Dear all,

My partner and I are somewhat new to board gaming. We started by playing D&D AS Wrath of Ashardalon and The Legend of Drizzt. Although the concept of drawing tiles was new and interesting to us at first, we find it to be somewhat bland, repetitive and at times an undesirable experience.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
To clarify for those that play own games as well: a few bad attack rolls in a row combined with some unavoidable damage from encounter cards ("you are on a volcanic vent tile, you take 2 damage") may be thematic but are just no fun at times. We have had some bad luck with our ~15 play throughs, many times being stomped on ending the game prematurely and at other times steam rolling through scenario's and winning in an anti-climactic manner. Other than that we have started avoiding some core concepts of the Drizzt version, just to avoid a bad experience. Draw a narrow passage or bridge tile? Avoid at all cost because nothing good comes from potentially drawing a feral troll whilst being stuck on those tiles.


I do understand that as the story unfolds it is up to you to make the progression work for you and take risks and accept an undesirable outcome. But when the complete randomness of it all backfires it is hard to remain optimistic and enjoy what happens.

So we are looking for a game that is more balanced and less based on luck, and more immersive (more flavour and a more gripping campaign). We are very interested in Descent 2 but after watching Rahdo's review (who admittedly is more into euro-style games) we are afraid the story progression is too straightforward and the dice rolling is too dominant. We fear the dice after D&D AS, basically. Specifically, D&D lacks variety in scenario's and we would like to know if this is the case for Descent 2 as well. I understand from reading these forums that the Dark Heirs of Blood Campaign is basically a must have addition to the base game.

We would very much appreciate some feedback on this, especially in relation to the mentioned D&D games.

Regards,

M

 
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Dimitris Zervakis
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I will be honest and say that probably this is not the game for you.
Descent is highly based on luck and the story flavor is just superficial in its sense (minor text before/after each encounter).
There are 2 acts in (normal) campaign mode and balance is skewed dependently: heroes are weak at the start of an act and after they acquire weapons and skills they become stronger or even overpowered.

Heirs of Blood has more flavor with some starting pages of "historical" events related to a villainous family, but I cannot say they add highly to the gameplay as you go. In general, it is a bit more balanced as a campaign, compared to the core set included campaign (The Shadow Rune).

If you are still into "dungeon-crawling", then *maybe* Mice and Mystics is more suitable for you (I do not own it, so take the proposal with a pinch of salt).
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Thanks for your replies.

Well... it's difficult because we really want to like this game as the player versus player mechanic just seems so much fun.

I guess rolling dice isn't too bad at all in case there are abilities or cards otherwise that influence the dice rolling so the combat isnt completely random. Is this a possibility in D2? Like in Eldritch Horror you may acquire attribute improvements that increase the amount of dice you roll with, for instance.

As for Mice & Mystics, I've watched a lot of videos and love it. Will probably get it at one point.

Regards,

Martin
 
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David Hladky
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I suggest you to see some gameplay videos on Youtube. D2E is a great game with fantastic miniatures. If you like painting them, this means lots of extra fun for you. The story in Descent is just a flavour, but scenarios fit well to it. So it depends how it suites you.

If you want a good story driven game of type Descent, try Star wars - Imperial assault. It is great game, but it is not fantasy and the tiles are not as nice as the Descent ones. I have not played suggested Mice and Mystics, but I heard it is really good game as well.

 
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Chris
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Based on what you didn't like about the Dungeons and Dragons Adventure System Board Games (large swings of luck, minimal story) I do not think you will like Descent. It has the same characteristics along with some of its own anti-thematic peculiarities.

I second the recommendation for Mice and Mystics. It is very similar to the D&D games but has a more developed story and the missions are tied very well to the story. It still has wild swings of luck though, which is just how it is when you play a game with dice.
 
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There are quite a few KS out right now you might want to look into, Sword and Sorcery is one, Folklore and others. They might be more of what you are looking for.
 
