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Subject: If I already own Descent... rss

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Mark L
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Surprisingly there hasn't been a thread directly comparing the two games. As I see they both have their pros and cons... Earth Reborn has the better scenarios and more replayability, as well as the removal of the Overlord for those who don't like the role. Descent fits up to 5 (in fact is best with 5), has more "stuff" for those who like bits, is already a mature game with 3 vanilla expansions and two campaigns. It's also longer, which might be good or bad.

So I already own Descent (and Well of Darkness) and I still have most of the WoD quests to play through. The game time for Descent however is really killing its table time at the moment, because I've become busier since I purchased it. I foresee having more time to play games next year, though.

I can get Earth Reborn on the cheap right now, but I'm worried that the two games are too similar. Bear in mind that I'm not really looking to play ER as a 2-player game, more like a 4-player one, which means I need to download most of the scenarios online, which is fine but a tad annoying. The "bleed you into the game via scenarios" concept is nice, but the guys I play with can probably handle a less progressive learning experience.

If I didn't already own Descent I would definitely pick up ER, but the two games despite their differences still try and scratch the same itch. Should I get ER and sell Descent? Buy ER and have two similar games, one of which will probably not see play depending on how well ER is received? Wait for Descent 2? Not bother with ER because it's primarily a 2-player game?

Would appreciate opinions from those who have tried (even better, who own) both games. Thanks.
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Christopher Paul
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To qualify my next few comments: I have played Descent once a few years ago and promptly sold my copy. I have played Earth Reborn about 5 times now (working my way through the scenarios to learn the rules).

I actually don't think these games are very similar, except maybe superficially. (Both use miniatures, modular boards, combat, etc.)

I would classify Descent as a Dungeon crawl style game, and throw it in with HeroQuest and others like that. Earth Reborn is different in many ways: you know everything that's on the board (no surprise monsters, or surprise cards played by your opponent). Player interaction is very different in Earth Reborn - your opponent can interrupt your actions, torture your characters, etc. Every decision you make is dependent on what you think your opponent is doing.

Descent has more of a back and forth feel. In Earth Reborn, turns are blurred together and are more interdependent.

I got rid of Descent because I still had nostalgia for HeroQuest and decided if I was going to play that sort of game, I'd just play with my copy of that. So in my mind, where I equate Descent with HeroQuest, Earth Reborn has a solid spot in my collection since it is not redundant with the Dungeon Crawl sort of game...
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Tyler Darling
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I own both of these games, although it has been some time since I played Descent. IMO they are different games altogether, not just in theme but also in game play. The SAGS aspect of ER makes it extremely repayable especially 4 player. The fact that Descent is co-op should weigh in too. Does your group prefer to work with one another or play a PvP type of game? Also, if you don't have anyone in you group the particularly likes the Overlord role then ER has nothing like that. Even though it has been quite some time since we played Descent I wouldn't sell it just because you never know when that particular itch might need scratching. I own WoD as well and Road to Legend(never got a chance to try it yet though )and with the 2nd edition conversion kit coming out it may knock some of the dust off my copy.

So my advice to you would be to buy ER, hold on to Descent for now and if you really like ER and don't have any more interest in Descent then sell it.
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Shane Larsen
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All I can add is that you should buy ER no matter what other games you have.
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Mike MacMartin
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Descent and ER are in two different genres. Descent, as stated is a Dungeon Crawl. The goal is to beat the dungeon. Earth Reborn, however, is a tactical skirmish game with a guise of a boardgame. It's more like 40k: Rogue Trader or other squad vs squad minis games. Two different beasts.
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Fabio Calzolari
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Others said pretty much all.
I want to add that Descent is "dull" compared to E.R., 'cause in E.R. you're commanding a squad, not a single character. The whole lot of tactical choices you may have to do in a single round in E.R. are around half of the ones you do in a whole Descent scenario.

