Cedric Chong
Singapore
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I. My story

1980s

I was six or seven years old. My elder brother brought home several colorful boxes. There were books in those boxes and he was reading them day and night.

One day, my brother asked if I wanted to play RPG.

"What's RPG?"

"It's role-playing game. Its fun."

"Okay. What do I do?"

"See these boxes? You start off as a young hero on adventures. You become more powerful. And eventually", pointing to the gold box, "you become immortal."

"Okay!"



I have no recollection of my first character. For most of the creation was really done by my elder brother. We had our first adventures on an old almost-discarded piece of furniture. He would be reading out the back story, but come on. I was like six or seven. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. We came to our first encounter. This one I remember vividly. The goblins asked me.

"What are you doing out here young adventurer?"

"..." I stared at my brother blankly. I don't know.

"I mean what do you want to do? What's your goal?"

What's my goal? That's easy. "I want to be Immortal!" I exclaimed.

My brother slapped his forehead in frustration. And proceeded to tell me what was my hero's quest objective. Apparently, I was supposed to save some poor townfolks from the goblins, or something.

So began my journey into the world of RPG.

The sessions with my brother ended quickly. He probably realized all he was doing was just playing the game solo on his own.

Years on, I would open up the five boxes and create numerous heroes. Okay, mainly the first two boxes. The basic and the expert set. I would create heroes on character sheets. Heroes after heroes. But never really got the chance to play a game.

And my brother kept buying back more and more fun boxes!



I created many heroes from the Marvel and DC sets. But what's this? You can have magic and powers together? Wow. I started looking at GURPS and Shadowrun.

So the first years of my endeavors into RPG had simply been creating character sheets. Fantasizing on their powers. Drawing cool vehicles they would be using (aka Marvel, sort of like Fantastic Four's). But I never really had much experience sitting down and actually playing through a game. I didn't have anyone to play with!

I was basically playing RPG solo. In my head.

1990s

I was thirteen years old when I entered into the local secondary school. One day, a couple of my class mates mentioned "RPG". Wow. You guys know about RPG?



I was excited. The three of us got together and played my first official RPG game. Dragon Warriors. A few days every week, we would stay back after school and play these games. I was naturally selected as the game master, simply because I got the books (yeah, they were actually my brother's). I would create very simple scenarios. Usually involved saving people. Very linear. And 100% of the time, every room you walk into, the heroes should kill everything that moves.

It was fun!

Because we game in school compound, we quickly attracted attention of other kids. What's this thing you guys are doing? The dice are cool! We became the cool kids. Everyone wanted to join our game.

Soon we heard of some other kids from another class. They were saying there's this other game that is even better. Curiously, the three of us went over and looked. This was what we saw:



Holy shit! Dungeons & Dragons! I know this game. What? There's an "Advanced" version? 2nd Edition already?! Wow, I need to get this!

My group was determined not to be looked down upon. We went to the FLGS. We saved what pocket money we had and bought the books. I bought the Player's handbook and the Dungeon Master guide. The other friends bought the campaign settings. We had Forgotten Realm, Dark Sun, and I think Dragonlance. AD&D 2E was officially the first RPG I own.



So we threw aside Dragon Warriors, for the more "Advanced" RPG. It's for more serious gamers you know. Hardcore stuffs. AD&D became the "in" thing. And the other kids all wanted to join us. We ran several groups in parallel.

One day, the kids from the other class came around and said.

"Oh you guys still doing AD&D? That's so old-fashion."

"What? What you you talking about? This is fun."

"Fun for you, sure. But I guess you guys are not ready for the advanced stuffs."

"What are you talking about?!"



Apparently, there was this new movement in the world of RPG. It's call Vampire: The Masquerade, and Werewolf: The Apocalypse. The Storyteller system. It's supposed to be even cooler. Real role-playing. AD&D is for kids.

Dammit!

We went to the FLGS. Bought us a copy of each game. Looked at it. Oh its so simple. You just shade those circles. Hmmm.

