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Omnislash024

Unhappy Playgroup

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If your like me, then you enjoy playing Descent. I am a very competitive person. But I had to realize that one of my campaign groups was just simply not ready for that. I didn't want to stomp them because I was afraid if I did they wouldn't want to play anymore. So I intentionally held back. It was hard for me to do, but I want everyone to have fun. And more importantly I want to keep being able to play. 

However, the OL is going to win. Some quest here or there, an act, or maybe the hole campaign. Thats something the heroes just have to accept. Because other posters are right that the Overlord is not a GM. I GM pathfinder campaigns as well, and I will tell you its a completely different mind set. In Pathfinder, I am trying to create a fun challenging story for the heroes to eventually succeed. But that is not the case in Descent. The overlord player wants to play to win. I would just caution though to know your group. In the end you want to play, and people will just quit if they feel like they don't have a chance. 

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If your like me, then you enjoy playing Descent. I am a very competitive person. But I had to realize that one of my campaign groups was just simply not ready for that. I didn't want to stomp them because I was afraid if I did they wouldn't want to play anymore. So I intentionally held back. It was hard for me to do, but I want everyone to have fun. And more importantly I want to keep being able to play. 

However, the OL is going to win. Some quest here or there, an act, or maybe the hole campaign. Thats something the heroes just have to accept. Because other posters are right that the Overlord is not a GM. I GM pathfinder campaigns as well, and I will tell you its a completely different mind set. In Pathfinder, I am trying to create a fun challenging story for the heroes to eventually succeed. But that is not the case in Descent. The overlord player wants to play to win. I would just caution though to know your group. In the end you want to play, and people will just quit if they feel like they don't have a chance. 

Some times there is no way to hide the fact that they have no chance. My group really hates Descent even tho as the OL I have always liked descent but the way things changed in 2nd ed I really feel made it worse. So many times my group of heroes would just get crushed and after a long enough string of those they were actually dreading to continue playing. Also the winner gets the bonus and more power instead of the game trying to balance by granting them to the losing side. It just makes the looser feel even more behind in retrospect and on a uphill battle and that their failures are permanently skewing any hope to do better in the future. 

 

I tried to go easy on them many times but most of the time you can't do anything about the quest objectives since there is no hidden info everything is an open book. The focus on short play time also makes any mistakes more painful and unforgiving. The group constantly feels the pressure of winning the map or having time to rest or get treasure etc. Gone is the exploration element from 1st with hidden rooms behind doors that made for some down time and fun.

 

Personally I hope they stop making more 2nd ed content and get 3rd ed or some kind of 2nd ed conversion kit to 3rd ed made asap with new rules and a redesign of the quests and system but still using existing cardboard and figures etc. I would drop the focus on fast game times and get back to the roots of 1st ed. Take what they learned from Imperial assault with the miss on the defense die and the LOS rules as well as no blocking movement with figures and the return of killing the heroes as a goal. And its gotta be finely balanced and have plunty of play testing to weed out crazy combos of items and skills that just break the game balance. That's a tall order and I don't think it might even be possible but man that would be a game I'd love to play one day.

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I am of the opinion that both sides are very well balanced when you look at the whole picture. Some quests will inevitably lean towards one side but you have to live with that (and select/avoid said quest if need be) considering the half billion combinations heroes/monsters/skills/OL cards/whatnot there are in the game.

 

However, with this said, I also share the thought that the number one thing Descent may be missing is an intelligent way to maintain balance through campaign play. Not only steamrolling really kills the experience, but the way the campaign winner is declared brings up a lot of deception. It's not that you never get to experience a true epic ending in a campaign, but more often than not it comes down to a lucky dice roll and a cheap win. I don't think the way this has been designed is necessarly wrong or poor, but in practice we have found that the climax you get when starting the Finale often ends abruptly and I think that's a shame.

 

I would rather patch 2Ed than creating a 3Ed. Not because it is broken, but because it could be improved to fill these holes. LoS and other things are tiny things in comparison. Like many have said, nobody prevents people from playing with house rules to alter these parts of the gameplay after all. Make your own dices or produce a new set of monster cards etc. Possibilities are numerous.

