Pat M.
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With our group of gamers we have noticed (like many others I think), that if playing against a competitive group of Heroes, the Overlord has very little chance to win any given quest, let alone a whole campaign. The main reason being that in many quests, the Overlord's monsters are generally wiped of the board before the Overlord even has a chance to act.

These are my suggestions for a better playing experience:

- The Overlord picks 3 random monsters per Open Group to allow variety and avoid unstoppable wins from the Overlord (this can happen in a few quests if the right monsters are picked).

- Add +2 life per monster for "Advanced" play or +4 life per monster for "Expert" play, or something along those lines.
(I was wondering why there wasn't an official variant that would allow to scale the game depending on the experience of the players, like there was with Doom)

- The Heroes can use only one potion per turn.

- A monster standing on a Search token prevents the token from being searched.

- Perform a normal Act I shopping step after the Interlude.

(I just don't understand what logic came up to suggest that the heroes could buy any of the Act I items before Act II. This just fires any attempt the Overlord might have made during Act I from preventing the players to gain certain objects (Rune Plate, Crossbow...).

- Oh yes... and ban Rune Plate or move it to Act II shop deck.


 
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Chris Mathis
United States
Russellville
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Monster selection is most important as OL you have to gauge what the quest objectives are and decide if you need quick monsters to move an objective off the map or big monsters to slow the heroes down while you complete whatever the objective is. If the overlords monsters are getting slaughtered before you even get a chance to use them it is most likely poor placement or a design decision to favor one side for that particular encounter. Generally this is balanced in the other encounter. I find Shadow Dragons and Ettins particularly useful.
 
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Bob Holmstrom
United States
Illinois
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Rune plate should be an act 2 item. That I agree.
 
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Pat M.
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BGG_Chris wrote:
Monster selection is most important as OL you have to gauge what the quest objectives are and decide if you need quick monsters to move an objective off the map or big monsters to slow the heroes down while you complete whatever the objective is.
If the overlords monsters are getting slaughtered before you even get a chance to use them it is most likely poor placement or a design decision to favor one side for that particular encounter. Generally this is balanced in the other encounter. I find Shadow Dragons and Ettins particularly useful.


I agree with what you are saying. However, in most quests, many monsters are placed by design within the heroes range. So there is nowhere to hide.
I think that you underlined the main problem with this game: The Overlord has 40+ monster types at his disposal (with the CK) but only 3 or 4 are resilient enough to be useful in most quests (not counting the race scenarios). I call this a design flaw.
What our group does to force variety is make the Overlord pick 3 random eligible monsters per Open Group. This also helps to avoid some unstoppable combos from the Overlord (Try picking Ettins and Blood Apes in the second encounter of The Wyrm Turns). The drawback of this system is that, more often than not, the monsters just don't last long enough to have the chance to act. Hence my suggestion of adding a few life points to the monsters in order to be able to have other choices than just Golems, Giants, Shadow Dragons...

I just feel that the heroes don't have much of a challenge in this game. Those who have played Doom probably know what I mean.
 
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Rafal Areinu
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The challenge for heroes is not defeating monsters, but defeating overlord. The group that is within reach of heroes at the start of the encounter is only meant to stop them for up to 1 turn. There's nothing wrong with both of those things.

You should be stopping heroes from getting search tokens by trying to complete the quest at hand. That way they won't have spare actions to go token grabbing. The quests have some easy to get tokens and some harder to get tokens on purpose. You have to make heroes feel pressured enough that they won't get harder to get ones unless they are sure they will lose the quest. That's why it's best to keep them hoping they have a chance, while they in fact don't.

If the heroes are really destroying you that much and you are really doing everything in order to win the quest then those buffs don't look that bad. Except for health improvements. Give +4 health to every Kobold and your heroes will never play you again... While +4 health to Giant probably won't matter much. +4 health to every Kobold is 36 total, that's just crazy... And masters have split...

You might do it like this:
Very Easy: the monster has normal health
Easy: the monster gets +1 health for every 5 health it normally has
Medium: +1 health for every 4 health in normally has
Hard: +1 health per every 3 health
Very hard: +1 health per every 2 health
Impossible: double health

This way monsters would scale better. For example on easy Kobolds would keep their base health, while Giant would get +2. On Medium Kobold Masters would get +1, Giant Masters +3 and Giant Minions +2.
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Brian Green
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i seriously highly agree that this game needed better scaling
the overlord only ever really has a chance (against efficient players) on the 1st encounter of each act
act 1 the monsters are capable but quickly oh so quickly the heroes more skills and more equipment inevitably and are becoming stronger every single encounter
what can the overlord do? buy a single card ... one card, MAYBE TWO but usually one
so while each hero gains a new ability and/or new armor and weapons the overlord only gets a single new skill that's shuffled away into the deck that MIGHT come up and help for a dice roll, a piddly ammount of damage, maybe stop someone once, or give another attack/move
while the heroes are spamming their skills any chance they can taking down a small monster in 1 attack maybe 2 if they are unlucky and a big monster in 2 attacks maybe 3
so then your monsters are wiped out and the coast is clear for the heroes to all rest and run through the dungeon while you USUALLY can only spawn 1 monster in at one or another far end of the dungeon and all you can really do is maybe stall your inevitable loss

