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Descent: Journeys in the Dark» Forums » General

Subject: Overlord always winning! What to do? rss

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Bill Robot
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We play with the basic game with AOD and WOD. The overlord wins most games. How can I fix this besides buying TOI?
 
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Doug File
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Some more info would be helpful.

To start with:
- How many heroes do you play with?
- Do you currently use any 'House Rules'?
- Have you played most/all of the quests from the original game before you starting using expansions?
- Assuming you did start with the basic quests (without Treachery), how did the heroes fare?

 
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Bill Robot
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5 players, 4 heroes, all rules up to the mentioned expansion, and no house rules. We have been jumping around WOD dungeons.
 
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Doug File
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In that case it might simply be that the heroes need more practice. Some of the Well of Darkness quests are seriously hard. I would suggest you run through some of the quests from Journeys in the Dark (I'd probably suggest quests 3,4,5,7,8,9).

Then try the Well of Darkness quests again. If the heroes are still struggling, you could try re-doing the original quests but using Treachery this time round.

The only house rule I would suggest at this time is to increase healing potions from 3 wounds to 4 wounds. If the heroes still can't win after all this practice you might want to try some other house rules.



 
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Doug File
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One final thought - You said the overlord wins most games. But how many games is most games?

If the overlord wins 2/3 of the time, you might consider that his just reward for outplaying the heroes. If this is the case, maybe you shouldn't try to change things - just switch around who plays the overlord so you can share the glory.

If it's 85-95% then I can understand why you are looking for ideas.

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K
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Descent in the Dark has an article on "Game Balance".

It suggests that a balanced "fair" game is one where one side only wins 50% of the time, but in Descent, heroes losing 50% of the time can be frustrating.

The article then goes on to list ways to help balance it like changing the number of starting conquest tokens, starting money, or having the overlord collect less threat per turn.

I've seen lots of people here also suggest to always play with 4 heroes, especially in the expansions, but it looks like you've got that covered.

edit: typos
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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There's some useful threads discussing the difficulty of each quest in the base game and Well of Darkness. You may want to take note that quests 2, 4, and 6 in WoD are considered rather unreasonable.
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Michael Kefauver
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A variant my group uses is that the heroes always play through the quest to the end, and if they end with positive conquest, they win the adventure.
While it removes a bit of tension of "Oh, no, we only have 3 conquest left! Sprint for the glyph!", it means that the heroes win a bit more because a bit of bad luck won't drain their starting conquest before the game gets into swing, and the 'end of game' conquest actually means something. The Overlord can still play hardball, and the heroes have a bit more freedom to die but still make a comeback.

It also means that you get to see an adventure through to the end, so there's no playing the same quest 3 times to see the end... unless you want to.
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K
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Nessmk2 wrote:
A variant my group uses is that the heroes always play through the quest to the end, and if they end with positive conquest, they win the adventure.
While it removes a bit of tension of "Oh, no, we only have 3 conquest left! Sprint for the glyph!", it means that the heroes win a bit more because a bit of bad luck won't drain their starting conquest before the game gets into swing, and the 'end of game' conquest actually means something. The Overlord can still play hardball, and the heroes have a bit more freedom to die but still make a comeback.

It also means that you get to see an adventure through to the end, so there's no playing the same quest 3 times to see the end... unless you want to.


This works well for our group too. When the Overlord wins we just say "Okay the Overlord won, let's start over from where we are". While it's not a proper restart since the heroes keep everything, it means we can move onto to another quest later.

So when the last heroes dies and there is not enough Conquest, then declare the Overlord a winner, and keep playing. If your group is more inclined to play just to play then this might work for you too.
 
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Bill Robot
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It's like a 80/20 win ratio

We have only played through each dungeon once so we will start replaying them to see what happens. I had brainstorm and was wondering if anyone has ever tried something like this?

Require 1 threat token for each activated monster.

This would furthermore give the overlord less options and probably lead to shorter overlord turns.
 
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Mark Thomas
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I've always liked the 'go into negative conquest' idea. At least it keeps the game going.

And as you already obviously know, Tomb of Ice would help even things out. I consider it to be worth the money.
 
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K
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Blorbo wrote:
It's like a 80/20 win ratio

We have only played through each dungeon once so we will start replaying them to see what happens. I had brainstorm and was wondering if anyone has ever tried something like this?

Require 1 threat token for each activated monster.

This would furthermore give the overlord less options and probably lead to shorter overlord turns.


If it were me, I would first limit how he receives threat instead of changing how he spends them. Start by reducing the amount of threat he receives each turn, or make it so surges can't be cashed in for threat.

That way he doesn't have to pay to activate his "free" monsters (the ones that pop up in a new area.) In our games the Overlord does most of the waiting around, I wouldn't want to make his turn much shorter.

edit: You could also reduce the Treachery too or make it so unspent Treachery doesn't get you anything, but I like the idea of reducing threat first, as Treachery is the only thing the overlord gets to customize his experience.
 
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Andrew Clarke
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If four heroes are consistently losing at most of the journeys in the dark quests, I can only suggest that they're not playing very well (there are plenty of strategy articles in these forums to consult, but the key points are to move quickly, have a designated, appropriately equipped, runner, and to cover LOS for spawns). A few questions, though:
* Playing with treachery?
* Playing with dark glyphs, and is the overlord using them? Sundered glyphs are brutal, and probably better not used.
 
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Ken Watson
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A couple of house rules that we implement to try to maintain balance:

1. Non-random or semi non-random heroes. For semi non-random (which is what we do), we draw 3 random heroes for each hero player (we always play with 4 heroes, even if less than 4 hero players), and the respective hero player picks one from each of the 3 that are randomly drawn. If that's not good enough to provide balance, do non-random in which you let the hero players pick the hero without drawing.

2. Random treachery. The OL is not allowed to just pick the treachery cards. Instead, he must draw a number of cards of a given treachery color equal to the treachery points for that treachery color plus 1. So if it's 3 green, the OL draws 4 random green treachery cards. The OL must then spend treachery points only from the drawn cards or on dark glyphs (or extra cards, but why?). This mitigates the chance of the OL taking the same really nasty treachery cards every time, or from taking treachery cards that complement a dungeon too well.

3. Health potions heal 4.

Aside from that, as already mentioned, Feats from Tomb of Ice help a lot to swing the balance back to heroes.
 
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Douglas Buel
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Feats + No Treachery will go a long way toward making the game easier for the heroes.

We kinda look at that as the "easy setting."
 
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