James Thayer
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I played Bilbo and Beravor in a normal difficulty solo campaign and just finished it up.

First, this seems like not only an extension of Descent/Imperial Assault, but also a response to Gloomhaven. And in my opinion, it succeeds. The card management is fun and having the app keep track of inventory frees up my brain to actually play the game.

There were some miscues on my end regarding rules: I coasted through the first few scenarios before I realized that a negate test doesn't cancel the entire attack - I need one success per damage. About halfway through the campaign I looked up the rules for threat gain each round (2 per hero, 1 per threat token, 1 per navigation token) after I completely bombed a scenario by gaining 12-16 threat per round by not exploring. And right at the end I realized there's likely an optimum way to select character classes, as you always get to keep previously purchased skills, no matter your current class (i.e., Bilbo gets to keep Burglar12 when he swaps to Hunter).

The two biggest components of player agency are deck manipulation and inspiration tokens. Going into a fight with no tokens and an empty prepared area is asking for trouble. Each player starts with a 15 card deck that is expanded through leveling and in-game encounters that reward powerful one-time-per-scenario cards called titles. Items and upgrades are drip-fed through a ubiquitous resource called "lore." And most importantly, developing a lowly dagger to an orc-killing meat-grinder is a blast.

My praise does come with a few admonishments. The enemy figures aren't that interesting. I prefer full-size cards, especially for how often I'm shuffling them. The campaign just kinda ends, win or lose.

All of which to say that this is the most fun I've had with a dungeon crawler in a long time. I'll be following this one closely, and I can't wait to see what comes next.

If you have any questions for me, please ask.

Length of my campaign:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
14 scenarios at about an hour each. I was able to leave everything up, so no tear-down between sessions. I failed one mission overall, but I was


I lost the campaign in the finale, which I'll summarize:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The finale is in a journey map, so I wasn't expecting the same type of boss fight from previous battle maps. Ended up facing the last guy after taking my time exploring everything since the threat meter wasn't even half full when the map was 90% revealed. But then the whole map turned to darkness and I couldn't save fear for a few turns straight. Last boss had magical shields and neither of my heroes had smite, so I was dealing 1-2 health damage per round. Bilbo died from a crushing physical blow and failed his second last stand. Final boss still had ~20 health. I thought helping the rangers around the map would do something, but I couldn't tell if it had any affect on the final outcome.
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We had the same thoughts about the rangers. Did it matter that we helped them or was it just a distraction?


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We had a heck of a time breaking the barrier. Just about all the tests took until the test difficulty went down to 1. This killed about 3 full rounds for us due to some really bad luck at the worst time.


Had a ton of fun with it and can't wait to start a new campaign and explore the hero and role combinations.
 
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Henrique Ribeiro
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What you think about replayability?
The story ends will be different or only the previous chapters?
 
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James Thayer
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unlimitedpower wrote:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
We had the same thoughts about the rangers. Did it matter that we helped them or was it just a distraction?


Regarding the final mission
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I would have to go back to my save game and ride out the threat meter to see if anything comes of helping them out. It's possibly they waylay any reinforcements sent to help out the big bad.


Quote:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
We had a heck of a time breaking the barrier. Just about all the tests took until the test difficulty went down to 1. This killed about 3 full rounds for us due to some really bad luck at the worst time.


Had a ton of fun with it and can't wait to start a new campaign and explore the hero and role combinations.


Did you
Spoiler (click to reveal)
bust down all the totems around the map first? There are altars/totems around the map that take cumulative damage. To be honest I probably broke the barrier too soon, as we still had a few enemies surrounding and they swarmed when the big bad showed up.
 
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James Thayer
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henriquedsr989 wrote:
What you think about replayability?
The story ends will be different or only the previous chapters?


I booted up the first mission just to see what would be different. The maps are highly variable. My understanding is that there may be one or two missions that branch, but all the others will be the same story and objectives. And those branching decisions will be obvious, since at the end of a mission it will ask "do you want to do A or B?"

