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Overlord Winning Before Heroes Can React?

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dadiXtrema said:

 

 Referring to encounter 1 of the Fat Goblin quest:

Although I know this is probably really "mean" of me as an OL… in one of our game sessions I completely blocked the beginning pathway with Barghests for a really long time (bad luck/bad strategy on the heroes part… take your pick). Essentially, I was able to take all 4 of the red tokens to the exit. After allowing 3 to exit, I kept the last one on the map right at the exit, forcing the hero players to fight their way all the way across the map to kill the goblin that was holding the objective token, all the while fighting through the endless hordes of monsters that spawn at the BEGINNING of the OL's turn at the entrance and exit that can be activated on the same turn… Since the victory conditions are: "Once all the red tokens are stolen or stored", keeping one on the map kept the map going indefinitely…

Long story short: The heroes were eventually able to place the red token on the farm tile but by this point, I had all 15 of my OL cards drawn and had severely damaged each hero. Needless to say, encounter 2 was a breeze… Has anyone done this before? >:) To be fair… the heroes had quite an epic battle to get to the exit tile, kill the goblin, and come all the way back lol! So in that way… it was pretty fun!

 

 

 

 

Maybe it is mean, so what. Your heroes allowed you to do it, through bad luck and/or incompetence. You stretched what was possible for the OL to do as far as it could go, all legally within the rules (unless you screwed something up of which we're unaware). This is probably something that never came up during playtesting and what happens when you release the game to thousands of gamers.

If your heroes persevere and aren't put off by your behaviour, the campaign is far from over with many other games to play.

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Am I the only one that remembers that it's not just the Overlord, but the TREACHEROUS Overlord?  That the heroes are fighting against EVIL?  Is it any surprise, then, that the game rewards the Overlord player for being sneaky, treacherous, and evil?  Isn't that what makes him, well, the Overlord?

The only fault that I can see, in this case, is that the goal of saving/removing 4 tokens doesn't present the heroes with the option to flee.  Road to Legend had this built in.  When the heroes had enough, when they felt the risk of pressing forward was no longer justified, most quests and encounters allowed them to withdraw.  It seems that 2e quests so far do no have this built in…so under the rules, the heroes have no choice but the throw themselves at the OL's fortress of monsters in a fruitless effort to save that last token.

OR, they could realize the futility of this, understand that to do so only makes the OL stronger, and call for a stalemate.  I know the OL draws another card every turn, but I would hope that both sides would recognize that this seems to be a problem with the game rules, and they could agree that the heroes should have a flee option.  If they want to let the OL draw one additional card as a penalty, that seems fine, but to force the players to feed the OL more cards and power, even if he IS supposed to be evil, seems like a hole in the game rules that the forthcoming FAQ/Errata should address.

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 I think the complaint here is not that the OL is being too treacherous or devious. It is that he has taken meta-gaming to an extreme. The OL's actual goal is to "don't care… whatever" but instead he is ignoring that goal to screw the players for the next encounter as well. I think it is inevitable that this is going to happen. The heroes should definitely be able to strategically withdraw in these situations. 

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Thomble gives no **** about tunnel blockage.

Dwarf can obliterate one monster per encounter.

There are a million ways to overcome this tactic.  If it takes your entire party 2+ rounds to defeat any one monster you're doing something horrifically wrong.  Horrifically.

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If you need a handicap to this tactic, simply add house rule that as an action any player may move to the nearest option beyond a blocking player. This seems to keep play balance and discourage said tactic as a go to on every quest.

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My group has also experienced the problem that the OP has described.  I think the key problem with this is that even if the heroes manage to kill the blocking monster, the Overlord often gets to instantly spawn it again next turn for not cost at all.  I was shocked when this first happened in the beginning of Fat Goblin.  Its an incredibly stupid rule that promotes abusing this tactic.  Even if it is beatable, its just a terrible mechanic.  There should be some sort of delay or cost to the Overlord.

When the heroes are just starting and have **** equipment, it is not easy to kill a shadow dragon with 2 grey dice, 6 hp, and the requirement of a surge to not miss.  And then the thing gets to come back absolutely free the next turn again?  Ridiculous…

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Mrbob0069 said:

MasterBeastman said:

 

Mrbob0069 said:

 

 When we played, the OL got zero zombies off the board.

 

 

Wow, what did he have Merick doing for the first two turns then?

I'll admit there is a lot of room for player and Overlord interference when discerning balance. It sounds like my players and your Overlord should hook up and we should play (haha).

I need to play more and see different setups for the hero team but so far the strategy of blocking the halls with a big monster works every time.

