard to justify the reinforcement unless he's the only one in the queue. If his Web had a longer range, or was a ranged ability you could shoot, place as a token, effecting all spaces adjacent to (and including) the token? Seems to me they should have some sort of movement bonus, as well ... I mean ... SPIDERS. They can crawl on ANYTHING, even upside down. But meh. Race quests definitely favor the speed 4/5 monsters, especially if the heroes are canny with thier placement, denying large monster expansion. I use Goblin Archers for this, but I'm looking forward to a few new speed 5 options from the expansions. I can see Zombies being useful mixed in with other monster types. They'll almost certainly be overlooked, allowing them to land a Grab or two. If they're forced to face the heroes alone, on the other hand ... ugh. Of course, I'd never choose them as a open group on purpose, but sometimes they're on the roster and you just gotta deal. Bagdad, good point. My heroes are definitely getting smarter with thier placement and denial of large monster movement. With many of the tiles in Shadow Rune being so small and narrow, I'm glad they don't have familiars or stones or whatever to make my life that much more difficult.
  3. The Trollfens Harpies look amazing, with Flock and Swarm and speed 5. Hybrid Sentinels ... black defense die, Fire Breath (!), Fly, Prey on the Weak ... they'll definitely be a favorite. Fire Imps are fun, if only to run into the midst of the heroes and explode (plus speed 5, bring me more speed 5). Plus, they get two masters for additional double yellow fun. All great, each one a good reason to continue ignoring the base game small/medium monster groups, which is a shame. But at least the large monsters will have some competition. I really do hope the expansion mechanics make the base game small monsters worth considering. "Splig's Revenge" is a great start, and that alone makes me think FFG is aware that some of the 2nd edition beasties need a little lovin'. As it stands, there is rarely a reason to choose a pack of Flesh Moulders over two Ettins. I really do hope that changes. As a gamer, the more legitimate choices I'm presented with, the more agonizing the decision ... and decision-making is often the heart and soul of a great board game.
  4. Thanks for the responses, all. I won't quote everybody so as to avoid a mighty WALL-O-TEXT, but I'll address what I can. AltWren, you seem to be on the same page as I, at least in terms of my initial impressions. Large monster groups aren't so much a choice as a necessity, and small monster groups are very niche in their application. At least, that's how it appears having only the base game to work with, and granted, I'm still very new to Descent (have yet to reach Act II). I'd love to see small monsters reinforce at a faster rate. I play the small stuff to introduce a "horde" aspect to the encounter, but that never comes to pass as they die fast and reappear so painfully slow. Even if it were a random roll: Roll a gray die (or whatever). Reinforce small or medium monsters from 1 group equal to the shields rolled. It would be balanced by the fact that you may recieve NO reinforcement (blank result). Just another idea. Kunzite, I appreciate your enthusiasm for the game. The CK is tempting, but I'm definitely commited to keeping our game pure 2nd edition. Which isn't to say I'm TOTALLY opposed to it. If FFG were to re-release all the 1st edition models in one easy-to-buy package, I'd likely find myself dropping a pay cheque on it. Despite my concerns, I'm really enjoying the game and I think it has a TON of potential. I love dungeon crawls and I've always been the "GM-type", so Overlord fits me like a glove. It could very well be a case of the base monsters being somewhat lackluster. If I had more provocative small and medium beasts to choose from, I'd definitely be inclined to consider them. But as it stands ... Goblins, Zombies, Flesh Moulders, Spiders ... they're such a hard sell. I often consider the Barghest at least once per setup (forcing the heroes to burn fatigue is a glorious thing, to be sure), but I rarely commit to them. The Splig "surprise" certainly piques my interest, as that alone would warrant a serious reevaluation of Goblins in general. Here's hoping they introduce something similar for the other small groups. If Shelob were to suddenly appear from a group of Cave Spides, the heroes would drop a brick! Rugal, great to hear. More positive changes. Cards that play better with numerically superior monster groups would be welcome, and you're correct about the new lieutenant packs--I'd much rather drop a master and minion Zombie than a master and minion Ettin to summon a lieutenant. At least I'd still have a few zombies left to make use of ... ... which leads me to ask, centralx, what EXACTLY are zombies good for? 'Cause I haven't figured that one out yet. Good point re: Shadow Dragons, though. If the heroes can avoid Shadow, that negates a big part of what makes the Dragon amazing (plus, it makes Fire Breath all the less effective). As I've said, Barghest rarely make my cut, but they're always a consideration. Maybe I should bring them off the bench more often. I agree that not all monsters are meant to fight. I use Goblins to run their asses off and occasionally shoot (though mostly run). I use master Moulders to heal large monsters; haven't found a great use for the minions. Master Cave Spiders can be a real nuisance with the web, though again, the minions are a bit underwhelming. And Zombies. Well. I'm hoping you can point out at least one redeeming aspect, 'cause I'm a HUGE zombie fan. In my limited experience, without numbers and rapid reinforcement, Zombies barely even rate as fodder. One thing I *have* noticed as I examine the Act II quests: I'm not so often forced to place an open monster group directly in front of the heroes as they enter the map--fresh faced and full to the brim with delicious fatigue. I'll definitely be more likely to consider groups of small/medium monsters if I'm able to better control their placement, thus allowing me to dictate how they approach the heroes, mixing them in with larger threats for a dose of target saturation and hit-and-run opportunities. In most of the quests I've played thusfar, the setup dictates the match-ups, allowing the heroes to confront and dispatch my monsters at their leisure. I'm also looking forward to the larger tiles in Labyrinth of Ruin. Fighting on tiles the size of a broom closet forces the OL to consider larger monsters for no-brainer blocking purposes. Larger tiles make cat and mouses games far more interesting, and will force the heroes to be somewhat stingy with their fatigue.