I have no doubt that I will play through the campaign at least one more time to try out different character combos.
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Henrique Ribeiro
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This is sad to know, I thought the whole story would be different, including the ending.
Just replaying to try new combinations seems cool but not very attractive.

is spinning an entire propaganda about rejoicing and experiencing a different story. But from the experience you had is exactly the oppositeis spinning an entire propaganda about replaying and experiencing a different story. But from the experience you had is exactly the opposite
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Julia
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We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
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Noch gibt es dies Land nur im Geiste, doch stehen wir wachsam bereit. Am Feuer erklingen die Lieder für eine bessere Zeit.
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Unfortunately, coding a whole different story isn't really an option (time needed to test and balance, time invested by the developers to create something unique). However, the campaign structure comes with recurring elements that should allow replayability beyond the mere swapping of classes and characters:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
you fail test XY on Scenario N, then on scenario N+3 happens this; you gain this title and then you carry it over the campaign; you unlock that event by succeeding in a series of test and then the rest of the campaign is easier; you take that fork to do more? well, then you'll have less time to do that other thing. IIRC, you have a couple of scenarios to play in alternative, i.e. if you do A, you can't go B
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Lon

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I’m thinking if you want a whole different story, you buy the expansion app when it comes out. If you want this story experienced a bit differently, you start a new campaign at Chapter 1.
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Jeroen van der Valk
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It's always a trade-off between narrative and replayability. Even a full-on branching story would have recurring missions, and a familiar story arc. And in that case, I wouldn't like it because certain missions would only be playable if specific choices and mission outcomes were made.

I think FFG found a good balance.
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Victor Freire
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I am really looking forward to play this one. About the "same" story, I think it should not be a problem. I was wondering that I've played Diablos 2 and 3 campaigns at least 10 times and I had a lot of fun in every one of them.
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Luc Jacobs
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Minor spoil, I guess. I used the same characters, I managed the first scenario in a win, just because I ignored the provoke when hidden. The second scenario, early kill on Bilbo, Beravor, barely managed to escape. Strangely 3th scenario, I could play Bilbo again, but I went hopeless sine I could not explore some caves, because couldn't find the entrance and therefor got fined with lots of threat.
So love to get some strategy tips. I understand having the right skills prepared is key here.
 
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Julia
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We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
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Noch gibt es dies Land nur im Geiste, doch stehen wir wachsam bereit. Am Feuer erklingen die Lieder für eine bessere Zeit.
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Bilbo is possibly one of the strongest characters in the game because it can easily be exploited for Inspiration, but it's not a nuclear warhead, so, if you run 2p, you need a strong fighter. Legolas is the best of the bunch because of Ranged. You can try pair them up a bit.

Also, strategy needs to be based on threat-control. Do not rush at exploring too far because new areas will pop up. If many areas pop up, you could dash and clear a bit the threat pressure, depends on the scenario
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Chris J Davis
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Scarlet Witch wrote:
Bilbo is possibly one of the strongest characters in the game because it can easily be exploited for Inspiration, but it's not a nuclear warhead, so, if you run 2p, you need a strong fighter. Legolas is the best of the bunch because of Ranged. You can try pair them up a bit.

Also, strategy needs to be based on threat-control. Do not rush at exploring too far because new areas will pop up. If many areas pop up, you could dash and clear a bit the threat pressure, depends on the scenario


This is something that got us in our last game. In our *first* game (of the first scenario), we didn't explore very quickly, and so threat ramped up at a fast pace and we were under a lot of pressure. So when we restarted the campaign (due to different players), due to our experience in the first game plus strategy advice I had read online about always exploring quickly, we explored as fast as we could in the first scenario, and we won with only the first threat event triggered.

Then, when we got to the third scenario, we tried the same again, only this time it seems like exploring quickly just revealed more terrain and more threat tokens (not to mention a lot more monsters), so we were just overrun and lost on the third round.

