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Subject: Would someone mind talking me off the ledge? rss

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Justin Fitzgerald
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When I first got Descent, I really enjoyed the game. It was a lot like Doom but minus the annoyances. No ammo to track, your weapons didn't break, and perhaps most importantly, those dogs that ate people alive are gone.

But with more experience in Descent, I see another series of annoyances:
d10-1 Hard hitting minor creatures like Beastmen can kill low level heroes in one smack.
d10-2 There's stuff you can't use as an Overlord, like those runes that make it so heroes can't use their teleportation runes. I mean, you could, but there's no way the heroes could win.
d10-3 Gameplay for the heroes is counter-intuitive. You run past a giant to get the silver treasure he's guarding so you've got the weapon you need to take him down. Wha? Aren't you supposed to kill the monster, then loot the body?
d10-4 Traps. What fun is it to basically inflict direct damage to the heroes with traps. Throw on a couple trapmaster cards and you've created a recipe for annoying the players rather than having fun.
d10-5 Undying creatures never die. You never escape the webs. Die rolls to stop these things are god-awful. Sure you can say "odds are these things won't happen". Sure, but in 10 plays I've seen over a dozen such situations where an undying creature got up 5+ times or some hero spent a dozen turns in webs.
d10-6 I've downloaded a solution to the multiple rulebook problem. A kind user created a combined rulebook. However, I think we still have to write this up as a complaint because FFG should create a cumulative rulebook for their games.
d10-7 It's not satisfying for the players or the Overlord when the Overlord wins. The game just stops, the heroes lose, and the only recourse is "add more lives" (which invalidates why we tried so hard in the first place) or "run the scenario again" (which is tiresome).

So here's the deal. I'm about ready to give up on Descent. Anyone want to talk me off the ledge on why I shouldn't give up yet?
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Doesn't sound like you enjoy the game at all, and no matter what tweaking happens (and your list above would require *major* tweaking), I don't think you'll start liking the game. I'd say stop playing, especially since it's a long game. There are many other great games you can be spending your time with.

All of the items you listed above, the only suggestion I have is the on your last item. There's a house-rule that doesn't end the game if the Heroes lose their last Conquest Token. Rather, the game keeps going, and the heroes just go into the negative. Then, at the end of the game, if the heroes have a positive CT, they win, or else the OL wins (which also gives weight to the CT they earn after they defeat the big bad meanie at the end).

Everything else will effectively change the core of Descent from what it is. Rather than bother with modding the game so drastically, why not find a game that suits your playstyle more? Say something like Earth Reborn?

-shnar
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Ryan DeLano
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I'm sorry man, all I can tell you is that we would never play it without a campaign expansion. Vanilla Descent did not do it for us at all either, for all the reasons you describe and more. I know it's hard to invest more money into a game you're already not enjoying, but have you tried the campaigns?
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Justin Fitzgerald
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I've got everything for Descent but Road to Legend (and Sea of Blood). The campaign didn't sit well with me because it's a hero meat grinder. In my experience, heroes valued grabbing treasure chests and not avoiding being killed. So as Overlord I'd get a ton of points, they wouldn't consider the consequence of their actions, and despite all of this, (I hear) you could still get to the end of the campaign and lose.

That I'm probably just grumpy about but my game partner was no good for that type of long-term strategic thinking (and like I said, apparently it doesn't matter anyway since the heroes could still win during the final conflict).
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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d10-7 If it is completely unacceptable to you for the heroes to lose occasionally, you are definitely playing the wrong game. If your main complaint is that the game ends abruptly, you could try the negative conquest variant, where you always finish the quest and then check at the end whether the heroes have positive conquest or not.



Enduring Evil may solve some of your issues...

d10-1 Actually, they normally can't--beastmen deal 8 damage on a maximum roll, which doesn't one-shot any official hero in leather armor, or any official hero other than Zyla even with no armor. But one beastman spawn card can. Spawns are severely nerfed in Enduring Evil, and combat is in general less deadly, featuring fewer monsters with more health each.
d10-2 Enduring Evil has revised versions of dark glyphs, a replacement for dark relics, and rebalanced overlord cards.
d10-3 This is less true in Enduring Evil, because opening a new chest rank also buffs up the spawns (so there's a disincentive to doing it early) and monsters have slightly lower armor in general (so weaker weapons are less likely to be completely negated). Though honestly it's still probably a good idea much of the time.
d10-4 Trapmaster doesn't add raw damage in Enduring Evil, though traps aren't fundamentally changed.
d10-5 The Salve card and Resilience ability in Enduring Evil help with the web issue, but based on your description, your experience is an extreme statistical anomaly. You could consider house-ruling that Undying revives on an enhancement but works at most once per figure, so you have the same average result with a much less severe worst-case.
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Robert Zimmer
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Praxus wrote:
I'm sorry man, all I can tell you is that we would never play it without a campaign expansion. Vanilla Descent did not do it for us at all either, for all the reasons you describe and more. I know it's hard to invest more money into a game you're already not enjoying, but have you tried the campaigns?