Talking about "tactical" games on a grid, I played Descent one week ago, i own Doom, Space Crusade, Hybrid, Space Hulk, the whole Mutant Chronicles trilogy and Legions of Steel. NO ONE of that game is great, deep and detailed as E.R. is, even if Legions of Steel, having the best and detailed ruleset (and the worst look) of all that games, is much more better of all others (and i like them all).

Hope this helps.
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Mike Forrey
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Uhm..Descent isn't even in the same league as ER. ER is far more like Space Hulk except someone finally gave SH the upgrade GW should have done a long time ago.
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Alexei Gartinski
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As others have already said, the two games are sufficiently different to have both. I would, however, actually add a view different from most of the above.

I own and played both ER and Descent, as well as Doom. While I do appreciate the design and the multitude of possibilities of ER (and I very much enjoy Dungeon Twister, another game by Christophe Boellinger), I definitely prefer Descent.

For me Descent achieves the almost perfect balance between "thinking" and "planning" ahead and responding to the constantly changing situation and dealing with the unexpected. Also, in Descent you almost always have a chance to re-bound: most of my games have been very tense with fortunes bouncing back and forth until the very end, you almost pull the win "through the teeth"...

ER in contrast (much like Dungeon Twister) feels much more "mental" to me. Sure, the sheer variety of options available does not allow the players to "calculate" the sure path to victory. But, unlike in Descent, it feels that it somehow does exists. The amount of detail (spending command points for various actions under many different conditions) involved in resolving the actions and combat somewhat distracts me from focusing on the action itself. Finally, most of my games were won and lost on one single wrong move: ER seems to be much less "forgiving", in particular for a new player.

I am perfectly aware that apparently one really starts appreciating ER having "graduated" from the tutorial scenarios. And I believe all of those who say that. I am just not sufficiently motivated to invest into getting through the "boot camp" while I still have a whole bunch of Descent scenarios to play through (and enjoy

Lastly, one can actually play Descent in a way similar to ER: just divide the heroes into two teams, allow both to spawn monsters, develop a simple way of drawing or buying the Overlord cards, set up a dungeon the way you like, and fight for whatever scenario objectives you decide. I bet it will be as much (or even more) fun as ER
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Erik Andersson
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I own ER and I still want Descent, just waiting for the 2nd edition.
I don´t mind owning similar games as long as they are fun.

 
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Luke Stirling
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According to my rough ruler measurements, Earth Reborn comes in a box that measures: 11.5 x 19 x 3 (inches)

According to the BGG entry on Descent, it comes in a box that measures: 11.60 x 23.25 x 4.00 (inches)

Also, each box contains some modular boards and miniatures.

Beyond that, I'm really at a loss to make any comparison between the two games.

(Sorry for the non-metric measurements, but I don't have the Descent box handy, and inches is the only unit the BGG page lists for it)
 
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Mark L
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Thank you to everyone for the advice. It seems like the two games were less similar than I originally thought.

Basically I'm feeling really tempted by Earth Reborn, but the things holding me back are:

1. It's first and foremost a 2-player game, and I suspect most of the people who recommend it so highly are playing it 2-player. I don't doubt that this game is great with 2, but I don't have a dedicated gaming partner to 2p with often. My friends come over in a group. (And I already have Twilight Struggle for those rare 2p occasions.) Also, 3- and 4- player scenarios have to be downloaded (and printed). Annoying stuff.

2. Different as the two games might be once you get beneath the surface, they are superficially very similar. This means that I foresee people going "Hey, why don't we just Descent?" initially (it's popular with my group). The fact that the first few ER scenarios are pretty boring because they're trying to bleed you into the rules doesn't really help.

3. ER is also a "heavier" game so I can't really teach it to non-gamers. I find that Descent is easy to understand for a single newbie as long as he's playing with a few experienced players. While it's true that most of my group doesn't have much trouble with heavier games, ER is visually very intimidating. First impressions and all.

I think I'll find a way to play ER first before deciding whether or not to buy it.
 
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Luke Stirling
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markino wrote:
3. ER is also a "heavier" game so I can't really teach it to non-gamers. I find that Descent is easy to understand for a single newbie as long as he's playing with a few experienced players. While it's true that most of my group doesn't have much trouble with heavier games, ER is visually very intimidating. First impressions and all.


