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Subject: Item Trading - How do you OLs handle it? rss

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The Galaxy is Just Packed!
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One of the things that bogs my Descent games down (I'm usually the OL) is the preponderance of the players wanting to optimize their characters by trading the items they have acquired.

The rules state "give an item to an adjacent hero for 1 action." And that's it. Well, sticking to the rules "as is," this leads to the players wanting to spending time to cluster up and trade their stuff about. Meanwhile I'm building up Threat and Spawning more monsters and the game...bogs...down....

Now, I know that a common reaction is for the players accept the strategy that they should get a move on through the dungeon and stop dinking around, but they still do it because, frankly, they will (usually) benefit from these "trading sessions" in the long run.

To speed up the inevitable, I've been adding house rules:

1) For one action, you can give, or take, or swap one item with an adjacent hero.

2) If there are no monsters in play, the players can spend their entire turn trading without having to move their pieces (sort of a gather up, trade, and return to positions turn).

3) If two or more heroes are in town they can freely trade as one of the hero's actions.

This has quickened the pace of the game, which is a huge bonus, but I've got the nagging feeling that the players are getting off too easy. But if I "got tough" and we went back to the rules as-is, I think the game would be less fun.

So, I'd love to hear how you other players and OLs are handing this.

Thanks!
 
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Jacob Massey
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We play as the rules are written in my group. However, my players understand the need to keep moving quickly through the dungeon and usually take strategic positions so that another hero will pass by them and hand off equipment as necessary. It might take a couple turns for them to properly equip their heroes, but they aren't slowing down the game and letting the OL build power. It's a compromise, but it seems to work pretty well for them.
 
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eselred wrote:
However, my players understand the need to keep moving quickly through the dungeon and usually take strategic positions so that another hero will pass by them and hand off equipment as necessary.


So, do you ever allow a player to "take" an item as he passes by? Or is it "give" only?

Thanks!
 
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Scott Lewis
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eselred wrote:
We play as the rules are written in my group. However, my players understand the need to keep moving quickly through the dungeon and usually take strategic positions so that another hero will pass by them and hand off equipment as necessary. It might take a couple turns for them to properly equip their heroes, but they aren't slowing down the game and letting the OL build power. It's a compromise, but it seems to work pretty well for them.

This is my experience. I try to have a handy reserve of Threat and Spawn cards when possible, and after they get a chest, it's often a good time to spawn something; sometimes, grouping together is bad for them if you have some decent traps or nasty monsters handy.
 
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Alvin Chen
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I stick with the "give" only rule. My group also works out trading as is convenient in the course of continuing the game. It may take an extra turn or two for the items to get where they need to be, but it keeps them from losing momentum. A free trading time would usually happen during a lull anyway, so they're already repositioning themselves to open a door and tackle the next room.
 
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Gilles Duchesne
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bryanwinter wrote:
So, do you ever allow a player to "take" an item as he passes by? Or is it "give" only?

Playing by the rules definitely means "give" only.

(I'm surprised your heroes need to trade that much, however. Over here, every time a chest is opened and cards distributed, the heroes have one good discussion ("Who needs this axe?", "I won't keep my old shield - anyone? Otherwise I'll sell it back"), then on the next couple turns they give each other items, and that's that...)
 
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One of the problems with was inventory maxes. I allowed swapping because with a give-only rule you may have two characters that wanted to trade weapons (for example), and the first recipient was maxed out on space, and would have to drop an item just while he was waiting to give an item back.

I guess that's part of it, though.
 
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LoneCleric wrote:
(I'm surprised your heroes need to trade that much, however. Over here, every time a chest is opened and cards distributed, the heroes have one good discussion ("Who needs this axe?", "I won't keep my old shield - anyone? Otherwise I'll sell it back"), then on the next couple turns they give each other items, and that's that...)


Whoa! We never played that stuff gets distributed right after they draw their cards.

(Checking rules now...)

Nope. Nothing on pages 18-19 or the FAQ. I think you are playing that wrong (according to the rules anyway). The players each draw cards and that's what they get.

If they could distribute after drawing then we would have no issues.

EDIT: I just reread your post and realized you are not doing that, either. Sorry, got mixed up on my first read-through.
 
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Paul
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bryanwinter wrote:

Whoa! We never played that stuff gets distributed right after they draw their cards.


Funnily enough this is the main rules tweak that we use when playing Descent

Normally in Descent all of the Heroes get treasure instantly when the chests are opened. The fact that everyone gets "beamed" a weapon when a chest is opened is an effective abstraction that I am quite happy with (it doesnt spoil my sense of how "realistic" Descent is at least).

