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

Subject: Balance (spoiler maybe) rss

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Christopher Pisz
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Played my first games last night with my little brother. I was the overlord. We incorrectly played with 2 heroes forgetting the bonus attack. Then started over and we played the intro and first quest with him controlling 4 heroes.

He complained the entire time that the game was near impossible and the overlord has an extreme advantage. I argued that he must be choosing a bad strategy and we switched places for yet another play through of the Regenar's Rest quest.

I decided to ignore the goblins, sprint to the objectives to search, before they got moved to the pond. Then tried to focus the fish people (open group) who I figured would be used to block my path. I had to admit defeat as he cackled playing the overlord, keeping all my guys in a constant knockout cycle. I could not stay standing long enough to even swing on anything.

When he had tried it, he focused the goblins, but wasted too much time in a traffic jam up in the first corner and also ended up eventually in a knockout cycle.

Both of us found the respawning mechanic to make things near hopeless.

What are the impressions from longer term players? Does the overlord have alot of advantage? Should we think about house rule handicaps? Or are we just noobs who can't figure out the scenario?
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Sadgit
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Heirs of Blood is a well balanced campaign. In Rellegar's Rest neither OL or heroes have any significant advantage. The stats actually favor the heroes a bit here: 55% wins out of over 200 tracked games at D2E tracker.

First, you should reread the rule book to confirm that you got all the important rules right. Did heroes use
to move properly to double attack as often as possible. Did you use Hero abilities and Heroic feats correctly, etc. Class abilities can be sometimes problematic, too (Oath of Honor, Advance, etc.)

Second, keep in mind that this is only the first encounter of the quest. An OL who spends all of his resources such as OL cards and threat tokens in encounter 1 to win, will have a hard time in encounter 2.

Third, did you use an OK hero team and decent classes? Grisban is generally regarded as a weak hero, Spiritspeaker is a difficult class.
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Christopher Pisz
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Sadgit wrote:
to move properly to double attack as often as possible.


Umm, I don't think so? How would you use fatigue to double attack? I would use fatigue sprint up in the beginning, because you can move an extra space in exchange for a fatigue, but I don't see how you could use it to get more attacks in.

I can see how you might use it to get to a monster, do one attack, and continue the move away again, though.

We only get 2 actions per turn, so if there are to be two attacks, both costing an action, I don't see how a move would take place.


Sadgit wrote:

Did you use Hero abilities and Heroic feats correctly, etc. Class abilities can be sometimes problematic, too (Oath of Honor, Advance, etc.)


This is really hard to say. I'd have to video the whole thing to make sure. I did read them all over a good dozen times.

We figure anything listed as a fear was one use per encounter.

Anything that had an arrow required an action.

Anything that did not have an arrow was hard to figure out, some of them read like an ongoing effect like "the Book"'s take 1 less damage within for heroes within 3 squares. We just treated those as "if 'the Book' is conscious, it happens."

With Albright's healer class skill card 'fatigue to heal a red die', it didn't have an arrow, so we figure he could do it for free, but only if he is conscious and on his turn.

The wiki mentions classes from archtypes. I don't understand that bit. He used any cards from the deck that matched the icon on his hero card, which did not have a red circle with a number.

Sadgit wrote:

Second, keep in mind that this is only the first encounter of the quest. An OL who spends all of his resources such as OL cards and threat tokens in encounter 1 to win, will have a hard time in encounter 2.


This sound very much like we did something wrong.
Do you not shuffle the overload deck and reuse when it is empty?
Do you start each quest with 15 OL cards and a hand equal to number of players?

We see that this quest had two encounters, but we never got to the second encounter in the quest. We took turns doing the first part at that point, we decided the OL was OP, and it was getting towards bed time.

Sadgit wrote:

Third, did you use an OK hero team and decent classes? Grisban is generally regarded as a weak hero, Spiritspeaker is a difficult class.


