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Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Heroes just cannot win rss

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Arthur Peterson
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My wife and I have been playing this for a while now. I love it, but she's quickly growing tired of it. The reason? She just cannot win.

I always play the overlord (since she doesn't like being the evil character) and she plays two heroes. But after playing through the entire base game campaign it was brutally apparent that the OL is vastly overpowered. The only reason I didn't crush her on every single quest was because I played light and pulled punches.

This is unusual because my wife is generally a far better gamer than I. In fact, I think this is the only game I can beat her at with any consistency. Asking her to play a third hero is right out, because two heroes provide enough housekeeping already. She doesn't even like having to play more than one (can't say I blame her).

Anyone have any suggestions? Even when watching from the OL side, I can't see what she could do differently to fare any better. I've simply got too many monsters waling away at her for her to get anything accomplished. By the end of most quests, it's all she can do to keep a character conscious for a round, much less worry about winning the quest.

Are we the only ones having this issue?
 
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David Stahler Jr.
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If she doesn't mind the work, have her run four heroes. Harder with only two, I think.
 
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JH
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Agreed; play with four. Three even gives the heroes an edge (OL gets stronger monsters, but not always more). Hard to say more without knowing her class lineup.
 
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Arthur Peterson
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As I said, that's not going to happen. Keeping track of 2 heroes is already a lot to manage.
 
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Aswin Agastya
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Try switching roles?
 
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James Champagne
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Honestly, this is a little surprising to me. In the last campaign I played, we ran through The Shadow Rune all the way, and the overlord only won a single encounter.

Some of the Errata on the Descent website makes some of the quests easier, I think. Here's a link:

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/descent-second...

You might also consider some house rules. For my next campaign, in order to improve balance and tension, I'm going to incorporate the new plot decks and use a house rule that, at the beginning of each Act II quest each side gets a number of threat/fortune tokens equal to the number of quests they lost. (I'm also adding a reward for the first quest in the Shadow Rune campaign. The side that wins will begin the next quest with a number of threat/fortune tokens equal to the number of players.) For your situation, if you don't want to incorporate the plot decks, I would suggest that each player begins each quest with a number of tokens equal to the number of quests they have lost, and each player may spend these tokens as if they were fortune tokens. Here are the rules for threat and fortune:

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/descent-second...

if you're unwilling to try something like that, you could always try going to a local game shop and playing a larger game with more people to see if that gives you a different experience.
 
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Stephen Williams
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zpeteman wrote:

Anyone have any suggestions? Even when watching from the OL side, I can't see what she could do differently to fare any better. I've simply got too many monsters waling away at her for her to get anything accomplished. By the end of most quests, it's all she can do to keep a character conscious for a round, much less worry about winning the quest.

Are we the only ones having this issue?


You're not the only ones. It's a known issue with this game that 2 heroes is significantly harder than 3 or 4.

If your wife is unwilling to run more than 2 heroes by herself, you could try to enlist a third player to take 1 or 2 more heroes. That would be the most direct way, without involving house rules.

Switching roles would be another good idea, except that you said she doesn't want to play the evil role. Even if she did, if you then ran 4 heroes she might find her frustrations unended. =P

One suggestion I heard somewhere would be to have her run 2 heroes with an ally (Labyrinth of Ruin introduces allies) to pick up the slack. The thing that really hurts a 2 hero game is the lack of actions to go around. Allies provide the needed extra actions, but they don't carry equipment or gain XP/Skills, so there's less management involved.

If you don't own LoR, you can read the rules for allies online on FFG's website and house rule a couple "allies" using extra heroes as if they were allies. It may not sound like that's a lot different then playing more heroes, but check it out. It's less fiddly management.
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William Hoyt
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Why does the Overlord have to be "evil"?

Maybe it's those damn meddling adventurers that
keep coming in and screwing up their plans to make
the world a better place, like the one they've always
had pictured in their head. With them I'm charge. :-)

An additional player is the only way I know to balance out
the game. 3-4 is the sweet spot.

Will
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Doctor Taco
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My group is the opposite. I play the overlord and I am up against 3 heroes.
And I am constantly losing. I keep hearing how the overlord is too powerful. I honestly need to see what other groups are doing.
I would love to get more than one win.
 
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Noble Knave
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Floydski wrote:
Why does the Overlord have to be "evil"?

Maybe it's those damn meddling adventurers that
keep coming in and screwing up their plans to make
the world a better place, like the one they've always
had pictured in their head. With them I'm charge. :-)

An additional player is the only way I know to balance out
the game. 3-4 is the sweet spot.

Will


This sounds remarkably like the premise behind Dungeon Lords (one of my favorite games ever). You're just a hard-working Lord, trying to build a respectable enterprise, and these free-loading adventurers come trying to steal your hard-earned treasure, slaughter your monsters that you've lovingly provided for, and bring your beloved dungeon down around your ears. Those jerks!
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Chris peterson
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A small house rule i use is to allow the players to gather all the search tokens, and use them, if they completely beat me before moving on to the second half of the quest. OR If they lose, they get the items but only the value towards spending at the end of the quest. I find that whether the players are able to aquire gear greatly affects how they can survive later on in the campaign.
 
