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wanderlust2

Can't Beat First Blood

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To start, my group obviuosly sucks at this game. Now that that is out of the way, on to our problem.

We tried Descent 2.0 for the first time yesterday. We all grabbed characters, picked classes and set up the dungeon. We then proceeded to have our butts handed to us 3 straight times. We finally gave up, and shelved the game. What I don't get is how we were even expected to win, and the fact that this was the supposed intro quest completely turned off my group to the game.

The goblins have the same defense as a fighter, and ettins have twice that. Goblins do equal damage to all but the fighter, and do so at range. Toss in the overlord cards allowing multiple attacks and or damage and I don't see a way at all.

Our OL beat us in all 3 games in no more than 6 turns. In our best attempt we fatigued to the goblins, used heroics and actions to kill 3. The OL moved both ettins into the hallway and used the + surge cards and frenzy one to KO the archer, and leave the necromancer at 3 health. Next turn we ftried all out attacking the boss, and did a grand total of 4 health because of armor saves.

Next turn the OL finishes off the rezzed archer, the necro and left the Disciple at 5 health. Choosing all out offense we did 2 more health to the boss, and somehow survived with lucky defense and attack rolls including a double miss by the boss.

Last turn we did zero damage, and were promptly wiped out. Our best game and we didn't do half the boss' health.

Is there something obvious we're missing in our game, or is it just that imbalanced? Our OL was willing to let us have 2 xp for trying 3 times, but no one was interested. He has been begging to play it with us for ages, and says it is a great game, so I am obviously either missing something or we just suck. :(

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Note that after every quest, all players get 1 XP (heroes and overlord). The winner gets something extra, though.

 

Can't comment on gameplay since I haven't played in forever, but the Overlord can't win by taking all the players down. In First Blood, he's trying to get his Goblins to escape. It sucks to get beaten down a lot, but overall it shouldn't do anything but buy the Overlord time (and a card, IIIRC).

 

Do you have a healer? Especially in the base game, the Paladin class has crazy amounts of healing. In addition, by healing someone who's knocked out, that player will get their full turn.

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How much players/heroes do you have in your group ? 4vs1 ? 3vs1 ? 2vs1 ?

 

The intro quest is clearly easy as f*ck for the heroes and made in order to give a nice beginning to the heroes.

 

So in reality, the Overlord isn't really suppose to win. Sure with some luck or a huge difference of skill he can do it, but apart from that, it's really hard for him.

 

 

I have to say that if you lost, clearly this is either cause you guys suck like hell (as much as a bunch of 5 years old kids), either you did miss/misinterpret some rules.

 

The second option seems to be most right to me.

 

So, do you guys REALLY looked well at the rulebook ? Like : are you aware that monsters can't do 2 attacks/turn ? Even if they have 2 actions, they are limited to only one attack on their 2 actions maximum.

 

Is it possible that you missed something else ? Can you tell us every detail of the game in order to let us point you what's the problem here ?

Edited by Kyarn

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Don't forget that heroes and OL can have different objectives. Take the Introduction (First Blood) as an example.

 

The heroes win as soon as the master ettin is killed which should normally be done before turn 6. Maybe your group did not focus on the objective (like trying to kill too many goblins, focusing the other ettin or going for the loot).

 

Make sure that you don't lose sight of the main objective.

 

You might also have missed some key rules that unbalance drastically the game. As it was stated above, make sure that:

 

- Monster only attack once per turn

- Heroes discuss about their skill set and possible combos

- Heroes spend fatigue instead of a move action when it is optimal

- Heroes discuss about their actions as a group

 

From my own experience, I won the Introduction twice as the OL in my first playthrough. But now that my group is more experienced, I can only win if I get very lucky with the right OL cards.

 

Finally, do not forget that the introduction does not give an advantage to the winner. Everybody receive an XP point and goes home happy !

 

Consult your group and spend this point wisely to select good abilities.

