In response to all of you; I went out and purchased a used copy of Descent second edition for $40. To fairly compare the two editions, I chose a quest from the first edition to play through, then a quest from the second edition. The quest I chose from the first edition is called; 'The Eternal Guardian', and involves a relic called, 'Bright Blade'. The quest I chose from the second edition is called; 'The Dawnblade', and also involves a relic called, 'Dawnblade'. Both quests involve a similar relic item, so I thought they would be good for this comparison. For this comparison, I've chosen to use the exact same hero characters: 'Jonas the Kind’, 'Tobin Farslayer', 'Kirga', and, 'Runewitch Astarra'. I am running all four characters myself for both quests, and I have my OL running both quests with me. I will try to keep their basic starting equipment as closely the same as possible. I started with the first edition quest since I was certain that I would enjoy that one more than the second. In the first edition, the characters start out with $300 gold, 3 random skills from the main Skill decks, and 3 random skills from the Feat decks, which I like to call the 'subterfuge' cards. The Feat deck cards you keep face down and use when applicable during your turn, or during the OL's turn. They are used to mess with the OL's plans. Once used, you then discard the Feat card. When picking a regular skill card, if the player doesn't like it, they can discard it one time to choose another which you must then keep. I actually like this method since you never know what you're going to get. To me, that makes it more interesting and much more of a challenge. You have to use the cards you're dealt and I think it's just more fun this way. With the $300 gold, you may then purchase cards from the Purchase deck. These cards are fully assessable. You can look at them, touch them, READ them. Then, you can buy them. This is NOT random! I don't see how anyone can claim that it is. You choose the cards you want, then buy them. Here I will break down for you which cards I drew from the Skill decks, and which cards I purchased from the Purchase deck, for each character. I will do a similar break down below for when I get set up for the second edition dungeon. Dice rolled for attack with weapons I will put by first letter of the color in parenthesis separated by slash marks. Jonas the Kind Skills: Tiger Tattoo- +1 speed, +1 max fatigue, no damage from pit traps. Brawler- +1 melee attack, one damage to all adjacent figures. Sharr the Brightwing (familiar)- Speed of 6, +2 health to characters it lands on. Feats: We Are Not Afraid- Use at start of heros or OL's turn, result=OL loses 4 threat. Riposte- Use after OL attacks, result=counter attack. Fend- Use before OL rolls dice for attack, result= +4 armor for length of turn. Basic Equipment: Chain mail- +2 armor. Sword- (R/G) 3 surges= +1 damage, offhand bonus= +1 damage. Morning Star- (R/Y/Y) 3 surges= +1 damage, offhand bonus= +1 dam/free surge. 1 Health Potion Tobin Farslayer Skills: Marksman- +1 range for ranged or magic attack. Precision- Ignore 1 figure or obstacle for line of sight. Master Archer- +2 surges with a ranged attack. Feats: Disarm- roll power die for traps within 3 spaces, result=if not a blank, disarm trap. Hustle- +3 movement Evade- use after a OL's successful attack, result= roll a surge to take no damage. Basic Equipment: Chain Mail- +2 armor. Crossbow- (B/G) 2 surges= +1 damage, 3 surges= +1 range. 1 Health Potion Kirga Skills: Shadow Soul (familiar)- Speed of 4, may switch places with Shadow Soul b4 turn. Swift- +2 speed. Cautious- OL receives 1 fewer threat per turn, take 1 less damage from traps. Feats: Hustle- +3 movement. Hustle- +3 movement Disarm- roll power die for traps within 3 spaces, result=if not a blank, disarm trap. Basic Equipment: Leather Armor- +1 armor. Crossbow- (B/G) 2 surges= +1 damage, 3 surges= +1 range. 1 Health, 1 Stamina Potion Runewitch Astarra Skills: Inner Fire- +2 range, +1 damage. Necromancy- Reanimate 1 small, un-named enemy to control, roll power die after. Mata and Kata (familiar)- Speed of 6, can fetch and carry objects. Feats: We Are Not Afraid- Use at start of heros or OL's turn, result=OL loses 4 threat. Transparent- Gain Stealth for rest of the turn. Protect thyself- +2 armor to every hero within 3 spaces for rest of turn. Basic Equipment: Leather armor- +1 armor. Magic Staff- (W/Y) 2 surges= +1 damage or +1 range. 1 Health Potion The results of this game were: hero's won, play time approx. 