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

Subject: Basic vs. Epic Play rss

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Julian Wasson
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So I've got a group of experienced First Edition players about to play our first Second Edition game. I've read through the rules, figured out how I'm going to teach the differences, prepped, etc. So far it's looking pretty rad, and I like a lot of the changes they've made. What I am concerned about is the basic level feeling too simplistic. Having zero choice or variety beyond which of two classes you pick sounds... pretty restrictive.

In light of that, I'm considering introducing this edition with the advanced level epic play rules in effect. This will give players variety and customization similar to the standard rules in First Edition. We could make it through the grueling playtime of First Edition core, we'll be alright with a little frontloaded choice and setup time. My only qualm is I have no idea what it does to balance. Do the advanced level epic play rules tend to favor one side? Do they make the act I monsters feel like pushovers? I really like a lot of the changes on a conceptual level and I don't want to blow my shot at getting my friends to jump ship to Second Edition if this is going to damage the first impression.

Poll: Should I introduce experience D1 players to D2 using the advanced level epic play rules?
So? Should I?
Yes, you'll want the extra complexity
Yes, balance be damned! >:)
No, balance will be borked
No, the basic level is sufficient even for experienced D1 players
Yes, OTHER
No, OTHER
      27 answers
Poll created by Cosmonaut Zero
 
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N S.
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I think it depends on how much time your game session is going to last. If you've got 4-5 hours, I say play the standard rules and start at the beginning of the campaign. You'll get through several quests and you will get enjoy shopping for stuff and leveling up. If you've only got an hour to play and everyone wants to feel all powerful, then go for the Epic rules.
 
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Ian Kelly
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Why not just play the campaign?
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Peristarkawan wrote:
Why not just play the campaign?

Time and meeting constraints. I've played stand-alone quests a lot, primarily because the guys I'm playing with A) don't want to play a 20hr game and B) won't be back in the same configuration anytime soon. So Epic Play is a must.

Basic play blows. I will only ever play 'basic' again if I'm starting a campaign, and even then if playing with players who've never played and need a primer on how the game works. Go Epic.

-shnar
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Julian Wasson
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We had our session. We played one game on First Blood with the advanced level epic rules and it was a complete blowout. The heroes steamrolled so hard it's not even funny. Obviously, First Blood is meant to be easy on the heroes, but our impression was that the epic rules were adding a lot more power to the heroes than they were to the overlord. We played the first encounter of The Dawnblade (didn't have enough time left for both) with the basic rules and it was a lot rougher.

In the future I plan on doing the campaign. The point of this was to audition the game with the group (reactions were mostly positive), and get a feel for the new rules before we started making decisions with long-term effects. It definitely feels like the game is designed for campaign play, and it's just a cooler way to do it anyway.

I'm still curious what people think about the balance implications of advanced level epic play. My impression is that it helps the heroes more than it helps the overlord, just based on the qualitative jump in what the heroes can accomplish each turn compared to the boost that the overlord gets from having 3-4 improved cards that he might not even draw. If an encounter can go like five turns, you're looking at running your deck once per encounter if you're lucky and/or good. It would take a lot to convince me that it doesn't favor the heroes in terms of its effects, but you could fairly easily convince me that that's okay if the encounters are all inherently pretty tough.
 
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First Blood is a tutorial mission and should not be used to judge balance. Seriously, even without XP and gold it is a pushover for the heroes. IMO, if you have experienced gamers you should just skip it.

At this point I've played all the Act1 quests multiple times with the advanced rules and I think they are all roughly balanced when using 150g and 3XP. Generally the OL's strategy is easier to see than the heroes' strategy so many quests favor the OL on the first playthrough. Using only basic equipment makes some of the quests all but impossible for the heroes (ie Castle Daerion).

All comments are made using only the core figures and 3-4 hero parties.
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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slacks wrote:
First Blood is a tutorial mission and should not be used to judge balance. Seriously, even without XP and gold it is a pushover for the heroes. IMO, if you have experienced gamers you should just skip it.

I dunno, I just played it with one player (2 heroes), and it came down to the very last attack from the hero on Mauler. If he had missed or I defended better, the Overlord would have one (the 5th goblin almost off the map)...

When a game comes down to 1 die roll, then it's pretty well balanced IMHO.

-shnar
 
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Fair enough, I've only played First Blood twice and it was with 3 heroes both times.
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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A friend of mine has made the argument that the least balanced games seem to be with 3 heroes. With three heroes you get the most hero-to-monster ratio. I've really only played 2 or 4 hero games, so I think I understand what he means. The same number of monsters (for the most part) but one extra hero as runner can go a long way...

-shnar
 
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