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Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Reservations about 2e; can anyone reassure me on any of these? rss

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Brian M
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A lot of these have been discussed individually. It's getting challenging to jump around all the threads, so I thought I'd make a list of stuff I'm seeing to make me nervous about getting 2e.

Things that I hoped they improved from 1st edition, but I'm not sure:

1) Dice fiddliness. Often in 1e it took less time to decide what action to take than to figure out what dice to roll, gather the dice, count up all the stray symbols, fiddle around figuring out what you needed to spend as range and what you could use for damage, etc. Is it smoother now?
FEEDBACK SO FAR: Generally agreed to be smoother and faster.
MY OPINION SO FAR (4 Games in): Attacks are MUCH quicker to resolve. How to spend surges is often a little more interesting as opposed to just point juggling.

6 games in: Attacks are still quicker, but blast attacks can drag as the OL needs to roll several defend dice and everyone needs to remember the results while the player figures out how to spend surges.

2) Rocket tag. However, often all the rolling obscured the fact that mostly what mattered was whether you hit or not, since you killed most monsters in one shot. And monsters took only a few hits to kill heroes. Has this gone down?
FEEDBACK SO FAR: Still part of the design, though 'bosses' are tougher and the quests on a whole are a lot faster.
MY OPINION SO FAR (4 Games in): While some monsters still go down in one hit, quite a few don't. Much less "rocket tag".

6 Games in: Bit of a different story in Act II - the heroes go down really, really fast, while the monsters often don't.

3) Endless spawns. Ugh, this made the game drag. It sounds like the OL still usually gets unlimited spawns, but only one monster per turn. Is the spawning less of a slog now?
FEEDBACK SO FAR: Sounds like spawning works much better.
MY OPINION SO FAR (4 Games in): You don't have to constantly watch empty spaces, but there are a steady stream of monsters in many scenarios. This is sometimes problematic/dull, but mostly works pretty well.

6 Games in: Uchanged opinion. Often works fine, sometimes is a pain/dull.

4) Poor scaling. Balance varied wildly depending on number of heroes. Sounds like 2e may not be any better.
FEEDBACK SO FAR: Very mixed opinions.

Things that people have listed as problems (or potential problems) with 2e. How bad are they? Do they really exist?

1) Whack-a-Mole. A hero goes down and just keeps going down, leading to a bored player and a huge advantage for the OL.
FEEDBACK SO FAR: Sounds like it happens every now and then, but the quests are very fast, so it seems like this won't be a major problem.
MY OPINION SO FAR (4 Games in): We haven't had this be a problem at all.

6 games in: Uh oh. This is showing up more in Act II. Monsters can now one-shot heroes, and the hero defenses haven't really increased. We've also seen it happen with Lieutenants in some scenarios.

2) Super Whack-a-Mole. The whole party goes down in Encounter 1, and the OL, instead of just winning the scenario, just keeps pounding them to build up a huge hand of cards for Encounter 2.
FEEDBACK SO FAR: Not sure if anyone can point to this actually happening, so it may be just be a theoretical problem. If is, it's probably an easy house-rule to fix.
MY OPINION SO FAR (4 Games in): This hasn't even been close to being a problem.

6 games in: Still haven't seen this.

3) Unbalanced options. Some people have listed concerns that the hero skill cards and monsters aren't well balanced, which will lead to the same choices being made every time. That would be very dull.
FEEDBACK SO FAR: Not sure here. I've seen people citing one character class be much better than the other in the same category.
MY OPINION SO FAR (4 Games in): Haven't noticed any obvious poorly balanced upgrades. We do see the Shadow Dragons showing up in games a bit too much; they seem very nasty.

6 games in:Ok, now we're seeing some unbalance. The Runemaster skill that can immoblizie enemies is so incredibly strong that the entire game revolves around getting the runemaster to use it on a certain monster or preventing the runemaster from using it.

