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Subject: Overlord too overpowered in our sessions? (2-player) rss

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T Ruys
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Today I received Descent in the mail, very excited as I was, I immediately raced to a friend to play the game.

Last night I already read through the rules, so it was very much just lay the game out and play, with some back and forth between the rules.

I played as the Overlord and my friend picked up 2 heroes (2 player game = 1 player controls 2 heroes).

And I completely obliterated him as the Overlord in both games (First Blood (introductionary game) and The Fat Goblin 1st Encounter), it was absolutely no more fun for him and we just put the game away to play Space Alert .

Neither of us is necessarily the better 'tactical genious' or better 'boardgame player' in my opinion, so it was really weird and dissapointing for us to see the game to be so unbalanced for him.

Then I searched around online and saw everyone say that the Heroes are overpowered.

So a couple things came to mind:

- Did we play the game wrong?
- Is the game only unbalanced at 2-player / 2-hero games?
- Am I really that good? surprise

As we both are very much interested in the sheer quality and supposed greatness of the game, I was wondering if you guys could be of help..

I'm reading through the rules again, and haven't found anything that we did particularily wrong.

Thank you!
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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I've been playing with a friend, and he made a similar comment. He felt all the "changes" were to make the Overlord more powerful. He cited large creature movement, free setup on the map (as opposed to preset locations, so the OL could put creatures into choke points), the Surges and Actions creatures got, etc. He also noted how less powerful the heroes seemed, a change in the favor of the Overlord.

I don't necessarily agree though. I think he got that impression because he had a bad Hero getup. Which Heroes/Classes did your game have? In a 2 Hero game, hero selection can be pretty critical. Pick the crappy heroes/classes (like the Dwarf or the SpiritSpeaker) and it will be rather challenging. Pick the right combination (like the Necromancer and the Disciple) and it will be a cakewalk.

-shnar
 
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David Moffett
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It may be a skill or temperament disparity. I didn't play 1e very much, but when I did I almost always played the Overlord and I always won, even though we most often played the first scenario which is heavily slanted in favor of the heroes. At first I rashly wrote it off as game imbalance but when I later actually convinced someone else to be Overlord a more balanced picture presented itself, the heroes won sometimes and the Overlord won sometimes. Some people simply aren't suited to working as a team as in the case heroes. The hero team was usually disunited, disjointed and made enormous tactical errors because they couldn't work together.

Try reversing roles and see if it helps, if it doesn't, get more people involved and see if that helps. From what I've heard I have trouble believing 2e is terribly unbalanced.
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T Ruys
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I don't really remember which heroes he chose, but I guess that can make a big difference.

I think we will try tomorrow again, and I will try to get more people into the game.

4 or 5 players means 1 or 2 more heroes, but it also means more monsters in play. But that extra hero will make a far bigger difference I'd say.

Thanks for the response, it just all comes down to hero selection then?

(To clarify, he and I both never played Descent 1st edition (or 2nd edition) before today)
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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For new players, I *highly* recommend you bring the Disciple along. His healing helps overcome mistakes they might make. I also recommend the Necromancer since his Reanimate familiar is just plain awesome. Avoid the dwarf like the plague, for any game. The thief is okay, but only if it's a search intensive quest (otherwise half his skills fall by the wayside). The wildlander packs a nice punch. I prefer the Knight over the Berserker unless you're playing Expert mode (8XP for skill upgrades).

Just some thoughts on hero/class selection

-shnar
 
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T Ruys
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shnar wrote:
For new players, I *highly* recommend you bring the Disciple along. His healing helps overcome mistakes they might make. I also recommend the Necromancer since his Reanimate familiar is just plain awesome. Avoid the dwarf like the plague, for any game. The thief is okay, but only if it's a search intensive quest (otherwise half his skills fall by the wayside). The wildlander packs a nice punch. I prefer the Knight over the Berserker unless you're playing Expert mode (8XP for skill upgrades).

Just some thoughts on hero/class selection

-shnar


Thanks for your advice! It seems that my opponent chose just the wrong classes. Berserker, Dwarf, Wildlander, he chose. He also chose the Necromancer once and the Disciple once, and I think that did make a small difference.

So it would be best to start with the Disciple and the Necromancer?
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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InfernoNL wrote:
So it would be best to start with the Disciple and the Necromancer?

I can't say for sure, since I haven't played all variations, and I haven't even played with just those two. I've played one game with the Berserker and Necromancer, and one game with the Thief and the Disciple. In both games, the Necromancer and the Disciple shined, and so I wonder if using them as the starting combo wouldn't be the best in the game. It might not be, hard to say until I try.

