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Crusaderlord

How do you play this game ?

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Descent 2nd edition for me lends itself to be played in different ways which is why it is so versatile and so good. I was wondering how people 'usually' play. Here is how my family or friends set up :

 

Competitively - PvP - this is rare for us. We originally started with the overlord (my role always) but i generally dont play to crush my opponents (usually given their age) and i will try to make it a close encounter and engaging game, working on the basis if i put people off too much then wont come back for more.

 

Campaign - this is also rare - we have linked a couple of scenarios together but never gone through the whole campaign (or even half). i think this is more a time issue, there are gaps between games so when we return to play, often new characters are preferred to continuing a previous game.

 

Co-op Approach - this has been our preferred option by selecting a one off scenario and playing a hero each (2 or 3 normally depending on numbers of players) and taking on an automated style overlord. i do use one of the boardgamegeek options but also i have automated the overlord myself based on a simple 'what would i do if i was the overlord in this situation style' but also playing a hero. It works, the game is kept fun and pacey and is about the experience rather than did i get it all correct approach.

 

Custom Co-op - this is our current option and is largely the same as the co-op approach (the overlord is automated and we team up as heros) except that i adapt scenarios from the quest book and tweak them. To explain this i am from the warhammer quest era where you had a dungeon crawl obective and the real risk of your character dying. This is one area that i feel Descent lacks - so i now set up a scenario but usually dispense with constant respawns of monsters but only allow one knockdown (the 2nd knockdown equals death). Now you do have to learn to set up with the right number of enemy groups for a scenario and also maybe tweak the objective rules slightly but my sons and i usually find this a more fullfilling experience. The advantage of this approach is that you know how the long game is and how far through you are by the number of groups left plus when all the heros die the game is over - it certainly helps younger players know where they are in the game.

 

The last game we played this approach was a real classic, two heros and the duskblade scenario, we had spiders in the entrance tunnels, then goblins in one room and a dragon in the treasure room with Alric being the final boss (note he wasnt trying to take down the dragon). The duskblade was a searchable reward which could help us take down the final boss or dragon too if it came up early (it didnt). Anyway the two heros dispatched the spiders with ease, with the goblins scratching a couple of wounds off the heros. The dragon was really tricky and despite Jane shooting from distance it took Syndrael a while to take it down leaving her with a couple of wounds left only. Alric proved equally difficult and Jane tried to hold him off while Sylvanea searched and found the duskblade in the corner. By the time it was two heros on Alric, Jane had already been knocked down once and sadly Alric continued to focus on her (random but likely thematic too) to take her down for the second and last time. Turning his attention to the wounded Sylvanea he knocked her down once and then as she recovered had a good swing which would have surely won the battle with her weakened, but he rolled a miss and the elf with two good hits with the duskblade won the day - returning victorious by eliminating the menace to the world - but at a terrible cost of losing her friend. From my 12 year old sons perspective the fact that his hero survived and mine died, plus the closeness of the game led him to ask for an immediate replay of another scenario the next day. I call that a success !! 

 

Whilst i am not playing the game as originally intended i feel the essence is captured and we have actually more fun i believe than if i tried to beat him as overlord. I am therefore not a Descent purist but i do love this game and hope to hear of other game experiences :)

Edited by Crusaderlord

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I almost exclusively play this game as written, in competitive campaign format. Occasionally (mostly when testing out new encounters) I'll play it in the "epic play" mode. I find the campaign is the most rewarding because of long term strategy, as well as the story as the game progresses.

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We generally play the game as a competitive campaign. Although in recent years we haven't really had time for full-blown campaigns and so usually just play one or two quests in a go. Sometimes we use Epic rules to get some of the sweet stuff, other times, not.

We play RAW for the most part, but we do have a couple of house rules to simplify what we see as silly official errata.

Having said that, we're all adult gamers who can handle a serious competition. It sounds like you primarily game with your young children, and in a similar situation I would probably lean towards a more GM-ing co-op style as well.

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PvP It's usually just me and my little sister, one of us is the overlord and the other 2 heroes. We've never played the campaign or with epic rules. Usually we randomly pic and set up an encounter, maybe 2. So, yeah lots of stuff we haven't ever used but we have fun.

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I sometimes play vanilla in campaign mode. The game is very fun as is. However, as you said, there is a very large time commitment involved in playing an official campaign with the vanilla rules. Thus, I also very much enjoy the official co-op modules, for a shorter play that is still tight and engaging.

 

That being said, one of my main sticking points with all of the official material, is that everything is very restrictive vis-a-vis the components used (monster group choices not withstanding). Official campaigns only use 1 expansion, though you can introduce more via rumors. I also really enjoy using a variety of different heroes and classes, which does not happen very often if you play primarily in official campaign mode. Basically, in any given official campaign, there are many components that you do not even get the choice to use, and variety is one of the the things I enjoy most about a modular game system.

 

In lieu of playing an official campaign and for the purposes of introducing the possibility of using any and all of the components available, I created a set of Legendary Play Variant Rules, to play legendary single quests more like 1E Descent, short legendary mini-campaigns, or official 1E quests with the 2E rules. I also made my rule set compatible with Redjak's Automated Overlord Variant, to facilitate co-op play sans an Overlord player.

 

I am yet to try Redjak's DelvenDeep Expansion, but it looks like another great way to play Descent.

 

So, my current preferred way to play Descent is to play legendary single quests, or short legendary campaigns, using my variant rules, with an automated Overlord via RAOV. While the objectives are not as varied as in the official campaigns, and there is not very much lore involved, every encounter is different, we use a variety of different hero and class combinations, and no components go unused for long.

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To explain this i am from the warhammer quest era where you had a dungeon crawl obective and the real risk of your character dying. 

 

In the past I also enjoyed a lot Warhammer Quest, although the advanced mode required me a bit of work to balance the game for my group.  :lol:

 

Since the release of Forgotten Souls, we have played only the cooperative version, although we had to introduce our home rules in order to increase the replayability and reduce the playing time. Recently we are playing with a version which uses both Forgotten Souls and Nature's Ire (Sudden Death at the Cursed Mountain).

 

I admit I had fun with the base campaign in the past, but it requires a lot time (and commitment by the players, especially by the Overlord !! :D ), and we prefer to play other games (e.g. Runewars) instead of focusing too much on Descent. 

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