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DocPanic

Poor Overlord (heroes OP?)

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Yeah from our experience the  overlord just can't keep up with the heroes once they start getting items.  There is nothing to balance against items.  The overlord doesn't have enough toys either.  The Overlord needs some more stuff.  Mostly to balance against the heroes items.

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Yeah from our experience the  overlord just can't keep up with the heroes once they start getting items.  There is nothing to balance against items.  The overlord doesn't have enough toys either.  The Overlord needs some more stuff.  Mostly to balance against the heroes items.

 

In my group, I do not agree. If the Heroes are left alone, they will run the OL into the ground. They OL has all the tools he needs to win or to keep the heroes from getting all the search tokens. I have to hand it to my heroes for how good they are. Without that, this game would be no fun. I hope they feel the same about me (except for the royal beating I can give them, like two nights ago). After the last two wins, I finally won one. It CAN be done! Don't cut yourself short! That is why we try to help each other here.

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This is a strange argument since there are (in a little research I've done) 50/50 arguments about what is unballanced in Descent 2nd Edition. 50% say that the OL is overpowered and 50% say that the Heroes are overpowered. In my experience it all depends of choice and the exploitation of the opponent's mistakes.

 

I play as OL and Hero and my victories and losses aren't due to lack of ballance. There are scenarios that are more forgiving to heroes and other to the OL but in general I find these scenarios as a part and not the whole. Homeostatis. The ballance created by the continuous small lack of ballances... (I don't know if this means anything in English - not my primary language).

 

To conclude - in an open game like Descent there will always be lack of ballance somehow. When a focal point (the heroes, the monsters, the cards, the scenarios) are made with so many traits, it's almost impossible to measure the mathematical ballance of it. So the ballance must be found in the whole and not in the parts. And I find it a very ballanced game.

 

And as we know, there is no ballance in real human conflicts. There is luck, creativity, brilliance, mistakes, correct commitment and sacrifice. The main difference here in the table top is that there is also fun. Unlike the real world.

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I've gotten to a point where I'm pretty good at being an Overlord, and I do feel that the game is slanted towards the heroes for many of the reasons that have been stated.  In some ways, this is just as unfortunate for the heroes as the Overlord.  In the LoR campaign where I am currently the OL, I have won 3/4 quests so far, and the heroes are starting to feel discouraged, especially since I've kept them from getting too many search tokens.  I'd like to take it easy on them once in a while or pull a punch or two, but I know that as soon as I do, they will get completely out of hand and there will be no challenge left for them, so I just beat them mercilessly every chance I get.

 

That said, here are some things I've learned:

  • A monster's role is, first and foremost, to buy time.
  • Always go after the hero that is easiest to kill, then play hero whack-a-mole.  It feels dirty, but it is absolutely necessary.
  • That said, do not over-value damage.  If you can't separate a hero from the pack, a KO is just a really inefficient stun effect.
  • Try to attack fatigue whenever you can.  It's usually easier to max out damage to fatigue than health, and a resting hero buys you as much time as a stunned hero.  Also, this will make fatigue moving more difficult, and fatigue moving is one of the best tools in a hero's arsenal.
  • Watch out for blast effects, including Leoric's heroic feat.  If heroes pack blast effects, you need to space out your figures when initially placing them.
  • Consider starting zone space when picking your monster group, especially if a hero can use blast effects.
  • Know the strengths and weaknesses of small monsters vs. large monsters.  Large monsters are better during reinforcements, but in general a group of small monsters will deal more damage and soak up more hero actions than even the beefiest large monster.
  • Keep in mind hero attributes.  Often, even experienced groups will assemble a party with a weakness in one attribute.  In one campaign I am involved in, the heroes have Dezra, Leoric, Avric, and Jain.  The combination does pack quite a punch, but suffers from having nobody in the group with Strength greater than 2, meaning Ettins, Hybrid Sentinels, and anything with poison can be deadly effective.
  • Try to complete your scenario objective as quickly as possible.  If you can successfully keep the pressure up, the heroes will neglect search tokens and opt out of secret rooms.
  • Try to use overlord cards that punish heroes for searching.  Poison Dart and Explosive Rune can be great at this.  If you've got the Basic II OL deck, Mimic is even better, allowing you to make the search token immediately attack an inquisitive scout and then run away.  If you can keep the token from dying that turn, on your turn you may be able to get the token to the other side of the map!

