Krinn DNZ
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My group is running a campaign and I'm the Overlord. I've been taking a look at the options for using my XP, especially for trying to buy extra overlord cards that synergize well. I have two questions that I'm contemplating and wanted to check in with the BGG gestalt about. The only mode that I've played Descent 2E in is campaign mode with four heroes, so that's a point of context about how I view these cards.

Does there exist any Overlord card that is good enough to buy in every campaign?
I have a few contenders for this - the first one that comes to mind is Web Trap. As other threads here have noted, the currency of the game is actions, and Immobilize is a ridiculously good bargain when viewed through that lens. Web Trap and Tripwire would probably be encounter-winningly good if they didn't require a test, so I'm glad they're merely "about as good as they can get and still be fair." In a similar light, especially because of how fragile monsters are, I think that Blood Rage is very good - playing Blood Rage amounts to betting that the heroes would have killed the target monster next turn if you had played no card. Winning the bet about the monster's life expectancy means that you get two turns' worth of attacks from her - or a turn and a Frenzy, also a good deal. Speaking of which, if there were an extra copy of Dash or Frenzy in the Universal part of the skill tree, I'd seriously think about buying them. They too convert at a favorable rate into extra actions. I like Frenzy slightly, slightly more because heroes often have defensive items that can only be used once per turn, so extra attacks are slightly more valuable than an initial attack because you can press beyond the limits of once-per-turn defenses.

Is there a compelling reason in the general case to go for a level 3 card instead of spreading out favorable level 1 buys?
I noticed when I was going through the thought exercise above. Reinforce looks to be astonishingly good, and I think Rise Again on a high-octane master monster like a shadow dragon, an ettin, or a merriod, is a compelling play, but almost everything else is distressingly conditional or uninspiring at level 2 and 3. For the record, I don't think "the heroes kill some monsters" is particularly conditional: they'll spend most of the quests doing that because the average Overlord will be using her monsters to get in the heroes' way and to try to knock them down. However, anything that requires the heroes to test a skill is chancy to begin with, especially versus a balanced group, and only grows more so later in the campaign. At level 1, on the other hand, there's Unholy Ritual for drawing fistfuls of cards, Web Trap with the powerful immobilize effect, Blood Rage for squeezing two turns' worth of attacks out of a monster in an instant, and Dark Fortitude/Resilience for keeping lieutenants alive. It seems to me that an Overlord who'd bought all those and perhaps Schemes would be in a very solid position even in Act II.

What do you think, BGG folks - are there universally good non-basic Overlord cards, and are there better-than-they-appear level 2/3 Overlord cards?
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I agree that Web Trap is one of the best choices for an OL. What I would focus on after that is versatility since you trim down to 15 OL cards anyway. The Level 3 cards seem hit or miss to me, but again you only want 15 cards in your deck so if you see something strong it is probably worth going for it.

I don't entirely agree on the usefulness of Blood Rage. If you are going for damage output then you may be right that it can get you more damage. However, if you kill the monster then that is at least one more action for the Heroes to kill another monster or run down the hall, etc. It is a strong card, but you are probably giving the heroes more actions by using it.

I think there is probably a very cheesy build with Schemes since you can get your deck down to only 1 or 2 cards of a given type and then Schemes is basically another copy of that card.
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slacks wrote:
I think there is probably a very cheesy build with Schemes since you can get your deck down to only 1 or 2 cards of a given type and then Schemes is basically another copy of that card.

I thought about that too. If there were a second copy of Schemes, I'd call it totally worth trying. With one Schemes, one Unholy Ritual, and the staff relic, it'd also be very tempting to just try to go through most of your deck every turn. The payoff might not be enough, though. I might try it if I can get one of the other players to spend a few hours doing dry-run theorycraft games with me.
 
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There is already the very cheesy strategy of drawing your entire deck and then playing your strongest card each turn then redrawing it next turn. I don't suggest it since it doesn't seem very sporting.
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slacks wrote:
There is already the very cheesy strategy of drawing your entire deck and then playing your strongest card each turn then redrawing it next turn. I don't suggest it since it doesn't seem very sporting.


Well, what's sporting depends on your group - things work best if everyone wants the same flavor of experience. If everyone wants a Sirlin-style Play To Win game, great. Me, I'd avoid that tactic because it seems like playing only one Overlord card per turn is deeply sub-optimal.
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Frank Franco
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krinndnz wrote:
slacks wrote:
There is already the very cheesy strategy of drawing your entire deck and then playing your strongest card each turn then redrawing it next turn. I don't suggest it since it doesn't seem very sporting.


Well, what's sporting depends on your group - things work best if everyone wants the same flavor of experience. If everyone wants a Sirlin-style Play To Win game, great. Me, I'd avoid that tactic because it seems like playing only one Overlord card per turn is deeply sub-optimal.


It also sounds fucking boring.
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Mr Skeletor wrote:
It also sounds boring.


Yeah the game would be a lot less interesting with just one OL card per OL turn. What's your take on the relative power level of the OL cards?
 
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I've only had the game a week and have 2 early campaigns going so far, so haven't seen the more powerful cards in action. Just reading through them I haven't seen any that look rediculously overpowered, though there are some which make me think "why would I take that, the 0 cost ones seem bette.!"

Ironically I think schemes was one of the ones that when I saw it I thought I would never take it...
 
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