shawn.neibaur

IDEA - Group Lieutenants into Sets

10 posts in this topic

NOTE: This post is entirely theorycrafting, and intentionally ignores the likelihood of this actually happening. It's just an idea I had while hoping for another physical expansion.

THE PROBLEM: Lieutenants Packs, in their current iteration, are a very tough sell. Shelling out ten dollars (or more) for a single miniature, a handful of tokens and a plot deck is a value statement that doesn't even remotely line up with the value of other expansion options to the game. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that spending the threat (and monsters) required to put your lieutenant figure on the battlefield is often a sub-optimal choice, and one the overlord is not even allowed to make on intermission or finale quests. Instead of being a "choose your own avatar" mechanic, agents tend to be selected by virtue of the cards they are packaged with.

MY PROPOSED SOLUTION: Lieutenants could be grouped (and sold) in thematic sets of three. Future expansions (such as a campaign book expansion like Heirs of Blood) can be built in such a way that the villains of the expansion are not explicitly written into the rules, but are instead filled in with the lieutenant group of the overlords choice. These lieutenant sets would be mechanically separated into a mastermind and two agents, and when setting up a mission the player would be told the number of agents/mastermind allowed on the mission, meaning single agent missions would give the overlord the chance to pick the agent that best fit the mission objectives. Plot decks would be reworked to fit sets of lieutenants rather then single agents.

This improves the value statement by offering a unique twist (and a few more choices) to the overlord during a campaign, and

wouldn't lock the chosen agent(s) out of the most thematically important missions in the game. It also decreases the volume of plot decks, making it easier to create mechanically and thematicaly different decks without becoming to similar to what is already out there. Finally, it encourages players to spend more money on descent by making the lieutenant sets an integral part of the campaign experience, making it a useful business tool for Fantasy Flight. For this to work, one set of lieutenants would have to be part of the expansion adding this system to campaigns.

If you wanted to take it a step further, you could pick a monster type that is always available in the campaign associated with each lieutenant set. Since the monster types weren't balanced with this in mind I'm not sure how well that would or wouldn't work.

Currently, I would separate out the Lieutenants into the following groups:

The Cursed Nobles 
    Lady Eliza Farrow - Mastermind
    Lord Merick Farrow- Agent
    Sir Alric Farrow - Agent

The Mercenary Army
    Baron Zachareth - Mastermind
    Belthir - Agent
    Splig - Agent

The Black Realm
    Gargan Mirklace - Mastermind
    Verminous - Agent
    Trystane Oliven - Agent

The Sudanyan Eclipse
    Ariad - Mastermind
    Serena - Agent
    Raythen - Agent

The Unchained Dead
    Zarihell - Mastermind
    Kyndrithul - Agent
    Ardus Ix’Erebus - Agent

This Leaves the following stragglers who I admit I couldn't quite get to fit correctly. I suppose since there are 5 leftovers and 5 groups, you could increase the lieutenants in each set to four, in which case I would set them up as indicated.

Skarn    - The Cursed Nobles 
Valyndra - The Mercenary Army (Mastermind instead of agent? She's could be considered a Gryvorn stand in. Zachareth could be demoted to agent)
Rylan Olliven - The Black Realm
Queen Ariad - The Sudanyan Eclipse (Two mastermind set? See below.)
Bol'Goreth - The Unchained Dead

This would have the added benefit of putting one large lieutenant in each group, although some of the pairings (Ariad/Queen Ariad) Might need some mechanical changes to work. Maybe that upgrade could be part of the plot deck and it would be the one deck with two masterminds?

TLDR: I think it would be really cool to package the lieutenants into sets, both from a mechanics and sales perspective. Future campaigns could make use of these sets, using plug and play lieutenant choices instead of fixed lieutenants tied to missions. This would make lieutenant packs closer to hero and monster sets in value (and off the shelf price), and much more likely to make an impact on the table/campaign.

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Sounds like a very cool idea, although I fear this will never happen as the decent game is basically complete (at least as far as I see it). New content will probably be only digital content for RTL.

