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Subject: Has winning 1st Encounter made a difference? rss

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Bryce K. Nielsen
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I've played about 6 or so games now, and I'm starting to wonder how many quests have a 1st encounter that is really impactful on the 2nd encounter? Here's a list of what I've played:
- A Fat Goblin
- Castle Daerion
- The Cardinal's Plight
- The Monster's Hoard
- The Dawnblade

In each of them, the outcome of the 1st Encounter had very little bearing on the outcome of the 2nd Encounter. In fact, it was so minor that the Overlords are starting to wonder if maybe they shouldn't worry about the objectives of the 1st Encounter and just hoard Overlord cards so they can unload in the 2nd Encounter. In fact, it seemed like the times when the Heroes won the 1st Encounter, they lost the 2nd because of timely placed OL cards (either a Dash that allowed the villain to dart away and win, or 2 Frenzy cards that dbl-attacked the objective NPC to death, etc).

Have any of you noticed a similar pattern?

-shnar
 
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Scott Yost
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For Cardinal's Plight, it took me awhile to figure out that "winning" doesn't actually do anything - if you kill the last zombie before it escapes the board (instead of the lt.) you get the "loss" flavor text but you have no other ill effects.

But having fewer zombies in the library seems to have a good sized effect on the outcome of encounter two there. We usually struggle to get the door unlocked before he dies to zombie punching.
 
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Chris J Davis
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It certainly made a difference in Masquerade Ball - the bonus the OL gets for winning E1 is huge!

I'd say it also made a decent difference during Fat Goblin.

However, what I might say is that the bonus only makes a difference if the OL *doesn't* hoard cards. I think the bonus from hording cards is possibly bigger than the bonus from winning E1.
 
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Rob "Bodhi" Wolff
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From a design perspective, I don't want the first half to have a significant impact on the second half. I want conditions to change a bit, or flavour to change, but I dislike unstable equilibrium situations where the outcome is decided too early.

Thus, I am fairly satisfied with the quest design. Small changes in the second half, or flavour changes, but really all the first part represents is the warmup for the second half, where the real determination of win/loss occurs.

Otherwise, the second half becomes anticlimactic. If the first half puts one side at a significant disadvantage, then the second half seems predestined to fall to that side.

I prefer the second half to contain the meat of the adventure.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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bleached_lizard wrote:
I'd say it also made a decent difference during Fat Goblin.

In the Fat Goblin, the heroes "won" easily, saving 3 of the 4 foods. It was a 2 Hero game, so Splig got +4 health. Problem was, it made no difference since we only got one swing on him before he Dashed away to safety, winning rather easily.

In the two different times I've played The Cardinal's Plight, the Overlord won. First time, Heroes lost all 4 zombies in the first encounter, and were getting trounced by the open groups before they could open the door, so the Cardinal died fast. Second time, we knew what we were up against, so sprinted and ended up killing 3 of the 4 zombies. Yay us! So we opened the door and were going to get the cardinal out, but he blocked the way with his left over open groups and we had to fight our way through while he stockpiled 4 zombies against us, and as soon as he could, he moved in and Frenzied, Word Of Miseried, and Critical Blowed him in one turn (Word Of Misery effectively doing dbl-damage since the Koth has no fatigue to lose).

So 'winning' the 1st Encounter in both those quests had little bearing in the outcome of the 2nd Encounter.

-shnar
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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BodhiWolff wrote:
I prefer the second half to contain the meat of the adventure.

Then why have a 1st Encounter at all? Why not just play the 2nd Encounter and be done with it?

I think that sentiment is why I bring up the point at all. If the 1st Encounter has no real impact on the 2nd Encounter, I feel like I'm wasting my time with it.

-shnar
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Scott Yost
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If we're recounting stories of "dice and play made the 2nd encounter as if the 1st encounter didn't matter", when we played the Masquerade Ball, Eliza passed every single riddle check on the first try all the way to the locked door. She certainly could have failed it, but she didn't. It does make the heroes wish they had grabbed some search tokens instead of fighting for the guests in retrospect.
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Chris J Davis
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shnar wrote:
bleached_lizard wrote:
I'd say it also made a decent difference during Fat Goblin.