The party was
Grisban
Albright
Loric
Fairwood

 
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Sadgit
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It sounds that you played several things not according to the rules. Do not worry, it usually takes a little while to get used to the rule-set.

On fatigue and double attacks: To perform an attack, a hero needs to spend one of his 2 standard actions. In contrast to monsters, heroes may spend both actions to attack. On top of that, heroes can suffer fatigue to gain 1 movement point per fatigue spend. This is only limited by the Stamina a hero has, he cannot suffer more fatigue than his Stamina value. Using movement points is not depending on move actions. All movement points gained are collected into a movement point pool and can then be spend to move the hero.

So if a hero with Speed 4 and Stamina 4 wanted to move 4 spaces and attack a monster, he could

a) spend an action to gain 4 movement points, spend the movement points to move 4 spaces and 1 x attack the monster

b) suffer 4 fatigue to gain 4 movement points, spend the movement points to move 4 spaces and 2 x attack the monster


On archetypes and classes. Each hero belongs to one of these 4 archetypes indicated by the symbol on the Hero sheet: Warrior, Scout, Healer, Mage. The archetype determined which classes the player may choose from. In the base game e.g. Warriors can be Knights or Berserkers. After choosing the class, the hero receives the starting items and skills of that class and later will buy additional skills with XP. Class-switching is not possible in Descent.

On OL cards.
Quote:
Do you not shuffle the overload deck and reuse when it is empty?
Do you start each quest with 15 OL cards and a hand equal to number of players?


Correct. When the OL deck is depleted, the discard pile is shuffled and serves as a draw pile. However, for subsequent encounters in a quest no additional OL cards per hero are drawn. The OL gets 1 card per round and maybe additional cards for knocking down heroes. But that's it.

I cannot comment on team composition, as you did not give to classes used.
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Christopher Pisz
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Oh wow, yes, I missed this line in the manual, "He may perform up to two actions with each monster he activates. Each monster may only perform one attack action per activation."

Looks like our monsters were about 40% stronger than they were supposed to be. No wonder.

Also, we didn't realize the B) scenario you described with movement points.

Excited to try again now. Thanks for clearing things up!

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Jukka-Pekka Tuominen
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Fleshbits wrote:
Oh wow, yes, I missed this line in the manual, "He may perform up to two actions with each monster he activates. Each monster may only perform one attack action per activation."

Looks like our monsters were about 40% stronger than they were supposed to be. No wonder.

Also, we didn't realize the B) scenario you described with movement points.

Excited to try again now. Thanks for clearing things up!



With this information in play I would say that you have a huge balancing issue where the monsters are even more powerful than they are supposed to while the heroes are even less powerful.

I recommend to try again with the rules stated here. You'll find it will have a different outcome.
Also I suggest to read the rules from front to back some times as it is easy to miss small details that will affect the game later.
 
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Chris
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Just happened upon this thread through subscription. I didn't know how that rule worked with movement points, or that OL keeps hand in between quest encounters. Was feeling the same way that OL is overpowered, from our recent plays. I am glad I stumbled across this thread.
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Christopher Pisz
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Here I am again a few weeks later.

We are played through 9 games now. We used stamina to move and attack twice and to position, etc. The overlord attacked once per monster. We've tried various character and class combinations.

Out of 9 games the heroes have won once, and when we did win, the Overlord was rewarded two artifacts anyway.

I had 3 different people try the heroes and we all wracked our brains to the fullest extent on how to win. After no success for this many consecutive games, no one wants to play anymore. arg. I don't want my $85 purchase to go to waste.

Does anyone have a let's play video of the first few quests in the heirs of blood campaign that does not use automated overlord, and uses 4 characters where the overlord actually tries to win and the heroes succeed? I really want to see if there is some tactical thing we are missing or overall strategy we aren't getting, so I can go back and redeem this game to my group.

 
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Sadgit
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Maybe look into this PBF: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1560298/descent-campaign-he...

Heroes won 3 quests of the campaign but a lot of 1st encounters in between. Many of the other quests were really close.
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