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enie kamozi
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Tewksbury
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Boxed innards of The Delve
First look into and initial impressions of The Delve, an in-app purchase for Descent: Journeys in the Dark : Road to Legend app



This latest addition to the Road to Legend app is the first paid addition and is a nicely packaged, single setting, one off micro? campaign, where you get the taste of the full Descent experience in a fraction of the time (more on that later).



A delve starts off as adventurers enter the realm of the Caretaker, who will guide them through his domain, and if he deems them worthy, will let them leave.



This effectively translates to single run-through with the two acts structure. Each act has 2 small and one boss encounter each, all in a reported 2 hours dungeon romp.
As an introduction, a new delve will offer the option to familiarize with the new concepts which you can conveniently skip on your second run through (which, spoiler alert, you would probably want to do).



Each encounter begins with a bit of fluff and then walks you through the set up. You will be guided through setup: which tiles to pull and assemble, how many search tokens and what monster groups and/or unique monsters. Of-course this takes into account what games you have selected in game settings that you already have in your collection.



This is where I hit 2 issues, first a monster showed up in a encounter which I am sure I do not have in my collection and I did not select in option screen. Seems like this bug has been fixed and an update from FFG is already on the way.
Second was the issue with putting down search tokens, the app doesn't want to focus on the search tokens, whereas it does focus for other type of things the app instructs you to put on the board. This is almost a nitpick and does not affect gameplay in any sense. You just have to scroll around a bunch to figure out the search token placement.



Looking closely at the one of the encounters, it is comparable to one of the original campaign mission but smaller in scope and more concentrated which turns out to be a good thing. The map layout made up of fewer tiles and each tiles seems to have a purpose with some rune stones that help the adventurers or some cliffs that the Ettins will use to hurl boulders over.



Each encounter tasks you to <insert random fluffy reason backed task here> to reach the portal and escape to next encounter.
One of the dreaded tactics that an overlord in the 1vsMany version of the game used was to inflict tests and skill checks, which are present in abundance here as well to prevents the adventurers from reaching the next portal .



Once the adventurers have powered through the encounter the caretaker offers some rewards based on your performance: the amount of turns taken, if monsters were still alive when you jumped through the portal etc etc.
The adventurers also never reset their health and status effects at beginning of each encounter, instead the app instructs how much the heroes can heal up and get rid of x conditions between each encounter. Experience and items are also doled out after each encounter .
Eventually Act 2 hits and adventurers get more xp and access to better gear.



The encounters keep rolling by and the game urges the adventurers to a final confrontation. The final encounter is suitably difficult one and will test the morale limit(the death counter) the adventurers have, especially since they have not been able to fully recover between encounters and those might have compounded by now. The party choice could decide how easy or difficult the final encounter becomes.



Once through, the Caretaker quickly shows the adventurers the exit with the briefest of outro, eager to let the next party in.



Worth mentioning here though, the encounters seem to be randomly generated and even though I had a lot of content marked as owned in the settings, my second run through of the Delve had the same exact Act 1 boss fight with the same premise etc. . That was kind of underwhelming and I think FFG can do a little more to tweak the random encounter generation to not repeat back to back boss encounters on multiple delves.

Even with that though this is my favorite addition to the app. The promise is there, a well thought out party composition and thoughtful actions will take a group around 2 hours to go through a tiny epic journey (but more likely closer to 3). Even then, this is a near perfect experience as it condenses the joy of leveling up your hero, getting epic loot and killing bad guys all in a small package that can be completed in a single game day. I have not been able to start a new normal campaign of Descent in a while, this would let me get back into it with the complete experience that I have heard the original Descent gave in a epic sitting as compared to doing a single campaign mission a game day and revisiting it next game day.

/

Edited for some grammar stuff and some autocorrect gaffes
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Cargo Cultist
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Brilliant review, thanks! I'm through the first half of my first delve.

Something I found out by mistake, but which might turn useful to achieve variety is this:
If you stop playing at the beginning of a new level when the app displays the new tiles - after you received objects and xp but before doing your first turn, when you reopen the app it will have saved you at the location of the previous level, at the last turn. All you need to do is complete everyone's turn and tell the app you go through the portal, click through the xp and rewards text, and it will generate a different scenario.
I was really miffed when I found out because I'd stopped to go out for a few hours AFTER setting the next map and enemies, but if you think about it then it means that if it's a map you've seen you can just rinse and repeat until you find a new one.

A thing I find a bit odd is that you recover from some wounds and conditions between levels but not from stamina loss.

Overall it's a fabulous app and it's got me all excited about Descent again. I think I might even splash for all those lieutenant packs!
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enie kamozi
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Cargocultist wrote:
Brilliant review, thanks! I'm through the first half of my first delve.

Thanks for the kind words
Cargocultist wrote:
Something I found out by mistake, but which might turn useful to achieve variety is this:
If you stop playing at the beginning of a new level when the app displays the new tiles - after you received objects and xp but before doing your first turn, when you reopen the app it will have saved you at the location of the previous level, at the last turn. All you need to do is complete everyone's turn and tell the app you go through the portal, click through the xp and rewards text, and it will generate a different scenario.
I was really miffed when I found out because I'd stopped to go out for a few hours AFTER setting the next map and enemies, but if you think about it then it means that if it's a map you've seen you can just rinse and repeat until you find a new one.

Thats an interesting quirk, this would have solved my "getting same Act 1 boss stage" twice in a row issue
Cargocultist wrote:
A thing I find a bit odd is that you recover from some wounds and conditions between levels but not from stamina loss.

Hmm, I was ruling it as if the app tells you to recover 3 wounds and my hero only had 1 wound and 1 stamina I would recover them both, but if I had 6 wounds I would recover 3 from that first. But yes, that could use some clarification .
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Soylent Green
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enie wrote:
Worth mentioning here though, the encounters seem to be randomly generated and even though I had a lot of content marked as owned in the settings, my second run through of the Delve had the same exact Act 1 boss fight with the same premise etc. . That was kind of underwhelming and I think FFG can do a little more to tweak the random encounter generation to not repeat back to back boss encounters on multiple delves.


THIS is one thing I would like to see changed in multiple places.

1. Here - have an internal tracker of which boss encounters have been experienced and don't repeat until I have done them all.

2. Campaign - side quests - again, keep an internal tracker of which have been shown (even across all games) and don't repeat until they have all been experienced.

Even then - once the boss encounters in the delve have all been experienced - don't repeat again until they have all been encountered a second time.

It's just kind of a dud of an experience running through your first Delve... being all YAY! THAT WAS AWESOME! LET'S GO AGAIN!! Then to get the SAME boss fight again in JUST the second play.
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Jason Daniels
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This is just the type of overview I was waiting for. Thanks for taking the time to write it up.
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