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Descent: Journeys in the Dark» Forums » Variants

Subject: I think we found the cure for spawning! rss

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Lukasz Biernat
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We tried everything to make this game playable for the heroes. With both expansions it seemed to be impossible to accomplish anything in the dungeon, especially with 2 heroes. We tried lots of sollutions, including OL's 1 card per turn and nothing really worked.

Now we made those new spawning rules... played like 10 different quests with them and THEY WORK!
I wanted to find some ellegant sollution for spawning, a sollution that would preserve original texts on cards. So threat costs for spawn cards are not really changed.... but!

OL has to pay the cost for EACH monster he spawns. So beastmen war party would cost him 12 threat for all 3 beastmen figures. If he only wishes to spawn a master beastman, he pays 4. For 2 beastmen - 8 threat, etc. Two hellhouds, razorwings, sorcerers - cost 10 (5 per monster), but of course you can spawn less (and pay less).
With bigger spawns (like advanced war party or kobolds): OL pays the card's threat costs once for 2 monsters. So you'll have to pay twice for 4-monster cards, and pay three times to get full 6-monster spawn.

This especially improves 2 player games, because OL won't be able to spawn everything he has, because of the triple cost. He can of course use spawns to bring 1-2 monsters instead of 3, if he wishes - one master beastman is a worthy addon after all, and still costs 4 threat.
The game doesn't look so hopeless for the heroes now!
 
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sounds like a great idea!
 
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Jimi Essex
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These rules do sound really good. Any chance you could polish the wording up and post it in the files section?
 
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Chris May
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Another way I've found to help the heroes is to let the players pick their heroes and at least one of their skill cards. If the overlord is particularly good, or the quest is really hard, we let them pick all their skill cards. The heroes are usually amazing and hard to defeat and it makes for an epic battle without changing anything in the game itself.
 
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Lukasz Biernat
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My english is far from being perfect, so I'll leave polishing the wording to someone else; I hope you all get the idea? I recommend giving it a try, that's the only change of rules we use now, except:

- potions heal 5HP in 2 hero game, 4HP in with 3 heroes and 3HP with 4 heroes

- when the hero draws useless skill cards (melee skills for ranged character or prolonged action skills in quest that doesn't need them), we allow redrawing them until something useful comes around.

But even without those two small rules, signle-monster-spawning itself changes LOTS, and it's a good change. OL is still able to swarm heroes with monsters, but now he has to do some strategic planing - saving threat, and it means not spending it on traps or events.
 
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Ronster Zero
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Chrisgmay wrote:
Another way I've found to help the heroes is to let the players pick their heroes and at least one of their skill cards. If the overlord is particularly good, or the quest is really hard, we let them pick all their skill cards. The heroes are usually amazing and hard to defeat and it makes for an epic battle without changing anything in the game itself.


This is the same approach we use and it works very well... for us.
 
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Chris May
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ronster0 wrote:
Chrisgmay wrote:
Another way I've found to help the heroes is to let the players pick their heroes and at least one of their skill cards. If the overlord is particularly good, or the quest is really hard, we let them pick all their skill cards. The heroes are usually amazing and hard to defeat and it makes for an epic battle without changing anything in the game itself.


This is the same approach we use and it works very well... for us.


Do you ever have a problem with the players taking too long to choose their character and skills? How do you resolve it? This is the only problem I've had with this variant.
 
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Bobb Beauchamp
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What was the results of the 10 games you played this way, i.e., how many hero wins vs how many OL wins? If the heroes are always winning now, I'd say all you've done is switched from "heroes always lose" to heroes always win."

Also, does this work equally well with 2, 3, and 4 heroes? It does seem that it would very much help in a 2 hero game, but is it really needed in a 4 hero game?



 
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Chris May
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kingbobb wrote:
What was the results of the 10 games you played this way, i.e., how many hero wins vs how many OL wins? If the heroes are always winning now, I'd say all you've done is switched from "heroes always lose" to heroes always win."

Also, does this work equally well with 2, 3, and 4 heroes? It does seem that it would very much help in a 2 hero game, but is it really needed in a 4 hero game?


When we use the expansions, it seems to be about 60/40 with a slight edge to the heroes. I think they win a little more often than I do. However, I can now do my very best to kill them without making them feel like they can't do anything. I've never played with only two heroes so I don't know about that.

One thing to note, I encourage them to make a character they like, not just to min/max with the skills. I want the characters to be good, but not broken. I think there are a few broken combos with heroes and skills. Usually they just pick one of their skills and draw the rest. However, if I've looked at the quest and think it will be particularly hard I will let them pick all their skills.

Also, I don't think I am a great overlord, so this method would probably work better for a person who is really good as the overlord.
 
