I've got Middara which is fantastic but requires more investment in time and story than Sword and Sorcery
I'm interested to hear more about Middara... is it as strategic as S&S?
S&S and Gloomhaven are the holy grail of DCs for me. I need quite a thinky game or I get bored so Descent or anything lighter than these 2 don't work.
Where does Middara sit on the scale?
Middara is far more tactical than it appears, you don't get the character selection options but I'd say its easily in the same ball park as Gloomhaven or S&S in tactical options. It's AI is a solid inbetween, but the interactions of gear and disciplines really allow for untold tactical choices, then there's upgrades, monster gear and unique items all of which are tiered and totally unrestricted in terms of build choices. Its really Final Fantasy in a board game, the way the fights all feel like very individual encounters rolled together with story based events. You start with four PCs in your party pool but this will expand over the course of the game with NPCs you meet and characters will become unavailable for periods of time over the course of the adventure FF style.
The branching story is very strong and there's lots to do though honestly, with the size of the story book I thought there would be more missions, I'm not knocking it, its got what 70 encounters many of which are in the style of those in Arcane portals in that they just keep getting bigger but that's a 500 page book.
It feels like it would be short on monsters but there's tons of Bosses and NPC, I mean far more than actual monsters in the game, which brings me back to final fantasy again, where you do get minion fights but they are more about powering up for the next boss encounter and that's middara.
Its great however and the combat is so much better than it seems,I can't speak to how good it can be. As an example a low level monster dodges the first attack each character makes during a round and also gets free counter attacks if you're in range, and is more than capable of taking out a early game hero with one round of attacks plus a counter attack, yet rather than fight it normally as it lacks armour you can use cheap throwing knives (A consumerable) to take them down very quickly ignoring all there special rules. All the monsters are puzzels that you need to solve and the bosses seem to up the anti and require huge multi combos and the whole group to come together to solve the winning fight, but losing is part of the game as well and will take the story somewhere else rather than force replays or bring the campaign to an end (though this can actually happen).