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theasaris

New to the game - how to start?

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I'm new to the game after some very successful shopping at this year's Essen gaming fair and now own Descent with all 5 expansions. I've already read through the rules of the core game and did some research in these forums and over at boardgamegeek. My problem is being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information.

From what I've read so far, the base game rulebook is somewhat error-strewn and complicated. I've already downloaded the Descent Merged Rulebook v1.5 and will probably continue reading that. I've also come across the excellent gaming aid from Universal Head.

Now to my questions:

1. Balancing seems to be somewhat of a problem with Descent. Would you still recommend sticking to the original rules or to use one of the many many player-developed variants? If so, which one? Or if there are several good variants, what are the pros and cons of those?

2. How should we start the game? I had planned on going through the first quests from the core game, however I've read that those might be boring. Which quests are fun? Or should we start with Road to Legend right away (and Sea of Blood sometime in the future happy.gif ) ?

3. My gaming group is fairly large. Is it advisable to play Descent with more than 4 heroes? If so, which house-rulings would work best? From what I've read simply increasing the number and/or health of monsters won't really help.

I apologize in case these questions were answered before. Please point me to the right threads in that case.

 

theasaris

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1) If you have at least 4 players (3 heroes and an overlord) the original rules work well. If you can only get 2 or 3 players, use 4 heroes.

2) Do the first quests. They're short, simple, and designed t teach the game. We didn't find them to be boring at all.

3) I've never seen anything that works with 5+ heroes. Enduring Evil claims to (I've never used it so can't say either way), but its a ground-up rewrite, not just a variant.

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I concur with James.  The official rules as written are in fact balanced, but delicately so.  If either OL or Heroes aren't playing up to par it can make the game seem biased against them, but if both sides are playing their best it is more or less even, at least in my experience.  Always use 4 hero figures, even if there aren't enough players.  Double up or have shared heroes if need be.  That thing I said about the rules being balanced?  That only counts with 4. =P

I also agree that you should play the first few quests from the core quest book.  They really do teach you things you'll need to know later on (for both sides.)  As for playing with more than 4 heroes, I've never tried it myself.  I know a lot of people have talked about it and some have even sat down to make rules for it, but I don't know how well any of those ideas work.  4 heroes can be a handful for the OL, especially 4 heroes who know what they're doing.  Adding more can make things much easier for them in ways you might not predict (added LOS coverage, more skills on the table, etc.)

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Most people seem to feel that the base game scenarios (except maybe #7) work fine with 3 heroes as well as 4, at least if you're not using treachery.  But playing with 2 heroes is definitely a bad idea, and most people just always play with 4; the scaling rules don't work at all.

But assuming you use the "right" number of heroes, the game does pretty much work as-is.  I like to think my rewrite (Enduring Evil) makes it better, but it's certainly playable out of the box.

And yes, Enduring Evil supports 5 heroes.  And 2.  Corbon (someone connected to me only through the forums) recently posted some notes from his 5-hero test game in this thread, if you want an outside impression.

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Thanks for your suggestions.

 

We've just completed the first quest from the original game with 4 heroes. I was the overlord.

It was a lot of fun, but I have to admit I was a little shocked at how easily the monsters got killed. After getting the first good items from a copper chest, pretty much any monster was dead with a single hit. In the end, the named giant Narthak went down to two shots with the "Scarab of Death".

Is this first quest designed to be that easy? Or were the heroes really lucky? Or did I play really badly? I managed to kill 2 heroes for a total of 5 conquest points, which was totally irrelevant to the amount of conquest the heroes had in the end (around 20).

Oh, one thing we stumbled at: how does the silver treasure "Ice Storm" work? Does it always have Blast 1 and you can increase the blast radius by 1 for every two surges? Isn't that totally overpowered? Or is there an error? I didn't find anything in the errata or FAQ.

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The early quests are easy, but monsters always die really fast.  Take your attacks when you can get them.

Yes, Ice Storm always has Blast 1, and you can increase the Blast radius by 1 for every two surges.  That's not out of line for the series of runes with blast (compare Bane at copper level and Fire Storm at gold level), but AoE weapons in Descent are generally very powerful, due to the whole "monsters die in one hit" thing.  This is a good place to use your Dodge cards, because one dodging figure causes the entire attack to be rerolled (changing the result for all figures), and Blast attacks frequently cut things close on damage and range and surges, giving you many ways to screw up the attack.  Other than that, spread your monsters out, and be prepared to lose them really fast.

