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I would like to guess it's because the game plays so fast that there is no reason to level up more than that.

It would still be cool to find out from a designer what was their reasoning.

It would have been cool to add a variant to allow leveling up more for campaign type of games like in the original D&D. But I understand this is more of a light/gateway type of game for D&D.

Has anyone asked this question or know if WoTC has some sort of "Ask the design team" type of thing?
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I am not a designer (obviously) and wouldn't dream of thinking I had some kind of real insight, but from my point of view, I think this was probably just the best fit for what they wanted to do (a very quick, light, co-op dungeon crawler).

XP is a shared resource among players - you choose as a team if someone should go up a level. I doubt many people would want to keep stacking upgrades onto one person while everyone else wandered around getting the stuffing knocked out of them at level 1.

The upgrade system is a little different to normal upgrading and is designed to improve the co-op dynamic. If someone rolls a 20, they can use the XP to upgrade, but you may have decided as a group that you really wanted the mage to upgrade for an extra spell (or whatever). Do you risk holding off, in the hope that the mage will roll the required 20 to upgrade, or do you upgrade the other character just because you can at that moment? Or... do you hold on to the XP in case you run into a nasty trap? It's just a little different to the usual grinding for XP we might have expected, and includes a push-your-luck concept that is quite refreshing (unless I have completely misunderstood how levelling works in this game based on what I have heard).

Besides, if you can keep upgrading, you need to improve the monsters, or add more of them, or add different monsters, and then this isn't a self-contained board game any more. I for one would not like it if I felt I was only getting 1/2 the game in the box and needed to invest in other figures to get the most out of the game (yes, I'm looking at you Advanced Heroquest!).

Anyway - I am sure there is a campaign expansion being written in a darkened office somewhere, in the hopes the base games do well enough for the green light to go on...
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This is just a guess from me, here, but if the game plays in under an hour... say you could level-up twice. That's once every 20 minutes or so (because obviously, leveling-up at the very end would be pointless and maybe frustrating).

Leveling up once, that's a half-hour in (in theory), and is probably just as good as leveling-up twice.

I don't know. I'm really curious, myself. Thread: subscribed.

(on an aside, that ~1 hour playtime is a huge, huge deal for me in setting this apart from the 47 other dungeon crawl games out there. I'm really glad they went that route.)
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RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
Besides, if you can keep upgrading, you need to improve the monsters, or add more of them, or add different monsters, and then this isn't a self-contained board game any more.
My thoughts exactly. The moment you introduce a larger leveling scale, you have to increase the opposition, and that would have added a whole new level of complexity to the game that they have purposely tried to avoid.
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It's not the 2 level feature that bothers me it's the fact that once anyone dies it's game over that bugs the hell out of me. Couldn't they have included an option to see if the rest of the party can win on their own?
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ioticus wrote:
It's not the 2 level feature that bothers me it's the fact that once anyone dies it's game over that bugs the hell out of me. Couldn't they have included an option to see if the rest of the party can win on their own?
The problem with that is that it's too easy to just focus on parts of the party, and let them level first, have the best stuff, etc. Basically you make a part of the group expendable, which everyone knows isn't much fun to play, like being the squishy one with little or no armor in Descent.
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ioticus wrote:
It's not the 2 level feature that bothers me it's the fact that once anyone dies it's game over that bugs the hell out of me. Couldn't they have included an option to see if the rest of the party can win on their own?


First off - this is just confirmation that you are playing a co-op game. You have to win together. I don't see a problem with that (and it reminds of Dragon Strike... ahh, memories). This is a nice idea as it forces you to make tough decisions... I wanted to save this item, but if I don't use it then so-and-so will die and we will lose. I want to upgrade my character, but so-and-so only has one hit point left so we better save the XP to dodge a trap that might kill him.

Second - there's nothing to stop you modding the rule to see if you can go on to win the game once a few of the team are dead. You just keep playing...
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I love the insight everyone is giving.

I hadn't thought of the 20 min per leveling up. That makes a lot of sense. (Thanks Bippi)

As for the shared pool of XP, I completely forgot about that. I think that would help some of the weaker characters (based on Adventure) to survive.