I hope this helps.

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  • Try to use overlord cards that punish heroes for searching.  Poison Dart and Explosive Rune can be great at this.  If you've got the Basic II OL deck, Mimic is even better, allowing you to make the search token immediately attack an inquisitive scout and then run away.  If you can keep the token from dying that turn, on your turn you may be able to get the token to the other side of the map!

I hope this helps.

 

Which Mimic card?

And where do I get it from? Is it in some add on?

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  • Try to use overlord cards that punish heroes for searching.  Poison Dart and Explosive Rune can be great at this.  If you've got the Basic II OL deck, Mimic is even better, allowing you to make the search token immediately attack an inquisitive scout and then run away.  If you can keep the token from dying that turn, on your turn you may be able to get the token to the other side of the map!

I hope this helps.

 

Which Mimic card?

And where do I get it from? Is it in some add on?

 

Basic II OL deck comes with the LoR expansion.

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Right lots of people think the overlord is overpowered and a near equal number think the PC's are overpowered, but all can agree that the overlord isn't as much fun.  I see that there are lots of people trying to make automated overlords ( like its Arkham Horror).  It takes almost half of a campaign just to get a single level 3 card.  There just isn't as much fun toys for the overlord to play with to make it fun.  They need toys.  Like some of the stuff from road to legend.  Upgrades to more than just the overlord deck.  Just more toys to customize the overlord more would make more people want to play as the overlord.  Avatar's, Scheme's, something more than just the OL deck and a pile of monsters.  

 

How about some tough boss fights?  The lieutenants are chumps, and get horribly beatdown after one or two attacks if they meet up with PC's with a few items on them.  

 

I own the games and my wife and various friends jump in and out of the games, so im really the only one able to play the overlord.  Nobody else wants to play it and i find myself jealous at all the toys the PCs get to play with and horribly butcher my monsters (which are barely speed bumps once the PC's get equipped, even act 2 monsters are all almost 1 hit killed).  While im trying desperately to win a mission that seems slightly skewed in my favor mostly because the players don't read the mission are haphazardly dispatching monsters AND succeeding in the mission they didn't read, while searching the pathetically easy secret room.  I wouldn't even mind losing if i had so many toys to choose from that i could blame it on myself.  I use the basic 2 deck and the punisher cards, but nothing scales with the Heroes items.   

Edited by gylvan2002

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I personally don't mind playing the OL.

There is a real tactical challenge to do one's best with what one has.

But I also like to play Italian armor in WW2 tactical wargames.

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I find the OL part very fun and very rewarding. I also take the role because I lose the best out of all our group. AND I don't think I would make a good hero. I have played the hero in two quests. Both times where ok, but it wasn't really what I like in a game. That might also be because I am just use to the role. Besides, the heroes are all long time friends and work really well together. I'm a bit new to the group.

 

The polls say the game is balanced. Equal amount of people say that one or the other is OP. It is so easy to get discouraged as one or the other gets steam rolled by the other every time. Hang in there. Read up on how people are trying to help you here. If one class of cards isn't getting the job done, look into another class. I never wanted to touch Warlord class, but I am working with it now due to the nature of the path my heroes ended up taking. My heroes are hating it even though they are winning more then they are losing.

 

Perspective and mindset. Gentleness and speed. Play dirty. Be the jerk. You have to be the great evil, the underhanded darkness, that the game is drawing you to be. Let the heroes hate the character you are and then have everyone laugh about it later. ^.~ it's good for everyone  IF everyone is level headed.

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I personally don't mind playing the OL.

There is a real tactical challenge to do one's best with what one has.

But I also like to play Italian armor in WW2 tactical wargames.

 

How well I understand you. ;)

There a fine poetry when you play the underdog. And an amazing poetry when you win with the underdog. And it builds character. And in the end you can still it the icecream like everybody else.

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@Gylvan2002:

 

To be frank I think that playing the OL it isn't for everybody. It's like GM'ing. Everybody can read the rules and know how to deploy a scene, but to be a good GM you must do more. And that "more" is not for everybody.

 

So once again, if you prefer the shinning toys and nobody wants to be de OL, play cooperatively, let the game play the OL.