4) Poor one-shot play. A lot of people seem to agree that it doesn't play well unless you are playing a campaign.
FEEDBACK SO FAR: Probably not great for one-shots without some houserules.

5) Recycle, recycle. The OL reinforces one monster per turn per group, no matter what the monster is, so a group with few big nasty monsters is much more dangerous than a group with several small ones. (The game could be balanced around this - perhaps more small ones overall have more attack power). This could also lead to it being pointless to kill a big monster since the OL just immediately replaces it with no "cost" to the OL player.
FEEDBACK SO FAR: Sounds like between the short duration of the adventure and replacements needing to enter from a fixed area, this may not be a problem.
MY OPINION SO FAR (4 Games in): Occasionally problematic. Not badly so, but annoying at times.

6 games in: Sometimes problematic, especially if the OL is using all 'big' monsters.

6) Point saving. Are the 1 XP cards for heroes worthwhile compared to the higher cost cards, or is it always just a short term/long term tradeoff?
FEEDBACK SO FAR: Not much feedback, but it sounds like the lower cost cards are useful, and that they work well in some combos.

7) Replayability. Are the scenarios heavy on hidden info that will make them less fun to replay?
ANSWERED: Not a problem.: Someone else posted that the Quest book indicates that all quest info is public and known to both sides.

I don't like how they went with a "story" style campaign rather than a more open system...is it at least a campain you can reasonably play multiple times?

EDIT: Updated 7/19 with a summary of the feedback I've seen so far.
EDIT: Updated 8/8 with thoughts after 6 games.
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Christopher Scatliff
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Here are my reactions to these issues...
StormKnight wrote:
1) Dice fiddliness. Often in 1e it took less time to decide what action to take than to figure out what dice to roll, gather the dice, count up all the stray symbols, fiddle around figuring out what you needed to spend as range and what you could use for damage, etc. Is it smoother now?

I think it's smoother. Not only are there less dice, but the info is more consolidated. Especially helpful is the removal of that "one range or one damage" result from the power dice, as things tended to bog down as players calculated whether they were using those dice for range or damage. Even without that, starting character will only have two dice. Even advanced characters won't have more than three or four. The only step that's more complicated than 1e is the armor die, but it's easy to adapt to.

Quote:
2) Rocket tag. However, often all the rolling obscured the fact that mostly what mattered was whether you hit or not, since you killed most monsters in one shot. And monsters took only a few hits to kill heroes. Has this gone down?

Eh, about the same. Weak monsters still frequently fall in one hit. Even the shadow dragon only took two or three good hits to bring down. Weak heroes could go down in two or three hits with some bad armor rolls.

Quote:
3) Endless spawns. Ugh, this made the game drag. It sounds like the OL still usually gets unlimited spawns, but only one monster per turn. Is the spawning less of a slog now?

Much less. Yes, it's still endless, but usually only one or two per turn and you do *not* need to sit and figure out line of sight. They spawn in the entrance or exit areas, and that can't be blocked. So there's no metagame to try to stop spawns, and placing them is easy.

Quote:
4) Poor scaling. Balance varied wildly depending on number of heroes. Sounds like 2e may not be any better.

It's not. Using two heroes is still very hard. The one scenario we played with two, the hero player just got crushed.

Quote:
Things that people have listed as problems (or potential problems) with 2e. How bad are they? Do they really exist?

1) Whack-a-Mole. A hero goes down and just keeps going down, leading to a bored player and a huge advantage for the OL.

The fact that this can happen is there. What doesn't exist is the motivation to do it. Since there are no conquest points, it's not often that the OL just concentrates on one hero. It's all objective-driven, so you have to stop the people who are threatening your agenda. Unconscious heroes don't threaten your agenda usually.

Quote:
2) Super Whack-a-Mole. The whole party goes down in Encounter 1, and the OL, instead of just winning the scenario, just keeps pounding them to build up a huge hand of cards for Encounter 2.

