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Subject: Quest 1 - Getting a feeling for the game rss

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Jason B
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After breezing through the tutorial I was ready to start with Quest 1.

I am running through the game solo as I am trying to nail down the rules, and potentially look at variants if the gameplay is as stale as others have stated. I went into the game with a completely open mind and three heroes.

Owen - Paladin of Fury would serve the role as my off tank and healer. Regeneration would be his first pick up, and with his defensive buff to teammates he seemed well suited for my first real foray into the darkness.

Siegfried - Pit Fighter Berserker was operating as the primary tank/melee damage dealer. Dangerous when healthy, and even more dangerous when wounded, charge was the first pick to get up close an personal with the dungeon baddies.

Sibyl - Nightshade Ranger rounded out the team as the ranged damage dealer. Her ability to get anywhere and launch beefed up attacks from the shadows made her the ideal addition to my team.

The team made quick work of the first level, it was obvious that Sibyl was going to be the star of the show as she launched unfettered attack after unfettered attack from range while the boys kept the minions of darkness in check.

The second level got a little hairy, as dear Sibyl opened a door as a last action (not a good play on my part). I had also made the mistake of leaving her alone as Owen and Siegried kept tangling with rear guard monsters. She was promptly one shotted by Goblin Archers with a fire bow on the enemy activation. After dusting Sibyl off and helping her up things were looking up until we spawned the fantastic Reptisaurus Rex. I spawned the roided out reptile, but didn't read the text on the card until the enemy activation.

Sibyl had taken a couple wounds in cleaning out the archers, and then quite unfortunately drew a trapped treasure card. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Reptisaurus Rex I was safely far away from, was going to damage me twice just by moving toward me (Just a note, so far the Rex and the Minotaur have been the best wandering monsters. Both take thought and planning, and can completely screw with ranged heroes that aren't paying attention).

Having lost Sibyl twice, albeit to very poor play, I was thinking that perhaps the "ease" of the game was overstated. Drawing the Bloodseeker Minotaur as the next wandering monster further hampered Sibyl, and shelved her.

However, the experience was adding up, and level 3 gear was rolling in. Somewhere on the level 3 tile the game (I don't want to say "broke", but it kind of did). The tension of battle was gone, regardless of what spawned, Sibyl and Siegfried were capable of soloing it (or pretty darn close), and with Owen topping them off, the suspense died. This was concerning, but the worst part was that resolving attacks became tiresome. It felt like every attack was a morass of checking dice, applying modifiers, altering dice, then checking the work only to find out that yep, I killed whatever it was with damage to spare.

I spent more time looking at the skill sheet to see what apply than thinking about the strategy (although the strategy was pretty much:
1. Step forward into enemies.
2. Attack because you are god mode and will kill it.)
This was not good, fighting monsters should be fun, this was turning into an exercise in bookkeeping.

This resulted in level 3 and 4 being a complete dud, that took way too long. It was boring and I don't think anything in that deck stood a chance against my heroes. I won and quite handily. I took stock of what I really disliked (in this case bookkeeping) and added in my first variant and decided to run through a second time.

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Jason B
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Quest 1 - Streamlining Skill Selection, Quest 1 Run 2.
I decided that I needed to do something about the skills, I wasn't going to play another game where a fun and exciting first half was going to be overshadowed by the tedium of going over those skill sheets. I hated the bloated feeling of it, and I hated the fact that I could turn someone like Owen into a healing, tanking, damage dealing overlord of death.

My variant therefore was very simple, my characters could only choose a single* “path” on their skill sheets.

This lead Owen to become a Bastion of Defense Paladin. He was still a rock solid healer, but he no longer was a taunting, almighty tanking, shield of fury, Light in the Darkness.

He had his shadow skill, character ability, Free class skill, signature ability, and the two class skills. This was on par with the Zombicide hero progression, a game in which I have no problems controlling anywhere from 4 to 6 heroes.

