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Descent: Journeys in the Dark» Forums » General

Subject: The adventurers beat me (OL) every time :( rss

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Peter Mörck
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Ok, we've played quests 1-4 from the base game as I have no expansions yet. We're all age 30+ and "gamers" and play with 4 adventurers. I have to admit there have been one reeeaally close call on quest 2 and one quite balanced on quest 4 where they finished with something like 3 conquest tokens.
I think we've missed details, for both players and OL, about the rules on a few occasions in EVERY game so far.
For example in "spoiled brat" I put a Master skeleton on an inactive glyph which their survival depended on. One of them acrobated through the square and activated the glyph and saved the day. Of course later I discovered that the character was carrying the princess at the time and wasn't allowed to activate it. So.. Victory should probably be mine, but it wasn't and we played too far to backtrack. We usually play with the rule that "if your turn is over all forgotten rules and effects can't be applied retroactively", but we do it both for players and OL to be fair.
Still, I have problems beating the players.
Do you think that quests 5-9 will prove more difficult or do I need to resort to buying WoD expansion to humiliate them for once?
They don't like randomizing characters as they know they need to be balanced to survive and it's been close a few times as I said. Maybe they've just been lucky.
I recall at least 3-4 times I've had traps for chests and doors on my hand ready and waiting for them, only to be forgotten once the players actually open the chest/door. Next turn I realize "D'oh!" but it's too late then.

So, to put it short: Does the difficulty increase a little after quest 4? I think that's all that's needed for me to beat them, although I think I'll be getting WoD anyway soon
 
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Douglas Buel
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The later quests definitely get harder for the adventurers. So you have that to look foward to.

Also, by letting them choose characters, you are in effect playing with a handicap. If you keep that in mind, maybe you won't feel as bad about losing.

The fact is, you can't really play as the Overlord in this game unless you don't mind losing. This is especially true for the first few quests. The first two are incredibly hard for the Overlord to win.

The quests in the expansions are a lot harder for the adventurers.
 
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Mike Kollross
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Carvel
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Traps. They are your friends. Doing damage that is not modified by armour. Getting Trap master into play early on really helps, as does drawing an extra card per turn (I forget card name). If you have the expansions the Master Kobolds add to you trap bonus. Spawn them away from t he heros where you can keep them alive and slam the heros with trap after trap.
 
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Bobb Beauchamp
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Sans expansions, the first several quests are on the easier side, especially for a 4 hero party. Even more so for a hand-picked, 4 hero party.

And it sounds like you've had some close calls, so it's hard to say really that there's not much more you could do to win. Wail till I think quest 7.
 
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Andrew Colvin
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If you want to keep the heroes random but still balanced, there are a several of ways to do it. One, which we use, is for each player to draw two heroes randomly and be forced to choose only one. That way, they will normally always be able to get 2 melee, 1 ranged and 1 wizard, but they probably won't be the best ones.
 
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I am happy.
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I have "Well of Darkness" and it's added a lot of good ammo to the game, perhaps too much.

If I play w/o the expansion, often I have to resort to targeting the player with the lowest defense. The high armor/HP regen guys are too hard to bring down.
 
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Brian M
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Past Quest 1, any of the quests should give the OL good opportunities to win. Some of the later quests are particularly nasty; 'Spoiled Brat' is, I think, one of them however - but its not being able to go back while carrying the princess that makes it a particular challenge. Expect a variety of other nastiness in later quests.

However, the game is best balanced with three heroes. With 4 heroes, the minimal monster health increase and extra threat just doesn't scale up to the extra firepower another hero brings, and the greater treasure draws. The OL can still win, but you have to play very well and nastily. Picking heroes instead of random heroes may be a bit too much - that really swings the odds in their favor more.

What my group usually does is to deal out random heroes, then allow a player to draw a new hero is the group has more than 2 of any type of hero. So if you get 3 melee heroes, one of them may be redrawn.

If you pick up WoD, adding the threat cards will give the OL a lot more punch, and you may want to start using the upgraded Skeleton stats even if you don't buy WoD - Skeletons get, I believe, an extra point of pierce. Makes them a bit more of a threat.

The WoD quests, in my opinon, are overbalanced in the OL's favor to the point where they are not much fun for anyone in the game.
 
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Tokelau
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Randomize your characters. You can still win with a group that isn't balanced. That will even things some for the OL. Tell your group to "man up" and draw randomly.

Also the expansions introduce the "Treachery" deck which definitely makes the OL more of a threat in the game.
 
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Rob "Bodhi" Wolff
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A couple of points, some of which have been mentioned by others already, but are worth touching on briefly again.

a. Are you playing with all of the updated rules? (not sure if you are or not, but this is fairly common) The FAQ from FFG updates some fairly crucial things (like the one-potion-per-turn rule) which significantly impact play and balance issues. That one rule alone whacks a lot of hero viability. (and the inability to sell treasures instantly anymore really slows down the hero coin supply!)

b. The early quest are hero cakewalks. It isn't until about quest 3 or 4 that the OL should even look at their chances of winning.

c. 4 heroes is undeniably easier for the heroes. You're in the toughest position as the OL there.

d. Without expansion, the game definitely defaults to being slanted about 3:1 in favour of the heroes. With expansions things change (arguments as to exactly how far the balance shifts rage on ...)

e. Custom heroes, and choosing which heroes are played, basically sets the OL up for a world of pain. It is really nice to give the players what they want, but there is absolutely no upside for the OL in this equation. If the heroes get to pick their characters, then shouldn't the OL get something?