I also can't wait to see some session reports for those who just "kept on going"

Player 1: Bob's dead, he was killed by a puppy vampire wolf

Player 2: We failed to revive him! Oh well, let's keep going and leave Bob's carcass in this room

Bob: Blarg......

haha
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I bet the shared XP pool will leave some people not even leveling up once since they talk about alternative uses for that XP (ie cards similar to Gandalf cards in the LOTR co-op). You probably just don't gain enough XP to necessitate going beyond level 2. Who knows, maybe it's a HUGE step up from level 1?
 
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Looking at the cards in the unboxing video, they are pretty much the same as the power cards from the D&D RPG, which are the abilities printed in the PH. So if you really want to have an idea how these characters will develop beyond level 2, have a look there.
This is obviously what WoTC has in mind for this board game, its a portal to the 4th edition DnD RPG. Also this leaves a lot of space for creative minds to get to work and create those extra levels, monsters to deal with at these levels and loot, all right out of the PH and MM.
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You know it also allows for a more robust leveling up and campaign system later on. The first part though is to get the game out there and see if there is a demand for more before you jump in with both feet. It's not like basic Descent was all that much different with leveling in the base game.
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Possibly. WotC are being very careful not to create games that compete with its main product line being D&D4e. The Board Games provide a different experience to 4e in a way that dovetails with it.

As such, given that D&D4e can be played at a base level like a board game in Dungeon Delve format, I wonder if they will not create a campaign system on the hope that players will migrate to the camapign system they have already spent a lot of effort to develop.
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I ran through a demo of this game at Gencon. I have little experience with D&D, none at 4th ed, and don't know anything about the Ravenloft setting. But I can say it was a lot of fun as a fast paced dungeon romp.

I don't think the game is really designed with level progression in mind, at least from the one demo scenario we had. The monster deck doesn't "become harder" as you level up. Also, the shared XP pool was comfortably sitting between 5-10 XP through most of our adventure, with a lot of the points being used to ditch particularly nasty encounters as they came up. It seems it would be difficult to have enough XP on hand to level up multiple times in one session.

In our particular session the "level up" card never even came up, so we didn't have the option to level up even once.
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MrThud wrote:
In our particular session the "level up" card never even came up, so we didn't have the option to level up even once.
It's not a card, you get the choice to level up if you roll a 20 and there's 5+ XP in the pool. Not impossible they left this (and other elements) out of the demo though.
 
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Huh, okay. There was definitely a Level Up card in the deck, since it was the first card we drew as the initial encounter. The WoTC guide told us about the leveling up mechanic and to shuffle the card back into the deck (rather than put it onto the bottom of the deck).

Could be that the card lets you level up without having to roll a 20, though.
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Also, I may be misremembering about it being an encounter. It could have been my initial treasure draw.
 
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MrThud wrote:
Also, I may be misremembering about it being an encounter. It could have been my initial treasure draw.
Treasure would make sense. I'm 99% positive all encounters are "bad".
 
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Quote:
I would like to guess it's because the game plays so fast that there is no reason to level up more than that.

It would still be cool to find out from a designer what was their reasoning.


Your guess is correct; that's the primary reason. There is also a simple physical reason: a Hero card has only two sides, and the higher level version is found by flipping over the card.

I wanted to make leveling up be an infrequent reward, and it potentially can be a costly one: spending that experience to level up might be the 5 XP you needed to cancel that Encounter card that finishes off one of your allies.
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Wow, Peter!

Thanks for taking the time to come on and giving us a Designer's perspective
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Gawain wrote:
The moment you introduce a larger leveling scale, you have to increase the opposition, and that would have added a whole new level of complexity to the game that they have purposely tried to avoid.


Precisely. Adding leveling would force the mathematical model behind the game to shift, demanding an additional set of monster stats and encounter cards.

Campaigning has come up often enough that it's definitely on the to-do list, but we have to wait and see how the first two games do.
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Sweet! We got two designers!

Thank you too, Mike!
 
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mearls wrote:

Campaigning has come up often enough that it's definitely on the to-do list, but we have to wait and see how the first two games do.


Ah so this would imply that the players have a max level of two in Wrath of Ashardalon as well then. Cool, I was wondering about that.
 
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