We would have gone into these games. Perhaps. But we didn't. Because this happened:



It's not just the geeky kids playing monsters and rolling dice anymore. Suddenly, the entire school was playing Magic: The Gathering. Not just our school. Every kid in the country was playing Magic. All my allowance and savings went into this stupid game. Noone talked about the good old RPG games anymore. Very soon, those adventures were just recent memories.

Magic killed RPG.

2000s

O Levels and the A Levels came and went. I lost touch with old friends. Magic became too expensive. Then, I was enlisted into the Army. The next three and a half years was pretty monotonous. I was either in-camp. Or I was out partying with my buddies, getting drunk. After I passed out from the Army, I was enrolled into University.

One day, my brother called me.

"Hey, you want to play MMORPG? It's fun."

"What's MMORPG?"

"Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game"

"WTF is that?"

"Come, I'll show you."



For the next few years. We were buried deep in EverQuest. It was some of the most screwed up time of my life. We were doing raids with the Americans. But we were living in Singapore. So we grind the entire day. Go to bed. Set our alarm clock for 3am. Just so to wake up to do the raids with the American players. But it was fun! Now we're playing RPG. Only we're playing with the entire world.

I tried to get my buddies to join in.

"It's RPG. It's fun!"

"WTF is RPG?"

"Come I'll show you."

"You mean I have to pay 10 bucks a month for this?! No way!"

"..."

Okay. So it didn't work with my buddies.

My brother and I moved on from EverQuest to Final Fantasy XI. Same shit. Just that instead of doing raids with the Americans. We were doing raids with the Japanese. Good that our time zone is closer. About this time, this famous little company call Blizzard announced that they were going into MMO as well. A couple of our online friends switched over. Traitors! We doubted they would play long. Eventually they would come back to FFXI. What a stupid name. World of Warcraft.

I graduated from University and had to start looking for a job. So MMO was not working out for me anymore. I needed to arrive at work in the morning looking like I was there to... work.

So I stopped MMO.

I tried a couple of D&D meetups. By then, it was D&D 3.5.



We were playing the Eberron setting. Good old-fashion fun. But the meetups were in-frequent. Like once a month. It was too long to wait! Eventually people moved out of town. And the sessions ended.

I tried to get my buddies interested.

"What's this?"

"It's pen and paper RPG. It's fun."

"RPG again? WTF?"

"..."

A couple years later, I was shopping by the FLGS. I popped in to check out on the old RPGs. And I saw this game box. Settlers of Catan. Hmmm.



I went online and found this weird little website, called the boardgamegeek. Wow. Apparently Settlers of Catan was highly regarded. So I went back to the FLGS. Bought Settlers of Catan.

The most surreal thing happened the next weekend with my buddies. After our regular session of too much drinks, cigarettes, and poker. I took out Settlers.

"Hey guys, check this out. Its an awesome game."

"WTF is this? Monopoly?"

"Yes, it's like Monopoly. Only better!"

"I hate Monopoly."

"Yes, Monopoly sucks. But trust me, this is fun. Please try once?"

Okay, so my buddies gave me the benefit of doubt. I explained the rules, and they were almost falling asleep. But once we started the game, everyone got interested. We were having a great time!

I'll tell you what's surreal about this. It was 11pm when I brought out Settlers of Catan. We had 7 guys. Settlers of Catan plays with 4. All of us stayed to play Settlers of Catan until 6am in the morning. We would rotate out players. 4 would play, while the other 3 watched. It was crazy. My deck of cards were stained brown. Either from cigarettes. Or potato chips. But I didn't care.

I finally got my buddies to join me in a game. And they loved it!

I went on a shopping rampage. I'd logon to boardgamegeek to research games. And convinced my buddies to play half of my games. I managed to introduce my buddies, their partners, wives and kids (yes!) to boardgames. We met almost on a weekly basis. And on occasions when my buddies could not catch up, I'd attend my local boardgames meetup. It was a very sociable and fun period of my life.

Games My Non-Gamer Friends Love and Hate

One day, I was at the FLGS and saw this giant box. It was fantasy. There was a dragon on the box. It was like RPG. I went home and checked out BGG. Went back the next day and bought the game.



