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The MechE

Are monsters groups with small numbers under powered?

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Posted (edited)

This game has felt to me like it favors monster groups with many models (e.g. bandits, goblins, etc. (but not fire imps because those just suck)) over monster groups with a small number of models (e.g. hybrid sentinels, shadow dragons, ettins, etc.).

I wonder if monster groups with only a small number of models were intentionally made to have lower than usual stats due to the reinforcement mechanic (e.g. one group of goblin archers is stronger than one group of shadow dragons). Some quests let the overlord reinforce open groups, and if the overlord got a shadow dragon with stats equivalent to a goblin archer group every turn, that would probably be too much.

Should descent have gone with a "reinforcement point" mechanic where quests that used open group reinforcements gave the overlord a certain amount of reinforcement points each turn? Those points could then be spent to purchase reinforcements and each monster card would show the number of reinforcement points required to purchase one monster from that group (e.g. spawning a goblin archer might cost 1 reinforcement point and spawning a shadow dragon might cost 2 or 3 reinforcement points)? Reinforcement points could not be banked unless the overlord did not have enough to purchase one model from their reinforcing open group (e.g. overlord has 4 reinforcement points. A shadow dragon costs 3 reinforcement points, so the overlord MUST spawn one shadow dragon during the reinforcement step).

Edited by The MechE

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The reinforcement system is a real trouble, yes. But about monsters' group, it is more situationnal. If you have only melee fighter, they can really lose many time and action and failling defeating a shadow dragon and really suffer big damages from firebreath

On the other hand, Goblins archers are better to "hit and run" than most of the others monsters

Another point : on act 1, goblins archers lose a big fire power where shadow dragon get a boost.

 

In fact, it is really a matter of situation. Some monsters are useless (Fire Imps, Goblins witchers, Dark priests) for example), some are really strong (Hybrids sentinels, Firehounds, etc ...) and some situationnal (Razorwings, Trolls, Ogre, etc ...)

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9 hours ago, The MechE said:

Should descent have gone with a "reinforcement point" mechanic where quests that used open group reinforcements gave the overlord a certain amount of reinforcement points each turn?

It's called threat, descent 1ed had that system and ffg brought it back for Imperial assault, they just canned it for 2ed along with a number of other things because of the criticism that the game was too complicated. Unfortunately for 2ed the threat system does work much better, giving even the weakest monsters a good reason to hit the table.  

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On 5/3/2019 at 11:49 AM, Bucho said:

It's called threat, descent 1ed had that system and ffg brought it back for Imperial assault, they just canned it for 2ed along with a number of other things because of the criticism that the game was too complicated. Unfortunately for 2ed the threat system does work much better, giving even the weakest monsters a good reason to hit the table.  

Maybe the community should just come up with their own reinforcement point system then.

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On 5/11/2019 at 8:12 AM, The MechE said:

Maybe the community should just come up with their own reinforcement point system then.

I suppose you can reinvent the wheel if that's what floats your boat.

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10 hours ago, Bucho said:

I suppose you can reinvent the wheel if that's what floats your boat.

I think it would be easier just to use what's already available and tweak it to work for 2nd edition. That's not really what I'd call, "reinventing the wheel." I haven't looked into this old threat system or how much tweaking would be needed to make a reinforcement point system work for descent 2E though. There's a lot of monsters to evaluate strength on, so just to get things started as a first-run experiment, the cost of of spawning a model might just be directly correlated to the size of the monster group. Additional tweaking for models like fire imps might be necessary though.

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Yeah, the D2e reinforcement system does muddle things up with regards to unit selection.  While I wouldn't consider a better implementation of a threat-deployment system "reinventing the wheel" (since it'd be a flat-out improvement if done right) ... it is a daunting task to do it correctly.  >>;

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On 5/13/2019 at 10:11 AM, thinkbomb said:

While I wouldn't consider a better implementation of a threat-deployment system "reinventing the wheel" (since it'd be a flat-out improvement if done right)

It's already been done, twice. This rule set needs a third threat system about as much as it needs another page of damage tokens.

