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View Full Version : Road trippin' to legend, descendin' into the dark (Descent)


Stiv
09-08-2010, 02:11 PM
Hey, look, board games! I wonder if anyone else here plays Descent - I've been involved in a campaign (Seas of Blood) for a couple weeks now where I'm playing overlord for the first time, and it's been a real bitch for me, so I was wondering about getting some advice. My adversaries have absolutely brutal amounts of speed, low point values, and a breath attack, which is making it difficult for me to place monsters effectively (and upgrade them and my deck) and especially use my boss monsters - so far the only one that's gotten a single kill was a master naga from the ice expansion which had 36 extra wounds at copper. In fact, the only time I got a kill in the last two dungeons was from, of all things, a fucking kobold (who killed TWO heroes).

Anyway, talk about your thrilling Descent experiences.

Red Hedgehog
09-08-2010, 02:26 PM
I have played Descent once and had a good bit of fun. It reminded me of my Heroquest days and I'm pretty sure that's still in my parents' attic.

Sorry, don't have much more to contribute.

Matchstick
09-08-2010, 03:44 PM
I've played Descent a number of times, but it's probably been over two years since the last time I did. It's a fun dungeon crawler, and I'd love to have some folks I could play it with more often.

Sarcasmorator
09-08-2010, 03:50 PM
I've considered getting Descent, but I think I'd have to try it first before investing I know it's based somewhat off Doom: TBG, and I haven't gotten that one to the table. I have Runewars, Runebound and Dungeonquest, though the Terrinoth games are really starting to broaden their scope.

teekun
09-08-2010, 07:33 PM
I have played Descent once and had a good bit of fun. It reminded me of my Heroquest days and I'm pretty sure that's still in my parents' attic.


I've never played Descent, but everything I see about it reminds me of the same. I played a TON of Heroquest and Advanced Heroquest as a kid, and I'm certain my copies of both are still stored away somewhere in my parents basement.

widdershins
09-08-2010, 09:24 PM
I have played Descent once and had a good bit of fun. It reminded me of my Heroquest days and I'm pretty sure that's still in my parents' attic.

Yeah, I took a look at Descent in the local comic shop the other day and it struck me as the missing link between HQ and D&D that Dragon Strike tried to be ages ago.*

*I am aware that DS may predate HQ, but I'm not looking it up. So there.

Traumadore
09-09-2010, 10:58 AM
I think HQ predates Dragon Strike. DS was made largely with the assets (art and models) that also came with the AD&D starter box circa...1993? Anyway, Descent is a grown up, fleshed out version of it, even though it doesn't have 3D furniture.

I've played plenty of Descent, and it's definitely rough playing as the overlord. If you're going to shut down the heroes you usually have to do it in the first half of your dungeon. I've had exactly one game that wasn't a landslide one way or the other where the heroes lost their last life while fighting the final boss who had 2 wounds left.

Advice for the overlord?
-Never forget to draw cards and gain threat. Never forget to gain a threat when you roll 2 Surges. It may seem like an inconvenience, but take the time to customize your deck before the game. The cards you shed are just as important as the ones you gain. Get rid of weak spawns that have no masters.

-Don't spend your threat spawning each and every turn. It seems like a wasted opportunity at first, but having reinforcements arrive exactly when you need them is much more effective. Wait until the unlock a new door, or if you can synergise with an attack card in your hand. It will also allow you to play more powerul cards when you need to, since you aren't putting out weak monsters every time you get the chance.

-Traps seem expensive and limited at first, but they can be deadly since you have the most control over who they target and when. Players can't interject to protect each other from traps. Spawn Master Kobolds in the farthest corners of the map, where players would have to take many turns to detour and kill them. Theres a card that spawns two masters and two normals.

-Powers, early on almost any power will tip things heavily in your favor. If the heroes have discovered half or more of the map already, you might just want to cash them in since their cumulative effect is much lower. You'll have to judge if it's still worth it based on your situation. The one that adds an extra power dice to all your attacks is always good.

I've never played a campaign before, I didn't bother getting those boxes. It would be a lot more difficult with the players having all their weapons and items at the start of each dungeon. I don't know if you have some choice of scenario or if it's all randomly generated, but levels with time limits might tip things in your favor too.

ThornGhost
09-13-2010, 07:05 AM
I played this for the first time this weekend, and wow, I certainly seemed to have a different experience with the difficulty levels.

