I hope to keep this brief, entertaining, and informative.
I have been watching Descent for quite some time wondering if this is something I would be interested in buying. A lot of reviews seem somewhat split on this. Many love the game, others dread it (especially because of the time involved).
So lets get started:
I bought the game off eBay and it included the Well of Darkness expansion - all for about $100.
Components 10/10 - A LOT is packed into this box - suffice to say, tons of minis, tons of counters, cool inter-locking map system.
Rules 8/10 - FFG has never been great at organization of rules - here is another case. In all, the game is easy to play - the rule book is not terribly long - you just need to remember quite a bit. At first it seems daunting but the more you play the easier it gets. It will take about four games to get things down pretty well - please dont let that disuade you - its just a big game (not complicated) just lots of special situation rules (i.e. what happens when a boulder lands on a chest) etc. The rules could have used an index.
Gameplay 8.5/10 - Ok, I play D&D miniatures, MageKnight Dungeons -- out of the three, Descent and MKD are both very fun. Descent is a co-op game - one player is the Overlord (DM of sorts but this DM wants to slay you often). The Overlord has the most to remember -- I love being the bad guy and love kickin heroes tails. Heroes NEED to work together to survive. The gameplay can be fast at times, other times it slows down. Some reviews say the player interaction is low - I disagree, to survive and to have fun you have to see what moves will make the most sense. As the overlord, I love it.
Balance 8.5/10 - I've played twice and I find the game balanced (at least the first dungeon). Sure, some heroes are tougher, but they can be brought down and you reap the rewards for doing so. I played with 3 heroes and it worked well and the game scales in difficulty based on the # of heroes. It is critical that you "level" your heroes to deal with the big bosses later on. Don't RUSH the dungeon!
Fun factor 8.5/10 - its a fun game- Why? Because its a dungeon, you get to explore and reveal new areas, you as the overlord can read descriptions of areas/events like a DM. The heroes really enjoyed me getting into it.
Modularity 9/10 - what does that mean? It means there are tons of expansions to this games, tons of cool rules, customization, etc.
Replaybility- 8/10 - though there are tons of quests, customization etc, the game revolves around - exploring the dungeon, moving your heroes, fighting creatures, dealing with traps, etc. The RPG elements of it (albeit light) do add further flavor. i've played twice and it was very fun. I'll need to play it a few more times to see if its something I want to "keep". Now a quick side-not - when compared to D&D minis, I find ESPECIALLY with the new rules version that it feels very dry and blah - Descent has much more flava!
Time commitment 5/10 - this is arbitrary. I mainly play with my wife and 2 kids. I like shorter games, but dont mind longer games if they blow me away and can keep the attention of the kids. The game does take some time to set up (make sure you organize your components), bring cheat sheets etc. The overlord spawning creatures really adds alot of time to the game but its a fun part. Your games are easily going to be 3-5 hours. But when you are having fun - time flies. I can see the game speeding up as players understand their heroes, rules, cards, etc. But this will take at least 3-5 plays.
Family factor - 7/10 - my kids are 7/9 respectively - they liked it - wife thought it was ok (thought it was long). The kids on the second play through actually started thinking through who should go first etc (i.e. i'm the tank i go first, you are fast, you go grab stuff, your range you shoot froma distance) made me proud.
Final thoughts --- Do I like Descent. Yes. Its a good game and I love the expansions. Cant wait to bust out well of darkness. I hope as I play other quests it keeps it fresh and the challenge/options continue to vary. Is it work the $100 bucks I spent. hmmm...100 bucks is alot of money - if you love fantasy, co-op games, being a bad guy and dont mind longer games - then yah its worth it. Its a fine quality game!
Overall score based on 2 plays 8/10. Immerse yourself into the world and you will have a much better time and the hours will slip by.
And now to kick the mustard out of more heroes who dare venture into my dungeon....
Good and honest review.
My partner and i have recently started a Road to Legend campaign. This shortens the session lengths down whilst increasing the fun factor for the game.
I am playing with 4 heroes whilst she loves playing the Overlord. Played 1 player v 1 player its actually easier to be the Overlord as 4 heroes is quite hard to play and remember all their abilities.
As a family with the children we also play Normal Descent. We have two 13 year olds who just love the game too.
I was a bit intimidated by the giant size of the game and feared it'd be too complicated for me. Now that there are not one but two reports of parents playing the game with their kids, you guys have shamed me into diving into this.