Quote

... it is a daunting task to do it correctly.  >>;

Oh yeah, the problem lies in that he'd have to rewrite (and do a ton of playtesting) on each encounter that he'd want to port over to a different system.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/15/2019 at 8:39 PM, Bucho said:

It's already been done, twice. This rule set needs a third threat system about as much as it needs another page of damage tokens.

Oh yeah, the problem lies in that he'd have to rewrite (and do a ton of playtesting) on each encounter that he'd want to port over to a different system.

Would I? The game already isn't balanced with the current reinforcement system. Any changes I do with my own group wouldn't matter. You can't break what's already broken.

 

i think I'm going to make it as simple as this:

1. Each unit costs X reinforcement points

2. Reinforcement points are generated on a per-turn basis

3. OL must reinforce each turn if able (unless multiple reinforcement options exist)

Edited by The MechE

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3 hours ago, The MechE said:

Would I? The game already isn't balanced with the current reinforcement system. Any changes I do with my own group wouldn't matter. You can't break what's already broken.

 

i think I'm going to make it as simple as this:

1. Each unit costs X reinforcement points

2. Reinforcement points are generated on a per-turn basis

3. OL must reinforce each turn if able (unless multiple reinforcement options exist)

The trick is costing for each unit.  Luckily someone else cracked the code in Imperial Assault.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1379638/formula-calculating-threat-deployment-costs-figure

Send me a note if you want some help adjusting this to descent.  But following his base formula will get you a near-balanced figure cost.

Points per turn = start it at 3.  Increase points per turn every round by 1.

Lot of tedious maths, but it'll make things work a lot better.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, The MechE said:

Would I? The game already isn't balanced with the current reinforcement system. Any changes I do with my own group wouldn't matter. You can't break what's already broken.

I do not see that anything in Descent is "broken". It's a perfectly fine game in my opinion. Sure, there are heroes and classes that are stronger than others. There are also OL cards and plot decks that are stronger than others. And of course there are players that are more experienced, more competitive or generally better in these kinds of games. However, if playing with sensible people whose primary goal is to have fun during a campaign, you can  adjust for any imbalances that might occur with just the components that are available.

Edited by Sadgit

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Posted (edited)

Depends on your definition of broken. Logan as a treasure hunter is a very strong hero. I still have won campaigns against him. It Logan broken is the sense that the heroes will win every time? No.

Edited by Sadgit

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A) Big monsters with their more powerful attacks are actually rather good in a game where heroes can boost their defenses to much more easily shrug off attacks from weak monsters. Overlord cards boosting single attacks or giving an extra attack with one monster make this even more a factor. One more attack with a shadow dragon with flame breath is devastating, one more attack with even a master goblin archer is not even close to that.

B) Reinforcement usually completely favors big monsters to a degree that would reverse any imbalance in favor of large group sizes.
 

C) High defenses actually are a significant deal. A hero with relatively weak attacks can still reliably defeat a goblin archer but might do no damage at all against a double gray or single black defense die monster. On top of that, many heroes actually get reliable options to attack multiple monsters at once. You may be able to use positioning to avoid blast, but try doing the same when it is whirlwind or anything else that gives you more freedom to target different monsters. There are also many hero skills that trigger upon defeating a monster and those are a lot better against large groups of weak monsters.

So if anything, we need to help large monster groups with reinforcement.

And yes, I would absolutely support rebalancing heroes and monsters in general.
It does not really matter whether you can "still win against them", the problem is that many monsters, heroes or classes just outperform others without drawbacks. I rather get tired of always seeing the bard or always seeing Andira runehand, Elder Mok and similar or fielding the xth group of bandits, Hybrid sentinels or Giants.
 

It is okay if certain classes or monsters are a bit specific to certain situations, like Razor wings for quests where it is about moving tokens or geomancers being great in some maps but not so great in others, but please do not give us stuff that is just plainly better than the alternative or so strong you would not want to go without.

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