 

What would we get as a 3Ed anyway? Game is more than fine and allows for a lot of future content. Release more settings and monsters and that will sustain sales for this game. I´ve been away from D2E for a few months now (only keeping an eye on the forums) but I totally intend to come back to it. I wouldn't be able to say this about many other campaign-based games I´ve played. I even got enough of Pandemic Legacy which mind you is probably the game of the year. Next year I´ll also be trying out Gloomhaven and I hope to be able to get my playgroup getting D2E to the table, Heirs of Blood in particular. We need a pause between cheap campaign wins and the next campaign, for obvious reasons.

 

So yeah, coming back to that "patch" of mine, here is the scope I´d consider if I had the power to decide anything:

 

- Address steamrolling. Proposal: Keep rewards, but implement a mechanism filling a % of the gap between the two sides when difference has become abyssmal. Otherwise players lose interest very quickly and it's a no brainer understanding why.

 

- Re-design campaign end. Proposal: I would setup a series of objectives to meet during the campaign. Make the "slaying the big boss/killing all heroes" during the FInale one of them. Gain points for each objective you have fulfilled, and rank both sides' progression to add up to that total. The winner is the side with the most points in the end.

 

- Refine plot deck usage with regards to fortune tokens. Proposal: remove fortune tokens.

 

- Refine rumors. Proposal: with the introduction of objectives, rumors could be made more interesting to both sides.

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I agree that houseruling/patching 2ed is a more viable (and preferred) option to a whole new game, and I like your ideas. That being said, I enjoy the game as is, too. (It's funny to me that your proposal is to remove fortune tokens- my group is convinced fortune doesn't do enough, and we have just abandoned plot decks.)

I particulary like your objective idea. Without even changing any rules, this could be accomplished with a custom campaign. Alternately, I think with minor alterations this could be done to existing campaigns (the shadow rune, for example, could be:

1pt per relic

1pt additional for the shadow rune

2pt finale win)

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Thanks Zaltyre.

 

I honestly think it would be fair for both sides to have a campaign progression rewarding their actions and intelligent plays rather than just a victory in a quest. But like I suggested, we could well keep the part where the victor is designated based on the quest objectives and gets his/her reward, but maybe the losing side may have done something in the quest that affects the rest of the campaign. This way it would feel like both sides have a chance of affecting the campaign regardless of being victorious or not.

 

I would also scratch the whole "pick the next quest" mechanism. It really does more damage than good. I wouldn't make everything linear and still keep branches in the campaign, but have the game decide which one to take when time comes, again based on campaign progression and differences balance-wise between the sides.

 

Arcadia Quest sometimes allows one player to unlock something during a quest, and in a future quest only that player would have access to a room filled with treasures. This could apply here too. I mean, there are tons of possibilities for introducing campaign interaction in that game. For instance, you could have this "secret room" (or whatever) in a Rumor quest that is particulary difficult for the heroes. They could still choose to run this quest because of the reward, but the Overlord could use this possibility to catch up and set more traps for the future.

Edited by Indalecio

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Well, I don't think that points system would work well. I mean, it would probably stop some campaigns in the middle. You may say, that this means that one side was obviously way ahead and campaign ending would be boring anyway. And I kind of agree with it, but it still sounds "wrong".

 

But I kind of agree with problem that comes with "winner chooses next quest" thing. Someone posted that they have homerule that looser of last quest should choose next, and I think that this could be the way to go.

 

Personally I like playing Descent even when things go crazy onesided.

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I'd also like to point out that even RAW, some campaigns have good anti-snowball mechanics. Shadow rune for example dictates the interlude and finale choice based on who is winning more- and in my opinion does a good job of providing a greater challenge to that side with the choice.

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I really am a bit baffled at the whole "Descent should be more like first edition again!" line.

 

I have not that much experience with first edition, but it pretty much plays like a videogame hack and slash, you get a lot of loot in every dungeon, you revive at town and then teleport back to the dungeon (seriously?! That makes it somehow better?) and you have a certain randomization level up element (with the skills).

 

And it also has the downside that due to hidden information, replay value is not that great, whereas I have had fun with the same Descent second editions scenarios multiple times.

 

Descent second edition in contrast plays more like an actual pen and paper, you have missions, you level up and gear up inbetween, you do not teleport back to town when you are knocked out.

 

 

I very much want that to stay!

 

You can definitely do a lot to improve second edition, tidying up some rules (movement for example, since you have a lot of very unnecessarily different systems there) and more than anything, improve scenario quality, but if Descent made a third edition that used just hero slaying as an overlord win OR made scenarios based on hidden information, I would be rather disgruntled.

