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Watercolour Dragon

Area control variant idea

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Hello again dungeoneers and adventurers. I'm excited reading about all the other player variants of Descent (and really glad of my D1e/2e collection now I hope to explore them in future, think I'll be playing some of these as well as the official variations as they sound interesting and make the game more bang per buck as it's great to have different options for a game thus even more (re)playability value, especially if you plan on painting all the figures!) but one thing I've been mulling over is an area control version where it's only player versus player (no coop/ team/ overlord etc), somehow using what comes with Descent as a starting point for this variant (maybe as currency to buy upgrades, influencing how it's a unique take on the area control game model etc).


Firstly has anybody tried this already? Even if they have I may still give it a go as I may have different ideas as I'm already brewing some interesting thoughts on this. Secondly is it something that might be of interest?


Very early 'lightbulb' thoughts:

- Could work for 1e, 2e and flexibly for what players do/ do not own and work with just core set or also with any expansions

- for this reason could either have proxy options (you'd need something to stand in for this...) or to ensure players have balanced choices depending which Descent elements are being used (or it still works if there's just one of something etc)

- Might be customisable, i.e. players may be able to use alternatives/ adapt to their own creativity

- With no overlord player available monsters, allies, lieutenants, familiars, other 'useful stuffs' :) and of course heroes (perhaps small armies for more numerous pieces- only if game needed them?) are purchasable/draftable for area control / fight dynamic, something to indicate who owns which purchased piece, not sure how to implement yet

- some sort of victory points system during game/ endgame as it's purely every player for themselves

- card choice: could be the take-one pass-round approach, or the selection to buy approach, or some other option I've not yet considered, perhaps getting stronger per round and maybe stacking as part of the skill/choice-making logic

- might have to ask FFG's legals if it's o.k. (not sure how they feel about community mods- any thoughts? I've purchased games purely through playing player variants of them in the past so see it as a good thing)

- want heavy bias to skill over luck, thus maybe card deck drafting better than dice, again any thoughts?

- things like classes could be part of the skill dynamic as well as other choices/factors that would determine objectives/potential strategies and rewards

- obviously not ending up as Runewars which is also an area control game, don't think my ideas are the same game but might need to research Runewars to avoid using too many of the same mechanics! (I've not played so not familiar with it - Amusingly I purchased it on a whim as it looked like it might be a nice addition to my Runebound family and cool for Descent customisation somehow, haven't looked at it yet - still wrapped- and only just found out it's an area control. I do sometimes forget there are only 24 hours in a day and not many spare ones...).


Any thoughts or if you'd like to explore this let me know, curious to see how some of the game elements might work in this way as a totally different game.


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Well, I have most of the content for both editions. And many times I thought about creating something with all (or some) of stuff, a game to play solo or with others but without overlord. The problem is that I already have my own board game this way, with many rules and stuff takne from D&D, but it's not a D&D after all. Thus, I lack the time to manage all the things, and I gave up. 

Besides, I alredy use the tiles and some tokens from Descent on my game.

But I´'d like to see your progress. My board game was born over a video game idea (shining force for sega genesis) and then, through the years, took a D&D aspect. Currently I'm struggling with the use of defense dice in descent. But, in my idea, it would only take effect for those wearing armor, so no dice for mages, healers and the like.  My idea about the defense dice is a bit different. Your charcter have a hit rate measured against a defensive rate of the target, and you have to roll a d20 to succeed. If the hit happens, the armor you're wearing would decrease it by the roll of the dice. For instance: the brown die for a char using leather armor, the grey for a chain mail and the black for a full plate. Shields are a problem, tough. Firstly I thought to put in the same category of the armors, but if a shield blocks the damage, most of the time we can assume the char. was uninjured, then the shield would increase the defense ratio, not a thing to avoid some of the damage. Anyway it's just an idea. For now, I'm sticking with the D&D rules for hit and damage.

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I'm still mulling this one over so I think it's inevitable I end up with something from my early soup of ideas (hopefully I end up with something that works!) -

Would be happy to have other peoples ideas contribute to this, we could start with just the D2e base set before complicating things with D1e and expansions (although it might be worth thinking about these from an early stage so the project can flex to them later and to establish what could be subbed and still work if players don't have the relevant expansion, how core mechanics might suit expansion options etc)


Am also thinking that getting the top power monsters might be one of the more challenging elements, thus they maybe have the power but perhaps it needs to be used wisely or sparingly, or maybe you can go more full on but with even more wisdom required.

Quite like the idea of a few risky monsters that could turn on you or change your fate (chaos beasts could be good for the latter) but again not making things too chance based, but it could be a nice 'if you dare' game strategy option. You unleashed that monster, you can't come crying to me now it wants to eat us both :o  or do other nasty stuff to you meheheheh. Dragon mastery (smiles) or not (laughs) might be an interesting ability you could develop, lots of ideas like that but obviously would only use a few of them in the game, might be a way of resisting trying to crowbar in every expansion option and ending up with way too much complexity.


Familiars and some other unique aspects of Descent might make for some interesting new angles on the mechanics of an area control game as well.


Yesterday I thought could quest story and area control work together but I've not thought beyond that yet much but maybe an overall quest (rather than aiming to finish chosen ones) might be interesting so there is a main arc for each play, could be challenging to design but I may think about it a bit as one of the ways of making this that bit different, if one quest arc came out each time it might have a bearing on strategy choices. not sure if I like this idea enough yet though.


The monster traits could link into choices, maybe paired for player choice at start so players have two (if up to 5 players) monster traits that particularly suit them but aren't tied to them (and indeed may wish to sacrifice the benefit to be less predictable) They could have maybe given these more thought, they're an odd 10 categories- not sure if I'd tweak them for this, depends on the rest of the game and its evolution, but I like the idea of sticking to D2e as-is where possible so there's a fit and maybe it will be part of the fun of the design process, things like 'building' could certainly fit how these traits may help the player work with their options. There's also the choosing archetypes and classes possibility. Players therefore have strategies that best fit their choices but like I say also have to balance using these advantages with not being too predictable, again one of the trickier aspects to design but would make for some interesting game dynamics.


Threefold choice dynamic maybe: initial choice, cards chosen, units chosen?


Quite like perhaps having a cruelty or kindness element, though this currently doesn't fit too well with my other ideas.


Going to 'delve' into the box again soon specifically looking at it from this angle and see how it forms a better starting point and to get out of Descent quest thinking into area control thinking a bit more.


All very early thoughts so let me know what you think and any ideas you have too.

Edited by Martinslair
Typo due to tiredness, too many fatigue tokens!

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I think there are area control games for Terrinoth already. I would love to see a skirmish mode though for pvp mode.

Make your army. Play in a map against an opponent.

One takes monsters and lieutenants. The otherone takes heroes.

Put some chests in the map with treasure items. etc

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I have been working on something like that, Just build a map, then do something like elixer tokens on the map, all monsters gain action: pick up elixer token and action: spend and elixer token to roll one red die, heal damage equal to the damage rolled or do valor tokens for once per attack add a +1 damage. the monster combinations I use are 2 lutenits and 3 monster groups.

https://tools.fantasyflightgames.com/descent/home/449/ is also a good place for a skirmish like place.

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It was the login problems I was having- it's OK now. Just so you know in future I got a blank screen when it was playing up but now either get the vault page or the login screen then the vault page, seems the login part of things can play up sometimes (as it's on Asmodee group now whereas the forum's on FFG.) - sometimes hiccups switching between the two, as I've now found out it eventually corrects itself, could just have been some maintenance time or something on the Asmodee site.

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