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martfra wrote:
Dear all,

My partner and I are somewhat new to board gaming. We started by playing D&D AS Wrath of Ashardalon and The Legend of Drizzt. Although the concept of drawing tiles was new and interesting to us at first, we find it to be somewhat bland, repetitive and at times an undesirable experience.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
To clarify for those that play own games as well: a few bad attack rolls in a row combined with some unavoidable damage from encounter cards ("you are on a volcanic vent tile, you take 2 damage") may be thematic but are just no fun at times. We have had some bad luck with our ~15 play throughs, many times being stomped on ending the game prematurely and at other times steam rolling through scenario's and winning in an anti-climactic manner. Other than that we have started avoiding some core concepts of the Drizzt version, just to avoid a bad experience. Draw a narrow passage or bridge tile? Avoid at all cost because nothing good comes from potentially drawing a feral troll whilst being stuck on those tiles.


I do understand that as the story unfolds it is up to you to make the progression work for you and take risks and accept an undesirable outcome. But when the complete randomness of it all backfires it is hard to remain optimistic and enjoy what happens.

So we are looking for a game that is more balanced and less based on luck, and more immersive (more flavour and a more gripping campaign). We are very interested in Descent 2 but after watching Rahdo's review (who admittedly is more into euro-style games) we are afraid the story progression is too straightforward and the dice rolling is too dominant. We fear the dice after D&D AS, basically. Specifically, D&D lacks variety in scenario's and we would like to know if this is the case for Descent 2 as well. I understand from reading these forums that the Dark Heirs of Blood Campaign is basically a must have addition to the base game.

We would very much appreciate some feedback on this, especially in relation to the mentioned D&D games.

Regards,

M



Mice & Mystics
Descent 2e
Star Wars: Imperial Assault

As a Fan of all 3 of these games, I respectfully disagree that Descent is not what you are looking for and M&M is.

Storyline for M&M is very straight forward and monsters that are added to a new tile are mostly based on the current threat level (chapter) and a random encounter card. Some times have a special setup that presets these monsters instead. The campaign story is fantastic but also streamlined

Descent lays out the entire map out before hand you so know what is around the corner and the Overlord selects what monsters can be brought out based on mission set up and mission restrictions. There are no really surprises around the corner. It is also not randomly done. It is selected by the other player so, while it wont be easy, it isn't hard because of randomness. Campaign missions are selected by the winner of the last round from a list of available missions. It adds some variety but doesnt add much to the story although the story is present in the campaign and does lead up to a finale

SW:IA is very similar, the board is laid out before hand and monsters are selected by the mission and sometimes by the Imperial player so you know what you are getting into... sort of. SW:IA runs off hidden information. This is something the Imperial player knows but the Rebel player does not. It is usually events that trigger based on certain actions like opening a door or the end of a specific turn and usually means the Imperial player can place a new figure on a specific portion of the map. This is also not random but does make things harder on the other player. Campaign missions here have a bit more flavor. The next mission is listed by name in the text for which side won that last mission. This allows for better story telling as the next mission has something to do with the results of the last. There are side missions that you take between stories that are just as the name entails: side missions

As far as randomness and luck, yes the fights in all of these games are determined by dice rolls but these are essentially D&D in a box, a game that is based on the luck of dice rolls. It is not THAT random every game I have played in all of these games has been won or lost based on a combination of luck and strategy.
 
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Richard A. Edwards
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My group recently finished the D&D Temple of Elemental Evil campaign. We found it really boring after the first few plays.

We are HUGE fans of Sar Wars Imperial Assault! We've played Descent 2nd but Imperial Assault simply feels like a better game. Plus, Star Wars!

Descent 2nd is a solid game. The story however doesn't come through quite as much as we'd hoped. Mostly it's a race game trying to get from A to B, fighting as you go. To be fair Imperial Assault has been accused of this too, but I find the Star Wars theme to make the stories come through more. And SWIA's campaign has a lot of variety and player choices that engage you in the campaign.