 

You can so easily make scenarios with a bit of hidden information, Nerekhall introduced a system, but even the base game gave you monsters spawning when rooms where opened and different markers with the heroes not knowing which was which.

You could even quite easily make a system with a slightly modular map (limits on the number and type of tiles but with the overlord getting to reveal them after each door is opened), you can also make more scenarios that are based on defeating heroes, that is all already in the game.

 

I see the main problems in the fact that too many quests are not very well made (especially the expansions give you too many quests where the overlord has to wait out for a timer to run down while the heroes have to do their stuff before that happens) and reinforcement ranges from devastating (Try Fury of the Tempest and have fun with full group reinforcements for example) to pathetic (many quests with no reinforcement or only one weak fixed group reinforcing).

 

 

But at the end of the day, Descent should stay a strategic, competitive game, not another hero quest (where one side is pretty much determined as victor from the start) and also not, like the co-op expansions, just a game of randomness.

I do enjoy the co-op packs, but honestly, what they really give you is a slightly more complex form of multiplayer solitaire.

A boardgame needs opposed human players to really be an interesting challenge and that is what the overlord system is for.

 

I have played a good couple of campaigns, not all of them were finished, but usually, you get one side winning most scenarios.

So if this is the problem, the only real solution is to do away with the rewards for the winner.

 

Maybe just play every scenario by the epic play rules and interpolate for the interlude and finale, maybe come up with a system to allow relics to be claimed when they previously have been won (but reduce the gold for that mission or the XP of the overlord when they are used), but snowballing is there because people want to be rewarded for winning scenarios.

...and most players seem to want that.

 

Yes, it is NOT a system to make each game balanced and fair, but one look should be all that is needed to understand that.

 

The bottom line is, if people do not like strategizing and such, this is not a fun game for them, play something different, there are lots of games which are all about random exploration or slaying lots of monsters.

I have not really seen any fantasy game though that does strategy and the emulation of a real pen and paper scenario (and not just going down a dungeon and killing monsters) as well as Descent Second edition does.

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I really am a bit baffled at the whole "Descent should be more like first edition again!" line.

 

I have not that much experience with first edition, but it pretty much plays like a videogame hack and slash, you get a lot of loot in every dungeon, you revive at town and then teleport back to the dungeon (seriously?! That makes it somehow better?) and you have a certain randomization level up element (with the skills).

 

And it also has the downside that due to hidden information, replay value is not that great, whereas I have had fun with the same Descent second editions scenarios multiple times.

 

Descent second edition in contrast plays more like an actual pen and paper, you have missions, you level up and gear up inbetween, you do not teleport back to town when you are knocked out.

 

 

I very much want that to stay!

 

You can definitely do a lot to improve second edition, tidying up some rules (movement for example, since you have a lot of very unnecessarily different systems there) and more than anything, improve scenario quality, but if Descent made a third edition that used just hero slaying as an overlord win OR made scenarios based on hidden information, I would be rather disgruntled.

 

You can so easily make scenarios with a bit of hidden information, Nerekhall introduced a system, but even the base game gave you monsters spawning when rooms where opened and different markers with the heroes not knowing which was which.

You could even quite easily make a system with a slightly modular map (limits on the number and type of tiles but with the overlord getting to reveal them after each door is opened), you can also make more scenarios that are based on defeating heroes, that is all already in the game.

 

I see the main problems in the fact that too many quests are not very well made (especially the expansions give you too many quests where the overlord has to wait out for a timer to run down while the heroes have to do their stuff before that happens) and reinforcement ranges from devastating (Try Fury of the Tempest and have fun with full group reinforcements for example) to pathetic (many quests with no reinforcement or only one weak fixed group reinforcing).

I agree that Descent: 2nd Editions problems, when there are some, are all caused by bad design (of quests, campaigns, classes, items...). In its concept, Descent: 2nd Edition is amazingly close to perfection.

 

Take snowballing for instance: it could be solved easily if the additional rewards one gets for winning were given out only before the final quest. It would still be important to win quests because any advantage for the final quest is good, but there would be no more snowballing during the campaign.

 

Of course, to give the game a sense of progress, a couple of things (like relics) would have to be given to the Overlord during the course of the game. The heroes already have a sense of progress with skill and equipment progression; they don't really need much more. Maybe make it so that the heroes get their additional rewards for winning only before the last quest, and the OL at the end of each quest.