Descent. It was basically RPG in a box. Perhaps. After all these years. I could finally con convince my buddies into playing RPG with me?

I saw success at hand. Why not?

1. They already showed me they like boardgames.
2. With boardgames, unlike pen and paper RPG, there is no need for the players to invest time to read up and create heroes before hand.

Well. It was RPG alright. There were heroes, monsters and magic. But some thing didn't feel right.

It took an awfully long time to set up the game. "Why don't we just play Settlers?"

It took an awfully long time to explain the rules to them. "Why don't we just play Settlers?"

It was simply awful. "Why don't we just play Settlers?"

The worst part was, the gameplay wasn't really what I had expected. As Overlord, I would start out too powerful. But by the time they got to the silver/gold treasure, they became so over-powered it was a joke.

Game was long. And fun was none. After a couple plays, I sold the game. Perhaps RPG with my buddies was not meant to be.

Life goes on.

A couple years later, I picked up dancing. And joined a dance team. Because of the commitments required during the weekends, I stopped catching up with my buddies. I stopped gaming.

All my available time was committed to the dance team. We would train for performances. Travel regionally. Go for congresses.

Then I met my wife.

2010s

We got married in November 2011.

I left my dance team. And I was suddenly free again. I had weekends!

I logged back into boardgamegeek. What? Puerto Rico is no longer #1???Look at all these new games!

I went on a shopping rampage. I got back into gaming.

Called my buddies. These guys had not played boardgames in years. Life sort of moved on for everyone. But just one call, they came back. Okay. Something simple. We tried Dixit, The Resistance, and King of Tokyo. We had a blast!

Somewhere in the middle of 2012, FFG released this game:



Whoa. Descent had a reboot? Scary memories of the old game still haunt me. But all the reviews had been stellar. The fantasy and RPG junkie in me could not help myself. I bought it. And it sat in the shelf for one year.

July 2013

I called my buddies over.

"Hey, you guys wanna try this game? It's Descent 2.0. You remember Descent? You played version 1 before."

"What? Did we?"

"Yes, remember you were over-powered and used to laugh at my weak monster boss?"

"Are you sure we played this before? I cannot remember?"

".... nevermind."

So I took out this game, and proceeded to explain the rules.

"Wow. All these classes are cool."

My buddies love this game. I love this game. We had the most fun we had in years. I had the most fun I had in years.

It's like RPG. Only this time, I'm playing with my buddies, we are using cooler miniatures, way cooler terrain tiles. We are having so much fun without the time commitment of a pen and paper RPG. And it's not just hack and slash, kill everything in sight. This time, every quest has a story! And interesting objectives! This is probably as close to getting my buddies to play RPG with me as it gets.

"As you are traveling toward Arhynn, you came across the still-smoldering remains of a traveling caravan....

You must... stop... him!!!!"


Twenty years, it almost feel like I'm a Dungeon Master again.

Descent 2.0. It's RPG in a box. It's awesome!

--------------------------------------------

II. How to play Descent 2.0

I taught Descent 2.0 to different people on several occasions. I have to balance on teaching enough to allow the players to make informed choices. Yet, not "over-teach" to the point of creating confusion or worse, making new players lose interest.

Every review some how includes a section on how the game plays. A few days ago, I created this guide for Descent 2.0 based on how I would teach this game. This guide was meant as an aid for new players to quickly get into the first game of Descent, with the help of at least 1 experienced player as the Overlord.

With my wife out of town, I had to look after my six month old son. You should tell how passionate I am about Descent 2.0 to squeeze time in between screaming baby and soiled diapers to make this.

Not to copy everything again, please kindly check out my guide:

Heroes Quickstart Guide to Descent 2.0 (comic-style)





--------------------------------------------

III. My thoughts on my #1 game


#1


Descent
1 Exploding with theme!
2 Plays well from 2 to 5!
3 Amazing quest design
4 Highly strategic
5 Flexible game duration
6 Tactical skirmish fun!




Layer 1 - Meta game characteristics

Plays well with 2, 3, 4, 5!
The only other game that scales so well in recent memory is Lords of Waterdeep. Descent 2.0 scales very well. In fact, you can easily drop or add players in between quests.