It isnt much of a leap to play it so that the treasure that each Hero gets is the one that they as a group decide is "best" for them under the circumstances. It saves a lot of tedious time spent relaying items between Heroes and anything that speeds up Descent without spoiling the theme and feel of the game is a good thing to me.

My group recommends it, even if it does favour the Heroes a bit.

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cheetor wrote:
bryanwinter wrote:

Whoa! We never played that stuff gets distributed right after they draw their cards.


Funnily enough this is the main rules tweak that we use when playing Descent

Normally in Descent all of the Heroes get treasure instantly when the chests are opened. The fact that everyone gets "beamed" a weapon when a chest is opened is an effective abstraction that I am quite happy with (it doesnt spoil my sense of how "realistic" Descent is at least).

It isnt much of a leap to play it so that the treasure that each Hero gets is the one that they as a group decide is "best" for them under the circumstances. It saves a lot of tedious time spent relaying items between Heroes and anything that speeds up Descent without spoiling the theme and feel of the game is a good thing to me.

My group recommends it, even if it does favour the Heroes a bit.




I like this way a lot, i may try it next time we play. thanks for sharing it.
 
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Darren Copple
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Im usually the OL, and we play as they are written. You want to trade stuff, go ahead and clump up and let me gather threat and start spawning an entire beast clan. Hope that axe was worth 2 party deaths.
 
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Chrisgmay wrote:
cheetor wrote:


My group recommends it, even if it does favour the Heroes a bit.




I like this way a lot, i may try it next time we play. thanks for sharing it.


Yeah, I think I'll gravitate to that, just to keep the game MOVING!

Thanks all.
 
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Adam Tucker
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cheetor wrote:
bryanwinter wrote:

Whoa! We never played that stuff gets distributed right after they draw their cards.


Funnily enough this is the main rules tweak that we use when playing Descent

Normally in Descent all of the Heroes get treasure instantly when the chests are opened. The fact that everyone gets "beamed" a weapon when a chest is opened is an effective abstraction that I am quite happy with (it doesnt spoil my sense of how "realistic" Descent is at least).

It isnt much of a leap to play it so that the treasure that each Hero gets is the one that they as a group decide is "best" for them under the circumstances. It saves a lot of tedious time spent relaying items between Heroes and anything that speeds up Descent without spoiling the theme and feel of the game is a good thing to me.

My group recommends it, even if it does favour the Heroes a bit.



So do you just pitch the "Bardic Lore" skill, since that's pretty similar to what that skill allows?
In fact, there are quite a few cards (the Appraiser skill, several treachery cards) based around this mechanic, that would lose at least some of their value, if not all of it. Do you just not play with any of them? Do you have ways of adapting these cards to your variant to restore some of their value, or give them a new use?
 
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Paul
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tuckerotl wrote:

So do you just pitch the "Bardic Lore" skill, since that's pretty similar to what that skill allows?



Bardic Lore also grants an additional power (double efficiency prolonged magic actions) so it isnt totally useless, although it does suck a bit when using the above streamlining treasure distribution. You are correct though, we do leave it out of our games. Because having a power that only makes the guy twice as good at prolonged magic actions is crap


tuckerotl wrote:
In fact, there are quite a few cards (the Appraiser skill, several treachery cards) based around this mechanic, that would lose at least some of their value, if not all of it.


Appraiser works fine with that modification, the Appraising Hero simply does exactly what the card says before adding his card to the pool. Off the top of my head I cant think of the Treachery cards that have an effect on treasure. Regardless, the nature of Treachery means that it is simple to avoid using cards that have an effect that can slow the item distribution down.



tuckerotl wrote:
Do you just not play with any of them? Do you have ways of adapting these cards to your variant to restore some of their value, or give them a new use?


Of the 60 skill cards only two (Appraiser and Bardic Lore) have an effect on Treasure distribution. Appraiser still works fine, Bardic Lore doesnt. I am quite happy to simply leave Bardic Lore out of the game in the interest of shaving some more time from the game length.

It would be nice to have variant rule uses to replace any Treachery cards that have their use impaired by the distribution tweak but I havent come up with any, I havent really seen a need to.

There are so many options and cards available in Descent and its three (and soon four) expansions that I really dont miss a couple of cards, particularly ones that slow the game down by making something as mundane as swapping items even more hassle.

Give me a card that slows the game down by turning guys into monkeys over that any day. At least its fun
 
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Paul
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Chrisgmay wrote:

I like this way a lot, i may try it next time we play. thanks for sharing it.


No problem, Im glad that it sounds like something that you might enjoy using.

Generally I try to avoid house-ruling things. It is all to easy to upset the balance of a game by assuming that "I know better" that the designers. In the interests of keeping the game moving and fun however I dont see my group going back to the "as written" way again.
 
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