 

When a quest that is well designed is played with well-designed classes wielding well-designed items, Descent: 2nd Edition has zero problem.

Edited by Ispher

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I really am a bit baffled at the whole "Descent should be more like first edition again!" line.

 

I have not that much experience with first edition, but it pretty much plays like a videogame hack and slash, you get a lot of loot in every dungeon, you revive at town and then teleport back to the dungeon (seriously?! That makes it somehow better?) and you have a certain randomization level up element (with the skills).

 

And it also has the downside that due to hidden information, replay value is not that great, whereas I have had fun with the same Descent second editions scenarios multiple times.

 

Descent second edition in contrast plays more like an actual pen and paper, you have missions, you level up and gear up inbetween, you do not teleport back to town when you are knocked out.

 

 

I very much want that to stay!

 

You can definitely do a lot to improve second edition, tidying up some rules (movement for example, since you have a lot of very unnecessarily different systems there) and more than anything, improve scenario quality, but if Descent made a third edition that used just hero slaying as an overlord win OR made scenarios based on hidden information, I would be rather disgruntled.

 

You can so easily make scenarios with a bit of hidden information, Nerekhall introduced a system, but even the base game gave you monsters spawning when rooms where opened and different markers with the heroes not knowing which was which.

You could even quite easily make a system with a slightly modular map (limits on the number and type of tiles but with the overlord getting to reveal them after each door is opened), you can also make more scenarios that are based on defeating heroes, that is all already in the game.

 

I see the main problems in the fact that too many quests are not very well made (especially the expansions give you too many quests where the overlord has to wait out for a timer to run down while the heroes have to do their stuff before that happens) and reinforcement ranges from devastating (Try Fury of the Tempest and have fun with full group reinforcements for example) to pathetic (many quests with no reinforcement or only one weak fixed group reinforcing).

I agree that Descent: 2nd Editions problems, when there are some, are all caused by bad design (of quests, campaigns, classes, items...). In its concept, Descent: 2nd Edition is amazingly close to perfection.

 

Take snowballing for instance: it could be solved easily if the additional rewards one gets for winning were given out only before the final quest. It would still be important to win quests because any advantage for the final quest is good, but there would be no more snowballing during the campaign.

 

Of course, to give the game a sense of progress, a couple of things (like relics) would have to be given to the Overlord during the course of the game. The heroes already have a sense of progress with skill and equipment progression; they don't really need much more. Maybe make it so that the heroes get their additional rewards for winning only before the last quest, and the OL at the end of each quest.

 

When a quest that is well designed is played with well-designed classes wielding well-designed items, Descent: 2nd Edition has zero problem.

 

Snowballing has a lot less to do with the rewards and far more to do with the winner choosing the next quest.

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I never played 1st edition, but I guess from a lot of comments that is somewhat similar to D&D board game series (Ravenloft, Ashardalon...) without OL. I'm a huge fan of those games (have 3 of them) and I like the rules simplicity and pure hack & slash action with possibility of mixing the elements/scenarios between them.

On the other hand, I enjoy playing Descent 2nd edition much much more, it's my absolutely favorite game. However, I'm very annoyed by several aspects related to a game, to name a few:

1) Poor quest description. I don't understand why there isn't some clear and brief explanation as to what each sides objective is for a specific quest. Eg. "Heroes objective is to light 4 beacons / OL's objective is to kill the villagers. Beacons are represented as 4 red objective tokens / Villagers are represented as villager tokens. To light the beacon, hero must spend one action while adjacent to it". Simple as that. Instead I have to read through the whole page multiple times just to figure out what to do. Eventually, i started reading the Victory conditions first, and then the setup, specific rules etc, but sometimes the victory condition may be "if there are 8 fatigue tokens in OL play area...". Alas, most of the cases I just read upcoming scenarios a couple of times a day before our group meeting. So frustrating!

2) Too many case by case situations where rules are not providing clarification. I don't think I played a single quest for the first time and had a flawless experience without having to google for answers on specific situations not covered by the rules, or being unable to apply logic to resolve it.

3) Unnecessary convolution of rules with the wording like "Remove the figure from a map, and place it 3 spaces from the original space". Come on! Just write the d*mn "Place figure 3 spaces away" and be done with it. Jesus.

