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Subject: Could we be doing something wrong? rss

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Phil Schmidt
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Hello,

One of my gaming group wanted to play descent recently, and it wasn't very popular at all. Actually, the game really wasn't very fun, which was surprising with how high of a rating the game has here on BGG.

It's possible that we were doing things incorrectly, but there were a few things really killing the game for us:

1) Somebody was always not doing much. Due to the narrow hallways movement/line of sight blocking, it was really easy for players to have turns where not a lot happened. As those added up, the game got boring.

2) For scenarios where the overlord just had to move units around to complete objectives, it seems impossible for heroes to win unless overlord throws the game. Most monsters move faster, and the only way you can attempt to stop them is to try and completely obstruct movement, else they can just run between and past you. But for some scenarios, the game is decided before the heroes can even reach said monsters.

3) Monsters with abilities like knockback are too effective at exploiting terrain, to the point where certain rooms might as well not exist because heroes can't go there.

4) For the reasons above, ranged attacking were king, melee attacking is trash; though depending on how you pick a team many characters are melee.

5) As far as campaign progression is concerned, winning and losing is meaningless compared to looting, so the game devolved to not caring about the scenario because looting is 10x more meaningful.

So yeah, are these common problems, or did we do something wrong?
 
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Adrian George
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That experience sounds so counter to everything else I've ever heard said about or experienced with this game, i can only assume you were doing something wrong.
 
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Silidus
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What campaign were you playing?

There are a few things that it sounds like you may have forgotten based on your post.

2. "Most monsters move faster" - Heroes can spend fatigue to move. Each hero may spend 1 fatigue point to gain a movement point, which greatly extends a heroes effective attack range to well outside that of most monsters.

4. "Melee attacking is trash" - Probably related to the movement issue, but Melee attacks typically roll blue/red die (in act 1) vs a blue/yellow die for ranged attacks. In addition, melee weapons usually have stronger surge abilities (+2 or more damage on surge) while ranged weapons tend to have +1 heart or +range on surge. This gives melee weapons a much higher damage potential than equivalent level ranged weapons. This can be essential against high armor opponents (such as Ettins) or those with high health values.

5. There is certainly a 'soft win' aspect to most campaign encounters. Losing the quest while getting every search token can be very beneficial to the heroes, especially if they are losing due to lack of gear, but most quests grant a pretty significant boon to the winner, such as a relic or overlord card. Often the 'win' is not so much in what you gain, but in what you deny the opponent. An overlord entering the interlude with only 4 XP worth of cards is far easier than one with 8XP worth of cards, a relic, and 2 free reward cards.

3. Again, probably related to the fatigue to move. Knockback is great for throwing heroes into water or muck (or a hazard space) but for the most part, its only going to cost the hero a few fatigue to get back into melee range to perform another 2 attacks to take down the monster.
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Jason
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Hmmm. It sounds like you might have been alternating turns between heroes and monster groups. That would allow the overlord to jam up hallways.

In nearly all quests, the heroes activate first: all heroes take their turns and only then does the overlord get to activate monster groups. The heroes can often dispatch an entire monster group before the overlord gets to go.

 
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Sebastian H.
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Hello Skies, I´ll try to analyze this a bit for you:

skies wrote:
1) Somebody was always not doing much. Due to the narrow hallways movement/line of sight blocking, it was really easy for players to have turns where not a lot happened. As those added up, the game got boring.


I´m not exactly sure how this could happen. The heroes should at least be able to attack monsters if they block a corridor (which is a very valid tactic for the overlord to use). Remember that friendly figures can pass through each other, so heroes shouldn´t be blocked much by other heroes.

skies wrote:
2) For scenarios where the overlord just had to move units around to complete objectives, it seems impossible for heroes to win unless overlord throws the game. Most monsters move faster, and the only way you can attempt to stop them is to try and completely obstruct movement, else they can just run between and past you. But for some scenarios, the game is decided before the heroes can even reach said monsters.


Usually the heroes have the upper hand regarding mobility, but this depends quite a lot on the hero composition. In general scouts are a bit faster than the other archetypes. But there are also fast heroes for the other archetypes. If you are struggling in this regard, perhaps you could optimize the hero selection. Also don´t forget that heroes can, besides doing 2 move actions, additionally move by spending stamina (1 MP per stamina spent). This doesn´t even use up an action. In general heroes have a bit more distance to cover than the overlord, but they should almost always be more mobile. It is also a valid tactic to block corridors with heroes, as only certain monsters (for example goblin archers and flying monsters) can move through hero figures.

skies wrote:
3) Monsters with abilities like knockback are too effective at exploiting terrain, to the point where certain rooms might as well not exist because heroes can't go there.


