Thorsten Schröder
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Hello fello BBGs,

So I thought off writing a Session Report myself (after reading so many good ones).
Yesterday I had my first gaming night with Descent 2nd. I had very much anticipadet that evening. Candles were burning. Nice Fantasy themed music was playing. I OL-ed for three friends (who had never played Descent before). After 'First Blood' two of them were kinda excited and one said something like 'I'd prefer to play RoboRally or Runebound.'
We decided to go on to another quest ('A fat Goblin'). The desaster started while travelling. I got to draw 3 Extra OL-Cards.
As an open Group I had decided to take Barghests. I don't really know why I didn't take Spiders but the Barghests did their Job very well. The Heroes were: Tarah/Runmaster; Grisban/Knight; Avric/Disciple and Jain/Thief (she was played by all Players together).
In the first Turn they didn't manage to kill more than one Barghest and lost one action to my Traps.
Then my Barghests started to howl and all of a sudden the Heroes had very little Stamina left.
My AttackRolls did almost every time 3-4 Damage and the Heroes in return had one Miss after another.
They started to complain about how fast my Goblins were and that the one Barghest they had killed came back directly behind them.
Although they managed to get through the Bargests and kill some Goblins my Goblins got away with all of the 4 Crops. And I didn' even dare to play any more of my Cards because the Players were already so frustrated. The only thing that went to their liking was that when they saw that they had no chance to get any of the crops they searched every Token and got some Potions for the second encounter. The Evening ended there and we decided to continue this Quest on monday.
I just hope their Luck will turn a bit or otherwise I will again have no group to play the really cool games with.

See you all...

P.S.: I just played the same Encounter solo (playing both sides). Although I did a bit better (against myself ;-P ) the Goblins got away with 3 Crops.
Perhaps I will write a Session Report about that too (I made some pictures ;-) )
 
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Freelance Police
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Yeah, I ran the quest a few nights ago and the players were also frustrated.

* Barghests are GREAT. They can block *and* they have speed.

* First time players should pick the BEST weapons and spells! The Red + Blue die weapons (longsword) and spells (Reanimate) are musts!

* Players MUST control the terrain! Get two heroes to BLOCK the OL from letting the Barghests get between them and the crops!

* The Knight has a skill that lets him "jump" across a blocked path.

* BURN FATIGUE in your first turn! Punch a hole through the OL's blockers and RUN to the crops.

* REST. Fatigue is the player's critical resource to keep their options open.

* STOP WATCHING TELEVISION. You need to pay attention to this game.
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Purple Paladin

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With only a couple quests under my belt, I keep wondering how unbalanced it would be if monsters did not get a second move. Seems their double movement just makes them so fast.

Or maybe they just don't have far enough to go vs the heroes long marathon of a gauntlet.
 
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Steve G.
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Purple Paladin wrote:
With only a couple quests under my belt, I keep wondering how unbalanced it would be if monsters did not get a second move. Seems their double movement just makes them so fast.

Or maybe they just don't have far enough to go vs the heroes long marathon of a gauntlet.

My players had no problem with this quest. They had the right idea. Two words: alpha strike

The strategy here is straighforward. The OL is blockading a hallway entracne, and the players will have one round to pound on them and punch a hole through to prevent the goblins from having a huge lead. To this end, the heroes should take turns consuming any resource necessary to clear a path for the remainder of the party to double-move through and head off the goblins.

This means they should not move and attack once. They should fatigue-move and double attack. Better yet, if they have a heroic feat that will maximize their offense, the first round is when they should be using them. Hoarding resources is behavior that's engrained by playing other games, notably RPG's like D&D with its spells per day. But that's not the way to go in this particular dungeon. There's no big nasty that's going to jump out later.

Did the players seem to grasp all of the aforementioned? Did they study the monster cards? Did they understand the victory conditions? You say they rolled badly, but it would take heavily skewed odds for four players to only kill one barghest if they really had their minds set on an alpha strike. At the very least, that's eight attacks.