5) For god's sake why make lieutenants the same color as heroes? Since you're already paying for them separately couldn't FFG at least try to make a tiny effort to make them, I don't know, dark gray?

6) Storage. With every new H&M pack or expansion I buy, storing all of it is increasing nightmare for me. Not to mention trying to take it to a game meeting, or at least the things I intend to use. Fumbling through boxes looking for tiles, monsters etc, and trying to put everything the way it was at the end, man...

Regardless of how much I enjoy playing it, unfortunately this game is starting to limit my abilities to do that. I have to say first few examples are just showing why I'm having a hard time bringing a group of people together to play this game. Constant pauses to read the quest rules or google for answers, non linear logic, slow learning curve, long sessions... is what usually drive away people who would potentially really enjoy this game in my opinion. Second, the increasingly poor mobility of the game makes me unable to play it outside my home, but that's not always possible.

Shame, it's an amazing game.

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There ist actually a very easy solution for storage:

 

Remove the inserts of the boxes.

Use each box to stow a type of components (One small expansion box for all hero figures, hero sheets, class decks, shop items, hero tokens, class tokens, basically all the heroes need when they do their setup, including epic play; one labyrinth of ruin / nerekhall box for all the rulebooks, quest tokens, damage tokens,etc; the big box for all the overlord stuff, including big monsters; one small expansion box for the small monsters and lieutenants).

Use an extra box or preferably a more sortable system to stow away all the room tiles.

 

Descent does not really need to be kept separate by expansion, so just go ahead and mix it together and use your boxes top sort stuff.

 

 

Regaridng the snowballing mechanic:

 

I do not think saving it all for the final works well. The biggest problem usually are gold / items since those are constantly in effect.

On the overlord side, relics and plot decks can, I think, be a bigger game changer than the extra XP you may be getting.

Do not get me wrong, extra cards are great, but I think most of the time heroes struggle badly is because they have too little in terms of items, especially when the Act II transition comes.

 

Maybe having a minimum AND maximum level of gold depending on how far you are in the campaign might help (counting each starting gear item by its value it sells for, all carried items and gold reserve by their full value and seeing about factoring in relics). Add a minimum overlord XP value or such and you have a system which at least alleviates the extremes.

 

When heroes are having the upper hand, they usually will search all the treasure AND win. Each time that happens, you make it even more certain that it will happen again.

Same though if heroes lose and fail to search much.

 

The best place to enforce a bit of a bonus for the losing side would of course be the interlude.

 

 

...and avoid or houserule obviously broken scenarios. No, it is not fun even if a player gets to pick them because he won previously, no one likes to play a foregone conclusion out in over an hour of game time.

 

Choosing quests should be about interesting rewards or withholding rewards, also about picking the weakspot of the other side's build, but NOT about being obviously tilted in one parties favour, that just is no fun.

If this is ensured, winners choosing the next quest is perfectly fine, but winning and then getting to pick a quest which you objectively are more likely to win, regardless of your previous choices is simply counterproductive.

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As far as Storage goes. I keep all the pieces in my descent box. And I keep the miniatures in a battle foam case. You can use any miniatures case though. This works well for me. 

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A few hidden tokens is no substitute for what 1e had in terms of the feeling you were revealing new map locations and plot points. Yes after you play the quests you loose the surprise factor for those players who memorize everything. Imperial assault has this hidden info some what like 1e except you are not reveling new map sections. And its great. The way you fix the problem of surprise lost over plays is to ensure you have a ton of maps to play and a complex path that winds up varied along the way. IA has this in droves with all the extra maps there are.

 

The benefit in fun factor for both the OL player as well as the heroes is so worth the trade off of a loss in surprise and not all players are those types of ppl who will memorize everything to begin with.

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My group just decided, as of today, to try to fix the snowballing issue by randomizing quest selection with random number generators: neither the overlord nor the heroes will ever have any control over it. We did agree whenever a rumor quest is played the heroes will have the option to select or decline it, but they must make the decision immediately.

 

I'll report back on the results after we've tried it a few times.

Edited by Whitewing

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I really am a bit baffled at the whole "Descent should be more like first edition again!" line.

 

I have not that much experience with first edition, but it pretty much plays like a videogame hack and slash, you get a lot of loot in every dungeon, you revive at town and then teleport back to the dungeon (seriously?! That makes it somehow better?) and you have a certain randomization level up element (with the skills).