I´m not 100% sure what you mean by this, but knockback surely is powerful. Don´t forget though, that most monsters can only attack once per activation (if no overlord cards are used). This, combined with the fact that relatively few monsters even have knockback, makes this point a bit hard to understand.

skies wrote:
4) For the reasons above, ranged attacking were king, melee attacking is trash; though depending on how you pick a team many characters are melee.


Range attacks usually have no real drawback (except for the range requirement), but melee attacks are often more powerful, since they often have better dice and no surge=range effects. Often stamina movement or hero abilities that increase movement are the key to position the heroes, so that the can use both their actions to attack.

skies wrote:
5) As far as campaign progression is concerned, winning and losing is meaningless compared to looting, so the game devolved to not caring about the scenario because looting is 10x more meaningful.


This is true to an extend. It´s always a good idea to grab as much search tokens as possible without throwing the game. Even if the heroes lose a quest it can be considered a win if you manage to get all search tokens. For heroes equipment is almost as important as XP. Most scout classes are effective because they can often combine searching with other beneficial effects. But it all depends on the quest rewards. Some relics for example are very powerful, and it might sometimes be a good idea to forego search tokens if it means that you can probably secure a win. This is not so obvious, because there is always the urge to win, but a tactical loss can be very valid, especially if it´s in encounter 1 and doesn´t affect encounter 2 very much.

I´d guess that you might not yet have grasped the essence of the game. At its heart, Descent is a tactical objective based miniature skirmisher. While it is very thematic, success often requires to focus on the tactical aspects of the game, which I guess isn´t everybodys cup of tea.

In the past I constantly experienced, that some hero players absolutely can´t handle the competetive nature of the game, if they lose to an experienced overlord. It often sours the mood, even if 1 or 2 loses do not decide a campaign. If this might be a problem, I´d recommend you check out the "Road to Legend" app and try to play the game in coop mode. It´s a challenge, but since there is no competition the experience is more laid back.

I hope you can give the game another try. If it still doesn´t appeal to you, thats sad, but not everybody has to like every game. There´s no shame in deciding to not liking something after giving it a try.
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Alexander Steinbach
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Several things come to mind after reading this:

- did the heroes use fatigue-move? If not, then you should.
- attacking twice can be very powerful for the heroes.
- Especially in narrow corridors, positioning is key. This is a major point in this game. Make sure you do not block your teammates. Use fatigue to move a square out of the way if necessary.
- carefully look at the LoS rules. You have line of sight more often than you'd think.
- did you know that friendly figures can move through one another?
- did you know that monsters can only attack once unless they have the ravage keyword?
- some scenarios may indeed favour one side over the other. This is a known issue especially with the older quests. Which campaign did you play?
- searching is good, but beware of throwing the quest in favour of them. Winning a quest not only gives you rewards, you also prevent the overlord from gaining his. Some quest rewards are better than others, though.
- melee weapons usually do more damage than ranged attacks. Also, ranged attacks miss more often. So I certainly wouldn't consider melee trash. Having at least one melee attacker is highly recommended.
- be sure to focus on the objective. Killing monsters is a means, (usually) not a goal.
- Always remember what skills and abilities you have they can be easily forgotten.
- whatever the case, when heroes are not doing anything in a turn, you are doing something wrong

Good luck, if you have further specific issues, don't hesitate to ask.
Last, it can just be that descent isn't for you. Don't play a game you don't enjoy. It's hobby, remember: you're supposed to have fun.

 
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Phil Schmidt
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Yes, we know about fatigue to move. That's why ranged attackers are so strong. They hardly have to move at all compared to melee attackers and it way offsets the dice.

As I understand, we played Shadow of Nerekhall Expansion, starting with the Introduction "A Demonstration".

In this scenario, overlord wins by capturing peasants. He does this by possessing them with minions then either walking off the map or absorbing them with the boss monster. Possessed civilians can only be saved by using an item that requires a skill check action to pick up. The overlord goes first. After we lost horribly, as a group we re-evaluated the scenario and realized that if the overlord uses a relatively straightforward strategy, it is physically impossible for the heroes to win absent some divine intervention type rolls, though probably not even then because the relevant monsters have such high health.