In the Fat Goblin, the heroes "won" easily, saving 3 of the 4 foods. It was a 2 Hero game, so Splig got +4 health. Problem was, it made no difference since we only got one swing on him before he Dashed away to safety, winning rather easily.


Splig should have had +6 health in that case.

In our game I also saved 3 bundles of crops, but had no Dashes. Splig was taken down one turn from the exit (and if I hadn't made a couple of mistakes earlier on, I quite possibly would have made it).

But this also reinforces my opinion that Dash is probably the most powerful card in the OL deck now. It should be amended so that it can't be played on monsters carrying objective tokens, or can't be played on LTs, or that the monster is stunned after Dashing, or *something*. In such short quests on such small maps where the objective is usually to get someplace before the other team, getting a whole extra movement action is just too powerful.

Quote:
In the two different times I've played The Cardinal's Plight, the Overlord won. First time, Heroes lost all 4 zombies in the first encounter, and were getting trounced by the open groups before they could open the door, so the Cardinal died fast. Second time, we knew what we were up against, so sprinted and ended up killing 3 of the 4 zombies. Yay us! So we opened the door and were going to get the cardinal out, but he blocked the way with his left over open groups and we had to fight our way through while he stockpiled 4 zombies against us, and as soon as he could, he moved in and Frenzied, Word Of Miseried, and Critical Blowed him in one turn (Word Of Misery effectively doing dbl-damage since the Koth has no fatigue to lose).


Unless I'm remembering it incorrectly, WoM only causes a figure to lose 1 fatigue each time they take wounds, no matter how many wounds they take, so it should not have been causing double damage.
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Andy Mills
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In Death on the Wing, if the OL wins the first encounter, the Heroes skip their first turn in the second. That's *huge*.
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Ken Marley
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In death on the wing, if the OL loses the 1st encounter, the Heroes can often kill the boss before the OL gets a turn. (with 2 or 3 heroes, with 4 heroes the 2 elementals can block him).

In the cardinal's plight if OL gets 3 zombies then Koth is dead. It is critical to try to limit him to 2 or hopefully 1 zombie.

I don't see how the heroes could win Monster's Hoard or the desecrated tomb without wining encounter 1.

Blood of heroes is easy for the heroes if they win encounter 1.


Yes, dash and Frenzy are both very strong cards, especially when played together.

In some quests, as the Heroes my goal is to finish encounter 1, not win encounter 1. Because you are right the 1st encounter isn't that important.
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Splig should have had +6 health in that case.

Actually, he should have only had +2. He only rescued one crop, and it's +1 Health per Hero per Crop.

Quote:
Unless I'm remembering it incorrectly, WoM only causes a figure to lose 1 fatigue each time they take wounds, no matter how many wounds they take, so it should not have been causing double damage.


We were playing with the rules on pg 13 that state, "If any other game effect forces a hero to suffer fatigue in excess of his Stamina, he instead suffers damage equal to the excess fatigue that would have been suffered." Since the NPC is treated as a 'hero', we figured this applied. So he took 4 wounds, and then suffered 4 fatigue and since he has no fatigue to lose, he took another 4 wounds. Throw on Critical Blow which is another +3 wounds, which also means +3 Fatigue which translates into wounds, that one attack did a whopping 14 pts of damage...

-shnar
 
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Scott Yost
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Right, but it's one fatigue per packet of wounds. So unless those 4 wounds were 4 separate attacks, he should have taken 4 wounds, suffered one fatigue, paid for that with a wound, and ended up with 5 damage. (8 with critical blow)
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Yostage wrote:
Right, but it's one fatigue per packet of wounds. So unless those 4 wounds were 4 separate attacks, he should have taken 4 wounds, suffered one fatigue, paid for that with a wound, and ended up with 5 damage. (8 with critical blow)

Not according to the rules:

"If any other game effect forces a hero to suffer fatigue in excess of his Stamina, he instead suffers damage equal to the excess fatigue that would have been suffered."

He suffers damage equal to the excess fatigue. So if the hero NPC suffers 4 fatigue and has no fatigue, he suffers 4 wounds. Seems a bit excessive and I wouldn't be surprised if NPCs got excluded from this in a future FAQ since they don't have fatigue to begin with, however as it is now, by the rules, that attack dealt 14 damage...