Flexible game duration
This is a big one that sets Descent 2.0 apart from many good games. Games like Earth Reborn and Mage Knight Board Game. Only have 1 hour? Sure, it works. You have half a day? Even better! With the campaign record sheets, you can record down your progress and continue again another day, right where you left off. RPG-style!

Just the right weight
Descent 2.0 happens to fall right into the ballpark of a medium weight game. It's light enough to get casual gamers or non-gamers into it. Yet heavy enough to get the casual gamers or hardcore gamers interested and engaged.

Super thematic
It's almost like fast-food D&D. It's high-fantasy with all the classic archtypes. The characters, classes, and quests are extremely well-designed.

Some of the best cooperation experience
Some coop and one-versus-all games I'd played includes Pandemic, Defenders of the Realm, Forbidden Island, Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game, Space Alert, Flash Point: Fire Rescue, Super Dungeon Explore, Fury of Dracula (Second Edition). Out of all these games, I surprisingly found Descent 2.0 brought the best coop experience to the table. Almost every game of Descent 2.0, I've witnessed heroes working closely together. They would discuss, plan, and strategize their moves every round. Yet, there isn't any problem of the "alpha-player". And the game makes all the heroes stick together to leverage off each other's powers.



Layer 2 - The Core Game

Superb components
No let down from FFG. They are the ones that give us Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game after all. The components of Descent 2.0 are great.

Very good rulebook
I know there are people complaining about FFG rulebooks. But having read some retardedly terrible rulebooks, I've learnt to appreciate things like index, examples, and updated FAQs.

High replayability
We are looking at multiple ways of mixing the heroes and classes. We are looking at different quests routes with each campaign. Even for the Overlord, there are lots of customization. So many options for Overlord deck. So many valid choices for open groups.

And expansions! I believe FFG will continue to support this line.

The Diablo syndrome
At the basic level, the fun parts of Diablo include exploring your character's skill tree, collecting cool equipments, and killing stuffs. Guess what? All 3 things are here in Descent 2.0!

There is much joy at the end of the game, when you lean back and look at how you hero has grown. Look at the skills you've chosen. Look at the cool equipments you've collected over Act 1 and Act II. Oh, look at those relics! Man, I want to start another game to kill stuffs with these!

Very good tactical skirmish system
The base tactical skirmish rules of Descent 2.0 is solid. I'd even say I love it's Line-Of-Sight rules. Out of all the move-minis-on-square-grid games I've played, I love this the most. Yes, I very much prefer the LOS rules of Descent 2.0 to the center-to-center LOS. The other rules are empowering to players rather than restrictive. At the end of the day, the rules are tight, solid, and they work.



Layer 3 - What sets this apart as the #1 game

Highly strategic
Just the base mechanics of Descent would make it an okay game. What sets Descent 2.0 apart for me and my buddies are the quest system. It moves Descent 2.0 from a simple hack and slash to something deeper.

There are "resource" management. Your action is a resource. You're often playing an efficiency game trying to maximize the number of actions every round. Game rounds is also a resource, for the Overlord! Each round you delay is another card into the Overlord's hand.

Interesting decision-making
Again, this is on two level. At the basic level, the core mechanics of Descent makes it a good tactical skirmish game.

But add the quest system, and you have another layer of considerations. Because Encounter 1 affects Encounter 2, Heroes and Overlord both have vexing decisions to make. It's high risks and rewards.

Perfect cocktail of everything
I think Descent 2.0 manages to blend everything I look for in a boardgame together almost perfectly.



Comparing Descent 2.0 with some-what similar games I've played

Super Dungeon Explore
Very cute minis.
Even more streamlined rules.
Terrible rulebook.
No campaign system.
Simply kill everything to win.
Awkward players scalability. Plays well with 2, 3, 4. Okay with 6. Bad for 5.
Long down time for heroes.

Earth Reborn
Very good tactical skirmish game. XCOM-style.
Fiddly setup (the map tiles!).
Loooong rules. Yes, I think there are much more rules than Descent 2.0.
Only 12 minis.
No expansions.
2 players only.