I don't know the next one we played, but it involved a wolf boss basically doing laps around the board on a trail. Overlord goes first. We lost horribly and again after re-evaluating we determined that the wolf boss moves so absurdly fast that that the only way you could even have a chance of winning is to ignore the entire map and wall off the checkpoint adjacent to the starting area. But then all the overlord has to to is breach the wall in a single spot and it's gg, and while that's being set up you have to just stand there and not leave a spot in the wall. One of the areas had a double pit kind of arrangement, and a knockback monster threw a guy over a pit into the far area of an adjacent one. Since you can't move in pits, he would have to climb out, take damage to go back in, then climb out again; not that he would've had time because the overlord is able to complete the entire 2 laps in 4 turns, and the overlord goes first.

If we house ruled this game so that the overlord could not take double move actions, then it might be balanced.
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Graham Martin
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If you enjoy fantasy and you enjoy dungeon crawling and you enjoy tactics, I *have* to believe you were doings something odd because this is, hands down, the best-in-class for a fantasy, tactical, dungeon crawler. I have played this for hundreds of hours and it is fairly well balanced. Some quests will favor the Overlord and other favor the heroes, but I have never heard of a broken quest the way you describe it. I don't recall the details of the quest you played first, but I will read it when I get home. I encourage you to start with the very first learning quest from the base set as your first quest. It is simple and designed to teach the game.
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Alexander Steinbach
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A demonstation is certainly winnable for the heroes, but difficult. The other quest is harder (I don't remember the name, but I know exactly of which quest you speak).

Descent is not designed to make the heroes win. As a matter of fact, these are two overlord-favoured quests. Also, the overlord is more likely to win quests at the start of an act, while heroes are more likely to win quests at the end of the act. Speaking of acts, are you sure you are using act I monster cards?

Losing quests will happen a lot. Sometimes quite badly. Descent is not D&D where the heroes basically are guaranteed to win.

Which heroes do you have and which skills and items do you use?
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Silidus
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Sounds like we need to talk strategy for the opening quest in Nerekhall and "Prey".

As with most quest, OL strategy depends greatly on the hero choices, since (as you stated) range against monsters with lower HP and lower armor is king. Most scenarios also tend to hinge around a single 'turning point' or objective of contention in each scenario, where right off the start 2 (out of 3) objectives can be easily obtained by one side, and the other side must prevent the final objective from being obtained.

In the opening quest, Trystaine is the hero objective, starting on the gallows in the large room with the fountain with the heroes. Changelings start in the inn in the bottom corner of the map with 3(?) peasants easily obtained in the inn and ritual room. Fleshmolders act as the blockers and damager units for the OL.

Trystaines first turn is usually to sprint down the tunnel to the right, ending his turn either next to or behind the IronBound in order to sacrifice the peasant, changelings grab the first peasant in the ritual room and move towards the 2 in the inn. Flesh molders peak out into the central street and take pot shots at heroes and take blocking positions either in the street or just inside the door.

So at this point, OL can expect 3 fairly easy possessions, and one peasant off the map on the next turn.

Heroes (again totally dependent on the what heroes) should use their heroic feats on the first turn to maximize their effect. Choices are, burn down Trystaine, either by going through the ironbound or using a hero ability like Astarra, or the whip 'surge' ability from the treasure hunter, to move Trystaine or the IronBound away from each other.

Heroes like Grey Ker can perform a 3rd attack from range, either to add to the DPS to burn Trystaine down, or can double move and fatigue to get in position to kill a changeling in the inn, or (assuming another hero can kill the potential blocking fleshmolder in the ally to the right of the map) go save the potential 3rd peasant to prevent the win.

There are also the shackles that can be use to bind Trystaine (sorry I don't have the quest book on me to double check their usage) but if you have fast heroes or heroes who can gain movement(such as Astarra or Syndreal (Heroic)) you can bring them into play as well.


Prey works very similar. Heroes should maximize their first turn, as that is when they are closest to the Master Barghest (and now XP skills come into effect). If the Barghest escapes the first turn, heroes should choose a choke point. Characters like the Knight (with Guard, make a good choke point blocker), Hexers if they can get a hex on the Master Barghest can use Affliction to severely damage or slow down the Master. The Stalker can immobilize the master (iirc, don't recall if master is immune) with a ranged net attack on surge.