The Disciple has this *nasty* 3XP skill that lets him roll 1 red die, heal *all* heroes in LOS (including himself) the number of hearts that comes up AND damage all monsters in LOS the number of hearts that come up (no defense roll). It's probably the best Area of Effect attack in the game!

The Necromancer has that Reanimate familiar, so it's almost like you're bringing another Hero along to attack with you. Plus he has this excellent skill that allows him to transfer damage taken to the familiar. If it kills the familiar, so what, just raise him next turn.

-shnar
 
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Sylvain BONNEAU
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shnar wrote:
For new players, I *highly* recommend you bring the Disciple along. His healing helps overcome mistakes they might make. I also recommend the Necromancer since his Reanimate familiar is just plain awesome. Avoid the dwarf like the plague, for any game. The thief is okay, but only if it's a search intensive quest (otherwise half his skills fall by the wayside). The wildlander packs a nice punch. I prefer the Knight over the Berserker unless you're playing Expert mode (8XP for skill upgrades).


You know what? Reading your post, I'd really like to see some custom campaign rule coming up where the hero players select their team at the start of each quest. You create a team of 8 heroes (one of each class) and select 4 at the beginning of each quest. Don't know how one could manage XP, gold and equipment… but it would be a cool option. I understand people are already working on a way to play a campaign with a hero party varying in size from quest to quest (to cope with a player missing a game session): that's a good start!

--
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Theis Magle
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First Blood. I have tryed 3 times now with 2 hero every time. A sure win for heroes (especialy two last times where we know how to do it).

Shnar your are IMO wrong in some of your advice. I also think Diseple will be a very good in most quest, but you don't need him here. You need damage fast. If you do it fast OL will not have the time to knock a hero out. Dwarf on the other hand is ok with his extra attack. Yes he is slow, but that extra attack (and the health = no knock out) is more value in this quest!

You just have to beat that Ettin. It is a white Ettin with only 9 life. I know, I know to 2 defense dice, but it is only average on 2,67. No problem to put that a sleep fast.

OL have only 3 goblin. If he but them close to the west on the tile (so it can get of the board with dash) kill a few of them in first round. If they are east just go for the Ettin right away.

Grisban the Dwarf as Berserker and Widow Tarha as Runemaster would be good, but other combination will do fine.

They do the job on Ettin before he could ever get all 5 goblins out.

Of course not use time on searching!
 
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T France
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shnar wrote:
I've been playing with a friend, and he made a similar comment. He felt all the "changes" were to make the Overlord more powerful. He cited large creature movement, free setup on the map (as opposed to preset locations, so the OL could put creatures into choke points), the Surges and Actions creatures got, etc. He also noted how less powerful the heroes seemed, a change in the favor of the Overlord.

I don't necessarily agree though. I think he got that impression because he had a bad Hero getup. Which Heroes/Classes did your game have? In a 2 Hero game, hero selection can be pretty critical. Pick the crappy heroes/classes (like the Dwarf or the SpiritSpeaker) and it will be rather challenging. Pick the right combination (like the Necromancer and the Disciple) and it will be a cakewalk.

-shnar


We had the Disciple and Necro and still lost the intro quest. Stoopid Ettin kept rolling lots of shields...
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Bvggy wrote:
[q="shnar"]You know what? Reading your post, I'd really like to see some custom campaign rule coming up where the hero players select their team at the start of each quest. You create a team of 8 heroes (one of each class) and select 4 at the beginning of each quest. Don't know how one could manage XP, gold and equipment… but it would be a cool option. I understand people are already working on a way to play a campaign with a hero party varying in size from quest to quest (to cope with a player missing a game session): that's a good start!

--
Buggy

You could just simply reward all 8 heroes the rewards the 4 heroes get from the quest (i.e. XP and Gold), this way the whole group is leveling up, but you still only choose 4 heroes to start the next quest with. The one complication, limited items in the store. Maybe you reshop at the start of every quest?

-shnar
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Titeman wrote:

We had the Disciple and Necro and still lost the intro quest. Stoopid Ettin kept rolling lots of shields...

I'm kind of thinking combat oriented quests too. In the "race" quests, they may not be the best combos...

-shnar
 
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Jens Thernström
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I've played a full campaign fo the game and the victory for the missions were only decided by a couple of points in eithers favour so I would say; give it a few more tries it seemed very balanced when we played it.
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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wordlyweko wrote:
I've played a full campaign fo the game and the victory for the missions were only decided by a couple of points in eithers favour so I would say; give it a few more tries it seemed very balanced when we played it.