 

And it also has the downside that due to hidden information, replay value is not that great, whereas I have had fun with the same Descent second editions scenarios multiple times.

 

Descent second edition in contrast plays more like an actual pen and paper, you have missions, you level up and gear up inbetween, you do not teleport back to town when you are knocked out.

 

 

I very much want that to stay!

 

You can definitely do a lot to improve second edition, tidying up some rules (movement for example, since you have a lot of very unnecessarily different systems there) and more than anything, improve scenario quality, but if Descent made a third edition that used just hero slaying as an overlord win OR made scenarios based on hidden information, I would be rather disgruntled.

 

You can so easily make scenarios with a bit of hidden information, Nerekhall introduced a system, but even the base game gave you monsters spawning when rooms where opened and different markers with the heroes not knowing which was which.

You could even quite easily make a system with a slightly modular map (limits on the number and type of tiles but with the overlord getting to reveal them after each door is opened), you can also make more scenarios that are based on defeating heroes, that is all already in the game.

 

I see the main problems in the fact that too many quests are not very well made (especially the expansions give you too many quests where the overlord has to wait out for a timer to run down while the heroes have to do their stuff before that happens) and reinforcement ranges from devastating (Try Fury of the Tempest and have fun with full group reinforcements for example) to pathetic (many quests with no reinforcement or only one weak fixed group reinforcing).

I agree that Descent: 2nd Editions problems, when there are some, are all caused by bad design (of quests, campaigns, classes, items...). In its concept, Descent: 2nd Edition is amazingly close to perfection.

 

Take snowballing for instance: it could be solved easily if the additional rewards one gets for winning were given out only before the final quest. It would still be important to win quests because any advantage for the final quest is good, but there would be no more snowballing during the campaign.

 

Of course, to give the game a sense of progress, a couple of things (like relics) would have to be given to the Overlord during the course of the game. The heroes already have a sense of progress with skill and equipment progression; they don't really need much more. Maybe make it so that the heroes get their additional rewards for winning only before the last quest, and the OL at the end of each quest.

 

When a quest that is well designed is played with well-designed classes wielding well-designed items, Descent: 2nd Edition has zero problem.

 

Snowballing has a lot less to do with the rewards and far more to do with the winner choosing the next quest.

 

 

I don't think that's true. I've run a number of campaigns as both overlord and hero where we say the loser chooses the next quest. This has had minimal impact in my experience. Ultimately, the greatest cause for snowballing in heroes is searching; they not only receive gold but the item they searched (when the OL gets something like Threat, that ultimately turns to Fortune, not true with searching and shopping). This has the impact that heroes can build up their gold and buy great items because they draw 1 more than the number of heroes. One house rule I've always wanted to try was changing that rule to be 1 less than the number of heroes with a limit of 2. With 4 heroes, they usually have enough gold to buy one or more upgrades, which could have significant impact on their success.

 

It's much more difficult for the OL to snowball a win because he only gets 1 card (at most) regardless, some threat, and nothing else really. He can make it feel like it by storing up threat and then unleashing on the interlude and finale. But generally, the OL can use any of the monsters possible for the quest every time. I feel like it would be more balanced and avoid the snowball effect if every benefit one side receives, there is an equal benefit to the other side. Gives you a greater sense of caution when you buy that Bearded Axe.

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Your shop card idea might work in Act 1, but it would be very tricky in Act 2. The heroes at least have a chance to visit the Act 1 shop after the interlude and buy what hasn't come up while shopping, but there is never this opportunity in Act 2- finales (and most of the second Act) can be really painful if the heroes aren't properly geared.

 

Threat has a significant 'snowball' effect for the OL, as the more threat he gets, the more he wins, and that then results in more threat. I also think that 'snowballing' can occur more readily in relic-heavy campaigns, as the winner can have tools to use to win future quests. 

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Man, I can't believe this topic is still ongoing.

 

For an update: My playgroup never got together again. On top of some people having personal issues with each other, I'm thinking it just wasn't the game for them. Unfortunately, I could never find any other people to get interested in playing it. So it's solo playing for me. Maybe one day.