Could you maybe tell us what heroes you were using?
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Ryan Stripling
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I've won both of those quests as the heroes. It was a while ago, so I can't share any insight except to say that your experience isn't necessarily the way the game will always play out for you. Maybe the heroes are inferior to the OL player. Maybe your classes don't work well together. Maybe you don't have a healer or maybe you're saving up your XP and so are relatively weak right now. There are a lot of factors, but keep playing. Give the heroes a handicap of extra money or the win bonus, or let them switch out their heroes and classes and keep their XP, and try a few more quests and see if they catch up. The game is a lot of fun once everyone gets the hang of it.
Happy gaming!
-ryanjamal
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Phil Schmidt
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Vardaine wrote:
Descent is not designed to make the heroes win. As a matter of fact, these are two overlord-favoured quests. Also, the overlord is more likely to win quests at the start of an act, while heroes are more likely to win quests at the end of the act. Speaking of acts, are you sure you are using act I monster cards?


Maybe this was it. Because someone above said we should be able to kill a set of monsters in a round, and that was NOT our experience. A red enemy took the entire team beating on it for a round to bring it down. I didn't know there were various copies. I do recall that the wolf guy in the second quest had 18 health, rolled a gray and black dice for defense, and moved like 7 or 9 spaces per action or something. As this was our second game, we had 1 experience point and 2 of us had something other than starting items.

Silidus wrote:
Sounds like we need to talk strategy for the opening quest in Nerekhall and "Prey".

Trystaines first turn is usually to sprint down the tunnel to the right, ending his turn either next to or behind the IronBound in order to sacrifice the peasant, changelings grab the first peasant in the ritual room and move towards the 2 in the inn. Flesh molders peak out into the central street and take pot shots at heroes and take blocking positions either in the street or just inside the door.

So at this point, OL can expect 3 fairly easy possessions, and one peasant off the map on the next turn.


OL moved trystain and ironbound to block one hall and used the flesh moulders to block the other.

Silidus wrote:
Heroes (again totally dependent on the what heroes) should use their heroic feats on the first turn to maximize their effect. Choices are, burn down Trystaine, either by going through the ironbound or using a hero ability like Astarra, or the whip 'surge' ability from the treasure hunter, to move Trystaine or the IronBound away from each other.

Heroes like Grey Ker can perform a 3rd attack from range, either to add to the DPS to burn Trystaine down, or can double move and fatigue to get in position to kill a changeling in the inn, or (assuming another hero can kill the potential blocking fleshmolder in the ally to the right of the map) go save the potential 3rd peasant to prevent the win.


The ironbound had a protect ability, so we got minimal damage done there. We also tried to pick up the shackle things, which requires an action, because once the OL possesses civilians that is the only way to stop them that we could find in the rules. We did have 3 failed rolls, but even if we didn't it's either grab shackles OR fight the blockade. Either way, the possession was going to happen and the only stopping OL at that point was having the shackles.

Silidus wrote:

There are also the shackles that can be use to bind Trystaine (sorry I don't have the quest book on me to double check their usage) but if you have fast heroes or heroes who can gain movement(such as Astarra or Syndreal (Heroic)) you can bring them into play as well.


There are no such shackles. It's to release the civilians that we can't actually reach, especially if we take the action to pick up the shackles.

Silidus wrote:
Prey works very similar. Heroes should maximize their first turn, as that is when they are closest to the Master Barghest (and now XP skills come into effect). If the Barghest escapes the first turn, heroes should choose a choke point. Characters like the Knight (with Guard, make a good choke point blocker), Hexers if they can get a hex on the Master Barghest can use Affliction to severely damage or slow down the Master. The Stalker can immobilize the master (iirc, don't recall if master is immune) with a ranged net attack on surge.

Could you maybe tell us what heroes you were using?


What do you mean 'if' it gets away? OL goes first and a double move action gives the barghest 14 spaces, which was enough to run past us and get most (or all, can't remember) of the way to the next trail section, and then move zombies up to block us. OL second turn was completing the first round of the trail, and third turn was playing a 'get an extra action' allowed him to grab the first two again and be exactly 1 space away from getting the last item. It's so fast that literally the only viable strategy would be to blockade the starting trail tile and camp it. But that doesn't seem like it would work either because the OL could just assault one section and focus a single person to create a crack. The barghest is fast enough to posture such that if we pulled anyone to reinforce he'd squeeze through the new gap too.
 
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Phil Schmidt
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I should probably also add that I play Ninja Turtles, the Others, and Conan; and am fairly good at them. I'm familiar with this types of game.