6 or more hours, Jonas died twice and Astara died twice during the game. I won't go into detail, but below I will list the ending equipment, skills and/or training purchased, and feats that were used. (You draw one feat card for each player each time a glyph is activated). Jonas the Kind Ending Equipment: Dragon Scale Mail- +4 armor, speed reduced to 3, immune to bleed, burn, and poison. Mirror Shield- cancel 2 wounds, no effects tokens can be placed on you. Blade of Light-(R/G/G/Y/Y) +1 damage per surge, or pierce 10 Bottle Imp (familiar) Speed of 4, aura of 1 Skills Purchased: Unmovable- When using battle order, gain auto guard order, +1 armor. Additional Feats: Blocked- Use after OL attacks, blocked on the roll of a surge. Killing Blow- Choose the results of your attack dice 1 time except the red one. Follow Through- +2 damage. Tobin Farslayer Ending Equipment: Wings of Regiroth- Gain the ability 'flying', +2 speed. Chain Mail- +2 armor. Bow of the Hawk- (B/G/G/Y) Pierce 3, may re-roll 1 die during attack. Training Purchased: +1 power die for ranged attacks. Additional Feats: Shooting For Distance- +8 range. Shooting For Distance- +8 range. Backstab- 1 free attack before OL rolls attack dice. Kirgo Ending Equipment: Robes of Kellos-+3 armor vs ranged/magic, +1 armor vs melee, may equip 2 extra 'other' type items. Scorpion Helmet- +2 range, +1 damage. Bow of Bone- (B/G/Y) Peirce 3, 1 surge= +1 damage or range. Skills Purchased: Rapid Fire- Gain +1 attack for 2 fatigue. Additional Feats: ***** in the Armor- Pierce 4. Foiled Plans- Look at 2 OL cards; OL must discard 1. Shooting for Distance- +8 range. Runewitch Astarra: Ending Equipment: Black Widows Web- (B/Y/Y) 1 surge= +1 damage or range, 2 surges= +1 web token. Mithril Breast Plate- +3 armor. Flame Strike (Rune)- (W/G/G/Y) Blast 2 and burn, 2 surges= +1 blast or burn. Skills Purchased: Vampiric Blood- +1 fatigue for each killing blow. Additional Feats: Focus- +2 surges. Flaming Fury- +3 burn. Protect Thyself- +2 armor to every hero within 3 spaces for rest of the turn. As you can clearly see, there are quite a few choices and different things that you can get in this game to give you a tactical edge, and I didn't even list cards that I sold or didn't use throughout the game. This is clearly not just a simple matter of if we 'renamed' the item cards in second edition then they'd be 'cool' enough for me to use. This is about having better items that do different things. Remember that you can go back to town by using glyphs to buy and sell equipment, purchase training tokens, or gain new skills. These are just the things I bought or chose to use in this particular game. You can choose anything and play it anyway you want, in any combination. There was nothing unbalanced about this, nor was it in any way over equipping or 'out gearing' the OL. The OL set up her deck using treachery points and the OL's treachery deck before the game. This treachery deck is used in addition to the OL's base deck. She had access to cards for all the monsters in the game when putting it together, plus all the special cards. This deck has 47 special treachery based cards. Trust me, she was plenty tough to beat. This game ran smooth, was very challenging, and a great deal of fun to play. In fact, we played a second dungeon after this one, and the OL won that one. It’s different every time. Now let's take a look at the Descent second edition; In Descent second edition you have to pick an ‘archetype’. This forces you into using a preset deck of about 10 skill cards. These are the only skills you will be able to get throughout the whole game. They incorporate ideas from the two types of skill decks in the first edition. Unless you are playing advanced or expert mode, you only get the default weapon/equipment and basic skill cards used by your ‘archetype’ to start with. If playing on expert, you also get 6 points to use to buy additional skills, and $250 gold to purchase items from the act I and act II shop cards. Since these cards are so limited, you are forced to get what you can. For example, there is only one suit of chainmail; I had to buy an act II set of armor that cost me my full $250 gold for Tobin. As you can clearly see, this is far less choices than Descent first edition in both skills and equipment. Below is the breakdown of the starting skills and equipment I was able to get at expert level; Jonas The Kind Skills: Prayer of Healing-Exhaust, hero + adjacent recover 1 red die health. Radiant Light-Roll power die; each hero in line of sight recovers amount rolled, monsters suffer damage rolled. Blessed Strike- Attack; if successful, you and 1 hero adjacent get 2 health. Time of Need- Receive 2 movement, recover 2 health. Basic Equipment: Wooden Shield- Exhaust to add 1 defense to die roll. Steel Broadsword- (R/B) Once per attack; re-roll red die. Surge= +1 damage. Iron Mace - (B/Y) Surge=stun. Chainmail- +1 defense die. Dawnblade- (B/R/Y) Surge= +3 damage. Surge= attack effects 2nd monster adjacent. (gained this weapon at end of act 1) Tobin Farslayer Skills: Black Arrow- Bow attack gains +1 range, If less than 3 damage after defense, deal 3 instead. Bow Mastery- Exhaust to add 1 surge. Nimble- When a monster moves adjacent, move one space, then monster may activate. Eagle Eyes- Friendly figures do not block line of sight. Basic Equipment: Platemail- Add one black defense