Claustrophobia
Fun dungeon-crawl in 1 hour.
Streamlined rules with nice asymmetric design.
2 players only.
Not much customization options for heroes.

Mage Knight Board Game
I'll never be able to play this with another human being.

Talisman (Revised 4th Edition)
Leave-your-brain-at-the-door fun.
Random.
Unbalanced.
Not much decision-making.

Dungeon Command
Very good tactical skirmish game with no dice (!!).
Basically Magic + D&D Minis.
"Deck-building" Magic-style.
Tactical fun.
"Deck-building" Magic-style.
2 players only.


Comparing Descent 2.0 with my experience of Descent 1.0
Descent 1.0:
Long setup time.
Unnecessarily fiddly.
Long down time between turns.
Mindlessly repetitive.
Incredibly imbalanced (!!!).
Tedious, boring, monotonous.
Long take down time.
"Too much time packed in little fun"
Might as well play D&D.

Descent 2.0:
Much shorter setup time.
Stream-lined rules.
Very little downtime.
Not repetitive due to excellent Quest design.
More balanced.
Opportunity to plan and strategize.
In-game timer due to quest and mechanics forces short high-intensity games.
Still retain RPG elements in between encounters. Isn't it the same as D&D? You level up after encounters?
Fat juicy theme!
Flexible game duration.


Comparing Descent 2.0 with Euro
I recently had a chance to play Descent back to back with another Euro. Because they were played back to back, I can't help but notice there's some startling difference.

Unnamed Euro
Multi-player solitaire.
I wasn't paying much attention to what other players were doing. I was too busy planning what I need to do!
Very low interactivity.
No rowdy fun. It's more like chess-type of fun.

Descent 2.0
The whole table was engaged with what everyone else was doing.
Highly interactive.
Rowdy and fun!

While both games are fun, I'd choose highly interactive, rowdy fun over chess-like brain-burn any day.





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IV. Final words

Fun
At the end of the day, Descent 2.0 is fun. Addictively fun.

I tried to comprehend exactly what makes Descent 2.0 such a great experience for me. The feeble attempt resulted in a giant wall of text. And I still feel that my language capabilities fail me. I need a poet to transcribe my emotions and thoughts into words, how much fun Descent 2.0 had been.

Descent 2.0 brings me back to my memories of D&D. Memories of myself, as a teenager, sitting around the bench in school back in the 1990s. Only now I'm gaming with a bunch of guys in our mid-thirties, with bulging bellies, and receding hairlines. But it brings out the inner child in us.

The high fantasy of Descent 2.0 is nostalgic, yet its contemporary design brings a breathe of fresh air. After every game session of Descent 2.0, I can't help but feel more and more impressed with the game.

My #1 game. Descent 2.0.

I love it!
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Kevin Streicher
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Thank you for your review, it seems like i will someday have to buy it.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Ah, the Basic D&D boxes. I had those, then graduated to MERP/Rolemaster and also dabbled in Champions/HERO as well as Star Wars D6. Those were the days, making adventures during chemistry class and playing them after school.

Nice review, love the visuals, as a side note, Earth Reborn is 2 to 4 players (it plays fantastically well with up to 4). Glad you're able to find enjoyment with Descent. Fortunately, FFG is cranking out expansions, so there will be a lot of replayability for you (my group feels it's even more fiddly and less satisfying than 1st Ed, and half the group doesn't even like 1st Ed).

-shnar
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Neil J.
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Neat review, Cedric. Lots of memorable titles from the 80's and 90's. For some reason I will never part with my old D&D stuff myself, though I agree as a whole it has no comparison to the experiences of Descent.

Thanks for sharing your RPG journeys.
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Destrio Dai
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Unique and exceptional review. I am having a hard time gathering a full 4 vs 1 for this game but once I do I anticipate great times. Maybe picking up dancing and finding a spouse will add another player! haha!
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Ryan Stripling
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My own route to Descent 2e was first via Heroquest, then meandered through AD&D 2nd Edition, on to (finally) Settlers and some other Euros, before I made a similar path from Descent 1.0 one-offs to Road to Legend to no one having the time commitment for a 200 hour campaign to finally Descent 2e.

