Michael Trathen
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Some background... playing with four other friends of mine who are mostly all big roleplayers, strategy gamers and general power players. Probably the least experienced member is playing the Overlord. Our team consists of the Widow as Necromancer, Fairwood (?) as a Thief, the female cleric as a Disciple and the dwarf as a Berserker.

We've played the introduction, A Fat Goblin and the first quest of Castle Daeron... and the players have lost each one. Not slightly, but an utter, horrendous crushing by the Overlord. In Fat Goblin, the OL used Merriods to jam up the approach, and we simply couldn't kill them before the goblins had made off with the crops. We almost saved one. In the follow up, the opposing Sprig had what... 29 health? Which didn't matter. His dragons kept up jammed in the hallways for the entire encounter. We killed one, but by the time we got to the second, the OL used dark charm cards to just move us and dash cards to run Sprig out of the dungeon.

But the Castle was the worst. Two shadow dragons at the entrance. The OL lines them up to form a meat gate and utterly massacres us. We barely killed one by the time the first three peasants were killed by her Merriods and then last one we just couldn't get through the last dragon (healed by the OL, btw) before the helpless victim died.

Now understand, we aren't stupid. We weren't rushing this and took a long time deliberating our actions, but we just could not damage the dragons, even using ranged attacks to circumvent their shadow ability. Couple that with the OL starting with something like 7 cards due to encounters along the way, I don't see how this is even in the ballpark of being possible for the humans to win. It wasn't even a close possibility. We were just utterly ruined every step of the way, even with upgraded equipment and skills.

Any advice? Has anyone else encountered this? I don't want to feel like I've wasted $50 on this seemingly well made game. We need help though!
 
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Darren Nakamura
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General consensus is that Castle Daerion is the most difficult Act I quest for the Heroes, so your experience there is typical.

For A Fat Goblin, my group had a similar Encounter 1, with the Goblins stealing all four crops, giving Splig 29 health going into Encounter 2. That didn't matter though, because the group formed a 2x2 phalanx that Splig could not get past unless I used Dark Charm and got a Knockback on the same turn, which I didn't. Once Splig was within range of all four Heroes, the 29 health dropped like a rock, since they could all double-attack on their turns.

To be fair, I didn't use Shadow Dragons as my open group on that one, because I felt a little bad about Encounter 1 going so much in my favor. So that may have made the difference.

Personally, I feel like the Heroes in my group are extremely powerful compared to me as the Overlord. They've gotten some really good item drops from the Search Tokens, and until my monsters get beefed up during Act II, I don't expect to fare very well.

Some tips: If you are pretty sure you're going to lose, or if you are pretty sure you are going to win and you can spare some actions, make sure you search. Heroes get better not just by the XP reward for quests, but also for the gold spent in the shop. I'd estimate that equipment is more important than skills, even.

You need to react to your Overlord's play style. It seems your Overlord fancies Shadow Dragons. You already mentioned focusing on ranged attacks to get around the Shadow ability, but there are skills you can pick up to deal with Shadow Dragons in particular or large monsters in general. Most Classes have a "Mastery" skill which lets you add a surge to an attack, which would let your melee characters get some damage in on the Shadow Dragons with certainty. Otherwise, since your Overlord appears to favor large monsters, focus on skills that add damage rather than Blast (which is better for groups of small monsters), and try and get the Tumble skill for your Thief, which will essentially nullify the Overlord's tactic of putting things in the way and forcing you to kill them to get by.
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Ken Marley
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Not really sure how you can lose first blood. Here are a couple of thoughts.

Use stamina to move forward and kill all the goblins the first turn. Baring terrible luck this should be easy, since you will have nine attacks including the dwarfs once per game.

Fat goblin is not to bad. You need to kill the mionion Merriods the first turn then the rest of the party sprints forward to attack. Remember to use all your once per encounters right away. Fairwood's once per encounter should allow her to get into crops on the first turn. In the second encounter use the octa attack to kill a dragon or two right away. With four heroes you should be able to plug the hallways preventing Splig from running past. Remember that stun/immobilize aree your friends. Beserker's cripple is excellent here, so is the thief's Dirty Trick.

