Jim Bobson
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I have been playing the original campaign with 4 friends and they have been stomping me. One of the things that I think holds me back is how much they know about the encounter they're facing.

How much about the quest should I tell them? Should I set the whole map up in advance, or do a fog of war type map? Should I tell them exactly what they need to do to win? Should I tell them what my OL objective is? Should I tell them what monsters I'm using?

I think that part of my issue is that when they see everything and know everything it becomes so much easier to strategise which spoils not just my surprices but any that the encounter might have. Thoughts welcome
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Bruce
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The rules are that they have full access to the quest book, nothing is secret.

If you are finding it unbalanced, there are a number of options such as random hero/class selection if they are a particularly powerful group. I would stay away from making some information hidden as that would be hard to balance and could be seen as cheap if the heroes get a last minute surprise that causes them to lose.
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Chris Schenck
United States
Dayton
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I believe there are some fan-created quests on the FFG Quest Vault that are designed to be revealed as the players progress through the quest. But Bruce is right about the published quests; they're public knowledge.
 
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Alexander Steinbach
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You should photocopy the entire quest guide and send it to your heroes well before you play the first quest of the campaign. (Alternatively, reading the quest rules out loud together will suffice). You shouldn't tell them anything about the quest, you should allow them to read every quest in its entirety before you play it.

This is really the only answer possible to this question. There is no reason why you should know the quest rules and the heroes not. It's just as ridiculous as them knowing all of the quest rules while you have no clue what to expect.

I'm sorry that they are giving you a hard time, but you need to search for different solutions to solve it.
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Fox Reinard
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Welcome to the game!

The only hidden information is handled by face-down tokens and cards, because Descent isn't really structured around a general RPG group with a dungeon master and players. The overlord is one of the players, equal to the heroes.

At first we were confused when they referred to the Overlord as a player, so we didn't give the Overlord the "All players receive 1 XP" reward. It didn't take us long to fix that understanding.

In general it's suggested that you give the most experienced player the role of overlord. If none of your group are very knowledgeable it can be hard on whomever gets the overlord role.

Your first and only goal in an encounter: The objectives. You get to roll lots of attacks as the overlord but a couple of KO heroes and no progress toward your objective is a wasted turn

In the early stages of Act I and Act II are where your monsters are at their strongest. As heroes gain shop items (and the more strategic-thinking ones gain XP) they have an easier time of murdering your innocent minions and withstanding their efforts at self-defense.

Your hand of cards is where you find your greatest strength. The heroes are blind to what you hold, and you can bluff, or outright lie about what is in your hand. You are the Overlord. Your goals are too important to worry about morals. The best part about lying: It puts the heroes on an uncertain path, second-guessing what they will face.

Caveat: While it is recommended by me to lie about the contents of your hand or any other information you the overlord have that the heroes don't (placement of facedown tokens pretty much being the only other hidden information), never mislead regarding the rules of the game
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Chris Schenck
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Mangoose wrote:
I think that part of my issue is that when they see everything and know everything it becomes so much easier to strategise which spoils not just my surprices but any that the encounter might have. Thoughts welcome

Have you given the Road to Legend app a try? It's free, and available for PC, Mac, Android, and iOS.

It revitalized my group's interest in Descent after a couple of years in hibernation. It has the exploration/surprise element you're looking for, and is likely the only way we'll play Descent in the future. It's that much better of an experience (in my opinion).
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Silidus
Canada
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Looks like everyone already covered this, but all quest information is public, the only 'surprises' come in the form of your OL card hand, and any specific rules in the encounter (such as OL selects a token and places it face down etc).

In general, the game balance can seem somewhat of depending on hero choices and experience. A random group of heroes with starting gear can be sorely hurt by a monster group, but can also inflict serious damage to the group (or wipe it out completely) if they act first. Heroes also gain the advantage of synergies, which the OL monsters usually lack, and have heroic feats for additional power.

This means the OL must ensure they are playing cards to their fullest effect, since these cards must balance out both hero synergies and support abilities AND heroic feats, and must also play tactically to ensure at least 2 monster groups are engaging the heroes at a time, and that those groups survive long enough to take action and are furthering the goals of the scenario.

In 2 Encounter quests, the OL must decide between the benefit of winning the encounter vs carrying over damage and cards to the next encounter. If the benifit of winning the first encounter is of less value than holding a hand full of OL cards, the OL may need to forgo trying to win in favor of infliciting as much damage as possible without using cards.
 
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Jim Bobson
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Thanks for the advice, all. I'll keep all information open.

We're rebooting and gonna see how it goes.

We're gonna do the Shadows of Nerekhall quest.

The heroes they've picked are:

Tom - Thief
Avric - Bard
Grisban - Berserker
Ravaella - Runemaster

Any advice on dealing with these characters/classes in this questline would be gratefully received.
 
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