-shnar
 
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Yostage wrote:
Right, but it's one fatigue per packet of wounds. So unless those 4 wounds were 4 separate attacks, he should have taken 4 wounds, suffered one fatigue, paid for that with a wound, and ended up with 5 damage. (8 with critical blow)

Agreed. The Critical Blow is still part of the attack, making the attack itself deal more damage. It's still only applied in one batch.
 
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Sylvain BONNEAU
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I think bleached_lizard refers to another thread where it was (almost) agreed that WoM only cause 1 fatigue per 'damage batches', not per damage. Kind of like the trigger condition is not the individual hearts but the blow itself, no matter how many damages it lends. Hence, in your case, the Critical Blow does not add up any fatigue as it is part of the same triggering condition. It's a bit complex to figure out, and this interpretation heavily relies on the use of the word "any" in the WoM effect. Another entry in the FAQ...

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(note that the use of an iconic heart does not allow for subtlety like marking a plural...)

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shnar wrote:
Yostage wrote:
Right, but it's one fatigue per packet of wounds. So unless those 4 wounds were 4 separate attacks, he should have taken 4 wounds, suffered one fatigue, paid for that with a wound, and ended up with 5 damage. (8 with critical blow)

Not according to the rules:

"If any other game effect forces a hero to suffer fatigue in excess of his Stamina, he instead suffers damage equal to the excess fatigue that would have been suffered."

He suffers damage equal to the excess fatigue. So if the hero NPC suffers 4 fatigue and has no fatigue, he suffers 4 wounds. Seems a bit excessive and I wouldn't be surprised if NPCs got excluded from this in a future FAQ since they don't have fatigue to begin with, however as it is now, by the rules, that attack dealt 14 damage...

-shnar

It sounds like we're talking about different things

If the NPC suffers 4 fatigue, sure, he suffers 4 wounds. Word of Misery doesn't affect that. It just says if a hero suffers wounds, he also suffers 1 fatigue. It doesn't say one fatigue per wound, but just 1 fatigue per "suffering wounds"; It doesn't matter if it's 1 wound dealt or 20 wounds dealt, it's still just 1 fatigue.

So if there's an attack that does X damage, +Y for critical blow, the attack does X+Y damage, and then also deals 1 fatigue. If that fatigue is coverted to a wound, that's fine (although I don't believe that it becomes an endless cycle of wound/fatigue/wound/fatigue in that case; that makes Word of Misery far too powerful for a Basic card).
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Ah, I see, we're misunderstanding Word of Misery, not the fatigue damage rule. So the attack was 8 pts, not 14, but still pretty bad

-shnar
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The problem with having low impact in the 1st half is the way Descent handles overlord cards. On the low impact scenarios the best strategy for the overlord to horde all his cards and then blow the players away in scenario two by playing 10 cards in two turns. Design wise you now have two bad encounters. The first which is dull due to the overlord not fighting back very hard and the second in which the heroes are hopelessly blown away after being hit with 12 cards in two turns.

Fat Goblin is one of the worst offenders here. If your holding 10+ cards sligg is impossible to stop. Dash, Frenzy and dark might (he knocks people around on surges) mean he can triple move and can't be blocked by the heroes. He can literally get from the cave to having won in a single turn. If the overlord hasn't hoarded cards the fight is much more interesting but that means the overlord has to deliberately play poorly.

Were debating having the overlord redraw between encounters to counter this.
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Rob "Bodhi" Wolff
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Splitting the adventure into two halves gives you options, and takes away nothing. (granted, it does allow the heroes to heal up before the second half, which as the OL, is something to contend with)

I view the "low-impact" first half like I do the first two or three rooms of a 1st Edition Descent adventure ...

... they're the lead-in.

I don't see much difference between a four-to-six room adventure split into two halves, and a 1st Edition four-to-six room dungeon where the climactic battle is in the final few rooms.

The problem with those big, long adventures is that the first few rooms are really only cannon fodder there to whittle down resources. They don't have their own "story" to tell, and tactically they're pretty uninteresting.

So they split long adventures into two halves. Okay.