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Lukasz Biernat
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OL won 6 games out of 10, but almost every OL win occured in the final room, where heroes lost their last CT to the quest boss. Like today we played custom quest downloaded from FFG 'howling mine', and heroes failed to stop The Machine. Mostly because of VERY BAD dicerolls, and not the greatest hero/skill set (Varikas with nothing really special and Aurim with good skills).

With more players, OL collects more threat, so he can afford some more spawns... but it might not be enough. I was thinking about adding a free monster in 3 hero game and 2 free monsters in 4 hero games... so in 3 hero game you would pay 4 threat for 2 beastmen and 8 threat for all 3.
Now we're testing 2 hero games only.
 
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Simon Dunkley
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This is a great idea and I can't wait to try it out. The games I have played so far have all gone the same way; the heroes advance painfully slowly then die due to overwhelming quantities of spawning monsters.
 
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Ronster Zero
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By now they know what they want to use. The only limit I give them is that they can only have 1 fighter type, while the other must be a magic/ranged character.

I assign skills randomly, so that helps. But usually they know withing 5 minutes who they want to use.
 
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Bobb Beauchamp
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I guess if you look at this analytically, spawns do seem to be potentially under-priced. Spawn and trap cards are somewhat comparably priced. With traps, many allow you to target a hero directly, but few offer the chance to kill the hero outright. Many do have a chance to avoid any ill-effects alltogether.

Spawns, however, when played at the right time, can grant the OL substantially more damage potential than just about any trap. If the heroes allow a corner to be unwatched, and a beastman party springs from around the corner, there's a good chance a hero's going to die, or suffer massive damage. So maybe spawns are underpriced.

The one consistant complaint I've seen from many different groups is the endless-seeming spawns the OL has. Maybe I'll test this my next time out.
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Matthew M
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kingbobb wrote:


Spawns, however, when played at the right time, can grant the OL substantially more damage potential than just about any trap.

If the heroes allow a corner to be unwatched, and a beastman party springs from around the corner, there's a good chance a hero's going to die, or suffer massive damage. So maybe spawns are underpriced.


That's an unfair comparison. You are comparing traps against sub-optimal play against spawns. Of course the spawning cards win that battle. If the heroes don't protect themselves from spawns they should be punished.


Quote:

The one consistant complaint I've seen from many different groups is the endless-seeming spawns the OL has.


A competent group of heroes should easily be able to outpace the number of creatures the OL spawns per turn with the number of creatures they kill per turn. If you need to neuter the OL in this way then I would suggest the heroes aren't playing well. Though changing the rules is certainly one way to compensate for this, I prefer playing better

The thread creator mentions that the game is more difficult with:
a) both expansions
and
b) two heroes.

Well YEAH! The expansions don't add anything for the heroes that compensate for the power gained by the OL - but that is primarily due to the OLs ability to swap rubbish cards from his deck for awesome cards of his choosing. And two heroes has NEVER been balanced in any version of the game. If you want to hamstring the OL in a two hero game with both expansions, then I completely understand. I'd rather just not play two hero games.

-MMM
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Nathaniel GOUSSET
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There is no need for a cure for spawning !!!

You only need a cure for players playing sub-optimaly.

If the game is too hard for 2 players versus 1 OL ( wich logically must be ), why dont each player take an additonal heroes and play like a 4 players game ?

The game is not so badly balanced at 4 players. My own players usually lost because they make a large mistake, usually they loses aim, start to hunt and kill every monsters, try to open every door, grab every chest...

There is a limited amount of Conquest token, an unlimited amount of Menace token. As soon as your player will understand that simple fact and try to act accordingly, play should balance itself.

Also, try to rotate roles or take one of the player with you as assistant OL. Having a better understanding of the OL potential and weakness will greatly help them play better. One of my player complained a lot that the game was unfair. After co-playing OL with me she confess that now she understand that they were playing just wrong, the way to win easily was revealed to herself.

One a side note the expansion have opened a real pandora Box and some cards can simply make some scenario unplayable, wich is unavoidable if you add new way of play to static ( already published ) content. Just admit it as an OL and dont take the instant win cards in your hand... ( interestingly there is really few insta-win spawn cards, regarding scenario balance.... ).
 
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Bobb Beauchamp
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Saying to only play with 4 heroes, regardless of the number of actual hero players, is like saying to only play TI:3 with 5 races, regardless of the number of players. Sure, it's a fix, but it may not be the fix the group wants to play with.

The fact is the game comes with rules intended to scale the game to fit the number of players. If that system doesn't work, some other system should be adapted in order to make the game playable with fewer people.

Poor play isn't the only explanation for the heroes getting creamed. I'd say I've played enough as OL that I know what the heroes should be doing to win. Even with that, there's no way 2 heroes could ever win even the first quest with the rules as written.

Bear in mind that these fixes are aimed at helping games with fewer than 4 heroes.
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Lukasz Biernat
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> If the game is too hard for 2 players versus 1 OL ( wich logically must be ), why dont each player take an additonal heroes and play like a 4 players game ?