And my final thoughts echo yours as well. I love this game, for the nostalgia, for the raucous fun, for the tactical and strategic awesomeness!

Great review!

-ryanjamal
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Larry L
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Great write up. Brings back memories.

Descent 2.0 is definitely on my short list!
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Charis
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Amazing review man, the second best on the Geek!
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trevor

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Fantastic review! We played alot of Descent 1 but I agree with all your points, my group likes 2 much much better, it's just a better designed game, with more depth (and don't confuse fiddliness with depth) and tells better stories (descent 1 utilized the exact same tactical experience every time, no matter what quest you played)
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ShepparCon was a Blast!
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Thank You to all those that attended BorderCon this year and made it special again!!!
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Great write-up Cedric - thanks for taking the time and sharing your passion and worthwhile insights in relation to other titles.
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Contrarily to seemingly most BGG, I'm trying to find motives to prune my collection.
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maxixe wrote:

Descent 1.0:
Incredibly imbalanced (!!!).

Descent 2.0:
More balanced.

More balanced than "incredibly imbalanced" could mean about anything. Care to elaborate?
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Adam Sadler
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Thanks for the in-depth review. It was a very good read. I'm glad you are enjoying the game so much!
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Nick Freeman
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Very engaging review! I love the "timeline style" representation of your introduction to RPGs. I have never had a chance to try a full pen-and-paper style myself, but I'm glad you have had so much fun over the years.

As for Descent, I have not had the same experience as you. I loved the first edition, but only as the full-blown campaign game that Road to Legend provided us. A few things aside (incredibly long overall playtime, monster spawning rules occasionally frustrating us), it is one of my favorite games.

Descent 2.0, on the other hand, I did not enjoy nearly as much. Once we got about 3/4 of the way through the game, the Overlord was getting absolutely thrashed every mission. In fact, the only session the Overlord won in the entire campaign was one where he had to exploit a badly written rule/card combination. We gave up on it after that.

Suffice to say, I have not had as good of an experience as you have. The game just does not seem even remotely balanced to me, but I understand that my experience might not be the norm. It just isn't worth the risk to start an entirely new campaign. I hope you get much more joy and fun experiences with the game than I have. Keep up the good work!
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Cedric Chong
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Sorenthion wrote:
Thanks for the in-depth review. It was a very good read. I'm glad you are enjoying the game so much!

Adam! You are my hero! *bow*
 
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Cedric Chong
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Nicolas Weiss wrote:
maxixe wrote:

Descent 1.0:
Incredibly imbalanced (!!!).

Descent 2.0:
More balanced.

More balanced than "incredibly imbalanced" could mean about anything. Care to elaborate?

Well.. disclaimer that this is my experience yah? Here goes:

In D1, the OL starts off much stronger than the heroes. But once the heroes get silver chests, the game goes haywire. Once the heroes get gold chests, there is really nothing the OL can do. But the game still drags on and on.. I had a few incidents where my buddies were laughing their ass off, sniping my "boss" from far away, and there was absolutely nothing I could have done.

I suspect the problem is D1 attempts to "level" up the heroes in-game. While D2 separates the "level ups" after the quests. I might be wrong.

On the other hand, in D2.. I had many instances where we replay the exact same encounter back to back, and had dramatically different results.

One example of quest balance. Death on the Wing. The first time we played encounter 1, the heroes were trapped in the canyon for a really long time. Probably 90 minutes or even longer. Eventually I had a hand of 13 OL cards. And all heroes were wounded.

On a second replay, 2 subtle things happened. One, the heroes ignore the search tokens completely. Running straight for the canyon. Two, I made a tiny (really tiny) mistake of moving my master cave spider off by one space. The result? Heroes won in 3-4 rounds. The game was over in less than 15 minutes. (Well, Jain used her heroic feat early as well)

Do you understand what this sort of thing do to our minds? We were almost convinced earlier that encounter 1 was tough for heroes. But our "reality" shattered almost immediately the following game.