Edited by Guillaumericher

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Okay, seeing your terminology of "fighter" I assume you mean warrior and therefore a 4-hero game. The only thing that could possibly be giving you such problems is misinterpreting or just not knowing even basic game mechanics. Not to discredit you or your companions, however, as Descent is no simple game. The Act I minion goblins you would be facing in First Blood have 2 health and a gray dice, so practically any single roll will kill from a hero, as the minimum damage is 2, and often more, regardless of the dice you have starting the game. 2 attacks from a hero is a guaranteed kill on a goblin, unless they get super lucky. By the same token, and you acknowledged that they have the same dice as some heroes' starting equipment, the goblins should be doing the same 1(low)-4(high) damage per attack, to a total of five (with all the goblins) in a turn. You would have to be the world's most unlucky person to have multiple heroes KO'd in such a short time. Now the ettins are a different matter, and you are right, they are tough to kill, but if you focus-fire them, a single turn has the potential (if you place your heroes wisely so they can attack twice) to take out a minion ettin.

 

Additionally, this is very often a quite well-balanced game, and in fact the intro quest First Blood is much in favor of the heroes. Might I suggest that next time you play with just 2 heroes so you don't have too much to worry about? Hope this helps, and good luck, because I encourage you strongly to pick it up again, and make sure you are all very solid on the rules.

 

And also, all information in Descent is public, so feel free to thoroughly look at the quest guide and get a good grip on the quest, and what your objectives are. This isn't D&D.

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I have not yet played that many games and never finished a complete campaign (due to lack of time). But I have played the first blood a couple of times with 2,3 and 4 heroes and as overlord I have never won it. There is simply no way of getting enough goblins out before the ettin dies.

 

There is really two options here and that is to go full out on the heroes and try to move away the ettin to prevent it from dying. Because if the heroes gets to focus fire it for a single round it is going down and fast. A big problem you will see is that you can't move it past the crossroads and towards the water because then the heroes on 2nd turn gets to focus fire it.

 

Second option is to go on a suicide run and prevent the heroes from running around getting search tokens while winning.

 

I just don't see any way for me as overlord to win the first encounter. I also see no way of losing it when I start playing as hero at our next adventure into the dark.

 

 

On the other hand I have won every single other game either with a land slide or very close, but never lost one besides the first blood. So it is time for me to step down as overlord and join the heroes. Really looking forward to sitting at the other side of the table for once.

 

I really love this game because in the core it is a strategy game and there is so many different tactics and ways to choose from. But sometimes the heroes has a massive advantage and sometimes the overlord has a massive advantage. But most of the times it is a close one.

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I've a similar experience through my first campaign (with me as OL). Its all our first campaign,, but given it was my game, I feel I was much more attentive to the rules, and all the different skills the heroes had available etc.

I'm not sure if it was just a bad party composition but sheer unluckiness, but for our first three games I have pretty much destroyed the heroes each time, and similarly to the OP, the group has been getting very frustrated, and feeling the game is massively unbalanced.

What I've started doing is playing with lesser monster groups. So in a 4 hero game, I would play with monster group limits for 3 heroes. We've had one game like this, and although its a bit sucky that we're basically playing on easy mode for them, we do get much closer games.

I'd recommend this approach, at least until everyone is confident with the rules and synergies available to the heroes.

I feel the OL has a much easier learning curve.

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Is there something obvious we're missing in our game, or is it just that imbalanced? Our OL was willing to let us have 2 xp for trying 3 times, but no one was interested. He has been begging to play it with us for ages, and says it is a great game, so I am obviously either missing something or we just suck. :(

I assume there must be- First Blood SHOULD be over in 3-5 turns give or take, but with a hero victory. Check the things people have suggested, and a few others:

-Monsters can only attack once.

-The OL only starts with 4 cards in his hand, and cannot play 2 cards with the same name at the same time.

-Rolling more shields than hearts is not a miss.

-You have the necromancer- the reanimate gets a move and an attack, just after the necro start of turn, or just before his end of turn.

-heroes get 2 actions each, and things like prayer of healing do not cost an action.

-Play to the objectives- except maybe to thin out the goblins a bit, youur focus should be on Mauler. You can't expect to do more than 2-4 damage per attack, but he should slowly drop.

What is your hero/class composition?

