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Subject: Pathfinder ACG, Andor, Descent 2, or Something Else? rss

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Rusty Patterson
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I am looking for a new ameri-trashy dungeon crawl/adventure to play with my 12 & 15 year old boys. We have so far played euros almost exclusively and they quite enjoy those but I want to give them an RPGish experience. I’ve been trying to decide between Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords, Legends of Andor, and Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) but so far I have only been able to waffle between the three so I’ve decided to toss the question out to the community and see what comes back. I’ve watched Rahdo’s runthrough of all three as well as other various reviews and am stuck on a few waffling points.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords. I really like the persistent character progression and the RPG feel but I am looking for more of a boardgame than an card game. I think. Will I have to keep adding expansion packs to keep this interesting?

Legends of Andor. Now we have a board. Nice. The gameplay looks easy enough. But is it too easy, too simple? Not crazy about the whole “focus on the mission and not killing all the monsters” game timer. I get it thematically, but will a 12 & a 15 year old? I mean, I know they’ll get it, but will it be fun? And I’m unsure about the long-term replayability of this one.

Descent: Journeys in The Dark Second Edition. I thought this would be it. Nice minis. Modular map. Then I watched Rahdo’s runthrough and, I don’t know, it didn’t look fun. Is it too tactical? Move 3 spaces and roll some dice to attack and you roll some to defend. And then if I kill the baddies they come back as reinforcements?

I know we would probably enjoy either one of these titles, but they are teenagers (or very nearly) so I have to maximize my available playtime so I would like to find something they are eager to come back to. I suppose I’m currently leaning toward Pathfinder but I so wanted Descent to be the one. Tell me where my concerns for these games are overstated. Tell me I’m wrong. Or suggest something even better. At his point, any help you can offer will be appreciated.

Oh, before you suggest I try before I buy, check out my country flag. My gaming group consists of those living under my roof and another couple who don’t mind playing with us. And yes, shipping is very expensive, hence my concern for the Pathfinder expansions.
 
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r0t1 prata
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For Pathfinder there are 5 expansions and 1 character add-on deck for 5-6 players.

It's a great game and you will buy all of them if your gaming group like it and wish to complete the whole campaign. That's what I'm going to do.

Base Set: 3 Base Scenarios + 5 Scenarios(Adventure 1)
5 Expansions(Adventure 2-6): 5 Scenarios each
Character add-on deck: More basic cards and new classes to handle a bigger group.




I've never played Descent 2nd edition but I see them keep churning out new expansions so I'm guessing you're going to have the same problem about buying expansions as with Pathfinder.
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Laura Blachek
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RustyInRT wrote:


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords. I really like the persistent character progression and the RPG feel but I am looking for more of a boardgame than an card game. I think. Will I have to keep adding expansion packs to keep this interesting?


yes. mostly. It's dead boring to play the same characters through scenarios they've already passed, since the fun is really getting cool loot and advancements. and once you got your preferred equipment, the heroes can wail on just about all the monsters and nothing you find is better thanwhat you got. So buying the additional decks keeps up interest. They're < 20 bucks if you buy them from an online store though, so it's not a huge additional investment.

the game stays fresher if you generate new parties and advance them through previously played scenarios. it also adds interest to see how ech character plays different based on powers and party. but then you have break down the old characters and resetting the box gets very tedious after you've advanced far enough to start removing weak cards from the game.

Haven't played the others. Perhaps show your kids the videos or tell them about it and see which one they would be more interested in? 12 and 15 is definitely old enough to help with the decision making.
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Adam Sutphen
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I'd go with Descent 2nd edition. It literally has everything you said you where looking for, including persistent characters.

Also, because of its nature, if you want to take it to the next level you can easily write your own campaign / storyline & make custom game boards with the modular board pieces.

There are tons of great expansions for it that you can mix and match to keep it interesting.

Only issue is one player has to be the "bad guy". That player controls the monsters. His job is to essentially run the story like a game master from an RPG. Or if your highly competitive, you can just try to destroy the other players.

