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

Subject: Death on the Wing session report rss

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Barry Figgins
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We just had a good adventure with Death on the Wing. It was pretty intense, and showed off some of the subtlety of 2nd Edition.

In the first encounter, the heroes slaughtered the monsters easily, but then were delayed, turn after turn, by Merriods immobilizing them or traps from my hand. The result was that, even though they dominated the battlefield and won the encounter with little risk, I went into encounter 2 with 11 cards in my hand.

The second encounter was a lot of fun, and swung back and forth wildly.

The first turn, the heroes damaged and stunned Belthir, and it looked like an easy turn 2 victory.

I then used Dash and Frenzy to fly Belthir across the map and strike at one of the guards.

The heroes rushed to the rescue, pushing back the Ettin and forcing Belthir into a corner. It looked, again, like an inevitable win.

But then I flew Belthir out of the crowd, and used an Ettin to block one doorway, and an Elemental to block the second. Suddenly, the heroes were behind walls of meat, and Belthir was winging over to slaughter the remaining guards. It looked like an easy Overlord victory.

I carefully forced the heroes back and denied them their movement with good card usage, but it all came down to one attack against the guard...and Belthir whiffed. The heroes moved in, and Belthir held his ground for a long time, but eventually fell to their assault.

Good
The battle was really dramatic; a lot of back and forth. I found my Overlord cards powerful enough to make a difference, and the wise use of Hero abilities was crucial. There were a few slow points, but mostly it was intense the whole way.

Bad
On the first turn, and occasionally after that, I still felt my biggest complaint about 1st edition: the feeling, as an Overlord, that I was not in control of my success or failure. When encounter 2 started, Belthir was in range and my monsters were bunched up, and I didn't have a good chance to use strategy to improve my positioning.

I wouldn't mind an Overlord card that allows a monster to make a move during the hero turns.

Interesting
During play, I found that Descent 2E has some interesting auto-corrections for problems that the forums here have found.

For example, in Death on the Wing, the guards technically don't move if you plink at them with ranged attacks. However, the game automatically balances that - if you're using ranged attacks, your monsters are all in the central courtyard, and easily reached by the heroes.

Likewise, I've seen it bemoaned that the best thing to do with your Open Groups is to choose the largest monsters you can, so your reinforcements are more powerful. The problem is that those monsters do live longer, and their group limits are lower, so often you'll be unable to spawn simply because you have no monsters left. Weaker monsters in larger groups increase the chances that you'll have something available to spawn and refresh your forces each turn.
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clarence
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Nice session report.

IF i am not wrong, you can't use Dash and Frenzy on per monster activation.

Just like in 1st edition, you can't use charge and rage on one activation.
 
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Barry Figgins
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It actually would have been smarter for me not to (and frenzied the Ettin instead).

But Dash/Frenzy is fine. Here's the line from the rulebook:
Two Overlord cards with the same name cannot be played on the same target in response to the same triggering condition.
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Jon Ben
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Of course I've been up all night! Not because of caffeine, it was insomnia. I couldn't stop thinking about coffee.
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Thanks for the report.

I played as OL last night with three heroes. They had an easy time of the first half, but that was largely my fault. The second half though really bothered me. They two-turn killed Belthir, and it would have been one-turn if not for some bad decisions on their part.

The starting tile is only 3 spaces wide but with three heroes I had only one elemental so I couldn't stop them from reaching Belthir on the first turn. It seems playing with 4 heroes would have helped this since I could have blockaded Belthir behind the elementals.

The possibility of a one-turn wipe is frustrating, as it was the effort of setting up the map wasn't worth it at all.
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Ken Marley
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JonBen wrote:
Thanks for the report.

I played as OL last night with three heroes. They had an easy time of the first half, but that was largely my fault. The second half though really bothered me. They two-turn killed Belthir, and it would have been one-turn if not for some bad decisions on their part.

The starting tile is only 3 spaces wide but with three heroes I had only one elemental so I couldn't stop them from reaching Belthir on the first turn. It seems playing with 4 heroes would have helped this since I could have blockaded Belthir behind the elementals.

The possibility of a one-turn wipe is frustrating, as it was the effort of setting up the map wasn't worth it at all.


My feeling is that quests like this are good. It forces the OL to try and win encounter 1. Usually they just hoard cards for encounter 2, but if they lose death on the wing encounter 1, their fist full of cards won't do them much good.