I guess this could happen. I wouldn't ever play with that OL again, though. This violates the "don't be a dick" rule.

Quote:
3) Unbalanced options. Some people have listed concerns that the hero skill cards and monsters aren't well balanced, which will lead to the same choices being made every time. That would be very dull.

Haven't looked much at the advanced cards so I can't help you much here.

Quote:
4) Poor one-shot play. A lot of people seem to agree that it doesn't play well unless you are playing a campaign.

I suspect this would be better with the epic rules that let you gear up first. But that doesn't fix the inherent imbalance that certain scenarios may have (some seem to be pro-hero, some seem to be pro-overlord).

Quote:
5) Recycle, recycle. The OL reinforces one monster per turn per group, no matter what the monster is, so a group with few big nasty monsters is much more dangerous than a group with several small ones. (The game could be balanced around this - perhaps more small ones overall have more attack power). This could also lead to it being pointless to kill a big monster since the OL just immediately replaces it with no "cost" to the OL player.

Maybe. I haven't read all of the scenarios yet, but in all the ones I've read the spawning monsters were all in fixed groups. I think I had one in which the open groups were the respawns, but in that one the options were all pretty close together, threat-wise.

Quote:
6) Point saving. Are the 1 XP cards for heroes worthwhile compared to the higher cost cards, or is it always just a short term/long term tradeoff?

Again, I haven't looked much at the campaign cards so I'll let someone else answer this.

Quote:
7) Replayability. Are the scenarios heavy on hidden info that will make them less fun to replay? I don't like how they went with a "story" style campaign rather than a more open system...is it at least a campain you can reasonably play multiple times?

Clearly, knowing the second half of an encounter could help you game the first half. Whether that ruins the experience or not, I don't know. As for all the quests seeming to have an over-arching tie-in to each other, well, 1e had the same thing. They could still be played independently of each other.

Hope that helps.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Improved from 1st Ed:
1) Dice Fiddliness: It's reduced, though been complicated by the Defense Dice. There are fewer attack dice, and you can't spend fatigue to boost an attack after the fact, and there are no "black" power dice at all, so that reduces the total number of stuff to count up, and also leads to fewer surges. But the counter is that now there are Defense Dice that you have to add up, then subtract from the attack, which kind of adds to the fiddliness. Not a great lot, but it almost cancels the reduced feel.

2) Rocket Tag: This is situational. Most normal monsters are still one-hit-die, but most red monsters are multiple hitters, similar to 1st Ed. Most Heroes can take multiple hits, but once a Hero has been knocked down and raises, he becomes a one-hitter unless he can find some healing somewhere.

3) Endless Spawn: The game I played I didn't really notice that it was 'bogging down' the game. What helped here wasn't the number of monsters but rather not worrying about 'covering LOS' to prevent the spawns. It helped let the players worry about the immediate threat and play the game, instead of lagging at a corner to keep LOS to that hallway.

4) Poor scaling: The 'scale' factor is the total number of monsters allowed per group, that's it. Oh, and the big bad villain at the end has different stats (usually just increased health). I can't comment extensively on it, since I've only played one game with 3 heroes, but it seemed like the game will have a balance factor for the negative.

2nd Ed Problems:
1) Whack-a-mole: You've probably seen my review, this was a major problem with me, mainly because there was little we could do to prevent it. When control is wrested from the players, it becomes an exercise of frustration. This may mean you'll always have to bring a Disciple (the true healer) to get around this.

2) Super What-a-mole: It's about the same as 1. Nothing you can do to get around this except bring a Healer.

3) Unbalanced Options: Can't really comment on this, I need more play with the different monsters/heroes.

4) Poor one-shot play: I'm in this camp, *except* I haven't played the Epic mode yet. I have high hopes that this will help the gameplay a lot.