How many Heroes? I think the question of balance is coming up with the variance of heroes (i.e. good balance with 4 heroes, crappy balance with 2 heroes).

-shnar
 
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T Ruys
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shnar wrote:
wordlyweko wrote:
I've played a full campaign fo the game and the victory for the missions were only decided by a couple of points in eithers favour so I would say; give it a few more tries it seemed very balanced when we played it.

How many Heroes? I think the question of balance is coming up with the variance of heroes (i.e. good balance with 4 heroes, crappy balance with 2 heroes).

-shnar


I think that's it.

How about giving the hero player in a 2 player game (or the 2 players in a 3 player game), 2 extra heroes?

So for example my friend having 4 heroes instead of the suggested 2 for the 2 player variant, also following all the rules as if it was a 5-player session.

Wouldn't that help balance things out?
 
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Matt
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InfernoNL wrote:
shnar wrote:
wordlyweko wrote:
I've played a full campaign fo the game and the victory for the missions were only decided by a couple of points in eithers favour so I would say; give it a few more tries it seemed very balanced when we played it.

How many Heroes? I think the question of balance is coming up with the variance of heroes (i.e. good balance with 4 heroes, crappy balance with 2 heroes).

-shnar


I think that's it.

How about giving the hero player in a 2 player game (or the 2 players in a 3 player game), 2 extra heroes?

So for example my friend having 4 heroes instead of the suggested 2 for the 2 player variant, also following all the rules as if it was a 5-player session.

Wouldn't that help balance things out?


My room mate and I are running our first play through and he is running 3 heroes. I would say run as many heroes as you are comfortable running. He did forget to use some abilities a couple times when it would have helped him. Also the over lord has won all 3 scenarios we have played but it was close.

I wouldn't think of calling play balance problems until a couple of complete campaigns. Unless I missed something wining or losing the "First Blood" scenario makes almost no difference except for who picks the next quest? Win or lose you get 1 xp.

We also played both halves of "A Fat Goblin". In the first part the goblins stole a 3rd bushels on a lucky and card fueled play right at the end that let a gob snatch up a third bushel from a KO'ed hero. Still as the over lord player I thought my opponent spent to much time fighting the spiders near the entrance when he could have run up and done more against the gobs stealing the food. As it was he only sent up one hero to actually deal with the objective when he could have done at least 2... would have significantly changed the outcome in my opinion.

In the second scenario My LT had + 9 HP I also got lucky and found Fredrick on my second or third roll. He was able to roll through the monsters but the elemental (my open choice) was a serious problem for him as it just went air so he couldn't kill it then put it self in the right space for a good block even closing a door after the LT with Fredrick ran past. There was a moment where the heroes took several longer ranged attacks instead of moving up and giving themselfs a last shot at stopping the LT (cant Remember the gob LT's name right now!! Snig?). Even with his mistakes the games were close though and could have gone either way. My opponent rolled poorly and I rolled well which also had an impact.

My point though is that the game seems fairly balanced to me and its hard to tell really until you have at least 10 games (scenario) under your belt. We are both still working out how best to use our... well every thing really. Also I noted that these scenarios have a huge variety of changing factors based on what open groups and cards the OL picks, what heroes and what skills those heroes pick, much less what strategies are used and even how the dice fall.

Take some time to get used to objective based play and things will probably look more balanced as you get better with the rules and the huge variety of possibilities this game offers.
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Dave Harmon
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Are you remembering the rule that monsters can only use one attack action every round?

We missed this rule in our first couple of games (it's only mentioned once in the book) and understandably saw some huge overlord massacres.
 
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Justin Smith

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Most of the classes in this game are very much focused around specific situations. I would only use the Spiritspeaker in a larger game where he can use his AoE abilities most effectively. The Disciple is great for smaller games. The Thief is pretty bad in one shots, but in a campaign where you need those search tokens he is fantastic. So you kinda have to build around the type of game you are playing (normal, epic, campaign), number of players, and in a non-campaign which scenario it is. Necromancer is pretty much universally viable.

Also, take care of weaknesses. If you use the dwarf be mindful that he is horribly slow. Don't play him as a Berserker as that classes only movement power is Charge, and it is quite bad on him anyhow since it is based on his speed and takes 2 fatigue. Knight on the other hand has quite a few good mobility powers, including his base one, which makes the dwarf actually viable, and that 14 HP with a shield makes him pretty tough to drop.