I think the game play of pathfinder would become extremely repetitive for that age group. If you boil it down to its game play mechanics, all you do in pathfinder is flip over a card, roll a dice to beat the# on the card, rinse & repeat.
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Adam Sutphen
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Oh and watch Rodney smiths watch it played vid for descent. It's the best one on youtube for descent, or any game really.

Here is a link:

http://youtu.be/jgiPWR0ndoA
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Ben Rubinstein

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I really like Descent, however I'd add 1 caveat. I'd assume you're going to be the Overlord in Descent. Are you ok with your kids handing your ass to you? Will that still be fun? Because it'll probably happen.

We did about 5 adventures in my game. My husband was playing the Overlord. He lost every single time. He's not normally a sore loser, but now he has no desire to ever play the game again. This might be a bit of a different dynamic for parent/children.
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Stuart Maunder
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My 14 yr old son really enjoys descent 2nd edition. My only gripe is that with just the base set alone I feel like I want to be able to do more as overlord. I don't know if this changes with expansions. It looks good on the table though, especially if you paint the minis. If it doesn't have to be a fantasy setting, then you might want to consider Level 7 [Omega Protocol] which is similar to descent but a sci-fi setting. I have not played myself but I've heard it's one of the better "dungeon crawlers" at the moment and the "overlord" player sounds more fun in this one. It's tempting me even though I already have Descent.
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Marlene Thornstrom
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I'd say Descent 2e. The great minis and art and general quality of the components is going to be appealing to your kids, plus it's fun to put those tiles together to assemble the map. If you play the overlord, they'll get to gang up against you, which they'll surely enjoy! whistle You also have the opportunity to play a campaign, which will let the heroes (and the overlord) acquire more powers and items.

The Pathfinder card game is... well, it's a very sedate, leisurely almost mindless experience. There's fewer and less interesting decisions to be made on each turn compared to Descent 2e and really, to kids/teenagers, minis are probably going to trump cards.

I haven't played Legends of Andor myself, but I've watched/read several reviews and my impression is that it's a Euro with Ameritrash elements added to it. It comes across as a good game, but from what I understand more than half the game is a tutorial with only one "real" mission; this could get repetitive.

You say you want an RPGish experience. Do you mean like a pen and paper RPG (e.g. Dungeons & Dragons) or a computer RPG (like Diablo)? If it's the former, Descent 2e is the way to go given it's the only one of the three that has a GM equivalent. If it's the latter, go with Pathfinder. (Although at that point I would just have them play Diablo.) Legends of Andor is euro-ish, and you say that you enjoy euros so if you want something similar to what you already like, this would work out.

You're going to get the most bang for your buck with Descent 2e. There is a complete campaign contained within the base set and you would still have several more new quests to play after that.
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Marlene Thornstrom
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Hammerste1n wrote:
My only gripe is that with just the base set alone I feel like I want to be able to do more as overlord.


A lieutenant pack might help you out with this?

(I have also been tempted by Level 7 [Omega Protocol].)
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Rusty Patterson
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acefury wrote:
I'd go with Descent 2nd edition. It literally has everything you said you where looking for, including persistent characters.


Hmmm... I wasn't aware of that. I'll take another look.

acefury wrote:
Only issue is one player has to be the "bad guy". That player controls the monsters. His job is to essentially run the story like a game master from an RPG. Or if your highly competitive, you can just try to destroy the other players.


Yeah, I don't mind being the Overlord, as long as it's fun.

acefury wrote:
Oh and watch Rodney smiths watch it played vid for descent. It's the best one on youtube for descent, or any game really.


And thanks for the link. I'll give it a look.
 
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Rusty Patterson
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epilepticemu wrote:
I really like Descent, however I'd add 1 caveat. I'd assume you're going to be the Overlord in Descent. Are you ok with your kids handing your ass to you? Will that still be fun? Because it'll probably happen.

We did about 5 adventures in my game. My husband was playing the Overlord. He lost every single time. He's not normally a sore loser, but now he has no desire to ever play the game again. This might be a bit of a different dynamic for parent/children.


I have no problem being beat, as long as it's fun. Hell, I rarely win a game against them now, especially the older one. He might even enjoy a go as Overlord, if it's fun.

Was it only you who was playing against your husband? If so, what did you think of the two player experience because that will definitely come up?
 