Just looking at the team you had, I see Grisban and Tarha both have offense heroic feats they could have burned, and Jain could have been saved for last, attacking and skeedaddling ten squares.
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Thorsten Schröder
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In my solo play (with the same heroes) I managed to kill all Barghests on the first turn.
So I think you're right. Problem is: Most casual gamers will get frustrated when they make one mistake on their first turn and then have almost no chance to get back from that.
Do you think they will have a chance on the second encounter now that Spligs Life is boostet with 4 Crops?
 
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David Morgan
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Splig with 16 extra hit points could almost walk out, the second encounter also looks very daunting when set up. I would explain to them immediately that you have no reinforcements!!
 
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Steve G.
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OK, so I ran part 2 last night. While my players blew away act I, they were reamed by act II. They did not perform an alpha strike on the cave spiders near the entrance, and rather conservatively moved and attacked, and in doing so only killed one minion cave spider in the first round. On my turn, they blitzed the healer, and did half of the wizard's wounds. This prompted the healer to use his heroic feat immediately to heal himself and the wizard.

It went downhill from there rapidly. I picked shadow dragons as my open group, and I never even needed the minion. The master came down the hall and breathed on three characters, dropping them in their tracks. They just were never able to recover. The dragon could routinely do 10 damage. It was just too much. One dash card and it was all over.

I really have no idea what they could have done against the shadow dragon. Most of the group was rolling blue-yellow, and that's going to pancake off of the dragon's sliver-black defense an awful lot of the time. Meanwhile, it's routinely inflicting 10 wounds to multiple characters.
 
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Cuthailion wrote:
Problem is: Most casual gamers will get frustrated when they make one mistake on their first turn and then have almost no chance to get back from that.


Cuthailion, as an OL and player who is playing this game with a group of very experienced tabletop tactical miniatures gamers, I think you've stated the problem well: this game is not necessarily going to go well for "casual" gamers unless the OL gives them plenty of help. Also, as steveg said, in some encounters the heroes need to burn their heroic feats immediately or face a quick disaster. Fat Goblin is a very easy battle for the heroes to win, I would say it's by far the easiest (not counting the tutorial First Blood). I can't offer any solution here except to suggest a game like Castle Ravenloft which could appeal to the same "dungeon" feel but which is much easier than Descent 2e.

I hope your players don't give up but it sounds like they need to get a lot of games played before they get the hang of it. Descent 2e is a game where you have to pay attention to detail immediately, even before you make your first move, I would say especially before they make their first move. My players always discuss their moves in advance as a group before anyone does anything. Descent 2e is not a "casual" game IMHO. A good OL would absolutely destroy a group of casual gamers.

Good luck!

PS, your barghests did something awesome -- in my campaign I had the barghests "howl" frequently but the heroes almost always managed to make their saving throws against it. You are the Barghest Master!

 
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Steve G.
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JimZam wrote:
Cuthailion wrote:
Problem is: Most casual gamers will get frustrated when they make one mistake on their first turn and then have almost no chance to get back from that.


Cuthailion, as an OL and player who is playing this game with a group of very experienced tabletop tactical miniatures gamers, I think you've stated the problem well: this game is not necessarily going to go well for "casual" gamers unless the OL gives them plenty of help. Also, as steveg said, in some encounters the heroes need to burn their heroic feats immediately or face a quick disaster. Fat Goblin is a very easy battle for the heroes to win, I would say it's by far the easiest (not counting the tutorial First Blood). I can't offer any solution here except to suggest a game like Castle Ravenloft which could appeal to the same "dungeon" feel but which is much easier than Descent 2e.

This is all very well said. Think of chess, and how learning it requires one to patiently accept that you must be willing to lose in order to improve. It takes a bit of commitment to get good at Descent (although 2e seems more casual than 1e).

The D&D line of board games might be more pallatable. I think the ones that succeeded Castle Ravenloft are marginally better.
 