5) Recycle, recycle: I saw this in our game, but it wasn't that big of a deal. We were already part way through the map, the big bad Merriod spawned way at the rear, the encounter was almost over, so he never reached us before we moved on to the second encounter. The second encounter had no 'respawning' rules, so it didn't come up. This sounds like it might be entirely situational.

6) Point Saving: No clue, since it's a campaign thing and I haven't played campaign.

7) Replayability: Nothing is "hidden" in the quests, the heroes are free to memorize the quest book forward and backwards before playing. Does that make it less replayable? Not really, but after playing one quest, I'm not sure how much I'd want to replay it anyways. So I don't think the quests are very replayable. BUT there are 16 stand-alone quests, so that makes the *game* replayable.

-shnar
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I'm waiting to get my first play in this weekend, but I will respond to the re-playability aspect of the quests in the campaign.

The Campaign Book comes with 20 different quests (not including separate encounters for 17 of those quests). Each campaign has you only face 9 of those quests, and only one of those is required to be the same each time (the Introduction quest, which could be skipped for experienced groups, as it's success/failure has no bearing on future quests, barring for the gold gain on Search cards).

I think it will take multiple times through to see all the quests. And, with all the possible hero builds, the monster combinations (as the OL has the choice of monsters on a majority of the quests), etc., I think the base game as a significant amount of re-playability. Once it gets stale (if it ever will), the expansion will be ready to add new cards, new options, and new quests to the game.

All in all, I'm very excited to get this game on the table and try it out. I have one player who is very experienced with 1e and has been dying to try 2e out. I'll let you know how it goes once we've played.
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Brian M
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There were also a few items that were problems in 1e, but as far as I can tell, HAVE been handled well in 2e.

1) Set up time. By all accounts, this is greatly reduced in 2e.

2) Overall play time for one game. Sounds like it's gone down to around 2 hours compared to 4 hours.

3) Overall fiddliness. Sounds like there's much less of the "sort through piles of tokens".

4) Engaging game all the way through. 1e games tended toward having the OL win in the middle, which felt like an incomplete game, or having the heroes slice through the end, which was a boring end. It sounds like 2e maintains a much better challenge and fighting level across the whole game.

5) Card design. The 2e cards seem to be better formatted, and list ability rules on the card.

6) Character mix. 2e reportedly has an even mix of male/female characters and has all the classes for both genders.
 
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Christopher Scatliff
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StormKnight wrote:
I don't like how they went with a "story" style campaign rather than a more open system...is it at least a campain you can reasonably play multiple times?


A little more commentary on this... I think even the basic campaign provided has replayability. Because here's how it works:

Intro quest: Okay, this is the same every time.
Act I: There are five available quests, but you only ever do three of them. The winner of the previous quest picks the next one out of those available. So exactly which three of the five you play may change each time.
Interlude: There are two possible quests here, depending on which side won more of the Act I quests. So this can change.
Act II: Again, there will be many quests to choose from here but only three will be attempted. And this is even more variable, because it's not the same static five options like in Act I. Which quests are available is entirely determined not only by which quests were attempted in Act I but also by who won them.
Finale: Like the interlude, the finale is determined by which side won more of the Act II quests. So also variable.

I like the way they set that up.
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Christopher Scatliff
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StormKnight wrote:
2) Overall play time for one game. Sounds like it's gone down to around 2 hours compared to 4 hours.

And that 2 hours is for both halves of an entire quest. There were some single encounters that we were able to finish in 30 minutes.
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Josiah Leis
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Smoo wrote:
StormKnight wrote:
2) Overall play time for one game. Sounds like it's gone down to around 2 hours compared to 4 hours.

And that 2 hours is for both halves of an entire quest. There were some single encounters that we were able to finish in 30 minutes.


On a side note regarding that did any of the encounters ever seem a little too quick compared to how fast it took to set them up? It looks like setup time is a lot faster in 2E, but did playing an encounter in say, just 20-30 minutes ever feel like "Wow, we're done already. I thought we just set that up?" I assume encounter setup time is only around 5 minutes though so this probably isn't an issue?