We weren't sure what this should mean, strategy-wise. How are you supposed to know whether you should explore quickly or not the first time you play a scenario? And we're likely not going to be playing each campaign more than once, so it felt a bit random.

I guess maybe it's just "explore at a moderate pace", then...?
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Julia
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We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
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First of all, you need to keep an eye on the amount of "fog" on the screen: it's the extension of the map, so that you know how much more is still to discover.

Then, you need to keep in mind that usually (there's exceptions of course) new tiles are added when you explore a tile close to the "fog" zone: according to the shape of the map, you can usually isolate the critic areas. If you can't, just start exploring immediately after scouting, so that you have options to expand fast or contain.

And in the end it's just a bit of experience with the game. Some scenarios play nasty, but timers work (at least, they work 2p and 3p, since it's the player counts I play and I can vouch for them)
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Francisco Edilvo Nunes Lima FIlho
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bleached_lizard wrote:
[q="Scarlet Witch"]Bilbo is possibly one of the strongest characters in the game because it can easily be exploited for Inspiration, but it's not a nuclear warhead, so, if you run 2p, you need a strong fighter. Legolas is the best of the bunch because of Ranged. You can try pair them up a bit.

Also, strategy needs to be based on threat-control. Do not rush at exploring too far because new areas will pop up. If many areas pop up, you could dash and clear a bit the threat pressure, depends on the scenario

This is something that got us in our last game. In our *first* game (of the first scenario), we didn't explore very quickly, and so threat ramped up at a fast pace and we were under a lot of pressure. So when we restarted the campaign (due to different players), due to our experience in the first game plus strategy advice I had read online about always exploring quickly, we explored as fast as we could in the first scenario, and we won with only the first threat event triggered.

----
Then, when we got to the third scenario, we tried the same again, only this time it seems like exploring quickly just revealed more terrain and more threat tokens (not to mention a lot more monsters), so we were just overrun and lost on the third round.

We weren't sure what this should mean, strategy-wise. How are you supposed to know whether you should explore quickly or not the first time you play a scenario? And we're likely not going to be playing each campaign more than once, so it felt a bit random.

I believe the app itself adjusts to the pace of player choices and randomize upcoming scenarios seeking to correct the "facilities" of previous scenarios. I hope the app evolves with more players playing, improving the experience.

After this review, I liked the level of replayability. It does not look like an AI at the campaign level, adapting to the player efficiently but it also does not seem to be 100% random.

I believe that new campaigns launched will increase both in the level of complexity (in the AI ​​of the scenario generation, adaptation of the scenario in "reacting" to the skill of the players, ramifications of arcs, etc.) as well as in new elements, tokens, mechanics, etc. I use the example of the LotR LCG, that at the end of its life there were a couple of types of cards and mechanics that the base game was simply a shadow of the game.

I think it's worth investing and waiting for the FFG to do its job.

It would be interesting for a player of Mansions of Madness to give his verdict and to compare since he has proposals of campaigns slightly similar ...
 
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We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
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Noch gibt es dies Land nur im Geiste, doch stehen wir wachsam bereit. Am Feuer erklingen die Lieder für eine bessere Zeit.
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zeffiro wrote:
I believe the app itself adjusts to the pace of player choices and randomize upcoming scenarios seeking to correct the "facilities" of previous scenarios


I can 100% guarantee that the app is not capable of this, unfortunately
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Richard Lupino
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Did anyone win the last scenario and how?

We found it far more difficult than anything else we faced the whole game by quite a bit and that was on notmal.
 
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Pauli Vinni
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I did... two fighters and a torch! Legolas burglar/hunter did long range attacks with a torch and Gimli did his best to keep his own part as pathfinder/guardian.
 
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Richard Lupino
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Yeah I think guardian is necessary here...or a smite / lethal combo if you can hold on to it until the very end...

 
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James Thayer
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I didn't have anything smite-related to cut through the magical armor. I'm not sure if I would have been able to win with my loadout without some very lucky draws, as I would have been countered on every attack as well.
 
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