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Thorsten Schröder
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Well, we'll see how it goes this evening.
I've seen the playthrough of wrath of ashardalon by Rodney Smith.
Ok I haven't seen tha campaigne mode but I understand there's only 2 levels for the charakter. Also I dislike the randomness of the dungeon. Drawing Tiles is in my Opinion rather lame. Makes you feel that it doesn't matter in which direction you go. Sooner aor later you'll draa the dungeontile with the big baddie...
 
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Brian M
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Quote:
The dragon could routinely do 10 damage...

I don't have acess to my monster cards right now, but I'm scratching my head and thinking this can't be right - the red die has at best 3 damage, the blue die has at most 3 damage, and the dragon can surge for +2 (only activate each surge ability once, remember), so the absolute most you can do without playing cards is 8, and that's on a perfect roll. Or were you counting total damage with firebreath hitting multiple heroes? We've found Shadow Dragons to be excellent blockers, but not so hot in the offense department. Sometimes they breath a fire blast just to have all the heroes shrug it off.

Also, we had Shadow Dragons in a quest last night, and I'm thinking that even the master had two silver defense, not a silver and a black. I can't find a graphic online to verify which it is.

Were you perchance using the Act II monster cards by mistake?
 
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Steve G.
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Cuthailion wrote:
Well, we'll see how it goes this evening.
I've seen the playthrough of wrath of ashardalon by Rodney Smith.
Ok I haven't seen tha campaigne mode but I understand there's only 2 levels for the charakter. Also I dislike the randomness of the dungeon. Drawing Tiles is in my Opinion rather lame. Makes you feel that it doesn't matter in which direction you go. Sooner aor later you'll draa the dungeontile with the big baddie...

Oh, that's exactly how it works. They're lame games to be sure. There is no campaign, really. Our group only played them four or five times before we felt we'd plumbed their depths. However, sometimes one has to bow to the desires of the group. You say you had a player yearning for Runebound. In your opinion, is that more of a game of luck or a game of skill?
 
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[q="StormKnight"]
Quote:
Were you perchance using the Act II monster cards by mistake?

to be clear, i was referring to Act II. Shadow dragons aren't an option for Act I. Indeed, Act I choices are kinda rough. I went with the flesh molders. They were blown away.
 
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Brian M
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Quote:
to be clear, i was referring to Act II. Shadow dragons aren't an option for Act I. Indeed, Act I choices are kinda rough. I went with the flesh molders. They were blown away.


Are we on the same wavelength on terminology here?

The Fat Goblin is divided into Encounter 1, which is about goblins stealing grain, and Encounter 2, which is about Splig trying to escape.

The entire campaign is divded into Act I, which is the intro, the first 3 quests played, and the Interlude, and Act II, which is the second 3 quests and the finale.

When the campaign enters Act II, the Overlord switches to using the nastier Act II monster cards, and the heroes start drawing and shopping from the improved Act II treasure deck.

You use the Act I monster cards for both encounters in The Fat Goblin.

Is that what you are doing, or did you use the Act II cards for encounter 2?
 
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StormKnight wrote:
Quote:
to be clear, i was referring to Act II. Shadow dragons aren't an option for Act I. Indeed, Act I choices are kinda rough. I went with the flesh molders. They were blown away.


Are we on the same wavelength on terminology here?

The Fat Goblin is divided into Encounter 1, which is about goblins stealing grain, and Encounter 2, which is about Splig trying to escape.

The entire campaign is divded into Act I, which is the intro, the first 3 quests played, and the Interlude, and Act II, which is the second 3 quests and the finale.

When the campaign enters Act II, the Overlord switches to using the nastier Act II monster cards, and the heroes start drawing and shopping from the improved Act II treasure deck.

You use the Act I monster cards for both encounters in The Fat Goblin.

Is that what you are doing, or did you use the Act II cards for encounter 2?