I just thought I'd ask this as this is sometimes an issue I have with Dominion, I like the game but by the time everyone picks what cards they want and we set the game up it sometimes feel like the game is over so fast it wasn't worth the setup time.
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Merchants & Marauders and even Descent 1st Ed had this to some degree. It's almost like you got everything you finally wanted and *boom* the game is over. A bit anti-climactic.

In the game I played, I didn't get the feel of having everything I wanted, but the 1st Encounter seemed to be over faster than I expected, giving a feel of "spent all that time setting up the board, and it's over in 3 turns?" Hard to say if this happens a lot or not, I need a few more games under my belt, but my guess is it's dependent on the quest.

-shnar
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Smoo and Shnar (and Mark!), thanks so much for the detailed responses so far. That's some great info, and much of it (not all unfortunately, but much ) sounds promising.

Just some stray comments:

Quote:
But the counter is that now there are Defense Dice that you have to add up, then subtract from the attack, which kind of adds to the fiddliness.

The bright side of defense dice in terms of fiddliness, to me, is that you've got a different player rolling them, so it keeps two players busy for about the same amount of time.

Seems like blasts could be problematic though, with only one set of dice to pass around.

Quote:
Act I: There are five available quests, but you only ever do three of them. The winner of the previous quest picks the next one out of those available.

Hmm...so are there immediately apparent criteria for which quest to pick, or do both sides need to read through all the quests and their combinations to make an intelligent choice of which quest to play next?

Quote:
I guess this could happen. I wouldn't ever play with that OL again, though. This violates the "don't be a dick" rule.

I never blame a player for using a perfectly legal, but unfun, tactic to win. I blame the game for making the tactic a good one. (And then I probably houserule it).
I have no idea how feasible or likely to come up this actually is though.
 
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On another side note.....

Am I the only one who thinks having the player who is being attacked roll the defense dice is "fiddly"? It seems like it would be simpler and more efficient to have one player roll all involved dice and count them, I'm a little surprised they didn't do it this way. I know they are trying to add player interaction and make people "feel" involved during the other side's turn, but I can't help but think it would be painfully obvious that they're not....
 
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Kartigan wrote:
On another side note.....

Am I the only one who thinks having the player who is being attacked roll the defense dice is "fiddly"? It seems like it would be simpler and more efficient to have one player roll all involved dice and count them, I'm a little surprised they didn't do it this way. I know they are trying to add player interaction and make people "feel" involved during the other side's turn, but I can't help but think it would be painfully obvious that they're not....

I'm surprised they didn't do it that way in the name of streamlining the game (making it faster), however I prefer to roll my own defense dice, thank you very much! No bloody Overlord is going to sully my dice!

-shnar
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StormKnight wrote:
Quote:
I guess this could happen. I wouldn't ever play with that OL again, though. This violates the "don't be a dick" rule.

I never blame a player for using a perfectly legal, but unfun, tactic to win. I blame the game for making the tactic a good one. (And then I probably houserule it).
I have no idea how feasible or likely to come up this actually is though.

Agreed. This is a competitive game, not a cuddle match. If the overlord isn't doing everything in his power to screw over the heroes, then I'd play with a different overlord. Is it being a 'dick' when a chess master wins in 5 moves? Should he have 'gone easy' on his opponent?

-shnar
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StormKnight wrote:
Hmm...so are there immediately apparent criteria for which quest to pick, or do both sides need to read through all the quests and their combinations to make an intelligent choice of which quest to play next?

I suppose one could. That sounds really tedious to me, though. If maximizing ones chances for success is a critical priority for somebody then yeah, I guess they'd have to.

Quote:
I never blame a player for using a perfectly legal, but unfun, tactic to win. I blame the game for making the tactic a good one. (And then I probably houserule it).
I have no idea how feasible or likely to come up this actually is though.