We have also enjoyed Galaxy Defenders, but it is a bit more fiddly and the rules can be a bit confusing. It is less story and more tactical but the heroes can develop a lot during a single mission.

I mention GD because we're looking forward to Sword & Sorcery which is by the same company but set in a fantasy setting instead.
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Alexander Steinbach
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Descent is awesome. If you like games like D&D, I believe you will love descent. However, while this is also a fantasy dungeon crawler style game, it is completely different from D&D.

As others have said, you will roll dice a lot in this game. Oftentimes the dice will hate you as that is what dice usually do. However, since you will be rolling them literally hundreds of times, the hate will average out over all players.
Also descent has lots and lots of items and abilities that modify combat and which can be used in combination at times. There are ample opportunities to strategise and to take calculated risks.
Personally, I believe the game is balanced. But it does suffer from snowballing. When a side has won several quests in a row, they may be difficult to stop. However, with a few simple house rules, this can be solved when it is a problem.
Be advised that a balanced game in this regard means that the heroes can lose. And they will. Sometimes multiple times in a row. And sometimes horribly without seemingly having any chance whatsoever. The overlord is there to make your lives truly miserable and win the game for himself. He is not a dungeon master whose only job is to put up a farce defense. In my opinion, D&D players struggle with this the most.

Lastly, the story of the first few campaigns (namely the shadow rune and Labyrinth of ruin) is not the best. Shadow of Nerrekhall and Heirs of Blood are much better. This can also be patched by role playing your characters more. Which is something you guys should be familiar with.

I'd say give it a go. But realise that each game has its flaws. Descent is no exception in that regard.
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Aswin Agastya
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Don't be fooled with all the dice rolling. Descent is a very much a skill-based game on resource management.
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AnimalMkIV wrote:

*Part way through the campaign, heroes can become very powerful before the overlord switches to his more powerful monsters


That "power surge" makes the game pretty interesting. How should you prepare for Act II? Give up the first quest or go all in?

I'm not actually sure if I would want there to be act 1.5 monsters, even if they didn't increase rule complexity.

Sevej wrote:
Don't be fooled with all the dice rolling. Descent is a very much a skill-based game on resource management.


Descent probably is the most gameplay-focused out of all the dungeon-crawlers. And the strategy is extremely interesting for both sides.

But with that in mind, probably a third of the quests are pretty much decided before they start (either because the quest is so skewed to one side or because it's so random how hard it will be (see: Masquerade Ball)). People say expansion quest design is better though, and you can always houserule the quests.

One more thing: Descent is a race. Either the Overlord or the Heroes are trying to do something while the other side tries to slow them down (sometimes both sides are racing to complete the same objective, like a Capture-the-flag type thing). This might sound really bad, but it results in some pretty interesting strategy, like the Scout archetype, which rarely ever actually fights, and questioning the importance of each objective.

From what I can tell, SW:IA is Descent without the healers and scouts. It's perfectly balanced in "skirmish mode" even though you're not racing to the finish, but it sacrifices a little bit of the role specialization and strategic variety of descent to achieve this balance. But, it's also more refined than descent, since it's pretty much descent 2.5, so it has side quests, more sophisticated reinforcement rules, etc.
 
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David Hladky
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People often complain about Descent 2 being a race. I do not understand the argument too much. All competitive games are sort of the race. What I really like about Descent 2 is that the overlord must do something while the heroes must do something else. So even if it is the race, the scenario seems OK from the role play aspect.

As it is competitive game, let us think about how else that could be implemented. Well, the heroes could become mortal. In that case OL would simply try to concentrate on each of them trying to kill one after another starting with the weakest one, ideally healers. To prevent this heroes would have to turtle and slowly move through the dungeon (with tanks in front of the group and healers behind). Similar approach was used in D1 and it was boring. Not to mention it was still a race as if the heroes were too slow, OL eventually got more and more points to spend on monsters resulting to the heroes be killed.
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