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

Subject: Improving balance rss

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Thomas
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It seems that once the heroes start leveling up and finding good equipment they cans easily steam roll the overlord. Any suggestions to help even things out? Any good house rules?
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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It seems? As you saying that you haven't gone through a campaign yet so don't really know? The Overlord also 'levels up' with his cards and his monsters (Act II stats)...

-shnar
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Jeff

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I think it would take data from at least hundreds of games to have a good idea of the balance in a game like this. In my own anecdotal experience it has seemed pretty balanced. If you are having problems it might be helpful to check out the strategy forums.
 
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JH
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Thing is, weapons only get so strong in the first act, and the OL gets a major bump to all monsters (health, attack power, sometimes defense) for Act II just as the heroes start getting access to new and stronger (and pricier) items they may or may not be able to afford yet. And meanwhile the OL has been buying new cards, just as the heroes are (and now there are Plot cards as well).

It's harder to win as OL later in an act as heroes get kitted out, and I'm sure an OL could get in a tight spot if they lose a lot or don't tailor their OL deck to deal with the particular hero party they're facing, but I haven't noticed an overall problem with balance. The game's balance is partially what you make it. In our recently concluded campaign, the wins and losses weren't out of whack, almost every quest was close, and it was a mistake on my part that led to my defeat as OL.
 
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Sean Houston
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I agree that anecdotally (with about 7-8 campaigns worth of experience), that the game is pretty well balanced. The biggest factor in any disparity will be the difference in strategic/tactical abilities between Heroes and OL. If they're roughly equal, the balance should be roughly equal. If there's any disparity at all, it can show in the Win/Loss rates quite drastically.
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Thomas
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shnar wrote:
It seems? As you saying that you haven't gone through a campaign yet so don't really know? The Overlord also 'levels up' with his cards and his monsters (Act II stats)...

-shnar


No we've played the campaign 3 times but I've never been the overloard, but like I said once we get our characters leveled and some good equipment we are nearly unstoppable. Maybe we are just a good group with the right blend it heroes. The overloard is not inexperienced by any stretch.
 
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Arthur Peterson
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You mean the heroes can win? There's little evidence of that in 3-player games.
 
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Thomas
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zpeteman wrote:
You mean the heroes can win? There's little evidence of that in 3-player games.


We always played with 4 heroes with the group, perhaps we should try with 3 instead when I am the overloard and will teach to my girlfriend.
 
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Darren Nakamura
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LunarSoundDesign wrote:
zpeteman wrote:
You mean the heroes can win? There's little evidence of that in 3-player games.


We always played with 4 heroes with the group, perhaps we should try with 3 instead when I am the overloard and will teach to my girlfriend.


There is still contention on the issue, but from our experience, three heroes is even more hero-favored than four.

As for balance house rules, the only ones I can really think of are random hero selection (people with the Conversion Kit will often draw three in a given archetype and pick one; those with only the base game/2e expansions may want to go full random) and making it so the loser of a quest gets to choose the next quest rather than the winner.
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Stephen Williams
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The Overlord can hold his own against four heroes, but he cannot afford to pull any punches. As such, how well the Overlord performs depends on how willing he is to be a total jerk. It also helps if the OL knows how to manipulate the players controlling the heroes, to lure them into wasting actions on inconsequential activities.
 
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Thomas
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Do any of you overlords have problems with the spawn points? Like I said I haven't been one yet but a buddy was saying Level 7 [Omega Protocol] is everything Descent 2.0 but better and more balanced and the spawn points were more tactical. I just don't get it, it seems you all feel descent is balanced.
 
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JH
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They vary so much by quest that I'm not sure I can make a useful statement in comparison to Level 7 without knowing more.
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Descent has a bit of a sway, while L7OP doesn't, but that because L7OP's 'campaign' is nothing like Descent's. There isn't a lot of growth in L7OP's campaign, just connected quests. Descent has a lot more growth on both sides (Heroes and Overlord), though the Overlord's choices are far less interesting than the Heroes.

But it's due to this lack of real growth that the missions in L7OP seem more 'balanced'. Descent has a lot more factors to consider in quest development.

To address your specific point on spawning, Descent's current spawning mechanics, my group has found it makes the Overlord more powerful and even less interesting to play. Since you get to spawn every turn, there's very little decision in the spawning. Of course you're going to spawn, and on top of that you're going to spawn your most powerful monster. L7OP does spawning differently, since using a spawn action can be exhausted for multiple turns, it takes a finite matter of resource (called Adrenaline), and so the Overseer has to decide if he wants to spawn now, or later, or at all. It's much more interesting.