 

 

 

He blocked the way with something big (I forget what at the time), and the rogue used his learned power to run thruo enemy spaces,

Coupled with female archers heroic feat to give them both a free move, he was in the search room first round.

 

The rest of first round archer , necro, and animate beat on monster blocking way.  Second round, rogue double searched and found key droping the door.

Archer finished off monster, necro moved forword, dismissed animate, (non action) resummoned animate, and lastly activated animate to kill zombie.

After that we jus made sure to kill every zombie he summoned.

A few observations here.

1) You have an unusually agile party with both Scout characters chosen.  This is not typical.

2) If a party doesn't have a Thief with the Tumble (move through monsters) ability, much of what you suggested will not work to combat the blocking tactic. 

3) The archer's heroic feat does not give movement to anyone but herself.  You played this wrong or described it wrong in your post.

4) You are playing a 3 hero game, which is probably the easiest number of heroes to win the game with

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MR Suplex said:

Mrbob0069 said:

 

MasterBeastman said:

 

Mrbob0069 said:

 

 When we played, the OL got zero zombies off the board.

 

 

Wow, what did he have Merick doing for the first two turns then?

I'll admit there is a lot of room for player and Overlord interference when discerning balance. It sounds like my players and your Overlord should hook up and we should play (haha).

I need to play more and see different setups for the hero team but so far the strategy of blocking the halls with a big monster works every time.

 

 

 

He blocked the way with something big (I forget what at the time), and the rogue used his learned power to run thruo enemy spaces,

Coupled with female archers heroic feat to give them both a free move, he was in the search room first round.

 

The rest of first round archer , necro, and animate beat on monster blocking way.  Second round, rogue double searched and found key droping the door.

Archer finished off monster, necro moved forword, dismissed animate, (non action) resummoned animate, and lastly activated animate to kill zombie.

After that we jus made sure to kill every zombie he summoned.

 

 

A few observations here.

1) You have an unusually agile party with both Scout characters chosen.  This is not typical.

2) If a party doesn't have a Thief with the Tumble (move through monsters) ability, much of what you suggested will not work to combat the blocking tactic. 

3) The archer's heroic feat does not give movement to anyone but herself.  You played this wrong or described it wrong in your post.

4) You are playing a 3 hero game, which is probably the easiest number of heroes to win the game with

 

1) Yes we are very agile, but we lack damage and toughness.   Which came back to bite us in the ass during the interlude.

2) and 3)  You are correct, I miss remembered that.  What actually happened was this. (friends helped me jog failing memory)

        Necro, familiar and Rogue lit up big mob in first round.  THEN Archer used stamina stamina move to get range, Attacked to finish monster, And finaly heroic ability to double move (shoot make hole) move into room.  Second round ELF archer (not rogue) double searched and got lucky, then necro moved, unsummoned and resummoned, activate familiar kill zombie.  It was after that fight Rogue picked up ability to move thru squares seeing how effective big monster in hall way could be.

4) Yes and No,  A lot of fights it works in our favor having smaller groups of monsters to deal with.  But some fights it really sucks not having the diversity of the 4th character, his extra actions, ability to diversify stats (all our mights suck and the OL capitilized on that with deck build.)  Or just having another hero to eat up some of those OL cards.

And also, the op, and MasterBeaster (whom I responed to) are also playing a 3 hero game.

Also, 2 player is WAYYY more easy just by the fact you never see master monsters. But Lt's are way stronger and races vs th OL in 2 player suck due to lack of actions.

The game is very well balenced for number of players.

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 The water in First Blood slows down the double move = win scenario for the Overlord a little bit. There are 8 squares of water. Even if they start at the edge of Wild Garden, without touching water, they'll still be fully within the range of the heroes -- who act first, by the by, so they should be all up in 16a taking advantage of the sweet range bonus the goblins are giving them by being right on the edge of the tile. But even if they haul butt on their turn, going as fast as they can -- They will have to stop either at the center of 12a or in the lower corner, well within the range of the heroes. Splitting your heroes between ranged attackers for the Goblins and heavy hitters for the Ettins, this scenario can't be won by 'meat shield' or double move = win.

Though the two barghest thing is really a chump move, Barghests have five damage -- the Dwarf does red/blue AND gets +1 per surge rolled. So he can kill one in one good hit. Meaning the other two / three heroes to run past the barrier. Again, I think you said you have three players. Just be sure that one of your players is either Jain or the Thief and the other two are Avacyn and the Dwarf. :) You got your movement hero/range hero, and your blockade removers. :)

Also, in Fat Goblin -- it takes an action to pick up the crops, which does slow them down for at least a turn.

