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rossljensen

The Best and Worst of Descent in a Nutshell

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Let me be clear - I love this game.  I own the base set and I've played it a lot with friends and neighbors.  Yeah, rules are a bit finicky, but once you settle in and get a handle on it....a full game of 5 people is just some good old gaming FUN.

 

The bad - the setup.  Takes me about 45 minutes to get it all out and online and ready for my team.  Over time, the fun is getting outweighed by the setup unfortunately.  I've painted the mini's and put the time in, but I can't seem to get it out of the box.

 

 

The great thing about innovation is that there are ways to play this game online digitally now that reduce to the setup to almost nil, and it's brought the fun back for me.  I hate to be vague here, but if you really want more details contact me and I will explain.  I played 3.5 hours last night and had a blast with people around the world on a game I love and have INVESTED in.

 

Have fun and GAME ON

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Setup (and cleanup) is definitely a drag. Over the years, my group developed a few habits which would help us cut down on setup time:

 

-plano boxes to organize all the monster figures by group (and others to organize all the tokens).

 

-we kept four 2oz plastic cups in the box each containing a particular set of hero tokens, 10 fatigue, and 20 health. (The Overlord had cups containing a bunch of health tokens for monsters and fatigue for counters as well.)

 

-Tiles were organized by sets of 10 in zip bags, making tile fishing a lot easier.

 

-Cards in use during a campaign would come out of their normal bags and live in a couple "campaign" bags for the duration (each hero would have a bag with his hero sheet, class cards, and equipment)

 

-progress/gold were tracked with an excel spreadsheet in a google doc so players could make decisions about skills and equipment outside of normal play time.

Edited by Zaltyre

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-Tiles were organized by sets of 10 in zip bags, making tile fishing a lot easier.

 

 

Since I heard you talking about it, I'm willing to do it myself. This was a really cool idea, cause my main problem to set up is the tiles, everything else is in order, organized in boxes :)

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Well if you're actually doing it, a key part of this strategy was to us an index card (in the bag or taped to the front) explicitly list which tiles were included.

For example: "8-11,14,16" (if by shape) or "1-10" (if by number).

Sorting the tiles this way with all expansions including mists and chains, I can still fit the tiles in the base game box.

Edited by Zaltyre

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Bought organizer made from high density fiberboard. Which allow me to reduce preparations to nothing, and we are using zip locks for keeping hero cards in between sessions. But I have only base game and LOW. With other expansions I would need like two more organizers to keep boxed expansion, which may become clunky. We'll see, when I get there.

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Regarding the setup: what I'd love to see would be a table-sized tablet integrated into a gaming table, where you can set up any boardgame with a few clicks, don't need any physical tokens and just have to put the minis on the table.

 

I'd rather buy that than a flat screen. Tech companies: please? ^^

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-we kept four 2oz plastic cups in the box each containing a particular set of hero tokens, 10 fatigue, and 20 health. (The Overlord had cups containing a bunch of health tokens for monsters and fatigue for counters as well.)

 

 

 

I moved aside from using the fatigue and health tokens and just use dice.  I have red dice that are used for HP and yellow dice used for Fatigue.  Mix in other colored dice for monster HP by placing actual HP amount on the card itself for the Master Monster. 

 

Visually it makes the game a lot easier for both the Overlord and players when determining numerical values instead of counting heart tokens etc.

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Good idea on the dice- like counting levels in Munchkin. :) We found with the pre-dispensed cups that was at least faster than reaching into the supply when someone needed a marker (and more importantly, made cleanup easier instead of gathering up every token on the table into its spot in the plano). We also purposely rationed them so there weren't a mess of tokens- 3 "5" hearts, and 5 "1" hearts so there were never more than 5 singles on a sheet. 

Edited by Zaltyre

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Regarding the setup: what I'd love to see would be a table-sized tablet integrated into a gaming table, where you can set up any boardgame with a few clicks, don't need any physical tokens and just have to put the minis on the table.

 

I'd rather buy that than a flat screen. Tech companies: please? ^^

Something like this?

https://playtable.xyz/?rc=bgg

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Regarding the setup: what I'd love to see would be a table-sized tablet integrated into a gaming table, where you can set up any boardgame with a few clicks, don't need any physical tokens and just have to put the minis on the table.

 

I'd rather buy that than a flat screen. Tech companies: please? ^^

Something like this?

https://playtable.xyz/?rc=bgg

 

But it is soo nice to touch things!

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@ ProtoPersona: Cool thing. Still, too small ;). But it certainly goes into the right direction.

 

@ Ceasarsalad: I'd prefer to touch the cool stuff (Figures, Cards) and let electronics deal with the fiddly stuff (i.e, tokens).

 

So, the worst thing about Descent is in my view the health and fatigue tokens. The best thing is the huge variety of ways to strategize and try to win. Dice are however a really good way to overcome the fiddly token problem. I think I'll get some red D20 and some yellow D6 dice.

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I have 4 Sterlite file boxes, set up like so:

Box 1: Map pieces.  I have hanging file folders that fit into the box, each folder has map tiles arranged by 10s.  1-10, 11-20, 21-30, etc  All of the end pieces, connectors, doors, and stand fit in the top part.