Edited by Zaltyre

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The only thing I can see we missed was that a complete wipe of players doesn't end the quest. The monsters weren't getting 2 attacks except when the OL used one of his cards. He was also getting a bunch because he kept knocking us out. Does the OL also get a card for knocking out the Necro's minion?

I don't know if we got something wrong in the initial weapons, but everyone except the warrior had 1 yellow and 1 blue. We routinely only got 2 or 3 damage total on those, so the goblins had a fair chance of surviving 1 attack, and the Ettins were almost always shrugging off the damage.

In return the Ettins were getting 7+ almost every time due to surges either naturally or through OL cards, and were often attacking twice through OL cards use. With only a scant chance of defending more that 2, that really hurts. If not for the OL cards, and if the OL had been defensive with the boss instead of attacking, it would have been much easier. Does the OL have a hand size limit? Are there certain cards he shouldn't have, like those stupid aoe web traps that he used a couple times to royally screw our plans?

Perhaps this just isn't for us. After 3 runs through that quest with barely a scratch on the boss we must just be really bad. The OL said he had never seen anyone else be as aggressive with the monsters attacking and ignoring the exit. Is that a contributing factor in our obliteration?

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Are there certain cards he shouldn't have, like those stupid aoe web traps that he used a couple times to royally screw our plans?

The OL definitely should NOT have Web Trap. That is an upgrade card that he has to buy with XP. The OL should only start with the 15 cards in the Basic I or Basic II deck. All other OL cards from OL classes, etc. must be purchased between quests with XP earned during the campaign.

 

Did your OL just shuffle in a bunch of upgrade cards, or create an upgraded deck at the start? If so, that is dirty pool.

 

Were you guys using the epic play rules for a single quest, or were you using the campaign rules?

Edited by Madmartigan

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1.) He was also getting a bunch because he kept knocking us out. Does the OL also get a card for knocking out the Necro's minion?

2.) In return the Ettins were getting 7+ almost every time due to surges either naturally or through OL cards, and were often attacking twice through OL cards use. 

 

1.) If I remember correctly you only get to draw a card or pick a threat token when you down a hero and not a minion. Maximum 1 token per hero and per map. Minions does not give anything.

Well that is how me and my friends has played it but not 100% if that is correct.

 

2.) Getting an average 7 damage each time he attacks is a little bit high but fully possible. My guess is that the attacks lands around 4-5 on average. Only problem is that even with a 7 damage attack you can expect the heroes being able to spend fatigue and whatever just to get 2 attacks each per round. That is  average 1-2 damage per attack (depending on class, weapon and ability), even if the damage is low it still adds up in the end. And this is where I fail as overlord on the mission. If they get to focus fire they will deal small damage but often and from all the heroes and the ettin goes down.

 

But in the end it does not matter who wins the first game. The true objective is to prevent the heroes from getting any search tokens.

 

"He who controls the search tokens, controls the campaign"

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Tactics wise, it all depends on what heroes you guyd were using.

Although losing the quest does not affect the final outcome of the game, It's fun to win, especially if it's your first taste of the game.

 

First blood is basically an opposed race quest. The OL is racing to his objective, and the heroes are trying to "stop him" by killing the master Ettin. The best way to achieve this is with "speedy" heroes and crowd control.

 

I've personnaly found that Syndrael and Jain (if you only have the base game) are the best combo to win this quest. Use Syndrael's heroic feat to move her and the mage up, then activate your mage to whittle down the goblins, then have Jain use her feat to make an attack run on the Master Ettin. Barring disastrous rolls, you should have made some headway and still have the fourth hero to activate.

 

From there, the fog of war descends. and it's up to you to decide if you go for search tokens or for the quick victory.

Edited by Alarmed

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What's your exact group composition ? (heroes and classes ?) 

 

Are you aware that most of the heal don't cost any action ? (unless a spell have a " --> " , it doesn't cost any action) 

So you can do it AND your 2 actions are still available.

 

Do you guys make a right use of the stamina ? Like moving two spaces in stamina in order to make 2 attack instead of one this turn ?

Do you guys didn't forget that any hero can recover one stamina on a surge on each of his attack ?