And, again, grab a fifth player, Four man teams do well.

Though we won Fat Goblin with the team of Avacyn/Thief due to the stun/extra damage combo, as well as the teleport ability of the Thief.

 

Dan  

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Alienmastermind said:

 Also -- to the OLs who are keeping their cards from Encounter to Encounter -- I think if you lose, you have to drop your hand of cards between encounters. Or I may be wrong there. :/

 

Dan 

Page 18: "When players transition from one encounter of a quest to another, they
perform the following steps: […] • The overlord player keeps his current hand of Overlord cards."

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Alienmastermind said:

 Dang! 

Then I suppose continuing the battle by 'hiding the last goal' is feasible to build up a large card hand. :(


Dan 

Yes, there seems to be a lot of circumstances where this applies. I hope to see an errata to fix this.

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There are some issues with the rules, notably the ability to generate a giant hand of Overlord cards through certain questionable means, but these will likely be fixed with errata or can simply be house ruled.  However, there are also some blatant flaws with the mechanics and with many of the quests that can't really be fixed quite as easily.

 

I disagree strongly with those that state the OL is using 'cheap' tactics when he blocks doors or essentially tries to win with any tactic at his disposal.  As many have pointed out, this is not an RPG like Dungeons and Dragons where the DM (or OL) is there to provide a fun and balanced play experience.  This is a versus game; the story aspects are there to bring spice, not to indicate an assumed play style.

 

The desire to call out OL's on their tactics stems from a desire to defend an imperfect system.  The reality is that the rules are flawed and some people wish they weren't so they blame the rules manipulators rather than the rules.  That's not good.  The first step in fixing a problem is recognizing that there is one, and as long as people make excuses for rules we can't get to talking about how to fix them.  The rules often favour the OL too heavily and a game balanced in skill and luck will more often than not end in a quick victory for the OL.

 

Having said that, here are some ideas of mine to fix the problem that I perceive to exist.

1) Don't allow any monsters to spawn within 2-3 spaces of the heroes any time that they are placed on the board.

2) Add an ability to move past enemies.  Something simple like taking a point of fatigue or health damage.

3) Create new quests that don't have mobility as the main (sometimes only) means of success.

I don't know if these would necessarily fix the problems, but I'll give them a try and see.  All I'm saying is that we should acknowledge the problem and try to solve it rather than fighting over whether there is one.  However you want to play, one of the players shouldn't have to take it easy on the other to make it even.  That's not fun for anyone.

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Yupsate said:

The desire to call out OL's on their tactics stems from a desire to defend an imperfect system.  The reality is that the rules are flawed and some people wish they weren't so they blame the rules manipulators rather than the rules.  That's not good.  The first step in fixing a problem is recognizing that there is one, and as long as people make excuses for rules we can't get to talking about how to fix them.  The rules often favour the OL too heavily and a game balanced in skill and luck will more often than not end in a quick victory for the OL.

I don't blame the Overlord for the tactics, I blame the game for allowing him to do it.  Either way, the problem exists.

 

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Yupsate said:

I don't know if these would necessarily fix the problems, but I'll give them a try and see.  All I'm saying is that we should acknowledge the problem and try to solve it rather than fighting over whether there is one.  However you want to play, one of the players shouldn't have to take it easy on the other to make it even.  That's not fun for anyone.

I use blocking tactics as the OL, and it hasn't created a massive imbalance at the table. Why? Because the counter-strategies available to the heroes are just as basic. The reason some of us don't see a problem is because in our experience this is surmountable with the tools available.

If you are in a situation where you have to take it easy on your opponents to make it even, my advice is: don't. They will learn how to play the game properly if you kick them around a little. And if they don't, then this just isn't their kind of game. No harm there - not everyone is good at turn-based tactics games, or enjoys them enough to become good at it.

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The easiest solutin to the problem is haveing the dasterdly overlord and the most confident hero player switch roles.

I am sure that the "new" hero will teach the old heroes a thing or to on how to get around the problem.

An overlord that has thought long and hard on how to work the system has put enough time into identifying ways to get around his own stratagy.  Making him a player will force him to reveal to the others how to do so.  Unless he is a truley dastardly player and sand bags the heroes on purpose just to avoid giving away his secrets…

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Our experience has been similar to the OP's.  The problem is more pronounced in some quests compared to others, but yes - it seems like there is little "real" interaction or employment of any tactics until towards the end of the quest when one side or the other has nearly won anyway.

We were thinking of house-ruling the following:

Monsters cannot double-move (in the same way they cannot double-attack).

