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Subject: Suggestions for Darkness player variant rss

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Brian Leveque
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There are a few questions about playing with 6 characters. Is anyone working on a variant where one person plays as the Darkness against the heroes?

It could be fun to have a system by which hero actions generate points into a pool that the darkness player could use to "buy" more monsters when the Darkness triggers. Maybe points are generated every time heroes discard a card from their hand, or every time the Darkness triggers - more if the heroes are on a tile where they are no more minions.

Any other suggestions?
 
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Mike Miller

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Yeah, here's a link to that variant:
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/17226/descent-journeys-in...
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Jarad Bond
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The biggest problem might be trying to find a reward or long term advancement for the darkness player and gauging the level of capability of the heroes. You'll need to playtest the variant a lot.

One starting suggestion would be to have darkness player draw a hand of darkness cards - maybe 3. Darkness player gets to take a turn at AP6 and chooses which card to play. Then draw to replace. Move all of your minis, then make all attacks.

You should have a formula for determining how strong the tile should be. Anything with a choice should depend on the strength of the heroes, which boils down to the number of blue/green equipment they have. More heroes gives them a slight advantage, but not that much if you can control the minions. You'll have to find the breaking point for that, so play a couple test tiles to see what the heroes are likely to be able to handle.

Long term advancement could be done with an anti-serendipity (misfortune?), perhaps. Maybe you could accumulate misfortune every time heroes enter a new tile or destroy a lair and you can spend them to bump the ap, or manipulate player threat (to tip them over the threat penalty), make the player reroll, or spawn a minion or captain.

It would be nice to have victory conditions that involve the heroes not dying, too. Maybe your games can be timed by the number of darkness cycles or make sure there is some other goal where the darkness can win. You could give darkness titles for that and have a permanent effect, similar to threat penalties (activates on AP 5, one less action space, etc).

 
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Brian Leveque
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This is what I have so far. Still trying to come up with more ways for the Darkness player to get Despair points and I admittedly haven't play tested it. Our group gets together on the weekends, so we will see how it goes then.

Darkness rules variant

Definitions:

Darkness points:

These points are accrued over the length of the story and can only be spent between hero cycles or during a Darkness cycle.

Despair points:

These points are awarded when the Darkness meets certain goals and are meant to oppose Serendipity points. They may be spent at any time.



Darkness Turn phases:

Begins after hero cycle.

All Darkness and Despair points gained are tallied based on events during the hero cycle.

Darkness player spends Darkness points to add creatures to the spawn queue of any type, so long as the cost is paid. These creatures do not spawn until a Darkness Cycle triggers and follow the spawning rules on the table below.



Darkness points rules:


Darkness points are generated based on the following table

1 point per card discarded from a hero’s hand at the end of the hero cycle

1 point per threat on each hero at the end of the hero cycle

1 point every time a status effect is placed on a hero

4 points whenever a hunting party is wiped out

5 points when a darkness cycle is triggered.

10 points when a lair is destroyed

10 points when Captain is killed.

40 points when a Mid Boss is killed

60 points when a Boss is killed.



Darkness point costs


2 minion – must be placed next to an adjacent mini. If no other minions exist on the tile when they are to be spawned, minions enter the queue for the next time any spawn takes place (lair, new tile, etc.)

25 Spawn Lair – Can spawn anywhere on a tile where a hero is present

30 Trap – A trap may be placed on any tile where a hero is present.

50 Captain – Can be placed alone, following any other tile spawning rules

60 Darkness Cycle – The Darkness player forces a darkness cycle but the AP tracker does not move. This is played as if it were a react card. This forced cycle does not allow a darkness card to be drawn and does not increase the Darkness Point Maximum. It only spawns and activates creatures on the board.

100 Midboss – Can be placed alone, following any other tile spawning rules

200 Boss - Can be placed alone, following any other tile spawning rules


1: Darkness player starts with 10 points to be spent on minions. These minions can only be placed after the first Darkness cycle is triggered. At the start of a new story, the Darkness is limited to a maximum of 50 Darkness points.

2: Every time the darkness cycle is triggered, the Darkness player’s maximum darkness points increases by 5. This is a permanent increase over the course of the story.



Despair Points Rules:


Despair points are awarded based on the following table


1 point for every hero cycle that heroes loiter

1 point for every hero that starts the act with a title

1 point for every green treasure deck token drawn (or purchased from a merchant)

2 points for every blue treasure deck token drawn (or purchased from a merchant)

3 points if a hero is killed


Despair Point costs:


1 Toughen up – The darkness may give – 1 TN to all heroes and allies during the next Darkness Cycle, or +1 TN to all creatures for the next hero cycle. TN adjusted this way may never exceed 10 or fall below 1.

2 Remove treasure – The darkness may remove a treasure from any tile heroes occupy

5 Revive Lesser – The darkness may revive any creature that was killed in the last hero cycle. This creature will spawn the next time creatures spawn Bosses may not be revived by this ability.

10 True Revive – The Darkness player may revive any 2 creatures that have died in the last hero cycle immediately, or 1 boss when the darkness cycles again if the boss was killed in the last hero cycle.

15 Growing Darkness – a 15 point permanent increase in maximum Darkness points.
 
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Jarad Bond
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Nice work!

Here are some observations (again, without playtesting anything). These are personal opinions, and may vary drastically on exactly what you enjoy about games.

Darkness:

I would eliminate the number of fiddly things like threat, # cards left. The end of HC is bad enough already, remembering when to up your AP, when to draw, switch equipment, do status effects, etc. Instead, just add a flat 5-10 every HC.

Maximum darkness increasing is a nice effect - try to make and print a new board that tracks this though, or get rid of it and just increase the max per act by 50 (and start with 100 on the first.


Despair:

I don't know what your goal for despair is, but if it is to counter the increase in ability of heroes, don't punish them when they are already down (so, not on loitering / hero death). You might also start with some despair when heroes begin an act well-equipped.

Alternatively, you can add despair at regular points in the game instead of when heroes gain items. You could add 1 despair/hero, or a flat 2-3, every tile instead of every treasure draw. It would encourage heroes to equip themselves to counter the despair.

Removing treasure sounds really powerful. Get rid of it or increase its cost, I'd say. It's the only way heroes can gain in power.

Other abilities (to make things interesting) could be: force hero re-roll, choose the next spawn card from the top 3, or counter one played hero card (tripped and fell, sword got caught in scabbard).




 
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