-shnar

P.S. Your friend is smart, L7OP is a better game
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Raphael Pigulla
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shnar wrote:
P.S. Your friend is smart, L7OP is a better game

Which doesn't really matter because Myth is going to wipe the floor with both of them ;-) (*)

But seriously, I, too, have had many complaints about Descent's balance (and still do). But after having played various campaigns I have come to the conclusion that its balance is actually quite impressive, given the amount of customization available.

What really bothers me, though, is that some hero combinations and heroic feats are just completely broken ([geekurl=http://www.descentinthedark.com/2nd/silhouette/]Silhouette[/geekurl], I'm looking at you). In our next campaign I'll just hide those hero sheets at the bottom of the box.

(*) Please don't take this too seriously, it's a completely different kind of game.
 
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In regards to spawning being really a choiceless situation, you're right. In the base campaign, it's really not that interesting.

However, Labyrinth has at least remedied this somewhat by having quests where the Overlord spawns a total health of creatures (i.e. 8 hearts worth of creatures) rather than a defined number of creatures. I think that is something that the new spawning rules have to gravitate towards. Besides... then I can spawn like a billion kobolds and do so consistently, which is really all I want.
 
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David van Damme
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Up until now, currently halfway the first quest in act II, I (the overlord) won all quests apart from the interlude. The heroes are losing the will to live so I'm tempted to help them a bit by "accidently" having a treasure chest show up in the next quest (that or a secret room with some possible items). Don't know if I'm going to regret this later though. So it seems that in our case the overlord is overpowering the heroes (playing against 3 heroes).
 
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Thomas
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It seems like the lieutenants have the potential to breath new life into the game for the overlord and restore some balance as well.
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Jeff

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I don't really see how anyone can make an informed opinion on balance. We don't have the data for that. If you have ever played a strategy game online where they do have data of thousands of games, it can be very difficult to find a prove a problem with balance. I think the comments on it here have more to do with the players in someone's group. There are just too many variables for someone to be informed after a few campaigns.

As for L7OP, I'll leave my own comment. I think its a great game but in my opinion its not as fine tuned as descent and some of the mechanics are clunky. I prefer Descent myself but if you like the style of gameplay in either, the other game is worth picking up.
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Chris
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DavidvD wrote:
Up until now, currently halfway the first quest in act II, I (the overlord) won all quests apart from the interlude. The heroes are losing the will to live so I'm tempted to help them a bit by "accidently" having a treasure chest show up in the next quest

Same here. I just hit the interlude in my first campaign. I, the overlord, have won every quest except the starting one. My players are so demoralized that I slipped the treasure chest onto the top of the search deck for the last quest just so they wouldn't revolt and quit playing.

I think the game balance is fine. All of our encounters have been reasonably close. We're playing without the conversion kit. Maybe the conversion kit heroes are stronger...
 
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casper jorgensen
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We've tried to play through the Shadowrune campaign several times, but every time the OL got completely owned in almost every quest. However, we are closing up on our first Labyrith of Ruin campaign, and those have been extremely tight quests. Very good! Perhaps we are just starting to re-learn the OL ropes (having played a lot of 1st ed.), but it does seem like the LoR is far better balanced, as well as, far more interesting.

I'm looking forward to toying with the L. packs.
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James Champagne
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Balance is difficult to get a handle on, but MOMENTUM is definitely a problem. It's fun, of course, to get more and more powerful from quest to quest, but this does create a situation where the winning side finds the game getting progressively easier and less tense. To remedy this, I will be incorporating the following house rule into my campaign:

The Overlord must choose a plot deck for use in the campaign. Each side (heroes or overlord) gains threat/fortune tokens equal to the number of quests they have lost at the beginning of each Act II quest. If playing "The Shadow Rune", the winner of the first quest gains a number of threat/fortune tokens equal to the number of players at the start of the second quest.
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Shoosh shoo
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I dont have a lot of experience playing but i have read a lot on it. Ive also heard a lot of ppl complaining about balance issues. From what ive gathered i think the problems arise from the amount of experience the players have....more specifically the strategy. I think the OLs complain because of their weak planning. I dont use the conversion kit so each quest i have to take into consideration the types of monsters i want to use. The strategy is so important depending on the objective. That is another issue....seems lime a lot of people waste time by not playing the objective. I am perfectly ok with sacrificing 2-3 monsters if it puts me in a good position to completing the objective. Also it may be beneficial to throw everything at the healer ignoring the damage dealing hero....all depends.

My games have been pretty close so im convinced the balance is really good. If one side keeps losing look at your planning and strategy before considering balance issues. Chances are you can make addjustments and theyll have a huge impact.

Oh and yiu have to keep in mind...when it comes down to it sometimes the dice are just in someones favour. Cant do much about that
 
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Thomas
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Anyone using the lieutenants?
 
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