Good lord! Yes, that's what I'm doing. Thanks for clearing that up! I'm not sure if that's gonna tilt things back to the players' favor too heavily, but at least it means they won't be constantly trashed by quality creatures.
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Thorsten Schröder
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The reason we like Runebound is the storytelling that can happen. The firts time I introduced the game to my group they were blown away when at the End (blue event cards) first the council of Talamir offered som Items (or something) to the heroes (so everyone tried to get there first) and then all of a sudden Dragons came out of the sky to destroy that town.
But you're right... there's a lot of luck in that game (but still you can make your decision of where to go and what to try and buy, that influences the game greatly)

By the way: We played again last night and it was great. Session report will follow.

Edit: The Link to the session report:
http://boardgamegeek.com/article/9818898
 
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Brian M
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steveg700 wrote:

Good lord! Yes, that's what I'm doing. Thanks for clearing that up! I'm not sure if that's gonna tilt things back to the players' favor too heavily, but at least it means they won't be constantly trashed by quality creatures.

Good Lord? No, no. Evil bad Overlord! devil
Yay, one problem fixed.

Now, I've been contemplating the OP's post, which is trickier.

Some bad luck can certainly throw you. We had one encounter where the heroes missed their first 5 attacks. Since the first encounter of Fat Goblin is a short one, a bit of bad luck could mess up the heroes very fast.

Just out of curiosity, I tried a quick solo play last night mimicking your heroes and situation. I didn't give anyone extra skills you didn't mention which skills your heroes had. I screwed up and gave Jain the Wildlander cards, but she never used Nimble and always attacked at range 1 (where daggers gain +1 damage), so having Thief wouldn't have changed anything.

I set up the Barghests in two sets of two, with each pair blocking the path from the entrance. Barghests seem like a good pick for this scenario, since they'll be able to drain the hero's fatigue and slow them down. (Though, when our group first played it, the OL used Shadow Dragons to good effect).

First round:
Tahra used her heroic feat to zap the two lead barghests, then her second action to finish off the more injured one.

Avric started to move up, hit a tripwire, cursed in a most un-discsiple like manner, and used fatigue to reach the second barghest wall and hit one of them.

Grisbane used his challenge to rush up and finish off the barghest to clear a path. He moved farther via fatigue and was stunned by a pit trap.

Jain used her heroic action to rush past the barghests, finishing off the other injured one as she went, and go pick up one of the crops.

The surviving master barghest moved to block the path and trap the other 3 heroes. The newly arriving barghest howled at the three of them and chewed on Tarha.

The gobins rushed to get as close to the grain as possible.

Round 2:
Avric and Grisbane killed the master barghest, but couldn't get far past it. Tarha just ran up to join them. Jain decided to stay still and cut down two of the goblins.

The goblins grabbed (IIRC) two bundles of grain, and one of them scooted around the corner while others moved to block.
The barghests nipped and howled (mostly howled) at the heroes while pursuing them.

Round 3:
The heroes kill one of the goblins carrying grain, but can't get around the corner.
One goblins runs grain off, one grabs another bundle of grain and runs for it, but can't get far. while the others pepper Jain with arrows trying to get her to drop her bundle. They come 1 damage short of killing her though. The barghests howl and bite some more.

Round 4:
Jain drops off her bundle, since she's in danger of going down. The other heros try to recover from fatigue loss and beat up the barghests a little while maneuvering to protect the remaining crops and grab some treasure. Avric heals Jain a bit.
One more goblin escapes with grain. The OL has now secured two.

Round 5:
The heroes heal Jain a little more and use a healing potion on the badly injured Grisbane (taking some tricky maneuvering and relay-potion passing to do so) before Grisbane secures the last grain and ends the encounter.

Net results: Two grain for each side. Jain and Tarha are both down about 4 health. Gris and Avric are unhurt.
 
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Steve G.
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If they had launched a proper octo-attack on the first round, you probably wouldn't even have had the master left over.
 
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