If I was to build a 2 man group I would probably use the hero who stuns with the Disciple class and a knight with either hero. 2 hero's with shields, good healing, and multiple sources of stun will keep incoming damage low and everything that does get through heal able. A third would depend on the situation, but would be a Necromancer most of the time as their damage is just silly.
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Mango Sangria
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I've had the same issue, but not on those two missions. On the Introduction and A Fat Goblin the heroes had a relatively easy time. However after that the Overlord just ran over the heroes through card (and therefore Action) advantage off of dual Unholy Ritual's. On the Drake mission he was able to send an Elite Meriod at us every turn off of Dash, into Frenzy, into Frenzy, into Blood Rage that meant we were facing 10 attacks (5 attack actions targeting two heroes each) while he the Spiders did nothing other than ensure he had almost all 15 cards in his hands at all times.

This led to him winning the second part of that mission before any heroes could act (because they failed the first, they all started the second stunned and he was able to get Meriod's into the guard towers and give them enough attacks off of Frenzy and Blood Rage that he won on the first turn.)

The Interlude was... weird. It took us 4 hours to get the heroes into the third room (using the staircase shortcut) with wave after wave of Meriod / Shadow Drake's spawning, marching into our formation, killing off between 1-4 members before being downed just in time for the next one to show up. That said the heroes were in possession of the coffin when we chose to take a break because everyone was just drained from the lack of headway.

That said I think we might have made mistakes on a few rules, though off the top of my head I can only think of the rule that says that an Overlord can only play one card with the same name per trigger (there were a couple times when the +surge card was played twice) but that didn't make a huge difference.

The heroes were somewhat unfamiliar with Descent so our turns ran a little long, but the gameplay just felt so grindy it felt like we must have been doing something wrong.
 
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Chris McDonald
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Mango Sangria wrote:
I've had the same issue, but not on those two missions. On the Introduction and A Fat Goblin the heroes had a relatively easy time. However after that the Overlord just ran over the heroes through card (and therefore Action) advantage off of dual Unholy Ritual's. On the Drake mission he was able to send an Elite Meriod at us every turn off of Dash, into Frenzy, into Frenzy, into Blood Rage that meant we were facing 10 attacks (5 attack actions targeting two heroes each) while he the Spiders did nothing other than ensure he had almost all 15 cards in his hands at all times.

This led to him winning the second part of that mission before any heroes could act (because they failed the first, they all started the second stunned and he was able to get Meriod's into the guard towers and give them enough attacks off of Frenzy and Blood Rage that he won on the first turn.)

The Interlude was... weird. It took us 4 hours to get the heroes into the third room (using the staircase shortcut) with wave after wave of Meriod / Shadow Drake's spawning, marching into our formation, killing off between 1-4 members before being downed just in time for the next one to show up. That said the heroes were in possession of the coffin when we chose to take a break because everyone was just drained from the lack of headway.


Sounds like you missed the scenario special rule that the 2nd monster group can't move until the heroes reach the caravan.

Quote:

That said I think we might have made mistakes on a few rules, though off the top of my head I can only think of the rule that says that an Overlord can only play one card with the same name per trigger (there were a couple times when the +surge card was played twice) but that didn't make a huge difference.


Shouldn't this rule also prevent frenzying the Meriod twice and unholy ritualing the spiders twice?
 
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cfmcdonald wrote:
Sounds like you missed the scenario special rule that the 2nd monster group can't move until the heroes reach the caravan.

The 2nd monster group was the Goblin Archers, and he never moved them, just targeted them with Unholy Ritual.

Quote:
Shouldn't this rule also prevent frenzying the Meriod twice and unholy ritualing the spiders twice?

I'm... not sure. The rule only cares about triggers, not about cards in general. I don't know whether or not those cards have triggers in the sense that those abilities would care about (the overlord player is not the type to intentionally misplay cards.) The one I'm pretty certain was being accidentally abused was the card that gives a surge on an attack roll. That was sometimes doubled.

One thing that was kind of ridiculous was that with all of his deck in hand Dark Charm was re-playable until a Hero failed the test (because it gave him the card draw whenever the player passed their test, when it ended up in the graveyard and he had no deck but had to draw a card so he shuffled the graveyard into a new deck and drew the Dark Charm.)
 