die. Movement reduced to 3. Cannot equip runes. Yew Shortbow- (B/Y) Surge= +2 range or +1 damage. Kirga Skills: Greedy- Search a search token within 3 spaces. Thief- After drawing a search card, you may pick a new one. Sneaky- +1 on attacks against monsters that did not have line of sight at the start of your turn. Dirty Tricks- Attack with melee or blade= If attack deals at least 1 damage, stun. Lurk- Exhaust to perform a search action that does count as an action. +1 brown defense die. Basic Equipment: Leather Armor- +1 health. +1 brown defense die. Lucky Charm- Exhaust to reroll attribute test. Crossbow- (B/Y) Pierce 1, surge= +2 damage or +1 damage and move target 1 space. Throwing Knives- (B/Y) Attack adjacent monsters= +1 damage, surge= +1 range. Runewitch Astarra: Skills: Reanimate- (familiar) with 3 speed, 4 lives, no defense, (B/R) attack, surge= +1 damage. Raise Dead- Place your familiar token adjacent to you. Undead Might- familiar gains +2 health, exhaust= +1 to familiar’s attack. Vampiric Blood- familiar gains 1 yellow power die, +1 fatigue when defeating a monster. Dark Pact- Familiar gains 1 brown defense die, each damage suffered can be suffered by either you or familiar. Basic Equipment: Leather Armor- +1 health, +1 brown defense die. Reaper’s Scythe- (B/Y) Surge= +1 range, defeat monster= +1 health. Ice Storm- (B/Y/Y) Surge= immobilize or +2 damage. The results of this game were; hero’s won. Play time around 4 to 5 hours. No one died. In this game you just get “knocked out”. No one gets any points for it; it doesn’t really matter at all since you “revive”, or, “stand up” on your next turn in the exact same spot. In Descent first edition, you get a set amount of ‘conquest tokens’ for each dungeon, and you gain tokens from chests and by activating glyphs. When the OL kills a hero, they get the amount of points that the hero is worth in conquest tokens. If the hero’s ever run out of tokens, you lose the game. Also, in Descent first edition, you get gold for killing the red monsters. In the second edition, you get absolutely nothing. I would list the ending equipment, but it was exactly the same as the starting equipment except for the Dawnblade, which I got at the end of act 1. There was nothing to collect, buy, or trade, no way to upgrade your character, and no real reason to do so. It was pretty much what you had to start with for the whole game. This game had no weapons bonus for the off-hand weapon, there was no buying and selling items, no extra skill cards. There were no feat cards, no upgrading your skills and abilities, and no purchasing training. There were no treasure cards, no gold, no points awarded for kills. There was no equipping better gear, no way to get better gear, and no added danger that would require you to do so. There was no danger of losing just from running out of conquest tokens. The map itself was incredibly small. In Descent first edition, the dungeons are huge with lots of room to move. There was no room to maneuver in the second edition, no way to out flank, no opportunities to achieve your objective in any other way than to go straight at it. This game was not tactical at all. Pretty much you just went towards your objective while the OL either tried to stop you, or tried to achieve the OL’s own objective first. I cannot believe this got such good reviews. I am just really glad that I didn’t pay full price for this. As far as the person who commented that his OL in the first edition was beating him, and saying that the dungeon they were playing was ‘broken’, well it’s just too bad that the OL figured out a way to win then, isn’t it? When that happens to me, I ask for a rematch. Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 tries, but I never let a dungeon go without beating it. Maybe you should have tried harder. In conclusion, Descent second edition is not better than Descent first edition. In Descent first edition, your characters grow, develop, gain strength, new skills, better gear, new weapons and become richer with gold. By the end of the game, whether you win or lose, you feel as if the characters have been on a long journey and have become better and stronger for the experience. In Descent second edition, there is none of this growth or satisfaction. Your characters are the same as when they started. And, since you don’t gain anything at all in terms of new skills, weapons, gear, or even gold, there is absolutely no satisfaction from seeing that they have developed from their original personas. This flat and featureless game sucks away all the fun of what playing a good dungeon adventure should be. This was a fair comparison done with both games played back to back. I have stated the cards used for each game, the rules, and the outcomes. If you just look at this comparison between the two games, it is abundantly and perfectly clear that I am right when I say that Decent first edition is the better game. There is nothing more to say.