Are you resurecting your friends instead of letting them stan-up on their own ? That in order not to spend 2 actions but only one of your group.

 

Are you aware that once the necromancer's minion is invoqued, it can do one move and one attack each turn without spending anymore action of the necromancer ? (Which make it one of the best starting class, thought it will lose some strenght later :P)

 

Bashing some goblins can buy you some time/turn, don't focus only on ettins if you don't have a group suited for high damage actually.

Edited by Kyarn

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One additional question based on the fact that the ettin was routinely rolling 7 damage- he wasn't spending multiple surges on +3 damage, right? the average blue/red roll should be 3-4, and surge chances are lower than a blue/yellow.

Madmartigan is correct as well- if this was a campaign introduction, the OL should not have ANY extra cards.

No cards or threat for killing reanimate. The heroes can stand up aftrr being knocked out, too.

Before passing judgement on the game, also consider that the heroes are at their absolute weakest during this quest- they only get stronger through the game due to gear and abilities, while the OL gains most of his strength halfway through the game when the act changes.

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Sounds like your OL really messed up. If he's going to introduce y'all to a game, then he needs to make sure he is playing it right to begin with.

 

Indeed. As an OL/GM it is the goal to ensure everyone is met by a fair challenge, giving the players a chance to learn the game and making sure it is fun. Because there is no consequence to who wins First Blood, this is where the OL can take a step back and let new players figure out the mechanics. Your OL did not understand the game too well, else he would not have been using cards that were not Basic. (Web Trap is certainly not a Basic card and can only be gained when the OL spends experience to buy it.)

 

For a first time experience, the OL should only run the basic game setup. No plot cards, no plot Tokens, none of the extras. The OL only uses the 15 Basic Overlord Cards. At the beginning on the Quest, he draws one card per hero. He can then only draw one OL card at the start of his turn and when a Hero gets Knocked out. There are also special occasions when he can draw OL cards, but that should rarely happen in the beginning Quest.

 

For the hero players, from experience, I would recommend that when you are picking heroes for the first time, that each of you pick a hero with a different archetype. You don't have to mind you, but having heroes with different types of specialties can help during any given situation. You then pick your class, which I assume you guys already know how to do.

 

First Blood Strategy: So, the Goblins are going to move pretty fast. In fact, mostly all of the first group is going to move off the board. Typically that does happen. What makes this quest difficult for the Overlord though is that he needs to move 5 total off of the exit. With a good strategy, you as the heroes can prevent that from happening. Typically the heroes will lose if they don't move correctly on the first turn. You kind of want somebody to be in or close to the lane the goblins are traveling in. The best hero you could possibly use to do this is a crowd control hero (Like Ashrian or Shiver). You should use your damage dealers and Healers for dealing with Mauler. Another good idea is to use your ranged hero to plunk off gobs. Less gobs equals less chance the OL can get one through.

 

I have played First Blood as the OL about 6-7 times already and usually the heroes win. In fact I have only seen it be lost by the heroes twice. Both times, I can truly say the reason was because the heroes were not in the right positions. This is a game where good tactics and strategy matter, more often then your dice rolls. I will say that sometimes unlucky dice rolls happen, but that is not something that can really be controlled.  

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In return the Ettins were getting 7+ almost every time due to surges either naturally or through OL cards, and were often attacking twice through OL cards use. With only a scant chance of defending more that 2, that really hurts. If not for the OL cards, and if the OL had been defensive with the boss instead of attacking, it would have been much easier. 

 

Sounds like a lot of damage. We had a similar experience when we were new to Descent. The thing we missed in was that we used Act II monster cards during an Act I quest. The monster cards for Act I and II look silmilar, so it's easy to make that mistake. In our game the Heroes had no chance of winning as all the monsters were a lot tougher than they were supposed to. I do not remember if it was on First Blood, or on another early Act I quest though. Could it be that Act II monster cards were used for either the Goblins, the Ettin or both? That would have a major impact on damage output and survivability for the monsters.