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Warren Zdan
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My vote would be for pathfinder. There are several expansions which I would definitely recommend picking up, but fewer and cheaper than Descent's. It's also co-op where Descent is a one-vs-many game. Legends of Andor is fun and unique, but most of the time when I want to play a fantasy themed game, I want to bash all the baddies, not try to calculate which ones I need to kill, and which to ignore due to the timer.
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MM
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Definitely check out Rodney's videos (linked above) for Decent 2e play. Given someone has to play the overloard, this is a "1 vs. many" game instead of a pure Co-op like Pathfinder ACG.

As for PACG, I happen to enjoy the feel of the adventure and constant character progression, BUT it isn't for everyone. You are looking at cards -no board, no minis. You have to use your imagination to get the most from the game (I heard someone say you get "out" of this game what you put "into" it). I know when I was younger, I would have had trouble with the lack of immersion directly out of the box.

There are some good PACG reviews on YouTube as well, be warned there are a wide array of opinions out there (good and bad). I really think it depends on what you're expecting from PACG as to how you like. My advice is to check out the gameplay and decide for yourself.

Good luck!
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Adam Sutphen
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Also, keep in mind that descent has a lot of really good fan made variants. Like a coop mode that gives you a set of cards you can print to control the overlord as an artificial intelligence. There is also a an awesome random dungeon variant.

2 player games work great. The only issue is the player controlling the heroes needs to play at least 2 characters. This is easy tho, the characters are not terribly complex. I usually prefer to play with two characters each.
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Rusty Patterson
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Hammerste1n wrote:
If it doesn't have to be a fantasy setting, then you might want to consider Level 7 [Omega Protocol] which is similar to descent but a sci-fi setting. I have not played myself but I've heard it's one of the better "dungeon crawlers" at the moment and the "overlord" player sounds more fun in this one.


Yeah, I was curious about Level 7 [Omega Protocol]. Now I'll have to go and do a little more digging. Thanks. Exactly the kind of advice I'm looking for.

Tikatoy wrote:
You say you want an RPGish experience. Do you mean like a pen and paper RPG (e.g. Dungeons & Dragons) or a computer RPG (like Diablo)?


Either, really. They just want a chance to be able to kill something for a change. Hell, they're teenage boys and are eager for a little hacking and slashing. As am I. I'm just trying to make sure I get the best quality adventure for my gaming dollar.
 
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Laura Blachek
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If you go back and watch Rahdo's descent runthrough, he goes into more depth on the campaign and character persistence options in Descent 2e.

FWIW, I find the Pathfinder game quite fun and I expect to get quite a bit of enjoyment out of running many parties through the game and seeing how different characters play and progress. I wouldn't go the pathfinder route unless you plan to get all 5 expansions, though. you may be able to buy the whole shebang in july after they release the last expansion and people decide if they want to keep the game or sell it.
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Rusty Patterson
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slaybalj wrote:
FWIW, I find the Pathfinder game quite fun and I expect to get quite a bit of enjoyment out of running many parties through the game and seeing how different characters play and progress.


Yeah, I get that. It does sound fun from that perspective, but judging from the replies of a couple of responders, I'm not sure how my teenage boys will feel about playing through a scenario they have already run their now more advanced characters through.
 
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Marlene Thornstrom
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RustyInRT wrote:
Tikatoy wrote:
You say you want an RPGish experience. Do you mean like a pen and paper RPG (e.g. Dungeons & Dragons) or a computer RPG (like Diablo)?


Either, really. They just want a chance to be able to kill something for a change. Hell, they're teenage boys and are eager for a little hacking and slashing. As am I. I'm just trying to make sure I get the best quality adventure for my gaming dollar.


Well, Descent 2e will be really satisfying for that! The miniatures really help make it feel like you're engaging in battles.

And with respect to campaigns and character persistence, Descent 2e is also more satisfying compared to Pathfinder ACG.

When you complete a quest in Descent 2e, you get XP to spend on new powers (or save the XP to get an even better power after your next quest) which give you new forms of attack/healing/defense/treasure gathering. You also get money to go shopping and buy new equipment.