I see what you're saying, but I liken it to this scenario: I used to overhear games of Magic: The Gathering at game stores I used to work at. Occasionally you'd overhear a game where one person had clearly won the game, but was putting off actually officially ending it because he wanted to draw a card that let him execute some cool combo. I always considered that extremely poor sportsmanship. Is this overlord trick the same thing? Maybe not, but it leaves that seem awkward taste in my mouth.
 
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shnar wrote:
Is it being a 'dick' when a chess master wins in 5 moves?

No. It's being a dick when a chess master has a winning move in 5 moves but then takes a bunch of extra turns just to strip all the rest of your pieces away and make you feel even more beaten down.
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StormKnight wrote:
A lot of these have been discussed individually. It's getting challenging to jump around all the threads, so I thought I'd make a list of stuff I'm seeing to make me nervous about getting 2e.

Things that I hoped they improved from 1st edition, but I'm not sure:

1) Dice fiddliness. Often in 1e it took less time to decide what action to take than to figure out what dice to roll, gather the dice, count up all the stray symbols, fiddle around figuring out what you needed to spend as range and what you could use for damage, etc. Is it smoother now?


Figuring out what dice to roll is super easy and quick, but there is more randomness in the rolling since you also roll for defense now. Also the ability to only use each surge power only once speeds that up very slightly.

Quote:
2) Rocket tag. However, often all the rolling obscured the fact that mostly what mattered was whether you hit or not, since you killed most monsters in one shot. And monsters took only a few hits to kill heroes. Has this gone down?


We found that little critters (like goblin archers) still generally went down in 1 shot, but this is also subject to the defense dice and is not always the case. Bigger monsters (not just boss monsters) often take much more and with their improved defense dice you will be doing a lot of chip damage to them until someone gets off a lucky shot and melts his face.

The only times heroes faced that was against the boss monsters who, for example, put a 7 point beatdown on our thief in one swing. This is not the case with most critters though.

Quote:
3) Endless spawns. Ugh, this made the game drag. It sounds like the OL still usually gets unlimited spawns, but only one monster per turn. Is the spawning less of a slog now?


Very much so, probably the biggest improvement to the game in my opinion. Monster spawns are slower and predictable. Since they are purely scripted players can easily make decisions to camp a spot where they spawn, or move away from it, etc. No more monsters jumping out of every nook and cranny Left 4 Dead style.

Quote:
4) Poor scaling. Balance varied wildly depending on number of heroes. Sounds like 2e may not be any better.


I honestly cannot attest to 2/3 player balance, but 4 and 5 players were both well done.

Quote:
Things that people have listed as problems (or potential problems) with 2e. How bad are they? Do they really exist?

1) Whack-a-Mole. A hero goes down and just keeps going down, leading to a bored player and a huge advantage for the OL.


Another player can stand up that first player for only one action, giving the fallen player a full turn to hide, take down the attackers, heal, charge to an objective, etc. Yes there is the potential for one player to stand-drop-stand-drop-etc but this requires the entire rest of the player group leave them behind, and would obviously be a conscious decision by the players as a whole.

Quote:
2) Super Whack-a-Mole. The whole party goes down in Encounter 1, and the OL, instead of just winning the scenario, just keeps pounding them to build up a huge hand of cards for Encounter 2.


I have personally speculated on this myself in other threads, but I haven't actually seen it done. While the potential is there i don't think any of the scenarios are so much in the favor of the overlord to make this more than a very rare occurrence.

And if it did, i see no problem in the heroes forfeiting and just giving the OL the encounter 1 win condition and moving on to the second half.

Quote:
3) Unbalanced options. Some people have listed concerns that the hero skill cards and monsters aren't well balanced, which will lead to the same choices being made every time. That would be very dull.


No matter what you will ALWAYS have better/worse choices in any game, but with a couple notable exceptions I didn't see any super standout powers that are always must buys.

Quote:
4) Poor one-shot play. A lot of people seem to agree that it doesn't play well unless you are playing a campaign.


