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LordKelvin

Overlord feeling bad for his players

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So I'm in love with descent. I think its fantastic. I've only got one campaign that has lasted a couple quests but that didn't make it past the interlude. All the same I have picked up Labyrinth of Ruin, a heroes and monsters collection (the one with the 4 women heroes), and after my recent birthday Lair of the Wyrm and Trollfens. As a result we are trying to start a Monday night Descent game and started the Labyrinth of Ruin campaign. The only problem is that the Heroes have been on a 7+ game losing streak and it is starting to show. There are many obvious reasons for this: I'm overlord and I'm the most avid board gamer in the group, I've also consistently played in every game compared to introducing this to multiple groups, and I tend to be the one that grasps rules the best.

 

So my actual problem is we started the campaign and I won the introductory quest. My Heroes are understandable a little frustrated since the overlord one again and I don't want them to despair. So what am I asking from you the community is advice to me on what choices will make the game as fair and fun as possible. I don't want fiats, house rules, or throw away quests that the overlord has no chance to win. What we all want is a fair match where the heroes pull out the win without me pulling any punches. They need a win that they deserved 100% of the credit for. 

 

My Party is (forgive me if I don't use proper game names of things I'm rattling stuff off by memory):

Andira Runehand - Wildspeaker

The reroll fighter from Lair of the Wyrm - Champion

Tethrys - Thief

Telport chick from H&M - Was Geomancer probably going to be switching to Runemaster (Geomancer not his playstyle)

 

We've only played the introductory quest which I've won and I was looking really hard at the Infection overlord class. They have no gold at the moment since they got a mace as treasure and 25g from loot since they didn't fully search. 

 

Would you send them Raythen or Serana's quest? Should I send them on one of the rumor quests that I have? Quests down the road I should avoid or recommend to them? Recommendation to spend my overlord exp? Class cards I should recommend to the players? Monster recommendation? Any advice you have would be appreciated. Thanks!

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From the sounds of it, your players (heroes) have not grasped the consequences of either not finishing the quest as detailed (I've seen this with my players as they were used to Descent 1st edition) or not working to the strengths of their classes.

 

If you feel they're just not working together as well as they could. I would suggest not using your OL cards. I've done this for one of my groups and it's helped balance the experience a bit. Well, I shouldn't say to not use the OL cards but use them sparingly. That's more of how I play with my one group. Doing this could help the group's moral a bit to keep the game(s) going.

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Play easy on them. when playing the quest go as you usually do (its no fun for anyone when u know the other player deliberatly plays bad),but give yourself some setback. Buy some OL cards thats more or less ussless against them, dont reduce your OL deck etc. When choosing monster choose monsters thats weak against them, weak for the scenario and generally sub-uptimal. If you are playing with threat tokens "overextend" using them so some players get 2 actions etc. 

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I would send them down Serena's path- that helps them with fatigue regeneration, and also, the spiritspeaker is not the greatest healer. However, you could stick them with Raythen if you think they will use him to get more gear- that will really help them.

 

If you're playing with rumor cards, put some quests in play. Those are opportunities for them to get more gold and shopping steps, and potentially relics.

 

I agree that monsters should be chosen in such a way as to not capitalize on the party's weaknesses. This is sort of pulling a punch, but you can still use a sub-optimal monster the best you can. Your heroes have already done as much for you by choosing the "Thief" class and the "Spiritspeaker," instead of say, the "Wildlander" and the "Disciple."

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Rumor Quests are indeed a very good idea to help you party gather some gold and Equipment. In my weekly gaming group we have a feedback round after every quest. Without any bad feelings everyone evaluates what could he/she have done better and what didn't work out so well. It doesn't matter on which side you play, these talks exists to reflect and help everyone get better. Another point of evaluations is to raise the situational awareness. I don't know how often I forgot to use my "at the start of your turn" / "at the end of your turn" skills just because I didn't pay enough attention ^^;

 

And I don't think the Thief class is that bad. It is no treasure hunter and not as nimble als the wildlander but it definitely has is uses.

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Most newcomers, if they do`nt own the game, are having a hard time because they do`nt know the synergy of the classes. Normaly i play the OL and then i set a limit of 6 OL cards for me (acctually we defined the rule like this: the OL just draws a card at the beginning of his turn if he has less than 6 cards).

Another way to make it easier for the heroes is to allow them a healing between encounters (2 red power, just like stand up action) heros who are knocked out at the end of the encounter count as if they have rolled the best possibility (6 hearts and 2 surges / though the surges are of no effect)

 

When i play against my regular group (they know the heroes and the classes well), then there is no mercy :-)

 

Greetings

H

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Me and my group are learning the game one encounter at a time. But if i win <OL> or lose i watch my players. i ask after each game how was that? was it fun? and how do you think you all did? and we talk about it. And If the players ask for help after the game i will give then pointers on what they could have done different from my point of view  for a better out come. And sometimes they do the same.

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Why not pick up one of the two co-op adventures and play this first a couple of times. These are quite hard as well, but at least the group will have the benefit of your experience on their side and the focus can be on maximizing class abilities. Don't be an alpha gamer though, let them make their own mistakes. After a couple of co-op adventures, go back to a non-campaign game from the base set, then go for a mini-campaign. 

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I think you have received some great suggestions here to pull some of your blows--don't play those devastating cards, choose some less ideal monsters, etc.--but from what I am finding is that this kind of disparity often happens with us just from a lack of knowledge of the game.  Descent is an very detailed game with intricacies and interactions that fluctuate wildly depending on the situation, heroes and monsters in play.  We jumped right into a campaign right after finishing the rules and I wish I had done some stand-alone quests first, just to familiarize each of us with not only the game mechanics but to understand better how the dance of the heroes and monsters.

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It's advice I've seen other places before, but, if one of your campaigns is not too far along, consider trading places with a hero. You can show the other heroes how it's done and one of your heroes will learn the sorts of tricks the OL can play. Also, why not actively engage in their strategy discussions. It may seem weird, but you can point some things out. Just don't suggest they take a course then play a trap card and screw up all the plans.

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By looking at the various advices you got I only see problems in the long run.

I think dumbing down your strategy is absolutely something to avoid. That's something I can do at times when I play with my 6-years old daughter, but I wouldn't even consider this as a "way to go forward" with adult gamers.

I believe your players will be learning way faster if you stick to the way you play currently. If they don't have the balls or patience to persevere then it's on them. Spoiling your own pleasure of the game just because you happen to win more than often blows my mind. That's a situation I tasted before and I see exactly zero reason why you would have to give up on your own enjoyment for a game for the reason your players are playing badly. My playgroup would revolt against the idea of letting one single person win every game and I would guarantee they would insist on playing the game and get the needed intel just for the fun of seeing me lose in the end. That's a statement. If your players have a bit a competitivity in them then this is what should be happening.

See, my players were in the same situation as yours, as I was outplaying everybody the first campaingns we played. Heroes had perseverance and got to appreciate the elements of the game that could give them a nice push towards winning quests and getting the tools to getting better in a game of Descent.

It eventually ended up making them really aware of what was good for them, and now I am having troubles competing as the OL. They just caught up on me which makes the game challenging for everybody.

So yeah, my piece of advice is to inform them about what they could have done better if you have input on that. This is what I did with my own playgroups. If you see something obvious, even if you only want to mention about it post-game then just do it. It will give another perspective to your players. Eventually they will learn more and more about your and their strenghths and weaknesses. And they will start winning quests and put you in difficult situations.

Edited by Indalecio

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