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Subject: Battlelore or Descent? rss

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Mike
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I don't have either of these games and I plan on purchasing both at some point. I really want to found out which one would be better suited for gaming with my girlfriend. She's a real sweetheart and is always willing to try any game I buy. So the fantasy theme and direct confrontation don't bother her.

These are things she tend to really like in boardgames

- Choices that have an actual impact on the outcome

- "Causing misfortune to another person's plans"

- Well thought out and easy explained rules

- Games that don't drag on forever

- Games with role selection or abilities of some kind

- Exciting finishes to the game

Here are some of her favorite boardgames

Kingsburg - her current favorite. She loves the dice mechanic and where to to place influence points. Choosing where to spend resources is also very rewarding to her.

Castle - She loves this as a two player game. Its very tactical and she enjoys trying to out think her opponent (me).

Citadels - The character abilities and outbluffing everybody else. She really loves to assassinate people or steal all their gold.

A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game - She didn't like this one at first. Eventually she came around and really liked building up her unique character. She actually really liked the theme and hunting down one main bad guy.

The Red Dragon Inn - This silly little card game is filled with "take that moments" and proper hand management. She is really adept at exploiting another character's weakness. The lighthearted theme is one of her favorites (she like's Fiona the Warrior).

Given all that information (it's alot, I know) which game do you think would go over better? Please do not take into account price or theme...these are things I won't have to worry about.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Tommy Dean
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Hard ask really. While some people would enjoy Descent with 2 people, I find it too much. Not as much fun for the OverLord to attack just the one player (even though many characters) and it can be long and confusing for the adventurer player to run many characters. It also fails the "takes forever" rule you set.

BattleLore is a straight out 2p game. I quite like it. But it is a march and kill war game really. None of the games on her list indicate liking a game like this.

I would suggest showing them both to her and talking thru how they play.

You can even "play" BattleLore on Vassal...or play Battle Cry on GamesTableOnline to at least get a good feel for how the system works and if it appeals.
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Mike Frantz
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I agree with Tommy...this is a tough one. Despite both being fantasy themed games, these are very, very different games. Descent is rather long, and if the Overlord is going to win, you really have to exploit the weaknesses of the players. This can feel like you are "picking" on her. So while it has some of the elements that you indicate she likes (building up a character) I'm just not sure it's a great bf/gf game unless she gives the ok. There is a lot of rules overhead and it is rather fiddly.

Battlelore is totally different animal. And it is completely different from anything you have listed. I don't think we can help much with this one. Tommy probably has the best suggestion...describe the gameplay to her and see if it interests her much.
 
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Daniel Chen
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I thought you were asking which box is bigger or heavier.

I wasn't a huge fan of Descent, but then again, I'm not big on dungeon crawling and dice rolling.
 
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Mike
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Well she has played most of the games in my collection and she is willing to branch out into different things.

I would like to note that her threshold for game times is probably around 2 hours. Certainly more if she was really into what she was doing.

She has played Arkham Horror and once she got her head wrapped around the rules she rather liked the rich theme and intensity of that one. Apparently fiddly, rule heavy games don't deter her at all.

If we played Descent there is a strong chance that should would want to play as the Overlord. Once explained to her she would take quite a liking to being evil. devil

We've played Last Night On Earth with just the two of us. She really enjoyed the way each side played. It kept things interesting for her.

There was one time we played HeroQuest, but it was cut drastically short and only a handful of turns were taken...nothing to get a gauge of her enjoyment. Perhaps I will crack that out again and see how it goes.

I'm always looking to try new stuff and lately we have been playing many card games and light/gateway Euros. I want to try to play a lighter wargame (Battlelore) or possibly a dungeon crawler (Descent).

The strictly two player nature of Battlelore entices me. The fact that the game is optimized for 2 puts me at ease that we won't be missing out on a better experience. I also like how the game slowly introduces you to the mechanics of the game. I feel she would enjoy the tactics and out smarting involved with achieving victory.

Descent looks interesting because it would be deeply thematic and engaging. She rather enjoys direct conflict and being a wrench in one's plans is almost why she plays boardgames. My question is that even with 2 players would the game drag into the 3-4 hour mark? Is it at least possible to finish in 2 - 2.5 hours?

I'm leaning towards Battlore, but a part of me really thinks that she would really like Descent. If I sat her down in front of each she probably wouldn't give me an answer. To be honest she doesn't think she will like half the games I bring home until she actually plays them. Then once she gets the rules under her belt she usually has a good time.


 
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Marco Fuini
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BonesJackson wrote:
- Games that don't drag on forever


Well that rules out Descent.
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JC Connors
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I think that Battlelore is clearly the better choice here. It plays quick, is fairly easy to learn, and has a ton of customization built right into the box (even moreso with the Call to Arms expansion). As you pointed out, it's designed as a two player game, which seems to be your primary objective in finding a new game to play.

Descent is a solid game, but it's quite long, even with two players (its length is usually decided by the scenario and how evil the Overlord plays it). Descent also loses a lot of its tactical-cooperative appeal when you're just playing with two. Also, it really doesn't have a lot of RPG elements; heroes only really find treasure during the course of the game, there isn't any "leveling up" or acquiring new abilities. In fact, some of the videogame mechanics of Descent make it feel like an "anti-RPG" in a way -- your character can die over and over again, there's not much exploration to do in a dungeon as it's all set out for you, you can teleport back to town nearly instaneously, and there's little else to do in the dungeon but kill things. Don't get me wrong -- it's a great game for the right crowd -- but a game like Runebound is probably a better 2-player RPG boardgame.
 