Well, it's much longer when you control more than 1 hero, and it's easier to make mistakes, it's also more brain-killing. We don't like it that way. So we need the cure.
 
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Chris May
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Can the OL spend more threat to spawn more creatures? Like paying 16 to spawn 3 beastmen and a master beastmen?

I would like to do that!!!devil
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Lukasz Biernat
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Cards say 'OL can spawn 2 beastmen and 1 master beastman', so that's the upper limit. You can spawn less if you want, but no more than the card allows.
 
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Chris Franka
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I've played only with two heroes against an OL and ran into the same issue as discussed above, namely that the two of us couldn't keep up with the spawns. The game does advertise itself as being for 2-5 players, and to their credit, FFG expressly says in the rulebook:

Quote:
Exception: In a two-player game, the hero player controls two heroes.


When players don't want to do that (and sometimes that happens), however, then they should be able to tweak the rules, as clearly the game (as others in this thread have mentioned and as the above rule implies) is not balanced for two heroes vs. OL. I think we would have enjoyed two heroes against a monster population more suited for two heroes, rather than 4 heroes for two players against a population suited for four heroes. I agree with many of the posters here that I think the threat-per-spawned-creature rather than per-spawned-encounter seems like it might provide a workaround in this situation.

I also like the suggestion in another forum post about halving the rate of threat earned by the OL (one card per turn instead of two). Although slightly different in terms of actual power reduced, they seem like two different ways of accomplishing the same thing. One reduces the OL's income, the other makes his expenses higher for the same income. I'm looking forward to trying one or both of these options out since it's unlikely that our group will have 4-5 willing players at any given time (which would make the issue moot).
 
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Matthew M
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bigtex01 wrote:
I've played only with two heroes against an OL and ran into the same issue as discussed above, namely that the two of us couldn't keep up with the spawns. The game does advertise itself as being for 2-5 players, and to their credit, FFG expressly says in the rulebook:

Quote:
Exception: In a two-player game, the hero player controls two heroes.



Note that a two-player game is one OL and one player using two heroes, so this is still an unbalanced two hero game.

Of course, I always play with 3 heroes (4 when using expansions) regardless of the number of players.

-MMM
 
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Fred Methot
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Biernath_John wrote:

OL has to pay the cost for EACH monster he spawns. So beastmen war party would cost him 12 threat for all 3 beastmen figures. If he only wishes to spawn a master beastman, he pays 4. For 2 beastmen - 8 threat, etc.


I'm tempted to try this but with some changes.
Looks like the cost of a single normal and a single master is the same in your example, which doesn't really make sense to me.

Maybe I will try this:
Cost on card is for every normal monsters on the card, the master cost twice the card cost.

For example:
Beastman War Party (2 normals, 1 master) - 4 threat tokens:

Cost for all 3 monsters = 12 threat tokens
Cost for the 2 normal only = 4 threat tokens
Cost for the master only = 8 threat tokens


thoughts?

 
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Gilles Duchesne
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i.a.m wrote:
Maybe I will try this:
Cost on card is for every normal monsters on the card, the master cost twice the card cost.

For example:
Beastman War Party (2 normals, 1 master) - 4 threat tokens:

Cost for all 3 monsters = 12 threat tokens
Cost for the 2 normal only = 4 threat tokens
Cost for the master only = 8 threat tokens

thoughts?

Well, I don't really care for this variant in the first place, but I suspect it's a bit too much to assume a single master figure is worth 4 times as much as a regular one (which is what those numbers imply).

How about counting the master as 2 figures? So you'd do (4 tokens x 3 real monsters) / 4 "figures" = 3 tokens per regular figure, 6 for the master.

Anyway, as I said, I'm not really into this - I think the cure for spawning is killing monsters. Yeah, that'll work.
 
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Paul Leigh
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Descent is great fun - no doubt about that.

BUT

The endless spawning eventually gets a tad boring. After six hours of wave after wave of beastmen, sorcerers and spiders, I start to wonder what the point is.

I am certainly in favour of rule variants that suggest fewer monsters. I usually play as OL and often find myself holding back so as not to completely drive the hero players to despair. I think the game would work well with fewer monsters and possibly slightly tougher monsters.

I don't like players running more than one character. It's too messy and slows things down.

I thinking of experimenting with the rule variation mentioned above but also use the monster stats for more players than are actually playing. For example, in a two hero game - using the monster stats for a four hero game. Or possibly giving the monsters extra pierce, sorcery or armour.

Has anybody else tried this? Will it work do you think?

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Jeremy Lennert
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*Resurrects thread and removes 3 conquest tokens.*

What if you changed the limit of "1 spawn card per turn" to "1 spawn card per 2 turns?"
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