My favorite Dwarf Siegfried now went full Charge Pitfighter. He had two re-rolls at level 2, but he was reliant on being lumped up a little and dumping XP into Berserk to add +1 sword. In retrospect, I could have just as easily gone down the bloodlust or brutality path with him considering Owen's Bodyguard ability, but a screaming Siegfried charging into battle just felt so... right.

That left Sibyl. This time Sibyl took the Shadow Hunter Ranger path. Pulling those defense dice off, and then forcing a reroll of remaining dice with the Find Weakness signature was a great XP dump for her.

How did the session play out? Well, I didn't make stupid mistakes on the early tiles this time, so I don't think anyone dropped below 2 health, and then once Owen picked up Regeneration 1, we stayed pretty healthy, although I left Siegfried with 2 wounds, refusing to heal him up so he could still trigger his signature.

The game still went too easy at level 3. But, I got really good gear, lucky spawns, and super hot dice so I'm still considering whether or not I want to try any additional variants yet. The single class path variant though was a dramatic improvement. I got to know my heroes and their abilities. In the first game I never used a signature ability once. This game I bet I dropped at least 20 XP into Sibyl and Siegfried's, and even triggered Owen's a handful of times. My heroes couldn't be all things, they all had their own unique thing and the quest was much more enjoyable.

I'm going to try (with the variant again) on Quest 2. I plan on using Whisper as a Smoke Bombing Bloodmoon Nightrunner, Elias as a Fireballing Battle Wizard, and Bjorn as a charging Shadow Barbarian and see how it goes.


*They all had access to Enhance Health as well, but otherwise they could only pick one of the class specific paths.
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Tim Chase
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This seems like a really promising variant. I'll be interested to hear how future plays go.
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Mr Suitcase
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EastCoast wrote:

I'm going to try (with the variant again) on Quest 2. I plan on using Whisper as a Smoke Bombing Bloodmoon Nightrunner, Elias as a Fireballing Battle Wizard, and Bjorn as a charging Shadow Barbarian and see how it goes.


This group composition (plus Sibyl) was my group's 4-player group for Quest 1 last night.

When you go without a healer and a high character count - all the complaints about "too easy" go out the window. You need to grab those healing potions to keep your head above water, and with 4 characters, there's not enough to go around. Bjorn's regeneration ability suddenly becomes the crux around which you've got to tackle the monsters, but he can be very succeptible to burst damage.

It will be interesting to see how you do with those 3 characters on Quest 2. Because that's a much harder quest, and you've got to sprint ahead before you're prepared.

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Jason B
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mrsuitcase wrote:
This group composition (plus Sibyl) was my group's 4-player group for Quest 1 last night.

When you go without a healer and a high character count - all the complaints about "too easy" go out the window. You need to grab those healing potions to keep your head above water, and with 4 characters, there's not enough to go around. Bjorn's regeneration ability suddenly becomes the crux around which you've got to tackle the monsters, but he can be very succeptible to burst damage.

It will be interesting to see how you do with those 3 characters on Quest 2. Because that's a much harder quest, and you've got to sprint ahead before you're prepared.



Yeah, I'm really looking forward to the chase. I'd love it, if for example Agents would bolt down the dungeon when they spawn. I don't really feel comfortable declaring the game too easy after quest 1. I'm not kidding when I say I had a lot of good fortune on the second run through. Between friendly event cards, and picking up 2 pieces of the Knight set, and terrible defense dice by enemies, I'm not sure that's indicative of what should be expected.

What I do know is that I have no intention or desire to ever use the full class skill sheet again. That was just a massive negative player experience. The game was much smoother with the single path. I will certainly let you know if this leads the spider to hand my butt to me in Quest 2.

Thanks for the feedback.
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eric hess
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EastCoast wrote:
What I do know is that I have no intention or desire to ever use the full class skill sheet again. That was just a massive negative player experience. The game was much smoother with the single path.


I had a similar solo experience and will be VERY interested in the results of trying your variant! I've been playing with draw X items, keep 1 item, discard the rest to also slow the everchanging skills/ability creep.
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