  5. My group is heading toward the interlude of our first play through of Shadow Rune and we're enjoying it quite a bit. As the Overlord, I've managed to win 2 of the 3 Act 1 quests, so I'm certainly not suffering. Even so, something is bothering me: I pulled the above quote from a different thread, but it succinctly sums up my concerns. I find that, as the Overlord, I rarely see reason to choose a "medium" or "small" based monster group over the "large" stuff (Shadow Dragons, Ettins, Merriods, etc.). Not only are these creatures powerful--tons of HP, double grey or black defense dice, abilities like Reach, Throw, and Shadow--they are also massive, taking up 4-6 spaces. In a game where blocking is paramount, how can small monsters hope to compete? Compund this with the reinforcement rules allowing only 1 monster to return (more often than not), why would I ever opt to bring back a solitary Goblin Archer when I can instead resurrect a FIRE BELCHING DRAGON? ... which also leads me to ask: When I have the option to choose a Shadow Dragon group, when would I ever NOT choose a Shadow Dragon group?? But I digress ... One could even say the issue is again compounded by setup, where I'm often instructed to place my open group on the tile adjacent to the hero's entrance. No matter how I place my beasties, the heroes inevitably spend fatigue and unleash hell before I'm able to react. Only larger monsters have a hope of surviving this unavoidable onslaught. Groups of small beasts are cut to pieces--no where to run, no where to hide. Naturally, there are exceptions. With their speed 5, my open group of Goblin Archers did very well for me in Masquerade Ball, for instance. Not sure I fired a single arrow, mind you. It was all about turn and burn, search and escape. When I need speed for a grab and go mission (exiting with the Shadow Key, for example), only then do I cast a passing glance at the smaller monsters. Their combat prowess is rarely a consideration, however. I've scanned ahead and examined the reinforcement rules for the remainder of Shadow Rune and it doesn't appear to improve much (overall). Would it not make sense to scale reinforcements to the size of the monster? For example: Place 1 large monster OR 2 medium monsters OR 3 small monsters? I realize this would require adding the distinction between small/medium/large, but you get the idea. I guess my issue boils down to a lack of meaningful choice. As the Overlord, I'm not so much presented with legitimate options ... moreso the illusion of choice. The "optimal" decision is often obvious, and not because I'm a gifted strategist and tactical mastermind. The available open groups, the objectives, the maps themselves; if I'm gunning for a win, I feel pigeonholed more often than not. "Man, I'd really love to try THIS monster group, but if I want to win, the obvious choice is *INSERT LARGE BASED MONSTER GROUP HERE*. Admittedly, I'm still pretty new to this gig. I'm hoping for some insight from veteran Overlords. Does this situation improve? How does Labyrinth of Ruin stack up in this regard? Do the expansions change things at all? Or, best of all, am I simply flat out WRONG? I could be way off base. If so, please set me straight! If it helps: We have only the 2nd edition base game (Lair of the Wyrm is en route from the eBays). It should also be noted that I have no intention of purchasing the Conversion Kit, as I intend to keep my collection 100% 2nd edition. I love variety as much as the next guy, but I'm not convinced that the elements introduced by the CK are balanced, nor do I wish to get caught up tracking down proxies or ... more likely ... the original models. I'm an unrepentant completionist. I've decided it best to avoid tempation. Thanks for reading!
  6. ****. I had planned to use the Toolkit for the first time tomorrow during a 6-player game (introducing several new poeple to the joys of Arkham), thinking it would make things faster and more accessible. But now, between this and the app not allowing multiple card draws, I think I'll be prepping my location and gates deck tonight, the old-fashioned way ...
  7. Zapranoth said: The app can't do multiple draws, unfortunately. What a shame. Hopefully they introduce the ability to do so, in the near future.
  8. I'll take that to mean, "No, no, nothing and yes!"
  9. Just downloaded the Toolkit and it seems like a nice app. Having all of the location and gate cards rolled up in a tight digital package is great and will likely save me a bunch of time not having to shuffle and separate them out before and after. But I wonder: Is there a way to draw multiple cards at once? Or to simply go back and view the previous card? There are situations where one is required to draw multiple cards and decide which to encounter (Darrell, Gloria, Innsmouth Jail w/ someone in the alley, etc.), but I haven't found any functionality that allows me to switch back and forth between two or more cards. If this doesn't exist, what to do? Is it really down to memorizing the first card you draw?
  10. Yeah, monsters that appear with a gate stick around. Monsters that appear w/o accompanying a gate either vanish after eating the investigator or being evaded or they are taken as a trophy. Because your monster appeared with a gate, the investigator avoiding it makes sense ... 'cause it sticks around ... but you might have to deal with it on your way out.
  11. I'm stoked for the CotDP re-release ... though I'd honestly prefer a tear-down-total-rebuild BGotW revision. It's the one small box that rarely sees love in my circles, which is a shame 'cause I love me some Shub. So much potential there! Hook me up with a cult mechanic that works, then we'll talk!
  12. Deek