****, a lot more people would have bought the Lieutantant packs if they'd grouped at least some of them together. Especially the ones from the core set as they are used regularly.

 

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I definitely like the idea of thematic packs for sure.  As much as I want to believe that FFG separated out the lieutenants from the boxed sets to reduce their cost, we all know it was really to get extra money out of buyers.  I’d wager that most of us that buy miniatures-based games don’t want to use a flat token to represent a big-bad boss encounter.  You’re also right that the value proposition isn’t very good - you can get a complete set of heroes and new monsters for $36cdn, but a lieutenant like Valyndra is $17.  

Honestly, I’d have less of an issue shelling out extra money for lieutenants if they were mini-expansions and added something entirely new to the game, versus existing solely to replace a token.  The core boxes should have all the figures that are called upon in the included campaign(s), with lieutenant theme packs adding completely new boss characters (and associated side quests, extending missions in the boxed campaigns, etc).  Multiple lieutenants in a theme pack makes perfect sense.

Maybe we’ll see that in Descent 3e. ;)

Edited by Digitalfiends
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1 hour ago, Digitalfiends said:

Honestly, I’d have less of an issue shelling out extra money for lieutenants if they were mini-expansions and added something entirely new to the game, versus existing solely to replace a token.

Just to mention: lieutenant packs add something new to the game - a unique plot deck.

Still, I agree that buying all lieutenant packs is not really efficient, if you can live with the flat token. Only a single plot deck is used for the entire campaign and lieutenant packs do not add much to RtL.

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11 hours ago, Sadgit said:

Just to mention: lieutenant packs add something new to the game - a unique plot deck.

Still, I agree that buying all lieutenant packs is not really efficient, if you can live with the flat token. Only a single plot deck is used for the entire campaign and lieutenant packs do not add much to RtL.

While technically true that the plot decks are part of the value of the LT packs, nearly all of the comments I have seen regarding these packs come down to, "I want to play with a mini and not a token." For the most part, the decks are secondary.  Digitalfiends has a point.

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11 hours ago, Sadgit said:

Just to mention: lieutenant packs add something new to the game - a unique plot deck.

Still, I agree that buying all lieutenant packs is not really efficient, if you can live with the flat token. Only a single plot deck is used for the entire campaign and lieutenant packs do not add much to RtL.

I definitely don't discount the plot decks, although I personally would prefer fewer plot decks with more mechanical/thematic differences.

Honestly for me the biggest disappointment of the lieutenant packs is the fact that summoning the agent is an expensive, subpar choice in almost all the decks and isn't even an option in the intermission or the finale. The miniatures ought to take center stage in any expansion to a miniature game IMHO. The fact that it would give campaigns more replayability by letting the overlord shuffle around their villains is just an added benefit.

Also to reiterate from the first post: I know this has zero chance of happening unless we see third edition, and even then is probably not super likely. 

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3 hours ago, Zaltyre said:

While technically true that the plot decks are part of the value of the LT packs, nearly all of the comments I have seen regarding these packs come down to, "I want to play with a mini and not a token." For the most part, the decks are secondary.  Digitalfiends has a point.

He definitely has a point. I am just the opposite. Plot decks are the interesting part for me. I do not care if I have to use a token for a lieutenant but would not like to miss out on the strategic possibilities a plot deck offers. Just a matter of preferences.  

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Funny I logged in today to propose the same.

Here's the deal: I love how Descent and IA are so popular, that you can buy the game and look for people to play with. Other less known games, well make the process of finding a group harder. That's kind of a justifier of FFG' astronomical prices
 

But the deals you can get on amazing miniature  quality and quantity / price on other games is making this not viable anymore.  With the character/lieutenant packs you get one 28mm miniature for 10 eur.   Have you checked the price of Infinity miniatures ? - higher scale, higher detail, metallic miniatures, mind you - ... they cost the same!

I am a diehard for Descent but I will not buy anymore packs, neither for IA. Until they get at least a figure of 4 eur per miniature. So , if they sell 12 eur packs of 3 characters/lieutenants - I'll buy them all :)

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