The problem with 1 shot play, in my opinion, is the search system. It works well in the campaign to slowly improve the group since at the end they reward you gold for what you found. In single play the items found are not very good over 50% of the time (one card even has 'nothing' on it) and so it is more often than not a waste of time to spend 2 actions to move to a token then search it when you could just be completing the goal faster.

I DO consider this an issue and plan to just award 1 treasure from the deck in one shot play, maybe give the OL a slight improvement in part 2 to compensate.

Quote:
5) Recycle, recycle. The OL reinforces one monster per turn per group, no matter what the monster is, so a group with few big nasty monsters is much more dangerous than a group with several small ones. (The game could be balanced around this - perhaps more small ones overall have more attack power). This could also lead to it being pointless to kill a big monster since the OL just immediately replaces it with no "cost" to the OL player.


This really depends entirely on the scenario. Between the variable number of 'open' groups available, drastically different map layouts, changing monster re spawn speeds, different objectives, and different monsters actually available to use. (by scenario type) I expect to see all the groups see play. Yes some may be better than others and will probably hit the table more, but between all the factors I doubt it will be an "always pick me no matter what" situation.

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6) Point saving. Are the 1 XP cards for heroes worthwhile compared to the higher cost cards, or is it always just a short term/long term tradeoff?


Looking through them they seem fairly well balanced, but this is because many of them work together fairly well. AN example would be on the necromancer, there is a lower point card that upgrades your reanimate's attack power, and a 3 pointer that lets you attack many enemies at once with your reanimate. The 3 pointer is *better* strictly speaking, maybe even for the cost, but I wouldn't pass up the first one to charge to the later one as it is still useful and they build on each other.

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I don't like how they went with a "story" style campaign rather than a more open system...is it at least a campain you can reasonably play multiple times?


Some missions will be the same no matter what. The very first encounter is the same every time, so that will probably get boring quick. But by act 2 there are 10 potential encounters available and you only play 3 of them giving a significant amount of replayability there. Overall I could easily see multiple campaign playthroughs, though after 4 or 5 both the heroes and OL will probably know what missions are more in their favor to influence picks, especially in Act 1.

I feel the story element is an important aspect at least for the campaign mode to keep everything tied together. Each act 2 encounter is based on how it's correlated Act 1 encounter went down, so it is all interwoven together fairly well.

StormKnight wrote:
Hmm...so are there immediately apparent criteria for which quest to pick, or do both sides need to read through all the quests and their combinations to make an intelligent choice of which quest to play next?


All you generally get is the name. Both sides could sit down and leaf through the entire book if you wanted since it is all open knowledge.

I plan to make a 1-2 sentence explanation for each of them to give the heroes a general idea of what each one entails without giving away the entire mission. (I also intend to let the players pick all 3 times regardless of victories)
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Regarding the 2 Player Balance...
Is there any way to adjust this? I want to play as an Overlord with my 8 year old. Is the game appropriate as it is? Or is it relentlessly blooththirsty? He wouldn't enjoy it if he didn't have a fighting chance...
 
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Occasionally you'd overhear a game where one person had clearly won the game, but was putting off actually officially ending it because he wanted to draw a card that let him execute some cool combo. I always considered that extremely poor sportsmanship. Is this overlord trick the same thing? Maybe not, but it leaves that seem awkward taste in my mouth.

The difference here is that the OL isn' assured of winning the adventure just by winning the first encounter. By locking the party down and drawing, the OL's chances of winning the entire adventure improve. Drawing out the game in order to win is very fundamentally different from drawing it out for the fun of it.
And it may well leave an awkward taste, but put the blame for the taste where it belongs
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Justin - thanks for the detailed reply!

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No matter what you will ALWAYS have better/worse choices in any game, but with a couple notable exceptions I didn't see any super standout powers that are always must buys.