...He is right. You need SoB or RTL. You just out grew the base games. These 2 expansions make it a whole new ball game.
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Justin Fitzgerald
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Ya know what - the argument about Road to Legend/SOB is compelling. I'll reorder and try and look at them with excitement again. I have to - considering I also bought the miniatures.... the buyer's remorse would just be too much ....
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Ryan DeLano
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Good luck man, I hope you find it more favorable than the base game. We did. We are well into our SoB campaign at the moment and are loving it.

The only thing that's really broken in SoB are the Lt. Sea Encounters. I just let my RPG DMing instincts kick in and play in the spirit of the game for those though, running away or pressing the attack as appropriate.

Aside from that, it's no mercy for my players. I have no idea what the outcome will be, but we're having a blast so far.
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Robert Zimmer
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If you get SoB first, get the Map Board too. I hated the paper board it came with...

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/720923/descent-sea-of-blo...
 
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Justin Fitzgerald
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I didn't get the paper board but I have a sheet of plexiglass that I thought would solve the problem.
 
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Robert Zimmer
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...You can find it for $12.00 -After buying all the expansions, what is $12-$20 more?
 
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Ed Rozmiarek
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KakarisMaelstrom wrote:

d10-5 Undying creatures never die.

Ha! Not in my games. I can never roll for a successful undying.
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If Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Then Actions x2 Speak Louder Than Actions
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Quote:
d10-1 Hard hitting minor creatures like Beastmen can kill low level heroes in one smack.

Don't place squishy (ranged and magic) heroes in harm's way.
Quote:

d10-2 There's stuff you can't use as an Overlord, like those runes that make it so heroes can't use their teleportation runes. I mean, you could, but there's no way the heroes could win.

Pulling punches as the OL is gauche.
Quote:
d10-3 Gameplay for the heroes is counter-intuitive. You run past a giant to get the silver treasure he's guarding so you've got the weapon you need to take him down. Wha? Aren't you supposed to kill the monster, then loot the body?

Have the giant stand on the chest.
Quote:
d10-4 Traps. What fun is it to basically inflict direct damage to the heroes with traps. Throw on a couple trapmaster cards and you've created a recipe for annoying the players rather than having fun.

Pulling punches as the OL is still gauche.
Quote:
d10-5 Undying creatures never die. You never escape the webs. Die rolls to stop these things are god-awful. Sure you can say "odds are these things won't happen". Sure, but in 10 plays I've seen over a dozen such situations where an undying creature got up 5+ times or some hero spent a dozen turns in webs.

Heroes don't have to kill everything that moves and they can run faster than the undead. Heroes can escape webs via their pitiful deaths.
Quote:
d10-6 I've downloaded a solution to the multiple rulebook problem. A kind user created a combined rulebook. However, I think we still have to write this up as a complaint because FFG should create a cumulative rulebook for their games.

How does FFG know which expansions each owner of the game possesses. Wouldn't all the additional rules get in the way of someone that only has the base game and Tomb of Ice?
Quote:
d10-7 It's not satisfying for the players or the Overlord when the Overlord wins. The game just stops, the heroes lose, and the only recourse is "add more lives" (which invalidates why we tried so hard in the first place) or "run the scenario again" (which is tiresome).

Oh, as the OL, it's satisfying. Try cackling like a mad scientist, standing arms akimbo and insulting their mothers after an OL victory. Sweet, hot satisfaction.
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Jennifer Casperson
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This game reminds me in some ways of a less dire 'Nethack' style game. You may not win, and with a good enough OL, you probably wont win unless you get some great draws.

I like it for this aspect, and I think it would do any gamer coming from DnD to get out of that mindset when playing this. There is no DM, and you can't be nice.
 
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duhtch
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Racca12 wrote:
This game reminds me in some ways of a less dire 'Nethack' style game. You may not win, and with a good enough OL, you probably wont win unless you get some great draws.

I like it for this aspect, and I think it would do any gamer coming from DnD to get out of that mindset when playing this. There is no DM, and you can't be nice.


that is the biggest thing for me. i play with dnd'ers and they have fun when they are winning, but whine like little school girls when they get their butt handed to them.
 
