First, some backgound:
I've never played first edition Descent. I had a buddy who had it, and EVERY expansion, and most of our group of friends had played it with him, but I always missed out (being the only one with a kid, things like that happen). I had heard tons about it though, and it sounded awesome.
When I found out about the demo events, I contacted the proprietor of my FLGS and asked him if he'd be interested in signing up for it, I'd be glad to run it if he got chosen. He agreed, and we did get picked. He has two stores, the plan was to run one day at each store over the demo weekend. We ended up pushing the one back a week due to the Magic 2013 pre-release and a lack of space, but it actually didn't affect turnout.
Now, on to the meat of the matter:
I live in a relatively small town, so the fact that 8 people showed up for the first demo (several of them from an hour or two away) just blew our minds. We ran through the intro scenario twice, making sure everyone got a chance to play. A few people there were familiar with first edition, and I think they had the hardest time getting into it, since in many ways 2nd edition is a simpler game. I think it's simpler in the right ways, though.
In the first game we made a few stumbles (like me giving monsters more than one attack and not reinforcing right), and I managed to escape two goblins before the players shut the monsters down. The second game, I corrected my errors and the players absolutely owned me. A good time was had by all.
The following week for the second store, I had 9(!) people show up. Again, around here that's mind-blowing. Shuffling things around was a little trickier that time, fortunately on of them was my friend who had also been at the other one, and we agreed instead of playing, I would walk him through Overlord-ing. We played through the first half of the second scenario with the first bunch, and my original intention had been to run through the second half with the second bunch. However, by the time the first was done, we were cutting it kinda close to the store's closing time, so we just did part one again.
That's nice and all, but where's the actual review?
I really liked this game. The minis and components are things of beauty (it IS Fantasy Flight after all). There is a wealth of scenarios, and I love the fact that campaign play is assumed from the start. The characters and their abilities are varied, and the multiple class choices makes for plenty of customization options. I worry that the priest's Stun ability may be a little too powerful, and the dwarf is nigh-unstoppable under certain circumstances, but there is no such thing as a perfectly balanced game.
As the Overlord, I like that controlling the monsters is relatively easy, since they basically follow the same rules as the characters. And the Overlord cards are nicely varied and help to keep things even, while giving you a nasty edge every now and then.
As I said, I really liked this game, and I hope to be playing a lot more of it in the future. I definitely recommend it.
The Galaxy is Just Packed!
I was thinking the Stun ability was too powerful as well, until I realized (after some discussion) that it only removes an action, not a whole turn.
I'm OK with it now.