Then the designers should have taken the worse options and tossed them out of the game

However, abilities that are situationally worse or better are a very different story.

As I've commented on RPG balance discussions - Skill Focus: Underwater Basket Weaving isn't as good as a +1 attack bonus, but +1 attack won't let you weave a basket underwater

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All you generally get is the name. Both sides could sit down and leaf through the entire book if you wanted since it is all open knowledge.

Ok, now I'm feeling a little confused. The winner gets to pick which scenario is next, but they aren't supposed to have info about which one they should pick?
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Amberhawk wrote:
Regarding the 2 Player Balance...
Is there any way to adjust this? I want to play as an Overlord with my 8 year old. Is the game appropriate as it is? Or is it relentlessly blooththirsty? He wouldn't enjoy it if he didn't have a fighting chance...

Well, in this sort of game, as the OL, you can at least always be more "GMey" than playing as a straight competitive game. Might not be a bad idea for playing with a child.
 
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Kartigan wrote:
On another side note.....

Am I the only one who thinks having the player who is being attacked roll the defense dice is "fiddly"? It seems like it would be simpler and more efficient to have one player roll all involved dice and count them, I'm a little surprised they didn't do it this way.


If you are going to have attack and defense dice, it makes a lot more sense for different players to be rolling them.

This way, I go "I attack the spider!" and I can figure out my attack die at the same time as the OL grabs the defense dice.

Then I can count up my damage while the OL counts up defense at the same time.
 
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StormKnight wrote:
Justin - thanks for the detailed reply!

Quote:
No matter what you will ALWAYS have better/worse choices in any game, but with a couple notable exceptions I didn't see any super standout powers that are always must buys.

Then the designers should have taken the worse options and tossed them out of the game

However, abilities that are situationally worse or better are a very different story.

As I've commented on RPG balance discussions - Skill Focus: Underwater Basket Weaving isn't as good as a +1 attack bonus, but +1 attack won't let you weave a basket underwater

Quote:
All you generally get is the name. Both sides could sit down and leaf through the entire book if you wanted since it is all open knowledge.

Ok, now I'm feeling a little confused. The winner gets to pick which scenario is next, but they aren't supposed to have info about which one they should pick?


Well, I think the idea if playing by strict interpretation of the rules is that *all* players are supposed to play with *all* info about *every* quest. I doubt that's how most people will be playing though.
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Well, I think the idea if playing by strict interpretation of the rules is that *all* players are supposed to play with *all* info about *every* quest. I doubt that's how most people will be playing though.

That's not entirely true, I was looking at the quest book earlier today and the "rule" is that unless the quest says otherwise, the info is public knowledge. So a specific quest can override that and retain some secrecy. I'm not sure if any of the quests actually do that, but it definitely allows for it in the rules

-shnar
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shnar wrote:
bleached_lizard wrote:
Well, I think the idea if playing by strict interpretation of the rules is that *all* players are supposed to play with *all* info about *every* quest. I doubt that's how most people will be playing though.

That's not entirely true, I was looking at the quest book earlier today and the "rule" is that unless the quest says otherwise, the info is public knowledge. So a specific quest can override that and retain some secrecy. I'm not sure if any of the quests actually do that, but it definitely allows for it in the rules

-shnar


I remember someone mentioning in another thread that although that rule exists, it isn't used anywhere in the Quest Guide.
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shnar wrote:
4) Poor one-shot play: I'm in this camp, *except* I haven't played the Epic mode yet. I have high hopes that this will help the gameplay a lot.


Lemme know how it turns out! I'll try it this weekend if I get some hardcore gamers rather than demo n00bs!

The Epic mode reads *a lot* like 1e character creation. You get 3 XP to spend on skills and 150 gold to spend on items. Sounds familiar? The Overlord has 3 XP to spend on his cards. So it's just like swapping treachery cards in an expansion set.

I'm entirely guessing that character creation is "simpler" with non-Epic 2e because it shortens play time?
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