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Christopher Ebert
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Are you also coming from a background of D&D or other such tabletop RPGs? If you are, you can't use the same mind frame when playing Decent. In games like D&D, it's the DMs job to give the players a fair challenge while not making too easy or impossible. And to overall be a referee and make sure everyone has fun.
This is my idea of it of course.
In Decent... not so much. It's the OL vs the Players. The OL is trying to defeat the players while the players have the challenge of trying to defeat the OL. After playing the base game though, I had become bored with it and the sessions just seemed to take f.o.r.e.v.e.r. We had a game once that seemed like the overlord got a spawn card every freaking turn. 3 hours in the first room was just insane.
I've only played the Descent expansion up to RtL (which I just recently got and I'm running my first campaign with it) and I can say, it has rekindled my desire for this game. The Advanced campaign changes so much about the game that makes it way more enjoyable in my opinion. Even though I'm the overlord, I do like the rule about reinforcements. Where you are limited on your spawns, and you have to pay 15 threat to flip over a token in order to spawn again. Since you mentioned you had not played with any of the campaign expansions, I can understand why you are not that into it and wanted to leave. Give RtL a try, and if you still don't like it after that, then like another poster said, there are other games you can be putting your time into.
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Worse comes to worse, you can still use the 25mm bits for another RPG. Heck, since you have the miniatures from WoW:The Boardgame, see if you can find the White Wolf 3.x rules for Warcraft monsters, and run a D&D 3.x campaign against them.

Since you're a game designer, you should be able to either port these bits to another game, or redesign Descent to your liking!
 
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Justin Fitzgerald
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Yeah, it's easy enough to redesign a game but when you're at the point that you're gutting a system, I might as well design something of my own. And believe me, I've thought about it.
 
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Mark McG
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KakarisMaelstrom wrote:

d10-7 It's not satisfying for the players or the Overlord when the Overlord wins. The game just stops, the heroes lose, and the only recourse is "add more lives" (which invalidates why we tried so hard in the first place) or "run the scenario again" (which is tiresome).


I'm going to assume that the problem here is that when the OL wins, it is a short gaming experience.

My suggestion here is that you increase the Party starting CT, whilst reducing the in quest CT. So as a practical suggestion, make the Glyphs worth only 1 CT to activate, and increase the Party starting CT by 2 CT per Glyph in the Quest.

So supposing there are 5 Glyphs in a quest, the heroes start with 15CT (5CT at start + 10 CT from Glyphs), but only gain 1 CT per Glyph.

I think that this favours the heroes a great deal, so I'd consider that there be a trade off with the number of treasures they get per chest. Perhaps only 2 per chest.
 
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Justin Fitzgerald
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So, here's an update:

I bought Road to Legend, Sea of Blood, and all of the miniatures. We started the same campaign we played before meaning, I played the Spider Queen.

After the first dungeon (of which she did all three levels) the score of 26:21 Overlord. I did not go easy on her in any way whatsoever.

We think that my wife is less of a noob now. She said that she used to pick characters based on which looked the coolest. This time around she specifically picked a warrior, a ranger, a wizard, and a runner. The runner, in particular, is a phenomenal pain in the rear because he's that guy on the wolf with 16 HP. She also drew Tiger Tattoo so she's running around at 7 speed and I can't use pits to slow her down really. Oh, and she's got Stealth.

So I'm really not sure if she's better or if I'm off my game or what. But - the gameplay was a lot more consistent with what I'd be expecting from this game. Also - the Sea of Blood book has -most- of the rules I would have needed to look up. I'll be printing the combined rulebook (which I think is available here as a file) so I don't have to look up rules for oddly used stuff in the campaign (like ice, corrupted terrain, weird traps, etc.)

So seriously all: I just wanted to say thank you for encouraging me to give Road to Legend another chance. Whether we became better gamers or I've become less cranky, I don't know, but I'm glad for it. This is alot more like I expected Descent to play.
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duhtch
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KakarisMaelstrom wrote:
So, here's an update:

I bought Road to Legend, Sea of Blood, and all of the miniatures. We started the same campaign we played before meaning, I played the Spider Queen.

After the first dungeon (of which she did all three levels) the score of 26:21 Overlord. I did not go easy on her in any way whatsoever.

We think that my wife is less of a noob now. She said that she used to pick characters based on which looked the coolest. This time around she specifically picked a warrior, a ranger, a wizard, and a runner. The runner, in particular, is a phenomenal pain in the rear because he's that guy on the wolf with 16 HP. She also drew Tiger Tattoo so she's running around at 7 speed and I can't use pits to slow her down really. Oh, and she's got Stealth.

So I'm really not sure if she's better or if I'm off my game or what. But - the gameplay was a lot more consistent with what I'd be expecting from this game. Also - the Sea of Blood book has -most- of the rules I would have needed to look up. I'll be printing the combined rulebook (which I think is available here as a file) so I don't have to look up rules for oddly used stuff in the campaign (like ice, corrupted terrain, weird traps, etc.)

So seriously all: I just wanted to say thank you for encouraging me to give Road to Legend another chance. Whether we became better gamers or I've become less cranky, I don't know, but I'm glad for it. This is alot more like I expected Descent to play.


awesome, the point is to have some fun, and it looks like you are doing just that
 
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Christopher Ebert
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Really happy to know you are enjoying it more now. The Advanced Campaign really gives the game its much needed flavor. Have fun!
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