The lessons are pretty similar as well. Don't blow all your cards early as the OL, tell your heroic partners to save your potions for when you'll really need 'em, etc. Just like long adventures.

If it helps, think of the two halves of the adventure as being separated by a great big door connecting the exit from #1 to the entrance to #2, with the two halves simply having special area conditions.

So, splitting the adventures allows you to ...
a) give the first half its own objectives (instead of simply being cannon fodder)
b) make the second half have some changes depending on the first half's outcome
c) Give you a options for changing setting, changing style/storyline, and changing monsters between the two halves

as a con, it allows the heroes to heal up between the two halves.

I can live with that.

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Ratcur1 wrote:
Were debating having the overlord redraw between encounters to counter this.


Alternatively, if the OL ends the first encounter with more than (# heroes) cards in hand, he must discard down to that number. This gives him an incentive to play cards in the first encounter, but it doesn't give him a bonus reward for playing them all in the first encounter, and it still allows him to hang on to specific cards for the second encounter, .
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Heal up? You mean Rest up, right?

A max hand limit for the OL might help, maybe 2 per Hero, or just flat out 8 cards (which is half the deck). There have been other times, 1st Encounter aside, when the OL has had almost all cards in his hand.

-shnar
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Jim Ant
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Shnar, to get back to your OP, in our campaign we've completed 8 battles, with these results:

1. Masquerade Ball: first half won by OL and should have made a big difference in 2d half but it was our first game of Descent 2e (July 6 pre-release) and we got the "stun" rules all wrong, thus Lady Eliza never got to make her suicide run to the exit.

2. Castle Daerion: First half could make a diff because Sir Palamon can't be healed, thus the initial wounds inflicted by the OL can be crucial. In this case Sir P suffered 14hp in the first round but survived to win the encounter (heroes had to "sweat" for this one!).

3. Cardinal's Plight: here the # of zombies can be the diff between winning and losing. Also the ability of the heroes to heal the Cardinal is a major factor in the 2d half. Our game was very weird (you'd have to read the session report to see what I mean) but the heroes won.

4. Interlude-1 Shadow Vault is a single battle.

5. Wyrm Rises: here both sides can score points to use in the 2d half; because this entire encounter is an arena battle, it's decided more on strength of arms than anything else but obviously you want to score high in the first half.

6. Twin Idols: this is something of a race although not a sprint, more of an endurance contest. OL can win first move if he wins the first half; that's a very good advantage because the heroes have two possible starting points. They might start farther back if the OL goes first, thus the OL would have the edge if he wins the first half encounter.

7. Dawnblade: I'm thinking the first half of this one is absolutely crucial because you're fighting for possession of the Dawnblade/Duskblade. Whoever gets that blade is going to have a huge advantage.

That's all I know so far. Hope this is helpful to you.

EDIT: oops, forgot to mention Fat Goblin but basically first half has no impact on second half IMO.


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Yiffy Savanah
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It has, actually.

To an unfortunate extent in at least one quest.

In my group's most recent session, in the "Twin Idols" quest, the heroes won on turn one of the second quest, specifically thanks to them winning the first encounter.

See, if the Overlord wins the first encounter of that quest, the heroes skip their first turn. Since our Overlord lost, our first turn consisted of:

Jain Fairwood (as Wildlander)—between her Heroic Feat, the Wildlander ability allowing 2 movement points for every fatigue spent, and a stamina potion—moved 34 spaces on the first turn. Short of getting lucky and having a Pit Trap/Tripwire (which he did not), there was nothing our Overlord could have done. Those 34 spaces of movement let Jain run up to the enemy Idol, pick it up, and then run all the way back to being 4 squares shy of the exit.

Needless to say, our Overlord conceded on the spot. We'd won without him even having a chance to do anything at all. If he'd won the first encounter, then it would have been an interesting, back-and-forth battle.

The most frustrating thing is that this is something that should have been caught in testing, since giving a stamina potion to the character designed to be a Wildlander must have come up at least once, you know?
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Ian Kelly
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Yiffyraptor wrote:
Jain Fairwood (as Wildlander)—between her Heroic Feat, the Wildlander ability allowing 2 movement points for every fatigue spent, and a stamina potion—moved 34 spaces on the first turn.


Wouldn't that be only 30 spaces?
 
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