    Mansions VS Arkham

    Hmm. I wonder now if simply shuffling the AH rumors together with the SB and BB rumors, then randomly selecting two after drawing the first card of the game, would result in a similar statistical distribution? It would certainly be a less convoluted way of selecting rumors, definitely more streamlined, no need for a dice roll. Plus, we then have a chance of pulling a BB + SB rumor in a game, or a very slim chance of a BB + BB or SB + SB. It would also add to the unpredictability, as the rumor category would be a total mystery. Ah, progress. Why didn't I think of this before ...? EDIT: Oh, that's right. 'Cause then I wouldn't be able to re-balance the deck with additional headline cards versus the newly added rumor cards. Hmm. I wonder if that's even necessary? Dropping that aspect would create a nice, round 25 card deck ... *continues tinkering* Okay. NOW I'm done.
  13. Deek

    Mansions VS Arkham

    It's not so much that's we're controlling them, it's moreso because our Mythos is only 35-ish cards. We do not play with any single deck intact; be it the base game, the small box or the big box expansion Mythos decks. In the interest of continuing to be totally off topic, the basic setup looks something like this: H E R AH 6 3 1 BB 5 3 ? SB 4 2 ? So AH (base game) randomly contributes 6 headlines and 3 environments, with similar numbers for the small and big boxes. We then shuffler and draw the first card of the game and place it aside for use when the game begins. THEN we randomly select our rumors, which we do after the first card draw to avoid drawing and discarding a rumor. One rumor is selected from the base game, always. The "?" indicates what we call "Rolling for Rumor". We roll a d12 to determine if the second rumor is added from the SB or BB, on a result of 10, 11 or 12 (at which point the choice between the two is determined with a second dice roll). Any other result means the second rumor is randomly selected from the base game (the most common result). Whichever category (AH, BB or SB) is determined to supply the second rumor, the two remaining categories then contribute an additional headline card to balance the numbers. There are additional caveats for the KiY expansion, wherein the number of AH headlines is reduced to 4 and the SB headlines increased to 6, with the additional two representing pre-selected "Next Act Begins!" The remaining Next Act cards are shuffled in with the rest of the KiY headlines, allowing for more card to be selected when the 4 remaining SB headlines are randomly drawn. This adds an edge to the game, because you know for certain there are at least two Next Act cards, but you're never sure if there is a third in the deck that will end the game. This approach requires a lot of organization; not only keeping each Mythos deck separate, but also broken down into headlines, environments and rumors. You basically end up with nine decks from which to build a single 27 card deck (not 35, my mistake; a previous version of this system resulted in a 35 card deck). I realize the numbers are not bang on accurate with regard to percentages of specific card types, but they're close enough to allow for a very balanced, condensed deck; one that we feel represents the intended distribution of specific card types to a reasonable degree. So yeah. I probably should have followed your suggestion and PM'd you these details, avec, but I've rattled on at length about this; it would be odd to stop babbling before dishing out the actual nitty gritty. If anyone wishes to discuss the system further, or even suggest a way to improve it (always interested in that!), please drop me a private message. Expanding on this topic is a matter best left for the AH forum. I feel I've hijacked this poor thread more than enough, my apologies to the OP.
  14. Deek