Earth Reborn is first and foremost a gamers' game. While it may be possible to get an audience of non-gamers into the game, I think it would require someone already quite experienced with the game as well as being a good teacher to help non-gamers get over the learning curve and see the awesomeness that is the Earth Reborn game system. Earth Reborn is not a super-complex game, but I feel it does take a certain enthusiasm for novel game mechanics to see the elegance of its design.
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Christopher Paul
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markino wrote:
Thank you to everyone for the advice. It seems like the two games were less similar than I originally thought.

Basically I'm feeling really tempted by Earth Reborn, but the things holding me back are:

1. It's first and foremost a 2-player game, and I suspect most of the people who recommend it so highly are playing it 2-player. I don't doubt that this game is great with 2, but I don't have a dedicated gaming partner to 2p with often. My friends come over in a group. (And I already have Twilight Struggle for those rare 2p occasions.) Also, 3- and 4- player scenarios have to be downloaded (and printed). Annoying stuff.


This is true for me, although I do plan on playing it four player once I've learned all the rules via 2-player. You're right, I can't really account for the quality of the 4-player scenarios (although, I suspect they're on par with the 2-player ones). I do have to say, they aren't really that bad to print up - especially if you read my statement below...

markino wrote:

2. Different as the two games might be once you get beneath the surface, they are superficially very similar. This means that I foresee people going "Hey, why don't we just Descent?" initially (it's popular with my group). The fact that the first few ER scenarios are pretty boring because they're trying to bleed you into the rules doesn't really help.


With experienced Descent players (or gamers) you can skip the first few scenarios. I think 4 is a good place to start, and I think you can start here with the 4-player scenarios as well (skipping the first 8 pages or so of printing the online ones...)

markino wrote:

3. ER is also a "heavier" game so I can't really teach it to non-gamers. I find that Descent is easy to understand for a single newbie as long as he's playing with a few experienced players. While it's true that most of my group doesn't have much trouble with heavier games, ER is visually very intimidating. First impressions and all.

I think I'll find a way to play ER first before deciding whether or not to buy it.


It's definitely not going to go over very well with a non-gamer! It has many unique mechanics that can surprise an experienced gamer. I am also someone who likes to try out games I'm on the fence about (many of which, most recently, have saved me a lot of money by not buying right away...) What got me with Earth Reborn was the Tanga sale. I figured I wouldn't see such a good deal again and if I liked it, I would kick myself for having to pay much more for it later on!
 
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Tyler Darling
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markino wrote:
Basically I'm feeling really tempted by Earth Reborn, but the things holding me back are:

1. It's first and foremost a 2-player game, and I suspect most of the people who recommend it so highly are playing it 2-player. I don't doubt that this game is great with 2, but I don't have a dedicated gaming partner to 2p with often. My friends come over in a group. (And I already have Twilight Struggle for those rare 2p occasions.) Also, 3- and 4- player scenarios have to be downloaded (and printed). Annoying stuff.


I've only played this 2 player a couple of times. Most of my plays are 3 player and a few 4 player. Personally I like the 3/4 player SAGS because you have more options for character combinations (you can play mixed factions). The SAGS (Scenario Auto Generating System) is a fun way to randomly build a map without downloading anything and becomes part of the game itself.
 
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Doc Hogan
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thedacker wrote:
All I can add is that you should buy ER no matter what other games you have.


This
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Tyson McCann
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I own (and love) Descent and now ER (after a long while contemplating) and for what it's worth have never felt they were remotely similar. ER plays entirely different, in addition to being way shorter to play with 3-4 players.

Commonalities:
Minis
LoS
Co-op in teams though you get team vs team in ER
Combat dice, melee and range
Story, though to me ER is more story driven
Tile based
Collect things and events around board

These are all vague though, as the core mechanics are vastly different. Drawing order tiles and spending resources to deciding from all the immense options how to act is at the root of gameplay in ER.

The differences are too many to note.
 
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