Yet, we believe that encounter was deliberately tough for heroes. Why? Because unless you're playing with 4 heroes, if heroes won encounter 1, they will kill Belthir on their first turn in encounter 2.

So far we don't see any quests that are overtly broken.

As for the strengths of heroes and OL.. we see that they are balanced across 3 quests. Generally first quests of an act (act 1 or act 2) will have the monsters slightly more powerful. By the time we reach the third quest of the act, the heroes will be slightly more powerful. Still, we saw varying results and didn't notice anything, anyone, or any combos particularly broken.

One last point. Yesterday we had a session. There is the hero, Reynhart the Worthy. He was armed so well with skills and items that most of the campaign I left him alone. He rolls 3 defense dice, can reroll the results once a turn, has 14 health, and simply could not miss any attacks. Everyone thought he was over-powered. The heroes make him carry an important objective token, so I had to take him down. The heroes think he's invincible.

Well, invincible my ass! Hehe. We found out he has one very bad vulnerable spot. What do you think it is?

His very low Knowledge (1).

I threw one Cursed condition at him. That's it. That player was miserable the entire game. He could not get rid of it. He could not use potions. He could not use any skills. The only way out is to die. Literally, he has to be knocked out to get rid of the condition.

I could go on, but this is turning out to be a very long-winded reply.

So in summary, neither my buddies, nor myself find anything particularly unbalanced or broken in this game. In fact, after every game session, we keep getting impressed at how balanced and well-designed the game is.

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Cedric Chong
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Horrid Beast wrote:
What sort of dancing were you into? The ones with the old people at the shopping centres? My wife's family is from Singapore/Malaysia and that whole old people dancing thing cracked me up wow

Salsa!



I believe the "old people dancing thing" you're referring to is "line dance". Basically it's just an excuse for senior citizens to get up on their feet to exercise to music.
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trevor

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I couldn't agree more. Some people say D2 is imbalanced but I would argue there are many little imbalances that overall create balance. Let me explain.

In D1 it was always the same in every single quest. In the beginning everyone complains "OL is OP!", then as the game progresses people complaint "The heroes are OP!". Same game, every time

In D2, sure there may be a quest that is in favor of the OL, and there are quests that favor the heroes, but the grand scope of the campaign equalizes all the little imbalances. Normally when people argue that the game is broken, they say: "Well I got smoked in 'Masquerade Ball' so that means the whole game is broken" but In the 2 campaigns we have played I have felt both times that the overall winner (1 OL and 1 heroes) was normally the person or team that did better throughout the campaign
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Thank you for posting this, wow this really took me back and man I feel old.

Times have and have not changed that much. I am grateful for the digital revolution even though it has brought in a lot of problems for now I think the benefits outweigh the downsides.

Games for me early on, was Avalon Hill games such as Starship Troopers that I played with my cousin and MB Dark Tower with my school buddies.

For RPG's I started off on other games as well and was introduced to the hobby by a senior in high school. Seeing those oddly shaped dice and the thought of a fantasy game of the imagination vs the limitations of board games was very exciting.

He offered to sell me the book and dice, and after a few weeks of saving up, I picked them up from him and could not wait to get home. I can't remember the books' name but it was a single hardback - not TSR but an offshoot. It was confusing but we did manage to play a game or two. It did not have any character classes and only had a few monsters so we ran out of things to do next. So we lost interest and went back to our old stand by board games and other things.

A bit later I was flipping through the sears roebuck catalog - the giant Xmas issue! I was looking at board games and there it was.... the red box edition. My interest was immediately piqued. I had heard about D&D in the news just a little bit but otherwise being in a small town there was not much access to that kind of information. So I gathered some money together from my allowance and ordered it.

At the time, this was early 1980's when many people were going crazy about how D&D would ruin kids. Ozzy was biting heads off bats and playing records backwards was proof the the rock bands were evil lol.

I remember getting the notice that my order came in. I had to drive 20 miles to the pick up store. When the box came in they stapled the receipt to the center of the box. Ah! How could they damage my box like that! I remember paying for it and my friends aunt who worked there gave me a stern look but thankfully did not say anything. I could not wait to get home to see what was inside.