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Justin Smith

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Mango Sangria wrote:
I'm... not sure. The rule only cares about triggers, not about cards in general. I don't know whether or not those cards have triggers in the sense that those abilities would care about (the overlord player is not the type to intentionally misplay cards.) The one I'm pretty certain was being accidentally abused was the card that gives a surge on an attack roll. That was sometimes doubled.


Frenzy "Play this card when activating a monster" that's your triggering condition. You have to play the frenzy when he actives and only one can be played. Same thing with Unholy Ritual and at the start of your turn

Quote:
One thing that was kind of ridiculous was that with all of his deck in hand Dark Charm was re-playable until a Hero failed the test (because it gave him the card draw whenever the player passed their test, when it ended up in the graveyard and he had no deck but had to draw a card so he shuffled the graveyard into a new deck and drew the Dark Charm.)


Page 16: After resolving the effects of an Overlord card, place it in the discard pile

Dark Charm is not discarded until after the card is entirely resolved, so it cannot be used to draw itself.
 
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Chris McDonald
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Mango Sangria wrote:
cfmcdonald wrote:
Sounds like you missed the scenario special rule that the 2nd monster group can't move until the heroes reach the caravan.

The 2nd monster group was the Goblin Archers, and he never moved them, just targeted them with Unholy Ritual.


Ah, this seems like a problem with the interaction between the scenario design and Unholy Ritual. The monsters really shouldn't be placed until they can do something, otherwise they can be used as no-cost Unholy Ritual targets (since the lost action costs the overlord nothing).

Quote:

Quote:
Shouldn't this rule also prevent frenzying the Meriod twice and unholy ritualing the spiders twice?

I'm... not sure. The rule only cares about triggers, not about cards in general. I don't know whether or not those cards have triggers in the sense that those abilities would care about (the overlord player is not the type to intentionally misplay cards.)


I'm pretty sure they do, in fact Frenzy is specifically called out in the rule book example: "The overlord player cannot play an additional “Frenzy” on that particular zombie during his turn."

Quote:

One thing that was kind of ridiculous was that with all of his deck in hand Dark Charm was re-playable until a Hero failed the test (because it gave him the card draw whenever the player passed their test, when it ended up in the graveyard and he had no deck but had to draw a card so he shuffled the graveyard into a new deck and drew the Dark Charm.)


This doesn't sound right, a card is only placed in the discard pile after all the effects are resolved.

It seems like Unholy Ritual might needs to be nerfed, though. It does seem terribly powerful for a 1xp card.
 
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Well those all make sense. Thanks for the prompt clarifications!

I had only skimmed the rule book going into the game and again after it started to feel like we were doing something wrong, and never double checked the Overlord cards to check about the triggers. But its really good to hear that we were doing something wrong as I really, really want to like 2e but just couldn't with how the game was playing. Probably has something to do with the Overlord (who introduced me to 1e and had read 2e's rule book cover to cover) was running on something like 2 hours of sleep in the last 48.

Also has there been any official word on Stun yet? I saw the BGG thread that surmised that its only supposed to cost one action, but we were playing it like 1e where it took a characters whole turn.

Another question that came up with the Elite Meriod's Flail ability. If a Knight is the target of one of its attacks and uses Defend on the other target of its attack how would this be resolved? The Overlord theorized that the knight would only get one defense role for both attacks (so attack roll + attack roll combined vs defense roll) but I thought it would be solved as two unique attacks (attack roll vs defense roll + attack roll vs defense roll), we ended up going by the later methodology, but were never completely sure.

Thanks again for everyone's help.
 
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Justin Smith

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Mango Sangria wrote:
Also has there been any official word on Stun yet? I saw the BGG thread that surmised that its only supposed to cost one action, but we were playing it like 1e where it took a characters whole turn.


That is the official word, only takes 1 action away.

Quote:
Another question that came up with the Elite Meriod's Flail ability. If a Knight is the target of one of its attacks and uses Defend on the other target of its attack how would this be resolved? The Overlord theorized that the knight would only get one defense role for both attacks (so attack roll + attack roll combined vs defense roll) but I thought it would be solved as two unique attacks (attack roll vs defense roll + attack roll vs defense roll), we ended up going by the later methodology, but were never completely sure.

Thanks again for everyone's help.


I would rule with you on this one, though it is more ambiguous than the previous questions. I believe that it would work out so that the Knight is targeted by 2 separate attacks that simply share the same attack roll. So the Merriod would roll once to attack and the Knight would roll twice for defense, having to block the rolled attack two times in a row. Then you get in the real fun stuff like "Since the attacks and blocks are technically rolled at the same time, when do I have to assign my shield to block' and the like.
 
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