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

Subject: Reinforcement Point System rss

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Dylen Zircona
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So my friends and I have played several campaigns and absolutely loved the game. The thing that we always wondered about, however, was the reinforcement system and monster choice. In the game the overlord would pick his groups and that was it for the map and it always seemed beneficial to reinforce big monsters. We had the idea that instead of picking say 3 monster groups, the Overlord gets a certain cap of points for the quest and can spawn any monsters of a correct type in any amount so long as they can afford it, with bigger monsters costing more than littler ones obviously. Then, on quests where the Overlord gets reinforcements, he regenerates a certain amount per hero. We figured that this would make the game more tactical and introduce some more variety because a lot of the monsters just don't get used since they have superior alternatives, like Golems or Giants. Plus it presents the Overlord with the opportunity to decide when to spawn and how to use those points. My questions are, how much would this swing the game balance? If the Overlord could have many different types of monsters would it negatively impact game balance? Has something like this already been created? I'd love to hear your thoughts and see if we could come up with something a bit more dynamic than the current system.
 
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Paul
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One of the things about the current system that encourages strategy is the fact that the heroes know which monsters return, and which don't. Say during a particular quest, there are ettins and elementals. The heroes could argue the strengths and weaknesses of the monsters in deciding which to attack (or whether to attack at all.) Now however, let's say that one ettin can be reinforced at the start of the OL turn, but an elemental cannot. All of a sudden, elementals become the logical choice for attack since killing an elemental is a permanent hit to the OL, whereas killing an ettin is woefully temporary and doesn't give the heroes a net advancement toward the end of the map. Of course, this changes a bit when there is a particular monster blocking your way, or if the reinforcing group is made of small, weaker monsters (if you can kill 2 goblins every round and only 1 respawns, you're still making progress.)

Your suggestion of allowing any monster group to spawn would undermine that aspect of action planning.
 
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Dylen Zircona
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I agree the if say an ettin was 4 points to respawn and an elemental was 6 and the players know that the Overlord will only have enough to spawn an ettin that naturally makes targeting the elemental a good strategy. But the overlord could also choose to use those 4 points and say spawn one goblin archer, a medusa, a goblin witcher, and a ferrox if say they were all one point apiece and the heroes have to consider that option as well. That was more of the system that I saw, because it gives you that strategic variety and considering the what ifs of your opponent. Do I summon a big monster and risk it could get nuked or do I go for some smaller monsters with multiple abilities and the ability to attack multiple times? Plus it helps get more of those underused monster groups into the game because you don't have to lock down one of your precious monster groups on them for that whole quest. You could bring them in when it would be tactically advantageous to do so and swap them out as the battle changes. The overlords limitation is that the monsters have to be part of a group the quest allows and the passive generation of points. As a hero, I also see it as now viable to actually hunt monsters. It provides an edge to the heroes because if they can make the overlord lose reinforcement points by killing big targets when they appear or eliminate monsters faster than they can be replaced, they will be more able to complete the quest at hand.

The initial issues I see have to do with either the Overlord gaining too many monsters too quickly or the Overlord losing quickly if the heroes are powerful enough to eliminate many monsters, including big ones, quickly
 
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Cris Bohde
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So, basically using Imperial Assault deployment/reinforcement rules?

It wouldn't surprise me for FFG to eventually rewrite Descent (3rd edition?) rules to use a points system for deployment, like Imperial Assault uses. It gives the Overlord/Emperor player more flexibility and surprise to the Heroes/Rebels.
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Will Buck
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Generally I think the typical "reinforce one monster from open group" to be fine, considering the Overlord is usually able to reinforce weaker, large-group monsters every turn instead of perhaps every other turn with more powerful monsters, allowing a steady stream of enemies to harass the heroes. Reinforcing large monsters doesn't always work out, since the heroes can focus fire and then push for an objective while the large (and perhaps slow) reinforcement tries to catch up.

However there is still probably a slight advantage towards picking the smaller groups of tough monsters in many quests. Your point system might work fine for balancing that, but it seems like a lot of bookkeeping to me. Here's an alternative house rule: If the four-player group limit for your open group is 2 monsters, you may reinforce 1 monster. If the group limit is 3 monsters, you may roll one brown die and reinforce 1 + the number of shields on your roll (average is 0.67). If the group limit is 4 or more monsters, you may roll one grey die and reinforce 1 + the number of shields on your roll (average is 1.33). This way, reinforcements are always approximately 50% of group strength.
 
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