Then some combination of the following (not necessarily all):

Figures cannot move diagonally past (or between) blocked spaces.

Centre-to-centre LoS, but figures instead provide a "cover" (range) penalty rather than blocking LoS altogether.

Large monster movement: Same as the original rules, except that the square the monster shrinks to must match the same square on its base as when it expands again.  The monster can also rotate 90-degrees around this square for 1MP.

Heroes can use 1 action to remove *half* of their current fatigue, or 2 actions to remove *all* of their current fatigue.

Heroes only regain their stamina at the start of their next turn, providing they did not take any wounds (reverting to the 1E method).

A hero must have performed a Move action during their turn in order to use stamina to move.

 

Overlord takes first turn of each encounter.

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Yupsate said:

 

1) Don't allow any monsters to spawn within 2-3 spaces of the heroes any time that they are placed on the board.

 

I don't see how this would work without completely breaking some scenarios and making life really boring for at least one hero.  It seems to suggest that one of the best tactics would just be to leave one hero by the entrance to prevent the OL from spawning anything.

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My group mutinied against Descent 2.

We made it almost to the end of a campaign with me winning every encounter as the Overlord (aside from the Intro). Halfway through the second half of Dawnblade my group quit out of boredom and we started playing D&D4E "Descent style" instead.

As for background, I've been playing Descent 1 since it first came out and every expansion since. I was familiar with the FAQ and had it printed out to take with me wherever I was playing. I pored over the rules and was active on the forums to make sure I had everything right. Whichever side of the table I was on, Overlord or Heroes, that side won… with one exception. I lost as the Overlord one time (it was the Tomb of Ice dungeon with all the bane spiders. I hate bane spiders.)

But the thing is, nobody ever mentioned being bored or switching games. Everybody I played with liked bashing monsters (or heroes) and using their abilities. It was a blast, like Landrec with Sunburst.

Not so with Descent 2. For us, the spirit of the game is lacking. The objective of each side is some abstract event that each side pursues almost to the exclusion of the other side. What I mean is that there's no real incentive for the Overlord to even attack a hero. I roll attacks as an afterthought if the monster can't do anything else with that action. And it's the same for the heroes. Rolling an attack on a creature that isn't blocking a hallway is one action that isn't going towards achieving the goal (I'm slightly exaggerating).

To make matters worse, for the Overlord there's no reason to do anything else besides blocking a hallway with ettins or shadow dragons then have every other monster going after the goal.

We feel like the rules are not balanced well at all. I've seen some people say that the Overlord of D2 is more like a DM that should pull punches. I mentioned this to my players and they made it clear they would not play with me if I did - it kills the spirit of the game (competition). We don't enjoy eurogames. My wife's review of D2 was that it plays like an early teens board game you'd find at Toys'R'Us, not Descent. They removed all the crunch in the name of streamlining. I guess we liked the crunch of D1.

But all that aside, even if the rules are balanced and there are ways to overcome the hallway blocking tactic, the game itself isn't worth it. There's just not enough fighting for us.

 

By the way, it's worth mentioning that after the second dungeon we played we instated a house rule that monsters cannot use both of their actions to move. I still won without even trying. With Descent 1 I at least had to work for it.

 

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As i can see for the quest "A Fat Goblin" the heroes can get at mid before the overlord can decently block anything.

first do ranged single move + stamina move and attack blockers if really needed at the big room.

Close combat or if there is a gasp do double move + some stamina = center room on first turn.

 

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 I just got D2E the other day and played my first game tonight with a friend (2 player First Blood).  I was the OL and right from the beginning it seemed everything was stacked in my favor.  He had really crappy rolls and I had really good ones at the right time for most of the game, but it just seemed like if I didn't bother to stop to attack after my first 3 goblins made it out at the end of turn 3, then I would have easily won the game in about 5 rounds tops.  I only stopped running and started attacking because I wanted to give him a chance to have some fun, which by that point her certainly wasn't.  He ended up winning the game eventually due me holding back from double running and also not playing some cards when I could have, but it shouldn't have to be that way.  I just didn't want him to be so frustrated that he won't ever play again.

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Two player "First Blood" (and First Blood in general) favors the Heros, IMO. Dropping a single Ettin with four attacks per round is cake. Getting all five goblins off, not so much. Even if you get all three off by round two, you can only spawn one in on your next turn which means your ranged can just pick them off while your partner whittles down the Ettin. Without any way to heal your monsters the only real chance the OL has is if he can knockout one of the two and squeeze a goblin past on crappy hero roles.  I'm not saying the OL can't win First Blood, but it definitely takes a lot more luck than skill, especially with two players.

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