 

Can Campaigns snowball? I think they can. I know when I played Labrynth of Ruin solo, that snowballed. For one, the heroes had a very hard time getting gold. Secondly, since the OL won nearly almost every time, he got to choose quests. Because he chose quests, he was able to get powerful OL cards as well as prevent Serena ( the Ally) from gaining any sort of extra abilities, which may have helped with her survive and be a bit more useful. When it came to Act II, a monster could take her out just by breathing on her. 

 

It really depends I believe if the heroes are making enough gold to buy the right items and if the OL is gaining enough Threat Tokens to properly use his plot deck. If he's KOing all heroes at least once every quest and winning, that's at least 6 tokens he can take on to the next quest, which is a helluva lot. 

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Finding a playgroup for Descent is indeed hard. First of all, the people need to be experienced board gamers, otherwise, there might be too many rules, too many mechanics to deal with. Secondly, they have to like the fantasy/RPG theme. Descent works much better in my opinion if you read the flavor text. But most importantly they have to be able to take a beating. Descent is not a video game like Diablo III where you are supposed to hack 'n slash your way to victory. The people your are playing with have to understand that. But at the same time, I think you have to play nicely. If you have the OL card combo that can break the game, you shouldn't play it if the heroes are having a hard time.

It makes Descent (campaign) a very inaccessible game, but very fun if the two parties know how to play it in a way that makes every quest genuinely exciting and suspenseful. Your fellow players don't have to mind being the losing team (or person) after a 6 hour game night.

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Finding a playgroup for Descent is indeed hard. First of all, the people need to be experienced board gamers, otherwise, there might be too many rules, too many mechanics to deal with. Secondly, they have to like the fantasy/RPG theme. Descent works much better in my opinion if you read the flavor text. But most importantly they have to be able to take a beating. Descent is not a video game like Diablo III where you are supposed to hack 'n slash your way to victory. The people your are playing with have to understand that. But at the same time, I think you have to play nicely. If you have the OL card combo that can break the game, you shouldn't play it if the heroes are having a hard time.

It makes Descent (campaign) a very inaccessible game, but very fun if the two parties know how to play it in a way that makes every quest genuinely exciting and suspenseful. Your fellow players don't have to mind being the losing team (or person) after a 6 hour game night.

I know what you mean. I only got my copy yesterday but even before I ordered it, I knew I was in a situation where almost all of my friends are of pretty mainstream tastes. They don't like fantasy, typically only watch films that are set in the modern day (or at least 20th century) and have no clearly fictional elements. The only board games any of them have played are things like Monopoly and Risk. It was the biggest factor holding me back from getting Descent earlier. I mean, you mention Diablo III yet even that is too "geeky" for most of my friends. They'll just play GTA and FIFA, stuff like that.

 

I think this is one of the biggest things holding board games back - at least ones that aren't highly randomised and (IMO) boring such as Monopoly and Risk. You can see how in videogames, online multiplayer has totally obliterated local multiplayer. People simply don't have all that many friends, if any, that share all the appropriate interests and have the free time to make local multiplayer games (board or video) that feasible. This is also perhaps why the co-op expansions for Descent are totally sold out everywhere (at least here in England) since it allows solo play, or just two people to play side by side rather than against each other which is more palatable for new players.

 

I don't 100% agree with you that Descent is all that complicated, although perhaps that's because I used to play Warhammer 40k (2E) back when I was about 14-16 so by contrast Descent is very accessible and user-friendly. The irony with Descent, and other FFG products, is that all the various cards and tokens make it very easy to manage and understand compared to stuff like 40k, yet it's the abundance of all those elements that make it look so complex and daunting to non-players.

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In England there are board gaming groups.

A good way to link up with people who may be interested in joining a campaign and also an opportunity to try new boardgames.

In Cambridgeshire alone there is a book shop (Hefers) in Cambridge which runs a boardgame evening and a boardgame/game 'shop' which sets out tables so people can play games on Saturday - although this appears to be dominated by teenagers playing Magic and other card games. The best one I have found is Ely Games Day in Ely (a tiny medieval city just North of Cambridge) which has a gaming day every month on the third Saturday. A wide range of age groups and boardgame styles. That is how I met and joined my role playing group before I eventually got into board games as well. I have found Descent an excellent way for me to run a campaign with the role play group without taking on the pressures of a GM.

I suggest find a group and make some new friends. Also don't be surprised if people who do not appear to be 'into' fantasy or boardgames express an interest in Descent. A quick run through the base game introductory quest can pique interest.

Edited by Ravencour

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