This wasn't a matter of favored. I'm okay with favored (I love the others for example). As a group we re-evaluated each scenario and we collectively decided that it was literally impossible for heroes to win unless the OL deliberately threw the game. OL units are just too mobile.

So here is a rule we might have wrong. In the other games, it takes extra action points or something to move around/past enemies. I'm told that in Descent the only way to hinder movement is to create a blockade. If, for example, monsters couldn't do some bs diagonal run with no penalty to zip past heroes.

So far every time I've played Descent, for scenarios where the OL has to move stuff off the map, it's one sided in favor of OL. In scenarios where the OL has to fight, it's completely one sided in favor of heroes.
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Silidus
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14 movement seems high.

Barghests have a speed of 4, which means first move action they 'shrink' move 4 spaces, then expand, putting their front space 5 spaces away from where it started.

Second move action they do the same thing, so that puts the front square another 5 spaces from where it started.

Expanding a model can only be done when interrupting the movement for another action, or when the move action is completed in its entirety (and all remainging movement points are lost). This can be done at any point during the move action, but should still have only put the Barghest 10 squares from its start position.
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Andy Stanford
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skies wrote:
What do you mean 'if' it gets away? OL goes first and a double move action gives the barghest 14 spaces, which was enough to run past us and get most (or all, can't remember) of the way to the next trail section, and then move zombies up to block us. OL second turn was completing the first round of the trail, and third turn was playing a 'get an extra action' allowed him to grab the first two again and be exactly 1 space away from getting the last item. It's so fast that literally the only viable strategy would be to blockade the starting trail tile and camp it. But that doesn't seem like it would work either because the OL could just assault one section and focus a single person to create a crack. The barghest is fast enough to posture such that if we pulled anyone to reinforce he'd squeeze through the new gap too.

I'm not familiar with the quest in question, but is there a specific rule for this quest that the OL goes first? Because default is Heroes first, then OL.
 
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phoenixandy wrote:
skies wrote:
What do you mean 'if' it gets away? OL goes first and a double move action gives the barghest 14 spaces, which was enough to run past us and get most (or all, can't remember) of the way to the next trail section, and then move zombies up to block us. OL second turn was completing the first round of the trail, and third turn was playing a 'get an extra action' allowed him to grab the first two again and be exactly 1 space away from getting the last item. It's so fast that literally the only viable strategy would be to blockade the starting trail tile and camp it. But that doesn't seem like it would work either because the OL could just assault one section and focus a single person to create a crack. The barghest is fast enough to posture such that if we pulled anyone to reinforce he'd squeeze through the new gap too.

I'm not familiar with the quest in question, but is there a specific rule for this quest that the OL goes first? Because default is Heroes first, then OL.


Yes in "Prey" the quest rules specifically state the OL goes first.
 
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Andy Stanford
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skies wrote:
What do you mean 'if' it gets away? OL goes first and a double move action gives the barghest 14 spaces, which was enough to run past us and get most (or all, can't remember) of the way to the next trail section, and then move zombies up to block us. OL second turn was completing the first round of the trail, and third turn was playing a 'get an extra action' allowed him to grab the first two again and be exactly 1 space away from getting the last item. It's so fast that literally the only viable strategy would be to blockade the starting trail tile and camp it. But that doesn't seem like it would work either because the OL could just assault one section and focus a single person to create a crack. The barghest is fast enough to posture such that if we pulled anyone to reinforce he'd squeeze through the new gap too.

How wide is the trail on the starting tile? How many heroes did you have?

If you blocked it, don't forget that each monster can only attack once per turn, regardless of whether they move or not, so breaking through the blockade shouldn't be that easy.
 
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Phil Schmidt
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The bergheist card we used had movement that was at least 7. I remember this because it was one of the main 'how are we supposed to win?' frustrations.

phoenixandy wrote:
skies wrote:
What do you mean 'if' it gets away? OL goes first and a double move action gives the barghest 14 spaces, which was enough to run past us and get most (or all, can't remember) of the way to the next trail section, and then move zombies up to block us. OL second turn was completing the first round of the trail, and third turn was playing a 'get an extra action' allowed him to grab the first two again and be exactly 1 space away from getting the last item. It's so fast that literally the only viable strategy would be to blockade the starting trail tile and camp it. But that doesn't seem like it would work either because the OL could just assault one section and focus a single person to create a crack. The barghest is fast enough to posture such that if we pulled anyone to reinforce he'd squeeze through the new gap too.