Edited by Bayushiseni

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I understand what you guys are saying, but i am doing all the tricks that the overlord can pull (not that many).  I have all the monsters, and use all the combos you guys mention trying to win the mission, rather than beat down the heroes with the same results.  We have played through 3 full campaigns (2 shadow runes and one new one) with all of the expansions, the same thing happens every time.  The first 2-4 missions the overlord wins, then gets steamrolled and loses every single quest thereafter. The more items the heros get, the easier of a time they have.  The overlord has nothing to increase on a scale with the heroes items. We have started with someone else as the overlord, but we are having the same result but worse.  The overlord cannot win against well equipped heroes.  And once the heroes start to get some act 2 equipment, just forget it.  The minor buff the monsters get from Act 1 to act 2 is useless compared to the item increase.  The heroes can wipe 2 groups of monsters in as little as two turns.  Unless the mission is totally broken (like Heart of the wylds-The zombies make it up every time and the heroes have zero chance) the overlord can't deal with well equipped hero's.  

 

I have DM'ed or GM'ed or played Zargon for years.  I like to play as the hero AND the overlord.  But they arent balanced.  

Edited by gylvan2002

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In my mind, the heroes get too many benefits from too many different places.  Items, skills and heroic powers.  The Overlord deck can't compete with these.  And that's just the start of the problem.  The travel deck is just as bad.  I had a party that drew three cards from the search deck on the way to Fat Goblin.  They ended that mission, the first one, with 375 gold and some other item fished out of a treasure chest.  Compare that to the draws the OL might get to benefit him.  Everyone makes a skill check or takes a fatigue?

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The travel deck is just as bad.  I had a party that drew three cards from the search deck on the way to Fat Goblin.  They ended that mission, the first one, with 375 gold and some other item fished out of a treasure chest.  

That would be a rare occurence - in my games, heroes seem to miss the chest quite often and finish with 150-200 gp - if the OL let them have the time to search all tokens.

And Travel cards so often generate "no event" and/or effects that increase the OL's deck...

You should compare it with an OL whose traps all lead heroes to miss their ability tests.

 

Anecdotical situtaions don't have the same value as a global analysis of probabilities.

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Anecdotical situtaions don't have the same value as a global analysis of probabilities.

 

 

I guess I'll just try to, uhm, not draw that travel card in the future?

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In my mind, the heroes get too many benefits from too many different places.  Items, skills and heroic powers.  The Overlord deck can't compete with these.  And that's just the start of the problem.  The travel deck is just as bad.  I had a party that drew three cards from the search deck on the way to Fat Goblin.  They ended that mission, the first one, with 375 gold and some other item fished out of a treasure chest.  Compare that to the draws the OL might get to benefit him.  Everyone makes a skill check or takes a fatigue?

 

 

I understand what you guys are saying, but i am doing all the tricks that the overlord can pull (not that many).  I have all the monsters, and use all the combos you guys mention trying to win the mission, rather than beat down the heroes with the same results.  We have played through 3 full campaigns (2 shadow runes and one new one) with all of the expansions, the same thing happens every time.  The first 2-4 missions the overlord wins, then gets steamrolled and loses every single quest thereafter. The more items the heros get, the easier of a time they have.  The overlord has nothing to increase on a scale with the heroes items. We have started with someone else as the overlord, but we are having the same result but worse.  The overlord cannot win against well equipped heroes.  And once the heroes start to get some act 2 equipment, just forget it.  The minor buff the monsters get from Act 1 to act 2 is useless compared to the item increase.  The heroes can wipe 2 groups of monsters in as little as two turns.  Unless the mission is totally broken (like Heart of the wylds-The zombies make it up every time and the heroes have zero chance) the overlord can't deal with well equipped hero's.  

 

I have DM'ed or GM'ed or played Zargon for years.  I like to play as the hero AND the overlord.  But they arent balanced.  

 

That are exactly my points.

First of all, the OL is sooner or later getting steamrolled (and dont just say: why do you give them all the time to loot?) with their gadgets.

Secondly, the OL do NOT get any toys like the heroes do. The Overlord is just NOT advancing the way they do. Each hero advances quite nice, and there are up to four of them, while the OL ist getting ONE card (if he saved up a few Exp!).

 

And, just to make sure for everyone: I am also GMing, playing several tactical tabletops and board games, so guys, you can expect me, and my hero crew to play it the hard way not nice and soft or forgetting things.

 

P.S.: What heroes get for 200 Gold is enough to turn the favor, they do not need 375 gold, but of course it makes it only worse for the OL (With this much money, the OL will not be able to turn the tides again).