Box 2: Monsters.  I have a zip loc with the act I cards, and a zip loc with the act II cards.  Then I have quart bags full of monsters.  I sorted them alphabetically, and have about 6-8 groups per bag, and 8 bags.

Box 3: Currently in use.  Tiles for the current map, monsters in use for the encounter, objective tokens, fatigue tokens, health tokens, search cards, search tokens, NPC tokens, condition cards, active lieutenants, dice, dice box etc etc.  Also, each hero has their own bag with their class and shop cards in it.

Box 4.  Crap I don't use.  Condition tokens, plot decks, extra figures, alternate OL deck, rumor cards, secret rooms, unused heroes, unused lieutenants.

Everything, and I mean everything, is in a small zip loc with a label on it.  I got a pack of 100 small bags from a craft store, and a box of Avery address labels from staples.  Each sheet of label paper has 30 labels, I think I used around 10 sheets, maybe 15.

 

With this setup, I only have to mess with one box, until we start a new encounter, but even then, the only thing that changes are the monsters.  I'll set up the map while the heroes get their stuff arranged.  Total time to setup is about 15 minutes; teardown takes about 20.

 

Pictures are below, minus the box of extra.

http://imgur.com/a/Oh1OR

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I´ve got my own list of issues with the game, briefly:

- The Overlord experience curve versus heroes gearing up so fast.

- Rumor quests. No real incentive for playing them.

- Threat/Fortune system. Not a big fan of that.

- Some quests can lead to a situation where players are completely stuck until one side decides to break the stall (and normally loses on the spot because of that).

- Only a certain % of the cards (including hero sheets) are played because of high variance in efficiency between them.

 

Storage for me is a side issue that has nothing to do with the game itself. For a game of that size you necessarly have to come up with a solution.

Setup for me is not a problem if you can organize yourself a little bit. Many other games we´re playing currently have at least twice the setup time of Descent.

Edited by Indalecio

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I'll start with saying that 90 percent of my gaming is done in the Descent world and I love it. I even teach ESL students with a modified version of the game. It's simply great.

 

 

- Rumor quests. No real incentive for playing them.

 

Storage for me is a side issue that has nothing to do with the game itself. For a game of that size you necessarly have to come up with a solution.

Setup for me is not a problem if you can organize yourself a little bit. Many other games we´re playing currently have at least twice the setup time of Descent.

 

I completely agree with the rumor quest.. I actually regret buying the 2 small box expansions I have, except for the hero and monster additions.

 

  • I also have some issues with the setup but this is not a game issue, rather my system.
  • I also find, at times the overlord gets his butt handed to him, but I usually tell myself, or who ever is the OV that the good guys are supposed to win.
  • Im also not a fan of the gold system in the base game(not the app) i don;t like that potions can be drunk but they sell for the same value. I find this to be unrealistic. 
  • Lastly, i don't like seeing a warrior wielding a rune, but this is just bias. I understand the whole, Gandalf had a sword argument, but I find it lacking to allow any class to use any weapon, without penalty. It just pokes my role-playing sore.  

my son and i also like to add realism by restricting aspects. For example cave spiders and hand-less monsters can't open closed doors. Merimods gain one movement point in water. Things like this, but these are just fluff and they actually unbalance the game but make it fun for a 7 year old.

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I can understand the general complaint that the game may be unrealistic at times. However I have personally no problems with that. None of the games I play are simulation games, and I´m mostly looking for streamlined rules system with high entertainment value, rather than a RPG-type of ruleset that may feel more intuitive but in the end only burdens the game flow. I´m globally happy with Descent as a game with this type of thing in mind.

 

I haven't played rumors for a while now, and I´m not missing them. The only sad thing is the Overlord Rewards and Relic cards that I never get to put my hands on :-/

Edited by Indalecio

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I haven't played rumors for a while now, and I´m not missing them. The only sad thing is the Overlord Rewards and Relic cards that I never get to put my hands on :-/

 

I agree with you on that one. But I like the options since I am right now working on a Campaign of my own.

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- Some quests can lead to a situation where players are completely stuck until one side decides to break the stall (and normally loses on the spot because of that).

 

I believe Gold Digger from LotW did this to us. I (OL) declared it a tie and we both got prizes as if we won, but considered the heroes the victory for the quest arc.

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Regarding setup, efficiency and organization is everything. I have my almost all my components stored in plastic briefcase-style cases with clear tops.

Container 1: Tokens, cards, and Misc.

Container 2: Container 1 of 2 "small" monsters

Container 3: 2 of 2

Container 4: Medium and Large Monsters

Container 6, 7, ect.

Map pieces are stored in a file box with folders and bags.

 

I have the map setup before players arrive and tokens are ready on the board. The only thing they need to do is grab a drink from the fridge.  :P

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Plano trays are a huge upgrade for tokens and figures. I use the 3700 for normal figures, the 3700 deep series for larger figures and the smaller cards, and the 3600's for tokens. After converting my plastic bags to the plano boxes I easily cut set up/take down time in half. The other big upgrade is a CD binder for map tiles, this is game changing. Just throw some sticky labels on each page to give you an idea where you are at numerically and it will speed things up. Don't need a label maker either, a holder is like $10 bucks on amazon and some sticky labels are a buck at any dollar store.

Edited by FrogTrigger

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