When you complete a scenario in Pathfinder ACG, you get either some randomly drawn card in a given boon category (item, ally, weapon, etc.) that will most likely be useless after the first adventure (because it's not as good as your current equipment), improve a skill (add a +1 to a stat), improve a character power (also usually adding a +1 to a power you already have) or increase your hand size.

These bonuses are not as satisfying/interesting as getting a new, distinct power, or getting to choose what to buy from a pool of items (how shopping works in Descent 2e).
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MM
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Tikatoy wrote:

These bonuses are not as satisfying/interesting as getting a new, distinct power, or getting to choose what to buy from a pool of items (how shopping works in Descent 2e).

How diverse are these? Do you feel like there's more than you could possibly choose, so you're making critical choices as to which to select? I've never played so I'm interested in knowing. Thanks!
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Rusty Patterson
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Tikatoy wrote:

And with respect to campaigns and character persistence, Descent 2e is also more satisfying compared to Pathfinder ACG.



Is there only one campaign in Descent 2? How many scenarios in that campaign? I assume when you buy an expansion another campaign will come with that. I assume the characters are not persistent across campaigns.
 
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J Graning
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I have only played Pathfinder and really like it.

I would also recommend Mice and Mystics.
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Cameron McKenzie
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I didn't like Pathfinder card game much, and don't really get the hype. Too much randomness in what you draw and how you roll, so there is very little strategy. Lord of the Rings LCG scratches the same itch for me and just has so much more depth. But LotR LCG might be biting off more than you can chew.


Legends of Andor is more puzzle than adventure once you know the game, and it doesn't have a great deal of replayability. Lack of replayability might be okay if the adventures actually told a cohesive story. It's a shame as I really love the style and many of the mechanics. Defenders of the Realm has better mechanics (but it's still a clunky bloated Pandemic clone) but has annoyingly bad graphics (I'm not talking about the artwork, but rather the overall presentation)


Descent 2 is probably the current champion of dungeon-crawly RPG-like board games, as long as you are okay with the "one vs many" concept of the game.

The base game offers around 15 different adventures, I think. Most of them are two encounters which means you have to set up a new board after finishing part 1. These can be played as one shots or strung together as a campaign. As one shots, they are simply okay (you should use the Epic Play variant for every game after the first).

However, this game does a fantastic job of giving a satisfying campaign experience out of the box. It is use one campaign, but it's not completely linear and you don't play every quest. The smaller expansions add in side quests of sorts that don't really give a full campaign but can act as a mini-campaign or a supplement to the full campaign. The larger expansions each offer a full length campaign.

Please correct me if I'm wrong about anything Descent. I'm definitely not an expert there.
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Cameron McKenzie
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Oh yes Mice and Mystics is also good pick. It's like Descent meets Disney, and it's fully cooperative.
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Marlene Thornstrom
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RustyInRT wrote:
Tikatoy wrote:

And with respect to campaigns and character persistence, Descent 2e is also more satisfying compared to Pathfinder ACG.



Is there only one campaign in Descent 2? How many scenarios in that campaign? I assume when you buy an expansion another campaign will come with that. I assume the characters are not persistent across campaigns.


There is one campaign, the "Shadow Rune Campaign". It consists of 9 (or 8 if you skip the intro) quests: an optional prologue, 3 Act I quests, an interlude, 3 Act II quests and the final quest.

There's actually a pool of 6 Act I quests; you choose 3 for a campaign. There are also two interludes and two final quests--the one you play depends on whether the heroes or overlord won more in Act I/II. There are 12 Act II quests to choose from, although only 6 will be open to play in a campaign (dependent on who won/lost the linked quest from Act I).

So that is a total of 23(?) quests in the box. There are also rules for playing each quest standalone (i.e. not part of a campaign).

In comparison, Pathfinder has an intro adventure with 3 scenarios + the included first adventure deck with 5 scenarios (each available adventure deck expansion also has 5 scenarios) for a total of 8.
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Phil Christiansen
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He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.
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I own all 3 and I will say unequivocally D2. It's the only one of the 3 I would call a dungeon crawl. Pathfinder is, as described, an adventure game. Andor is a euro. D2 is a straight up thematic violence fest in a dungeon. Feel free to geek mail specific questions, I could prattle on about all 3 for days
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