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

Subject: Speed Up game tempo rss

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I'm fairly new to board gaming and Descent is my first "hardcore" game (and I'm in love with it BTW ).

I've played more than half of the campaign with just one other player (me as OL, he's using 2 heroes).

We recently started another campaign, this time with 4 hero players and me as OL again.

The problem I'm having is the incredibly slow pace the other players take. None of them are experienced board game players but they're all video gamers and have no problem understanding the concepts etc. It's just that it takes them forever to decide what to do on their turn and it's driving me nuts angry They're constantly changing their strategies (most of the time in the middle of an action) and disagreeing about the actions they should take.

We played the 1st encounter of A Fat Goblin the other night and it took us 4 hours to complete. The hero's round take about 20 - 30 minutes, then my OL turn is around 5 min.

Two of the players have strong personalities and leadership traits; and they tend to disagree about what each hero should do on their turn etc. I've asked them to speed up their decisions and leave the choice of what to do to each individual player instead of trying to dictate actions to the other players.

Without destroying friendships or ruining the evening, how can I get them to speed up their decisions? Any hints or tips?

I love the game, but I really don't want to spend the next 8 months on a single campaing :|
 
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Raymond Morehouse
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Redlands
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We have the same problem. We have been debating instituting a soft time limit to hero turns, maybe 15 minutes, but haven't tried it yet.
 
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Jason Walker
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You might want to take a look at this thread. There were a lot of good options in here the last time it came up.

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/15148923
 
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Dangerous Partners
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Crikey - we did two quests in 4 hours yesterday (only our second play of Descent with the first being months ago) including rules refresh and setups and I thought we were slow.
I couldn't sit through people taking 20-30mins for their turn, especially when there is four of them to go before you - I'd just have to say 'speed it up guys otherwise we'll have to find another game to play'.

Suggestions ...
Plain, polite statement that they are taking to long and hopefully they are mature enough to take it (yes, I know this is not a given with geeky gamers).
Timer so each player gets, say, 5 mins at the beginning of their turn to decide a strategy and then they have to take their two actions. No interruptions allowed by other players after this 5 min.
 
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South Africa
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Thanks for the link! Didn't notice that thread.

I'm glad we're not the only group with problems like this.

I think we'll start by adding a timer. I'm thinking 15 min for the heroes, 5 min for the overlord.

Of course we'll adjust the timer if we find that we're constantly running into overtime.

I'm also considering banning interruptions from other players during a hero's turn. That's whats taking the most time - players micro managing each other's movement, order of actions and the like.

Thanks for the link!

It sucks that you have to go about a game in such a militaristic fashion but it can't go on like this!
 
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Dangerous Partners
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For disagreements between the heroes as well as banning interuptions just use the standard FFG rule (across many games) when players can't agree, the current player decides - this is already partially touched on in teh rules for setup, if the Heroes can't decide what order they go in then it is just round-the-table order ... even though it is just a game it sounds like you need to start enforcing some guideline rules (timer, interruptions, disagreements) otherwise game enjoyment will plummet.
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Chase Toffee
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Our group is so experienced with gaming (with each other) in general, that they tend to plan their turn individually and make suggestions. This takes about 1-2 min, then they decide whats the best solution and go with it. If something changes (me as OL playing traps etc.) they´ll just swap tactics with the 1-2 min brainstorm again.

I think its just a matter of experience, but you should also remember that this game is not Chess... You should do mistakes or non-optimal decisions sometimes. The fact is, you are supposed to have fun when gaming and there are usually many optimal strategies to go with. Just decide and execute : D and no "alpha players" allowed to the table
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If your players are actually clashing over the moves, I would suggest trying to introduce a rule where everyone controls their own turns, the heroes can coordinate but nobody gets to tell someone else what they should be doing on their turn. I can't imagine the game is much fun for the people who AREN'T the "strong leaders."

Also... frankly, a lot of that is about player maturity. I'm definitely an alpha geek, it's my instinct to just jump in and tell everyone in my weekly group how to play. And let me tell you, 20 years ago, that would have been what I did, no question, and it would have led to long turns, arguments, and no fun for the other players. Nowadays I know the value of making polite suggestions, and letting it go if people don't bow down to my immense strategic wisdom :-) It also helps to play the game one-on-one with a different friend... it helps me realize that I'm not right all the time!
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Jeff

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I think that a 4 hour game is pretty normal for Descent. My group can easily take 5 hours to complete a quest. There is a lot of deliberation, but many tactics depend on the outcome of rolls so you are often forced to adjust action by action.

Quote:
I love the game, but I really don't want to spend the next 8 months on a single campaing :|


I have played a handful of campaigns with different groups and some of them did take about that long.
 
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Tristan Angeles

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Since they are new, give them the benefit of the doubt. After a few games you should not be the only player frustrated with what board gamers call AP, analysis paralysis. Once that happens warn them that on the next game, you will put a generous timer, and when it's up, you get to draw an OL card. Better than forcing the turn, the increasing threat makes the players work harder and cooperate more. I've never had to do this, after the second or so game, they start to understand the mechanics enough to speed up their game play, but it should be a good idea you might want to. try.
 
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Just some feedback:

We had another play session and I used a timer and a 15 min round limit to keep the pace going.

It worked wonders! The competitive nature of the players immediately kicked in when there's a clock ticking next to them!

They made quicker moves, responded faster and stopped interfering with each other's moves all together. Thankfully they never started rushing their turns, they had enough time to think carefully about their actions.

They never even ran out of time!

We finished The Masquerade Ball (both encounters) in under 2 hours - and they even scraped a win!

Thanks for the advise - I hope some other players who's running into long games take note: just bring in a timer!
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Simplify but using as few components as you need. Descent isn't too bad on this (as opposed to say Madness of Madness), but I use either the status tokens or the status cards, not both. I also don't bother to get out every hero's objective tokens unless absolutely necessary. That might cut more time than you think!
 
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