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Anecdotical situtaions don't have the same value as a global analysis of probabilities.

 

 

I guess I'll just try to, uhm, not draw that travel card in the future?

 

Tee hee.  :P

I was rather trying to express the fact that drawing general conclusions from a given, luck driven, event, has less weight than when one takes in account all the possibilities of the system.

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I agree that the OL has less choices and almost no shinning gifts. I would like to have an avatar during the campaign (almost like a hero), that I could rigg, as heroes can. Given that, I would like to say that having played two complete campaigns already I don't think that the game is broken either way. To summarize:

 

1) I can beat the crap out of heroes in almost any scenario;

2) The idea is winning the scenario, using everything at your disposal and I use it;

3) Sometimes I even have to go easy on heroes (see note below);

4) My fellow players are very good, and try to play the best of their abilities and when they win it's fair;

5) Not everybody is cut to be the OL. It's not the same as playing with the heroes;

6) There's luck included in the box, so sometimes luck bends the odds against you, but then again, sometimes it bends it on your favour.

 

I still can't see the problem here.

 

Note: I'm playing the game with my nephews: a girl of 11, two boys, 9 and 8. I'm playing with the OL with monsters for 2 heroes and OL cards for 3 heroes. So that they don't get very frustrated I sometimes don't unleash the real McCoy. And to maintain thing interesting for me, as I let them win almost every scenario, the monsters can sometimes steal equipment from them. ;) It's more GM-OL than just OL, but they have their fun. I'm waiting for them to get into the fourteens, when I will be able to kick them without any restrain.

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I can see there are two factions here. There is the group that feels the OL is under-payed. And then there are the people that have been able to make it work. Which indicates there are also two kinds of heroes. The super heroes and the equally matched/lesser heroes. In all of that, there are dice.

 

Those people that are having a hard time must have some fantastic heroes. They must have this game down to an art and roll really well. My hat is off to you guys. You have it hard. And if it is really that difficult for you, maybe some house rules need to be in play for your heroes, and maybe some buffs for you. Work it out. Make the game work for you. And if you are so unhappy/not having any fun, you might need to think of another game.

 

If played with equal wit on both sides, it can be a balanced game. I don't agree that 200 gold can tip the scales. I don't even think 300 can. Not in our game at lest. Experience has told me that if they REALLY want a good toy, in act one a weapon or armor will be 100-175, act two the weapon will be 200+. At least, one that is worth buying. Trinkets are a little less. My heroes recently bought Bow of Bones. It ate ALL of their gold and yet only one hero gets a buff, which also means that scout will be killing monsters instead of being on search token duty. I guess the next quest I choose will be one where they need to search allot to find a key or something. Why? Because now their mind isn't there.

 

So your heroes are greedy? Using sabitor or punisher class. Beat that greed right out of them. If you lose this campaign, they will at least fear your power. It only takes turning them into a monkey once to teach them.

 

Alright, so your heroes aren't so much greedy as they like to take your monsters and toss them to the ground. Hard. Use Warlord with a mix of Magus or Sabitor. Card advantage in both Warlord and Magus is amazing. It will let you draw enough cards to keep them fearing your hand. With all those cards and ALL of those blood rages, beat them right back. It's a beautiful thing. I have taken down a 16+ health hero with three hits using blood rage. I had to expend a monster, but that's ok. I got him back at the end of my turn anyways.

 

And for all you OL that say that getting level 3 quickly is imposable, I have news. I have won only one quest in act one (we have one more quest before the interlude) and I have two class one cards, a class two card, a sunstone (LoR exclusive) and thus have the ability to have a class 3 card by the interlude IF I win this next quest. It's unlikely I will win, but to have such an edge this early just proves it can be done. Even if I can't, having two class two cards in my deck for the interlude is going to mess them up.

 

My heroes are no pushovers. I would even say they are better then me. They are all old Magic players so they are no stranger to strategy. They are all playfully picking on my soon-to-be husband saying he should have never tought me Magic/chess/strategy to begin with. Haha. 

 

I strongly encourage those that are having a super hard time, give the campaign a rest. Play some epics and test monsters and class cards out. Find what you like best. I NEVER would have dreamed I like kobolds or deep elves as much as I do. Barghest are always a love (because what OL doesn't like undead puppies?). I no longer reach for my shadow dragons first anymore. They are still tier one monsters, but... kobolds!