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Arthur Peterson
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My wife and I talked a bit last night about what might make it more fun for her (and easier). I think we're going to try a couple of things. First, from here on out we're going to come up with some sort of loot system for killing monsters that will allow her to upgrade her equipment (in the entire Shadow Rune campaign I think she only ever had enough money to buy maybe one thing). Part of the problem in 2-player games is that there's so much the heroes have to do (and fight) that there's no time to even think about wasting an action on a search. The result is that by Act II there is really no hope of ever winning. So I'm thinking that if killing monsters nets either gold (for shopping) or search cards, the heroes might have a fighting chance.

I think we may also take a run at one of the "No Overlord" variants that are floating around.
 
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Damien M
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zpeteman wrote:
(in the entire Shadow Rune campaign I think she only ever had enough money to buy maybe one thing)


I uhh...err...what? Did she not go after search tokens? Even if you only get 1 token (1/2) each encounter, that is ~350 gold minimum (assuming no 'Nothing's). That is enough to buy two or three decent Act 1 items.

Have her grab a thief character. They can search and still do most of what they need to do. The biggest thing in the game that I've found so far is search tokens. All that money and gear can snowball pretty quick.
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Arthur Peterson
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She very rarely goes for a search token, because in a two player game, you really don't have the actions to spare (I've considered letting her claim a token just for moving into a space that contains it so that she doesn't have to waste an entire action). Most quests netted her no tokens at all. And again, let me stress that my wife is a great player. She usually destroys me in games.

I've even made a point of reminding her that she needs to get tokens for cash, but as I watch the games unfold, it's painfully clear why she doesn't. It's either tokens, or thin chance of a win, very rarely both.
 
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Arthur Peterson
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She hasn't tried a thief class. Maybe that'll help. We've been assuming that you've got to have a tank and a healer. She got destroyed on our first time through the campaign with a tank and a runemaster. Now she's playing with a healer instead and it still doesn't help. Like I said, not enough actions on the heroes' part, and took many monsters.
 
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Chase Toffee
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Doctor Taco wrote:
My group is the opposite. I play the overlord and I am up against 3 heroes.
And I am constantly losing. I keep hearing how the overlord is too powerful. I honestly need to see what other groups are doing.
I would love to get more than one win.


My friend played the OL, and got crushed the whole campaign, I'm playing the OL in our current campaign and heroes have lost more often than me (lost only once as OL thus far). 5 player games, but as I said different OL:S
 
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James Champagne
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zpeteman wrote:
She hasn't tried a thief class. Maybe that'll help. We've been assuming that you've got to have a tank and a healer. She got destroyed on our first time through the campaign with a tank and a runemaster. Now she's playing with a healer instead and it still doesn't help. Like I said, not enough actions on the heroes' part, and took many monsters.


After reading what you've said, I think she should go with a scout and a mage. Mages can often take out multiple monsters with a single action, while scouts provide much needed mobility for accomplishing objectives and gathering loot.
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Trent Boardgamer
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The game seems best balanced with 3 heroes. In saying that early traction with the heroes or OL can change even that. 2 heroes is hard, as you'll find you just don't get the actions you need, 4 heroes means the OL needs to start targeting specific players and hope the heroes don't coordinated extremely well, to prevent that.
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uru uru
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zpeteman wrote:
She very rarely goes for a search token, because in a two player game, you really don't have the actions to spare (I've considered letting her claim a token just for moving into a space that contains it so that she doesn't have to waste an entire action). Most quests netted her no tokens at all. And again, let me stress that my wife is a great player. She usually destroys me in games.

I've even made a point of reminding her that she needs to get tokens for cash, but as I watch the games unfold, it's painfully clear why she doesn't. It's either tokens, or thin chance of a win, very rarely both.


Hi Arthur,

If not taking time to search tokens means your wife will be beat up to the pulp in a near future, she may consider loosing an encounter (even a quest) and take time to gear up ! She need to adapt her strategy to the facts.

Gold and XP are won if the heros either win or loose (even if they are all ko I believe), so she need to take the time to search and equip herself well or she will not win AT THE END.

Loose a battle to win the War ! That's my advice.

Keep hope and have fun !

(You may also switch OL/Hero player between encounters... Very vicious ! devil)
 
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Alex Martinez
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I think a lot of the suggestions here are thoughtful and valid, but you could always just use a handicap rule that doesn't require changing things immensely.

Perhaps increase the damage the heroes do by one or two hearts per roll. Or reduce the health of all the monsters by one or two.

Perhaps give a bonus amount of gold if the heroes win the mission. Not much. Maybe 50 or 100g for winning a quest.

Perhaps draw more equipment cards when during the shopping phase.

Games like this are easy to "mod", so to speak, by simply adjusting the settings. With a few attempts, you should be able to create a setting that works best for you.
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