 
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Barry Figgins
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Agh - I typed up a response, then saw a BGG ad saying they're sad that I'm using Adblock. Turned off Adblock, which refreshed the page and lost my post.

Short version:
I guess the strategy here is to try to win Encounter 1, or stockpile Dark Fortitude for Encounter 2.

This is why I stopped playing 1st Edition; we had a game where I looked at the board on the first turn and realized there was no way I could stop the heroes from wiping the map on turn 1.

2nd Edition seems a little better, but I think that encounters where the heroes can reach the objective on turn 1 are poorly designed.
 
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Markus
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Thanks for the report, at least you had a good time with that quest. My two plays (also as the Overlord) went a little different.

First play, 2 heroes: Jaine (Wildlander) and Avric (Disciple):

I managed to win the first encounter because the heroes didn't get past my Ettin and spiders quick enough, so I had enough time to put a lot of boulders in their way. Since none of the heroes had enough might to destroy the boulders, they tried to jump over but had some pretty bad rolls for the attribute tests.

Although I then had the first turn in the second encounter, I didn't manage to kill the guards fast enough (rolled a lot of misses), so in turn four the heroes destroyed Belthir with one guard down and one seriously hurt. I chose Flesh Moulders as the open group and managed to get some heals in on Belthir, but I couldn’t keep up with the incoming damage.


Second play, 3 heroes: Jaine (Wildlander), Tarha (Runemaster) and Syndrael (Knight):

This time I tried a little different and didn't go too hard on the heroes on the first encounter in order to have a good hand of cards for the second half. In this game Syndrael managed to destroy the boulders easily and after killing my master Ettin and some spiders, the heroes rushed to the exit for an easy win.

In the first turn of the second encounter, with the heroes fatigue-moving and using Syndrael's Heroic feat, the heroes got almost 8 attacks in on Belthir. He was left with 2 hit points, only because I rolled a good amount of shields and used a Dark Fortitude card for another two shields. Before I could do something in my turn, Jaine got another attack in due to her First Strike skill that most likely would have killed Belthir, but fortunately she missed her attack. I then healed Belthir with Dark Resilience and played Dash to get him to safety, then healed him again with my master Flesh Moulder, getting him back to six hit points. Then Jaine used her Heroic feat to move double her speed, attack Belthir and then attack him again with her second action, ending the quest ...

Although I hand a good hand of cards with Dark Resilience, Dark Fortitude, Tripwire and Dash, the quest still ended in a disastrous defeat. Since I won all other quests as the Overlord (except the introduction) without even trying hard, this tendency of the quests to heavily favor one side or the other is starting to bother us and diminishes the fun factor for me as well as the hero players.
JonBen wrote:
The possibility of a one-turn wipe is frustrating, as it was the effort of setting up the map wasn't worth it at all.

Exactly my thoughts, especially after the second play. There is something wrong with this quest, maybe Belthir needs more hit points or at least a single move action before the heroes start, no matter who won the first encounter.
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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We played this quest last week; our OL attempted a similar approach (block the heroes with large monsters, use the LT to kill the guards). What actually happened was that the heroes were blocked by the large monsters, the LT moving into their room activated the guards, and the guards killed him. Bit of an anti-climax all round.
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Trevor K
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Another interesting problem for the Overlord is that you have no way of getting rid of or dealing with conditions as far as I can tell. So if the party manages to get next to Belthir on the first turn and Immobilize him (Berzerker skill, Runemaster Skill), then you don't have any choice but to stay and fight all 3 of the opening heroes.

The only 'defence' that I can see is having Dark Resilience (+2 shields) to prevent the Runemaster skill from dealing damage, or possibly the Trap card which forces the berserker to re-roll his attribute test for cripple.
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Barry Figgins
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I felt like the guards were manageable, but still, they're a threat! Some good rolls on their part can whittle down the monsters without the OL making any mistakes.
The most annoying thing for me was their immunity to conditions, particularly because Belthir has no +damage surge abilities. I would have preferred something like 'when a guard would receive a condition, they take +1 damage instead.' And heck, give all the guards +1 health to make up for it.
 
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Barry Figgins
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Also, Cripple is alarming. Our next match is A Fat Goblin, and the berzerker will be there. I have to get Splig past him immediately; if he can get adjacent and roll for Cripple, I might as well pack up the board.
 
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