and this is all cuz there is bad scaling
there are 2 level of difficulty essentially and thats it
act 1 your monsters are on par with the heroes for defense damage and health so they pose a threat they can hold their own with a hero
by the half way point and end of that act they are nothing to the heroes but a single successful attack roll cause the hero's health damage and armor were all increasing while your monsters stayed just as they were 6 quests ago at the start of the intro
then the interlude and act 2 comes around
YAY my monsters finally got stronger
and they finally pose a threat to the heroes again and once again they are on similar grounds of health damage and defense
but then once again the heroes grow and grow and get more health and armor and weapons and abilities
and your monsters stay exactly the same
UGH! the monsters have no chance its just not fun or fair
heroes no matter what will get xp and better themselves and grow stronger but you only get a single card
even with the threat token yes you get some more effects you can use but most of them require threat tokens TO USE so first you have to be doing good at the game and killing people or giving up your xp and then spending them just to buy a card that you then have to pay for with tokens you have to get by winning and when you use them to HELP you win your also helping the heroes which would be fair if you already didnt have to be doing good to get them in a game where its not easy at all for the overlord to be doing good

*HEAVY SIGH*
as a preface i only have the base game and some lieutenant packs
i've been using every different combination of monsters i can
trying different placements
trying different tactics of being aggressive being defensive
but 50%+ of my monsters are wiped turn 1 or 2 and then i get 1 monster per turn
well **** me how can i win that
me and the group i play with are all very strategic players so there isn't a problem of not playing well and making efficient actions
its just 90% of the time i lose and everyone of the hero players says
"yeah i dont see how you could have won" "yeah that didnt seem fair to you" and we aren't the soft hearted sugar coating kind of players they arent ****ing trying to make me feel better and we sit around the table and talk about and just question how it could have worked out for me
and no we dont roll misses all the time or low damage or high damage ... it runs the gamut

i honestly just think it'd be a more scaled and balanced game with maybe 3 acts with 3 different strengths of monsters instead of just easy monsters for 8 quests (intro e1 e2 e3 interlude) and then "harder" monsters for 7 quests (e1 e2 e3 finale)
thats a long time for the monsters to be exactly the same while the heroes always get stronger

crucify me if you will i dont care it just doesnt seem balanced at all
 
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Rafal Areinu
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Well, it's not 8 quests, but 5. Sure, they do have 8 encounters total, but both sides gain exp only 5 times, and there are only 5 shop phases.

The key for winning with OL is to be ruthless and unforgiving starting from first quest and continuing that notion till the end of the game. It's especially bad in Shadow Rune, because heroes are guaranteed to win First Blood, and after that they can choose most favorable quests for them. Stopping heroes from getting as many search tokens as possible, stopping them from getting powerful artifacts etc. is very important.

In 2nd act they have only 3 chances at shopping phase, which means that with bad luck they might not get too strong in the end. Or they might get perfect stuff for them. It's kind of hard to do, but I tend to trick heroes into buying first act items that I know won't be much of use in 2nd act. They lose money that way which would otherwise be saved for some really powerful act 2 equipment.
 
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Pat M.
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I agree with everything that was written previously; how the Overlord needs to be ruthless and deny the heroes the Search tokens. But at one point, most of the time, there are just not monsters left on the board to deny anything at all.

During our current LoR campaign, the heroes have a Treasure Hunter in their ranks and I won't start on how ridiculous this Class is at managing to get the heroes everything they need.

I am using the Zachareth Plot Deck, and planning to buy the False Friend ans Meticulous Planning Plot cards in order to deny the heroes some treasures during Act II (using these cards during act I is not so efficient as the Heroes will have access to any Act I treasure at the end of the Interlude anyway). We will see if this balances out things a bit.

The fact that the monsters keeps the same stats during the course of 5 (or 6 with a rumor quest) quests while the heroes keep on growing in power, is a good point and should have been addressed in a better way than it is currently. One idea could be to add 1 life point to the monsters every two quests or go along with Areinu's ideas on scaling the monsters' health.

One friend was also wondering why the cost of hero skills was dropped between Descent 1st RtL and Descent 2nd ed. The idea would be to add a 25 GP cost to Level 1 skills, 50 GP to Level 2 skills etc... or something along those lines. In that way, the heroes would probably not be able to buy every single powerful treasure they come across; they would have to choose between upgrading their skills or their equipment to a certain extent.

Anyway, it feels that this game needs just a few minor adjustments to function as I believe it was supposed to in the first place.
 
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