    Mansions VS Arkham

    Dam said: Greg M said: Excuse my ignorance, I have only played AH once, and loved it, since I purchased but I have a couple of questions: first, in your opinion what is the best expansion and second what is "culling the deck"? Dunwich Horror. Culling means you take out cards from the deck. My Mythos deck for example has 208 cards I think, out of which 20 is the max that get drawn each game. I like the variety this offers, but others prefer a more toned down deck, either removing cards that open gates in Arkham to focus gates more into DH/IH or sissies who take out Rumors . OOOOR, culling can also mean trimming down that bloated ass Mythos deck to guarantee a focused experience. We do NOT remove specific cards. What we do is create a much smaller deck that includes a small cross section of those available, ensuring both the expansion board and small box Mythos cards enter play on a regular basis. I would hesitate to call our method culling, to be honest. That insinuates the exclusion of specific cards, as Dam suggests. We call it "prepping the deck". With an all-in approach, we often found the expansion boards felt vacant, seeing very little action in terms of gates compared to Arkham (your mileage may vary). Investigators rarely felt pressed to travel to neighboring townships. This felt like a waste. Also, small box Mythos cards felt lost in the mix, diluting their individual themes. Rumor cards were also few and far between due to their relative rarity compared to the headline and environment cards. This was our experience. Again, YMMV. So, with regard to the Mythos deck, we randomly dole out a specific number of base, small box and big box expansion cards, with base game cards being the most prominent followed by a somewhat even mix of small/big box (leaning more toward the big box). Within these groupings, we ensure there is a reasonable distribution of headline to environment to rumor (with headlines being the most common, environment not so much, only 2 rumor cards per 35 card deck; we have a specific ratio, but I cannot recall it off the top of my head). The ratio was created by looking at the base game + 1 small box + 1 big box, crunching the numbers across the various combinations and ending up with an average number for each card type within each category. It's ... complicated. We do NOT cull specific gate cards, nor do we remove rumors or anything of the sort. We only know that a certain number of headline/environment/rumor cards are being added from each category (base, small, big); we do no know which cards exactly. This creates a random deck that, more often than not, results in a decent story that plays across the entire board and prominently features the specific theme of whichever small box is currently in the shuffle. The game feels less watered down and far more thematic. To make a tired point: YMMV. We played all-in for a long while before we decided to start "preparing" the deck. It really is a matter of taste. It should also be noted that we do occasionally have a game that's very Arkham-centric, as our deck is still exceedingly random. It includes almost twice as many cards as you will likely need for a game. Sometimes, that's just the way it plays out. Not all Mythos cards from DH or IH open gates in their respective towns, sometimes we end up with a run of big box Mythos cards opening gates in Arkham. Rumors are still rare, but they don't feel like winning the lottery (assuming a lottery jackpot of a swift kick in the nuts). You just never know. That's half the fun! And yes, Dunwich Horror. That's the no-brainer, go-to choice for first expansion.
  15. Deek

    Mansions VS Arkham

    Dam said: Keeper played UU on you, made you do something you didn't want to do ? Yar. Let's go with that! Dam is right. Kingsport is stank. I have it only because I'm a compulsive completionist. I wanted the GOOs, the investigators, the monsters, the non-specific location cards, etc. The board itself is terrible. The epic battle cards are nice enough, but even that's a topic for debate.
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