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krejaton

A Newbie Asks: What to buy?

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Hello all,

 

My two teen daughters (17 and 15) and I love board games and each Christmas I get us another to play.  After reading way too many reviews and consulting many sites, I think I have honed our new selection to Descent 2e. Given the overly competitive nature of my youngest, we have kept it at co-op games (Space Alert, Pandemic, Forbidden Island, Escape, etc.) but we have finally begun to venture out into other fare.  Seeing how we love D&D, Descent looks like a great bridge between RPG and board game as well as co-op/competitive!

 

First question, is 2e going to be viable for a while?  I see that there are a lot of large and small expansion packs, which is great, but is Descent 3e on the horizon (meaning FFG is moving past 2e) or are they still invested in the game? 

 

Second, perhaps more importantly, beyond the base game, what should we get?  Trust me I spent a lot of time looking through this forum and gleaning much.  It might be wise to make sure we enjoy the game before buying Nerekhall or Lair, but should I pick up a Hero & Monster set to help me crush my girls?  If so, is Crusade of the Forgotten best?  I have also heard from you folks that buying a Lt is a good move, so I will be doing that along with another set of dice.

 

Any other helps for a noob that wants to get himself and his kids into Descent?

 

Thanks in advance for any help!

 

~krejaton

Edited by krejaton

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Since you've got 2 daughters, I might recommend Crusade of the Forgotten just because it offers 4 female heroes, more than any of the other expansions. That being said, any of the hero and monster packs offer a little diversity in monster/ hero selection. I would recommend at least 1 of the small boxes (I like Lair of the Wyrm, but the favorite seems to be Trollfens) so that you can work in the Rumor mechanic. I don't feel that a lieutenant pack is necessary, especially if you're just starting out, but it can definitely help to give the OL an edge. Some of the packs are brutal against the heroes, and some are less powerful. I would certainly recommend playing Shadow Rune once before moving on to a different full length campaign- I enjoy that one, especially if you've got a bigger monster set than just the base game. 

 

The big advantage to picking up a large box expansion is that you get 4 new classes. To me, that's what really diversifies campaigns- different combinations of hero classes. However, there's nothing wrong with the base set (and a couple extras if you pick up a small box expansion.)

 

I do not get the sense that FFG is ready to move on to D3E yet. Even if that is in the works, there is a wealth of content for D2E right now, and everything is available/ in print.

Edited by Zaltyre

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Another thing to note, since you've already mentioned it's you and your two daughters. The game can be very brutal to the heroes in a 2-3 player game. Currently, there is no balance for playing with less than 4 heroes. So the best suggestion anyone can give you when you finally decide what to get for D2e is: when you start playing, have your hero players play four heroes at all times. That is, until FFG figures out how to balance the game for 2/3 hero games.

 

As Zaltyre pointed out:

  • Stay away from Lieutenant packs until your players are more familiar with the game
  • Big boxes add 4 new heroes/classes to the game and a new campaign
  • Smaller boxes add 2 new heroes/classes and other mechanics
  • Hero & Monster collections add more heroes, monsters and rumors to your full campaigns (or a single shot quest for short term fun)

Good luck and enjoy!

Edited by Coldmoonrising

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Boxes expansions offers classes, and the base game really needs some

 

heroes and monster offers choices, and OL badly needs some if you want to have a real choice of monsters

 

Big boxes offers new campaigns, since the base game is so unbalanced

 

Lieutenant packs offers more cool options for the OL

 

So, maybe a bit of all ?

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Thanks for the quick responses!  I appreciate the guidance.

 

I think I have an additional question based on each of your responses:

 

Are the H&M sets (and big&small expansions, I suppose) geared towards the same level?  Not sure if I am asking the question correctly--are the monsters and heroes you get in the later packs significantly stronger?  Do you necessarily use specific heroes and monsters with specific sets (e.g. could you use the Trollfen heroes on the base game or only on that pack?

 

So, given that it will usually be the three of us playing, should each player have two heroes?  Is the gme so badly balanced that we should not buy it?  With the game being out  a few years now, it probably isn't realistic to think that FFG is going to rescale it, right?  Once I have played OL a few times, should I likely get a sense of how to scale it to make it tough but competitive for both sides?

 

Are the Lieutenant packs, by definition, stronger than those in the base set?

 

Thanks again for the suggestions!

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Are the Lieutenant packs, by definition, stronger than those in the base set?

 

Thanks again for the suggestions!

There are no monster "tiers." Every expansion, as well as the base game, has some monsters that are relatively powerful (volucrix reavers,) and some that are relatively weak (zombies.) The OL has to decide which monsters to use for each encounter based on trait and the objectives, which usually plays a big part. Monster choice, like many things in Descent, is situational.

 

 The game technically scales with a hero party of anywhere from 2-4. However, most people seem to come to the conclusion that a 2-hero game tends to favor the OL, a 3-hero game tends to favor the heroes, and a 4-hero game goes both ways. This is because the main way that Descent "scales" is by adjusting the size of the monster groups the OL uses (it's at the bottom of the card in the image I linked.) Because victory in Descent is (mostly) about correct use of your actions, this creates a few issues. When there are 2 heroes, there simply aren't enough hero actions per round to get most of the objectives complete. They find themselves spread very thin, and then pay the price. In a 3 hero game, the heroes get 2 more actions per round, while the OL only gets a slight boost in his monster strength, leading to heroes that usually can wipe the floor with most monster groups easily, especially once they get good gear. In a full game, these issues tend to balance out. It's not game-breaking, but it can be disappointing, especially if one side is very invested in victory above all else.

 

As for your last question, look again into what lieutenant packs are- there are none in the base game- the packs add a new mechanic- plot cards (and threat tokens,) and "agents" of the OL (usually slightly weaker versions of lieutenants from the campaigns.) The OL picks one deck at the beginning of a campaign, which is thematically tied to a particular agent- this can, in certain circumstances, allow him to bring that agent into quests where he wouldn't normally appear. A bonus of the packs (and for some people the whole reason to buy them) is that you can replace the lieutenant tokens with the agent miniatures. I personally only have 3 packs so far- Gargan Mirklace (a particularly powerful agent with some very powerful plot cards,) Queen Ariad, and Sir Alric. I've been trying to stick to the big baddies of the campaigns- Valyndra, Bol-goreth, etc. Alric was a gift. 

Edited by Zaltyre

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My recommendation is just buy the basic game: "Descent: Journeys in the Dark. Second ed"!

That is enough to get you going and teach you how to play the game. 

It includes enough heroes and monsters to play through the campaign.

And the next expansion: "Heirs of Blood" is based on whats in the original box anyway.

 

True the lieutenants are cardboard tokens, if that bothers you and $ isn't an issue, pick up the Lieutenant packs. You don't have to use the new mechanics until later if you want to.

 

The game has never felt unbalanced to me. I play with my 16 year old sister and sometimes with a cousin (we are both 35). When I play overlord I treat it more like I'm a game master and just want the other players to have a good time. When my sis plays overlord she is out to win.

We always have fun.

 

Depending on how often you guys play you might want another story to play through or to add some new stuff to keep the game interesting, that is when you start purchasing the expansions. I recommend getting them in the order they where released; just out of simplicity. 

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