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Sean
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Battlelore in this situation.
 
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Peter Folke
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Haven't played battlelore. But as for your list of good things in a board game, regarding Descent:

Choices that have an actual impact on the outcome: Well. I think most games have this, you'd have to be more specific.

Causing misfortune to another persons plans: Lots of this if she plays overlord. Not as much if she's a hero.

Well thought out rules: No. But for the basegame alone they are quite intuitive, which for some people is better (for some it's not). If you add expansions, the rules become a mess. The game becomes more varied and fun, but the rules less consistent.

Games that don't drag on forever: Ouch. With a good storage solution several of the quests in the base game can be finished in about 2.5 hours, including setup and teardown. But let's face it. This game is LONG, and your first games will take longer than 2.5 hours. Probably 4.

Games with role selection or abilities: Descent has this. Descent really has this. Loads of abilities. If what she likes is more along the lines of "which of these abilities will help me the most right now?", the overlord side has this all the time; the hero side has it most of the time.

Exciting finishes: Hmm. I wouldn't say finishes are more exciting than the rest of the game. In fact, sometimes they are a bit anticlimatic. However sometimes you feel the game can end in disaster for the heroes at any time, this might be the feeling you/she is looking for.
 
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J├╝rgen Duvendack
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Can't comment on Descent, since my first game will take place in 2 weeks, but a few comments on Battlelore:

- Choices that have an actual impact on the outcome

There is a healthy dose of luck in Battlelore, but your choices do matter in the outcome of the battle

- "Causing misfortune to another person's plans"

Some of the lore-card effects can cater this. Nothing better than cancelling the spell your opponent has saved his lore for all through the game with your counterspell. Or destroy his clever formations with some destructive spells

- Well thought out and easy explained rules

You really can explain the rules very easily. And the programmed instructions approach helps learning the rules.

- Games that don't drag on forever

1 game = 1 hour (a little longer for epic battles on the big board)

- Games with role selection or abilities of some kind

You can select your war council when playing with the lore rules. This can have a significant impact on the game.

- Exciting finishes to the game

OK, this is where Battlelore can fail sometimes. Nothing exciting in a 6-0 win or loss. But there can be games (especially in the epic format) where the advantage swings. And in close games winning or losing sometimes depends on the success of a single action (either you win this action or you lose the game).


 
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Kai Scheuer
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You shouldn't pick either of them and turn to dungeoneer instead, as it qualifies for all of the mentioned points
 
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Mike
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Thanks for all the responses. I'm still rather torn. I believe that both game could work. Battlelore seems to have less strikes against it, and it would be the safer purchase.

However, Descent while being riskier might yeild the more satisfying experience. If she really got into this I could find both of us enjoying it more than Battlore. However the play time really scares me. I'm sure she would play it, but it would probably only hit the table maybe once a month.

I really think I'm going to give HeroQuest another shot and see how she likes that. I'll let her play as Zargon and the heroes and see what she likes better. If that goes over REALLY well then I will be really interested in Descent. If its sorta of meh, then I'll stick to Battlelore.

One final question, now that Fantasy Flight has Battlelore have there been any changes? Are they planning any changes in the future in terms of components, rules etc? I wouldn't want to buy the old Days of Wonder copy knowing that a new revamped FFG would be coming out soon.
 
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Ian Engleback
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Descent is sucky at two player and always takes a while to play. The rules are relatively simple but it takes a while to master.

I haven't played Battlelore, but I understand the mechanics are similar to Memoir '44, which is a very enjoyable quick game even including the painful set up time, the rules are simpler and easier to get the strategy right.

 
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Doug Adams
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bikini wrote:
BonesJackson wrote:
- Games that don't drag on forever


Well that rules out Descent.


What Marco said.... Descent takes hours... and hours, and I never reached the longer scenarios.
 
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Dale Quimpo
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BonesJackson wrote:

These are things she tend to really like in boardgames

- Choices that have an actual impact on the outcome

- "Causing misfortune to another person's plans"

- Well thought out and easy explained rules

- Games that don't drag on forever

- Games with role selection or abilities of some kind

- Exciting finishes to the game




- Choices that have an actual impact on the outcome
Descent more than Battlelore. Decisions in Battlelore are more subtle and you won't see how one action actually helped you unless you spend a lot of time analyzing it.

- "Causing misfortune to another person's plans"
Descent, especially as the Overlord. Same reason as above.

- Well thought out and easy explained rules
Hmm. I would go with Battlelore, though the only hard to explain things in Descent are the Ready tokens.

- Games that don't drag on forever
Battlelore.

- Games with role selection or abilities of some kind
Descent more than Battlelore because Battlelore is very very very bland.

- Exciting finishes to the game
Neither. Descent bosses are as soft as the normal monster by the time you get to them, and when the heroes lose, it's very abrupt. In Battlelore, the game is just so plodding that there is barely any room for a good ending. I've had a few good endings to Battlelore games though.


Overall, I think that Descent is the better game, but in your case, go with Battlelore and pray FFG fixes it. There's something wrong with it. I've played it 50-60 times, and it's hard to get back on the table. Then again, I always feel that Descent rules and mechanics also need some work.

 
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