It was hard. Really hard. In fact, I almost imagine that the dude playing Overlord was doing something wrong.

We played the first mission in the basic game: a party of four players well experienced at table top gaming. We won, but so so barely. It was literally the last roll possible that killed the boss monster. If that had missed, the Overlord would have exhausted the last cards in his deck (he had some power that let him discard two extra cards per turn) and that would have taken our last conquest points and we would have lost.

As far as I can tell, we played a nigh perfect game maybe making one or two sub-optimal weapon choices for a turn or something the only tactical mistake. Depending on the dice I could have seen a loss easily. Do you think we were doing something wrong?

Traumadore
09-13-2010, 09:59 AM
Not necessarily. Close games are possible. It just seems more likely that the players coast to victory with a few setbacks, or they faceplant before getting to the second treasure chest. The treasures you find has a lot to do with your success, as do the powers the overlord can put out.

For instance usually the only way the overlord can deck the players is if he gets the power that allows extra draws early on. It sounds like you had a good game altogether.

Stiv
09-13-2010, 12:09 PM
I've never played a campaign before, I didn't bother getting those boxes. It would be a lot more difficult with the players having all their weapons and items at the start of each dungeon. I don't know if you have some choice of scenario or if it's all randomly generated, but levels with time limits might tip things in your favor too.

Your advice is the pretty basic stuff that I've been doing, except for the master kobolds thing: In campaign, the heroes only have to kill a boss monster to unlock the door to the exit. They can safely ignore almost everything I throw at them that comes from a bad place in the map. Worse, they have Boggs the Rat, which I don't know if he exists in the base game, but he's a familiar that does exactly one thing: Provide line of sight to keep me from spawning. There have been situations where there is literally no place in the dungeon that I can spawn.

Bosses in Seas of Blood scale with the campaign level (copper, silver, gold, which determine which treasures the heroes are eligible for and what levels my monsters are at) but for the most part they're going to be pushovers.

Traumadore
09-13-2010, 12:43 PM
Yeah, I never got the campaign boxes because I'd rather play D&D. I can understand how the smaller dungeon floors would limit your options. Sounds like you just have to get lucky, which is pretty stupid. The overlord has a fair shot at beating the heroes in the normal scenarios, and I could see how that wouldn't work if you were doing a campiagn. I don't really know what they expect of the Overlord player then. Talk with the players about making house rules that make things more fun? Assuming they're getting bored of all the cake-walking.

Stiv
09-13-2010, 01:23 PM
Talk with the players about making house rules that make things more fun? Assuming they're getting bored of all the cake-walking.

There was actually a very favorable house rule change in how fatigue potions work (at the expense of one fatigue, they're now an uninterruptible rest action) but unfavorable (for me) change for health potions (restore 50% of your health, but no auto-revive). The later rule has been making it IMPOSSIBLE for me to get kills, but I have a campaign plot card I get to play soon that prevents the heroes from buying any more potions, ever. Unless I update my trap deck to include Crushing Blow first. Which is much more important.

Small dungeons are also brutal with the flame template. It makes me wish hellhounds didn't suck so bad.

Traumadore
09-14-2010, 01:14 PM
Small dungeons are also brutal with the flame template. It makes me wish hellhounds didn't suck so bad.

Most of the monsters with cool abilities are made out of wet cardboard. The ones that have a chance at surviving a blow are usually pretty boring, yeah.

Traumadore
10-13-2010, 02:31 PM
Played a game last week that turned out really fun. It was a scenario that had us looking for a jewel (which turned out to be non-existant) in the hoard of a manticore. The heroes were barely grabbing enough conquest to stay afloat for most of the game because we didn't find any armors in our treasures until the final one we opened. We trashed Clubtail the manticore while leaving the rest of his room full of huge monsters alone, but it took some thinking. Our melee bruiser (Karnok? The yeti.) was webbed by a master spider right after we opened the door, so he wouldn't be able to reach the boss. Luckily our wizard had the telekenesis power which allowed him to push the boss next to him. Karnok had a feat that allowed him to choose which side every dice landed on except the red one. He hit, and did 32-ish damage. We won!

My character was Ispher, who pretty much just ended up protecting the other two since I had a good shield, decent armor and could regenerate. I did a little close range killing with the one handed throwing weapons that I recieved steady upgrades for. I only died once and regenerated over 12 health throughout the game. Probably the first time I've used him where I wasn't the weak link in the party.