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

Subject: Overlord player at full strength? rss

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Gregg Olheiser
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Poughkeepsie
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I'm sure this has been discussed but there are a vast amount of threads in this forum so please feel free to point me to a particular thread if this is redundant.

I have heard a lot of talk that unlike other similar games like The Others or Omega Protocol that the overlord is not playing at his best in order to help the players to enjoy the game more fully.

Any tips or variants on how play to win as the overlord without demolishing the players every game, or do people find they can already do so?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Karl Schreiber
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In my opinion if everyone plays with all information open and play to win then that's how it should be. Allow players time to discuss the quest before you play it, clarify any rules and quest-specific meta before and during the game, debrief after the quest to discuss the could have/should haves in a friendly way. If people are open to it even consider replaying the quest.
Luck can be a significant element in determining who wins. It is my opinion that you shouldn't do anything about this factor.
If after a few games you're finding things completely one-sided have another friendly discussion about why that might be happening. If you're not enjoying the game.... don't play anymore! It is not the overlord's job to make the game fun.

...but then again, the context is important too. If you're an experienced overlord trying to get your kids or newbie gamers into Descent then you may want to adjust your gameplay and make some deliberate mistakes, mulligan some store dealouts, etc to make the game more accessible initially. I guess you just have to make a judgement based on who you're playing with.
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Alexander Steinbach
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The overlord is not a dungeon master in this game. He should try his hardest to win each and every quest. This is also not an RPG, but a tactical miniatures game. It breaks down if both sides are not doing their best to win the game.
 
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Gregg Olheiser
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Thanks very much!
 
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JH
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If I'm already overpowering the heroes I'll sometimes pull my punches a little — not really check my hand of cards before attacking, or leave a monster group put, or decline to activate an optional ability. But only if they're already badly on the ropes.

We're in the midst of Balancing the Scales right now. Two heroes are KO'd and the other two are near it. I could knock them all out and pound on anyone who stands up until I meet the win condition, and/or I could use my Shades to prevent them from healing themselves. But that would be three rounds of drudgery that no one would really enjoy.

I play to win. But I try not to play so hard that no one has any fun.
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Mlai00 Mlai00
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There are many better options for not curbstomping newbies than deliberately pulling your punches. When you intentionally play badly, it kind of ruins the fun for both sides.

Instead, as the OL, handicap yourself in such a way that allows you to still play as hard as you can. Use Zombies or some other underpowered monsters for your open group. Choose the worst Plot deck (Infector) for yourself but try hard to use it well. Customize your OL deck with the most underpowered cards, or just let the deck bloat instead of trimming it, but still play it as well as you can.

And use the LotW expansion as your rumor quest.
 
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JH
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We're not new to this game. I know how to set up in advance for an easier time. But pulling punches is the only way to ease up in the midst of a quest I didn't know I'd be overpowering the heroes during. They did quite well in the previous one, but the Act II monster bump has made a significant difference. Also difficult to switch gears to a different plot deck after heavily investing in Enchanter already.

And, in fact, in this case it was not ruining the fun for either side for me to ease up a bit. I don't find effortless victory fun, and my other players don't find utter hopelessness fun.
 
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Paul
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My group cut plot decks from the game entirely- we found the OL didn't need that boost, whether it was me or someone else. Interesting monster choices are definitely a way to keep things flowing (maybe don't pick kobolds every time even when you could). Mid quest, I find the best way to "pull punches" isn't to ease up at all, just go strong at the wrong target. Instead of taking down the healer, maybe I decide to pick a fight with the warrior. Maybe I keeo attacking even when I should really form a block. Waste an OL card instead of saving it for the right moment.

In other words, when I need to tilt the difficulty I don't play easier- I just play a little dumber.
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