 

The I in the little circle to the right on the card, just above the name "Goblin Archer" indicatest that it's for Act I quests:

 card-goblin-archer-front.png

 

Lastly, the OL cards are discarded after use, did you do that? And as someone already pointed out, the OL should only have access to the OL cards with the "Basic" word.

Edited by k7e9

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Hi.

Did the overlord explain all the rules of the scenario to the players: set up, special and victory/loss.

I went to a locsl games day where i was playing and showcasing Decent to some new players. A group nearby had just purchased the game and had begun playing it. After a while they called me over and said it was too hard for the players to win and they weren't enjoying it. I asked a couple of questions and hit upon the fact that the overlord player hadn't explained the scenario specific rules to the players. He thought it was all secret information for the overlord.

Doing this means that players won't know how to win and will simply kill monsters. You situation sounds just like this.

Not only does the over Lord have to tell you how you win but he also has to tell you how he wins

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It now definitely sounds like the OL was missing a lot of things. He definitely didn't explain the quest objectives, and there wasn't even a read through of the flavor text for background purposes. He was killing the necro pet first every turn it was up because he said it gave a card just like downing a hero, and 4 health with no defense doesn't last long.

We had an archer, a necro, a discple(mine), and a warrior(he had Rage, if that helps with class). I was told I have to burn an action and a fatigue to use my heal and it wouldn't heal a player that was knocked out. He typically killed me first though, so it rarely mattered. We knew about using an action to rez another player, but it only gave 2 red dice of health back, which was often 4ish. I rarely got any fatigue back, so I either rested to use my heal or attcked. That disappeared quick the next turn.

We weren't aware of extra surges giving fatigue back. Our archer rarely used surges, but could've used the fatigue to move around more had we known.

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It now definitely sounds like the OL was missing a lot of things. He definitely didn't explain the quest objectives, and there wasn't even a read through of the flavor text for background purposes. He was killing the necro pet first every turn it was up because he said it gave a card just like downing a hero, and 4 health with no defense doesn't last long.

We had an archer, a necro, a discple(mine), and a warrior(he had Rage, if that helps with class). I was told I have to burn an action and a fatigue to use my heal and it wouldn't heal a player that was knocked out. He typically killed me first though, so it rarely mattered. We knew about using an action to rez another player, but it only gave 2 red dice of health back, which was often 4ish. I rarely got any fatigue back, so I either rested to use my heal or attcked. That disappeared quick the next turn.

We weren't aware of extra surges giving fatigue back. Our archer rarely used surges, but could've used the fatigue to move around more had we known.

 

He was absolutely incorrect about what he told you about the Disciple's Prayer ability. ( Which is the first one you get.) That ability does not cost an action to perform. Only abilities that have an arrow require an action. They are usually associated with moves or attacks. It however does cost you a Fatigue to use and you must tap the card to show you have used it on your turn. (The fatigue icon on the card shows how much it costs to perform) 

 

Sorry, but your GM didn't know the rules and as a result it turned into a bad experience. I would definitely see if you can play it again with the correct rules and see if you do better. 

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With all of this new information, it sounds like no one at the table, including and especially the Overlord, had a good enough grasp on the rules before play began. I am assuming that the Overlord made these mistakes out of ignorance, and not on purpose. I suggest that EVERYONE spend some time reading the base game rules very carefully (pdf download), read through the quest guide, and then play again when everyone is up to speed.

 

It should be a better experience. Good luck.

Edited by Madmartigan

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With all of this new information, it sounds like no one at the table, including and especially the Overlord, had a good enough grasp on the rules before play began. I am assuming that the Overlord made these mistakes out of ignorance, and not on purpose. I suggest that EVERYONE spend some time reading the base game rules very carefully (pdf download), and then play again when everyone is up to speed.

 

It should be a better experience. Good luck.

 

There is also good videos on youtube showing the basics of the game. It helped me a lot in faster learning the game.

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Some very excellent advice has been provided within this thread.  Somewhat disappointed that we have not heard back from the OP.  If this information has been helpful, or has identified issues/rules which you played incorrectly, it would be helpful if you would post again and say so, so those attempting to help know areas that may need further analysis/comments.

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