So if you're playing without expansions vs. 4 *custom* heroes without the updated rules in the early quests, it is no wonder you're getting your tail handed to you! But not to worry ...

As soon as you hit the medium-range quests, things shift. Use traps. Get your powers out there. Don't fret too much about spawning monster after monster, because what you really want to do is build up your powers and hit them in mid-game with some nice traps, combo's of cards, etc. Wait until they over-extend, and need everything to coordinate to make it all fall together, then nail one guy with a pit trap, falling block, etc. Ruin their carefully coordinated plan *and* crush the life out of him!

Don't hit the tank, the meat-shield, the 4-point character. Harass and pick off the weakling again and again, and make the party work together to protect their weakest link. Instead of wasting attacks wounding a big tough fighter and watching him survive, you nickel-and-dime a little wizard, pick up the occasionl few conquest tokens, and slow the party down as they're forced to change tactics to accomodate the weaklings.

And of course, when you pick up an expansion and things start going your way, the players are going to scream bloody murder! Just remind them of how easy they used to have it.

In fact ... start reminding them now! Whet their appetite for the new goodies, so that when they start losing games they'll have to reason to complain!
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Alexander B.
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I've won as OL against hand-picked characters even on the first mission. Use traps, clog the halls with creatures, sit on treasures, hit the low HP characters. Do everything you can to stop them from getting those silver and gold treasures! If you make mistakes, the expect to lose.

Certainly, play with the updated rules. That potion abuse was definately bad.

The real question however is: "did you have fun?" If you did, then you're playing right.

I'd suggest playing through the rest of the scenarios in order though, and I haven't found it to be a problem to let the player pick whatever charcters they want. The expansions do add power to the OL, but that power shouldn't be needed until your players get even better.

The OL should be the best player of all though... if not, imbalance will occur in any case.
 
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Peter Mörck
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Hi all and thanks for all your responses!
Well, I have to say we played quest 5 "Last wishes" or whatever it's called and I actually defeated the heroes on the 2nd floor. It's difficult to spawn monsters in that dungeon because it's so open, and of course they had Boggs the rat, which they've had EVERY TIME we've played (yes we random draw skills). I usually sit on treasures, glyphs, block players, spread the monsters out to avoid blasts, take 2 steps out from behind a corner and hit the player and then retreat out of sight again, anything to slow them down. In the beginning of this game I got a lot of powerup cards on the first 2-3 draws from the deck (DOOM, Brilliant Commander and two more) and I sacrificed a lot of cards to get the power that makes me draw 3 cards each turn instead of two. That usually puts the pressure up if I can play that card from start, which I basically did. Also, this time they were actually only three heroes Of course they got the skill which reduces the number of threat tokens I draw each turn by 1. Either way, I managed to roll some incredible max dam rolls on my beastmen while one of the heroes rolled 3 X'es in a row while the other one was in town after I had slapped him around good. I finished them off with some hellhound rage attack and that lovely master ogre on floor 2 blocked their path nicely while my beastmen and spiders finished them off. It felt good We decided that we'll have a go at the same quest next time again. Fun
Also, I just got a job, which means I'll be earning some good money, so I guess the expansions will soon be in my possession Muhahaha...devil

Cheers everybody!
 
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Alex Martinez
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What about speeding up the clock? By allowing the Overlord to draw an additional card per turn, you'll put the pressure on the players time wise, and also give the OL more options.
 
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Rob "Bodhi" Wolff
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Oh yeah. It is *all* about the power cards, and as far as I'm concerned I will toss everything if it'll enable me to be able to draw an extra card per turn.

The players sense the change as well. More cards equals more options, but it also equals more threat to spend on more powers.

I usually pick "Powers" cards from the expansions when stacking the deck with Treachery, and there is nothing like going through the deck twice and managing to get all the powers into play, all lined up, juicing you up to give the Heroes a bad day!

But it all starts with being able to draw that extra card per turn!
 
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Matt Duckworth
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Something else about the power guards that isn't readily obvious but is nice for the overlord especially in the longer dungeons is the fact that they remain in play and are not discarded. This means that after the reshuffle(lose 3 conq) the reshuffled deck will be that many cards smaller and have a shorter time to next reshuffle. Probably only a minor OL advantage gained but worth mentioning and usually overlooked.
 
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Michael Powell
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60Aviator83 wrote:
Something else about the power guards that isn't readily obvious but is nice for the overlord especially in the longer dungeons is the fact that they remain in play and are not discarded. This means that after the reshuffle(lose 3 conq) the reshuffled deck will be that many cards smaller and have a shorter time to next reshuffle. Probably only a minor OL advantage gained but worth mentioning and usually overlooked.


Interesting point... And actually a difficult trade-off, because power cards are also worth a great deal of threat to discard.

On one hand, you could put out that second copy of Hordes of the Things, which really won't help you much directly, but will shrink the deck by a card. Or on the other hand, you could discard it for 5 threat, AND still have it in the deck on the next pass, to discard for 5 threat again.
 
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