How wide is the trail on the starting tile? How many heroes did you have?

If you blocked it, don't forget that each monster can only attack once per turn, regardless of whether they move or not, so breaking through the blockade shouldn't be that easy.


The starting tile has 3 enterances, each 2 spaces wide. At speed 7+, we have to block 2-3 of them at once because bergheist CAN actually run around and reach more than one entrance at once. As we understand the rules, it just as to set foot on the tile. OL picked some knockback minions though, so walling wasn't exactly viable either because there is a good chance he'll just breach a single thickness wall. Even without that, it's trivial to focus and bring down just 1 person when the rest can't move to support because if they do the bergeist will be able to set foot on the tile.
 
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Sebastian H.
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The Barghest should definitly not have 7 movement. This is the normal act I Barghest card:



Do you use a localized version by any chance?
 
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Silidus
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Who owns the game? Is it the player playing the OL? Are the cards strangely in plastic sleeves and kinda washed out look to them?
 
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Phil Schmidt
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DelphiDie wrote:
The Barghest should definitly not have 7 movement. This is the normal act I Barghest card:



Do you use a localized version by any chance?


Oh, that is definitely not the card we used. That version looks reasonable. So we somehow were using the wrong cards I guess. The owner was the OL, but he said he hadn't played in like 4 years. He probably just mixed up if there are other versions. I didn't know there were.

Thanks guys! I knew it had to be something.
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Is it possible the owner accidentally mixed Descent 1st and 2nd edition together and forgot which was which?
 
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Erik Weidenbach
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There are no Barghests in Descent 1.

But the Barghest for Act 2 also does have only 4 movement.

7 Movement and 18 Health is quite a bit much for the second edition. Sounds like an Agent or special rules from the Quest book.

Normaly the movement range of heroes and monsters is not that far apart, beside the sometimes unfair shrinking of bigger monsters
 
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Andy Stanford
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Shadowguy wrote:
There are no Barghests in Descent 1.

But the Barghest for Act 2 also does have only 4 movement.

7 Movement and 18 Health is quite a bit much for the second edition. Sounds like an Agent or special rules from the Quest book.

Normaly the movement range of heroes and monsters is not that far apart, beside the sometimes unfair shrinking of bigger monsters

There were the Hellhounds in 1e though, but they only had 4 movement as well, as I recall, plus were even more fragile than the Barghests
 
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Alexander Einich
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skies wrote:
Yes, we know about fatigue to move. That's why ranged attackers are so strong. They hardly have to move at all compared to melee attackers and it way offsets the dice.

As I understand, we played Shadow of Nerekhall Expansion, starting with the Introduction "A Demonstration".

In this scenario, overlord wins by capturing peasants. He does this by possessing them with minions then either walking off the map or absorbing them with the boss monster. Possessed civilians can only be saved by using an item that requires a skill check action to pick up. The overlord goes first. After we lost horribly, as a group we re-evaluated the scenario and realized that if the overlord uses a relatively straightforward strategy, it is physically impossible for the heroes to win absent some divine intervention type rolls, though probably not even then because the relevant monsters have such high health.

I don't know the next one we played, but it involved a wolf boss basically doing laps around the board on a trail. Overlord goes first. We lost horribly and again after re-evaluating we determined that the wolf boss moves so absurdly fast that that the only way you could even have a chance of winning is to ignore the entire map and wall off the checkpoint adjacent to the starting area. But then all the overlord has to to is breach the wall in a single spot and it's gg, and while that's being set up you have to just stand there and not leave a spot in the wall. One of the areas had a double pit kind of arrangement, and a knockback monster threw a guy over a pit into the far area of an adjacent one. Since you can't move in pits, he would have to climb out, take damage to go back in, then climb out again; not that he would've had time because the overlord is able to complete the entire 2 laps in 4 turns, and the overlord goes first.

If we house ruled this game so that the overlord could not take double move actions, then it might be balanced.

You are right about A Demonstration: with the right strategy, the OL should win 95% of the time. It indeed requires "divine rolls" by the heroes. When we played it, the OL won on his 3rd turn; we heroes had played 2 turns. However, I do think A Demonstration is supposed to be the opposite of First Blood, which the heroes should win easily. With Shadow of Nerekhall, the heroes are shown right from the start that it won't be easy.

"Prey" is very hard for the heroes too, but it is not as extreme.
 
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