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And you should almost never spawn monsters unless they're going to be able to attack that turn. One common exception to that rule is when you're spawning beastmen. Even if they can't attack that turn, the master level beastman's Command ability is often worth the 4 threat.

 

Also, if playing Return to Legends, it may be useful to spawn when the new monsters can end their turns on top of coins, unactivated glyphs, and chests. This is because a strategy of "run around and grab everything you can" is much more useful in RtL than in the base game.

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theasaris said:

Thanks for your suggestions.

 

We've just completed the first quest from the original game with 4 heroes. I was the overlord.

It was a lot of fun, but I have to admit I was a little shocked at how easily the monsters got killed. After getting the first good items from a copper chest, pretty much any monster was dead with a single hit. In the end, the named giant Narthak went down to two shots with the "Scarab of Death".

Is this first quest designed to be that easy? Or were the heroes really lucky? Or did I play really badly? I managed to kill 2 heroes for a total of 5 conquest points, which was totally irrelevant to the amount of conquest the heroes had in the end (around 20).

Yes it is very easy if every body is new to the game. When you are more experienced if you ever redo this quest you will do much more damage!

But first learn what you can.  The heroes with a lot of armor are more easily attacked by traps as it goes through armor anyway. Always try to combine monsters and event cards, card attack twice on a manticore (4 attacks then!) + aim is fun. If you use knockback of your giant you can push a hero in a pit of course but also make it move through your giant to make him a target for all the monsters behind the giant! Those are the most basic combos you will discover...lengua.gif

A card like 'run' (double movement) is very effective on a creature which moves only 3 steps as it will surprise the heroes! demonio.gif

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Narthak (the boss of the first dungeon) has Knockback, but most giants don't.  Ogres do.

And Aim only works on a single attack, no matter how many attacks the monster in question gets to make on the current turn.

Incidentally, the double-movement card is called "Charge."  "Run" is the action the heroes take when they want to move twice.

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Antistone said:

Narthak (the boss of the first dungeon) has Knockback, but most giants don't.  Ogres do.

And Aim only works on a single attack, no matter how many attacks the monster in question gets to make on the current turn.

Incidentally, the double-movement card is called "Charge."  "Run" is the action the heroes take when they want to move twice.

You are right and I know those rules, I was just trying to give a few pointers to the new Overlord based on his first quest! gui%C3%B1o.gif

I do not have the cards in english sorry... sonrojado.gif

The goal is to explain that you can use multiple cards if they have different 'origins' .

You cannot both use "charge" and "battle" (?) on the same monster but you can aid "aim" to any of them.

You have to create combos between monsters, cards and the dungeon itself if it has special rules or simply pits. Maybe you have a trap card ready?

What about playing your 'Dark Charm' (?) on the hero with a blast or breath weapon so he can hit 2 or 3 of the other heroes? lengua.gif

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thanks again for your comments and clarifications. Looks like I'll just need some more experience to make it more challenging for the heroes. Our next game is on Saturday and I'm planning on using the Treachery rules then. Then we shall see how the heroes react to the more powerful cards. happy.gif

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theasaris said:

thanks again for your comments and clarifications. Looks like I'll just need some more experience to make it more challenging for the heroes. Our next game is on Saturday and I'm planning on using the Treachery rules then. Then we shall see how the heroes react to the more powerful cards. happy.gif

very good idea! Tell us after what happened! gui%C3%B1o.gif

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My group of heroes (4) won the first scenario very easy. I then bought AoD and started using treachery from the 2nd scenario and after.

The game is now very balanced and we have a lot of fun. 2nd and 3rd scenario ended with heroes having 2-3 conquest tokens, one more death for the heroes and i would have won!!!

 

We are now playing scenario 4 and it's the same thing again. Every turn is crucial and suspense is all the time.

 

Have fun

 

 

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We played the third JitD scenario on Saturday. The heroes managed the first two areas quite easily. I had nowhere to spawn monsters due to Kirga and one hero caught webbed for 5 consecutive rounds in the second room. By the time the party reached the room with the nagas, I had collected 4 spawns cards, among them one Beastmen Warparty and one Elite Beastmen Warparty. I spent the next 4 rounds spawning around the far corner and behind the heroes which proved too great a challenge, especially with multiple Command abilities powering up my monsters.

Before entering the third area, the heroes had possessed a total of 15 conquest points without a single hero death. I didn't think I could still stop them from winning the game. Then however I managed to kill each hero once (2+4+3+3(+2 due to 2 curse tokens). One final quick kill of the weak 2 CP character and I had my first overlord victory. :)

We decided to start Road to Legend next week. I'm really looking forward to that!

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