Wow! It was everything we needed, truly a game in a box! I ran the first solo game to try it out and was hooked right away. I could not wait to tell my friends. Note* it was surprising how well those dice held up, it was the old style with the white crayon used to fill in the numbers.

After that we took off, tons of adventures, I ordered each box set as they came out and we grew into playing those expansions as well. Later we next grew into AD&D 2nd edition and it was even better. I remember we had to drive 40 miles to get to the nearest bookstore that hopefully carried it.

I also remember the ceremony that had to be done, you just did not walk straight up to where the books where shelved, you hovered around the area acting like you were interested in other books and then when no one was looking grab one and step away from the bookshelf back to the other isle. Next you quickly flip through the pages trying not to look too excited at all the amazing and cool stuff inside.

I purchased several 2nd edition books and we all had many great adventures. Time moved on, girl friends, jobs, then college and we all grew apart.

I kept up the gaming hobby and while at college met many gamers and made many friends. I avoided the Magic cards as I remember collecting Star Wars movie collector cards - still had bubble gum in them at least lol. I remember opening up each pack hoping for the rare ones lol. So no way I wanted to get caught up in another thing like that.

I was sad to see the pen and paper RPG's fade off as electronic games continued to get more popular. I understood why as there were so many benefits, did not have to drive anywhere, no one made a mess of your place when you invited them over or ate all your snacks lol. Soon to be released MMO's were just plain convenient.

Fast forward to present day, there are so many games out there now and that is a good thing. It is great to be going along and suddenly "discover" a new game out there, see how it is designed, what gameplay format it is using etc.

Also it was a nice surprise to see the quiet return of board games - gaming unplugged. I had a time when we were without electric power so candles and sterno's were how things got done. I still collect games as a hobby where I can and the board games such as Descent, Runebound and others really saved our sanity as it gave us something to do while waiting for the power to come back.

Speaking of which, aren't we due for a Runebound 3rd edition?


One thing is for sure after all this time, it is definitely a good time to be a gamer!





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Ryan Stripling
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Syncronis09 wrote:

At the time, this was early 1980's when many people were going crazy about how D&D would ruin kids. Ozzy was biting heads off bats and playing records backwards was proof the the rock bands were evil lol.
Ha! I had forgotten about this! When I was in elementary school, having just started to play AD&D with my older brother, I went to a summer camp that happened to be Christian. I remember one of the counsellors warning me that D&D was satanic. Thankfully I was savvy enough to know that was an ignorant belief, but looking back on it it still seems crazy how much backlash the game got.
-ryanjamal
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Hehe, flash to the past propaganda comic against D&D: http://www.escapeplan.org/chick/D&D/

It begins:


The rest of the comic is just as fun, how the girl casted a real spell on her father and he now bought $200 of "figures and manuals." My favorite is how it ends in a good old fashion book burning.

The biggest lie in this comic though are all these girls playing D&D in the 80s. Just didn't happen

-shnar
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Ryan Stripling
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Wow, that comic is awesome! I can't believe it wasn't meant to be ironic.
-ryanjamal
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Robin Reeve
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Thanks for the review. Your enthusiasm is encourageing.
I am glad that no one called the author a "choirboy" because he likes the game.
Perhaps are these forums improving, in that liking Descent is not looked as a fault.
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Donal E
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This is such a great review, thank you so much for spending the time to write it!

I also had a one-time-only game of Descent 1.0 a few years back. I have Descent 2.0 and I'm about to play with my (not nerdy at all) wife. Let's hope you are right!

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Asger Johansen
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Thank you for taking the time to write up this review. I have had an almost identical journey from early D&D to finally - some 20 years later - arrive at Descent 2nd edition. It's so nostalgic and so very fresh at the same time. Love it!

Cheers
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J9
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Wow! Just read this whole review, and I was laughing out loud constantly. A story so many of us can relate to. Only difference is that I could get just about anyone to play games, except my husband. It's xbox 360 1st person shooter games or nothing. Loved it though. Used to play D1 and felt the same way. Just ordered D2 and it should be here tomorrow along with the conversion kit. Can't wait!
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