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About OL class cards, am I right that you cannot build higher xp cost cards if they are not of the same class?

I mean, if the OL is on to develop along the "Warlord" class, it is not that easy to switch to "Punisher" or "Magus".

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About OL class cards, am I right that you cannot build higher xp cost cards if they are not of the same class?

I mean, if the OL is on to develop along the "Warlord" class, it is not that easy to switch to "Punisher" or "Magus".

 

You are correct.

 

Something I tired this go around is waiting two quests before I decided on what class I wanted to take. I ended up with warlord, seeing as the scout is played by a more aggressive person and the things he is choosing are more for attacking. He is becoming a faster, slightly weaker warrior with range.

 

You have to have two of the same class card to gain a class two of the same class. Then two class ones, one class two to gain a class three. All of these have to be the same class. One cannot have one punisher and one warlord to gain a warlord two card.

 

Sorry if what I said was confusing before. If you have played with the same people a number of times, then one should know how they will play. I hear allot of the heroes' riches getting them allot of toys. In my group I am so aggressive at the objective and trap laying for the search tokens that they would rather forfeit search tokens then see me get better cards. And I always bluff about what I have in my hand. I will pause them a moment, pretend to read a card in my hand, and then let them pass without playing anything. This makes them think I have cards in my hand that I don't. They will then avoid doing things and sometime stall out turn after turn to "be safe" while I grow my hand for encounter two, or later on in that encounter. It's dirty and underhanded but... Overlord. ^.~

 

Also, don't fear asking for slower play. I know my issue is that I am not quick witted. I often have to ask my heroes to slow down so I can read and reread my cards. I will also put like cards together. Such as "Play this card when a hero attacks a monster." I will then bring those cards to the front o my hand when it is their turn.

 

Things like that sounds stupid and maybe no brainers, but they are things I had to find over time and makes a world of difference.

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Thanks for confirming my understanding of the rules.
Taking some time to observe the heroes and determine the best road of progress to take is very important - as the OL is globally stuck with a given class once he has taken its road (not absolutely, but the possibility to change the road of progress is limited).

When playing a campaign, one must learn to develop a strategy which sees further than one given quest.

Descent is much deeper in its tactical and strategical dimensions than one would believe.

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Well, they got me.  I finally had enough and asked to be replaced as overlord by one of the players.  I tried all of the advice here, used the new cards and monsters, and really went all out with every trick I could pile up.  I even managed to win the first part of the Frozen Spire, for my first encounter win against this group ever.

 

In part 2 I got wrecked.  Any encounter that is not time sensitive is a joke.  They killed all my monsters, positioned for my monsters to spawn, and waited.  They knew they would slaughter my goblins before they could get past, and with no time pressure, and no competing objective (since I cannot open the prison door on my own), There was nothing I could do.  I managed to drop two of them in one turn by double frenzy and double blood rage, but I couldn't get my goblins there in time to actually open the door.  One big move later, all my goblins were dead and all the heroes were on their feet again.  They leisurely grabbed all the treasure and beat down the prisoner and walked out, without it ever being close.

 

Next we did the dawn blade.  I put one Shadow Dragon at each end of the hallway, hoping the combo of tanking monsters they couldn't walk past, and some space between would buy me some time.  They killed both Shadow Dragons first turn, then I respawned one and reblocked, and they killed that and my first ettin turn 2.  There damage output is so ridiculous, and all of them roll at least 2 gray for defense, so I cannot hurt them.  My only hope is to use traps on the Dwarf guy, but he just rests and removes them.  They blitzed through, wiped out my monsters, and leisurely picked up all the treasure while I threw everything I had at them.  Barely made them break a sweat.

 

And that was all I could take.

 

The new overlord starts next week, and I will be out of this game for the rest of this campaign, possibly joining as a player next time, and possibly just ebaying the whole game off, as I can barely even look at it without feelings of rage at how not fun it was to be the overlord.  I hate quitting at anything, but it was either quit, or take the game out back and burn it.  Never in my life has a game experience been so miserable and degrading as to make me angry.  I have GM/DM'd tons of games, been crushed in plenty of board games, and even gotten tossed around in similar games, but none of them had the obvious competitive disadvantage of the OL in this one.  My players are good, very, very good, and that means I don't have a chance.  Short of extreme swings in dice rolls, I doubt an OL exists that could beat them at this point in time.

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