Castle Daerion is very difficult and probably unwinnible if you lost the first two quests. It is the hardest Act I quest for the heroes.

Remember that monsters get only 1 attack action. I only mention this since it is a common rule mistake.


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Defeating Shadow Dragons in a timely manner requires the heroes to have a lot of ranged attacks or some way to generate surges. Using basic equipment it will take about two full rounds of attacks to down a Master Shadow Dragon.
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Michael Trathen
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Wow, thanks for the quick, thoughtful responses guys! I'm getting the feeling from poking around that we might have just approached the quest selection process wrongly... it's hard not knowing which quest is difficult or not. I'm worried my group won't be talked into continuing, mostly because the heroes are all pretty disgruntled by the experience and the OL feels torn between playing the game right and being the indirect target of everyone's frustration.

You're right about her love of dragons though. I seriously hate those things.

One last question... what's a good order to take the Act 1 quests?
 
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Michael Trathen
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Dexter345 wrote:
That didn't matter though, because the group formed a 2x2 phalanx that Splig could not get past unless I used Dark Charm and got a Knockback on the same turn, which I didn't. Once Splig was within range of all four Heroes, the 29 health dropped like a rock, since they could all double-attack on their turns.


Oh, one thing, sorry... how can you all get attacks? In a 2x2, the heroes all block LOS to the heroes behind them (barring a Wildlander, of course, but we don't have one sadly). Heroes also block each other's movement, right?
 
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Darren Nakamura
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UwasaWaya wrote:
Oh, one thing, sorry... how can you all get attacks? In a 2x2, the heroes all block LOS to the heroes behind them (barring a Wildlander, of course, but we don't have one sadly). Heroes also block each other's movement, right?


No, Heroes do not block each other's movement. As far as how they managed it, we do have a Wildlander, so she was able to take two shots without moving, and the other spot was occupied by the Reanimate. Now that I'm remembering it, I actually did Dark Charm a path for Splig to Dash through, but the Wildlander used Nimble to hop into the way again.

Anyway, even with your group, one of the Heroes in the front could have double attacked and then fatigue-moved out of the way so the two in the back could make two ranged attacks.

As far as which Quest order Heroes may want to take, many recommend:
First Blood
A Fat Goblin
Death on the Wing
Masquerade Ball

In that order. A Fat Goblin is a good starting point for the Heroes because it's one of the easier quests, and because the reward for winning is bonus gold, so you can really trick out your Heroes, assuming you get a reasonable Shop Deck draw. The Cardinal's Plight and Castle Daerion are considered to be the more difficult of the Act I Quests. There is a thread around here with a poll that has all of the quests; you may be able to find it with a little searching.
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Joe Browes
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You didn't mention this but I know other people have got this wrong when starting out, so just to check, you are playing that monsters only each have one attack per turn? Sorry to be potentially condescending there.

Castle Daerion is tough for heroes. Masquerade Ball has been a breeze both times I've played it, maybe try that one.

One other tip, search tokens = cash = weapons = monsters go squish, don't treat them as a 'nice to have' they're essential in the ongoing campaign arms race.

Hope it works out for you, we've been having a ton of fun with Descent so far.
 
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Robin Reeve
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Interociter wrote:
so just to check, you are playing that monsters only each have one attack per turn? Sorry to be potentially condescending there.
I don't find the question condescending.
As a beginner OL player, I must remind myself constantly that - Frenzy or other card excepted - monsters only can attack once.
After having played some quests, I realize that Descent 2 (as many other games) needs some practice to get some mechanics "second nature".
 
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Joe Browes
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Robin wrote:
After having played some quests, I realize that Descent 2 (as many other games) needs some practice to get some mechanics "second nature".


Amen to that brother, I'm two quests from the end of my first campaign and feel like I've only just started to approach optimum Overlord efficiency.
 
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Michael Trathen
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Robin wrote:
Interociter wrote:
so just to check, you are playing that monsters only each have one attack per turn? Sorry to be potentially condescending there.
I don't find the question condescending.
As a beginner OL player, I must remind myself constantly that - Frenzy or other card excepted - monsters only can attack once.
After having played some quests, I realize that Descent 2 (as many other games) needs some practice to get some mechanics "second nature".


Oh, I didn't feel you were being condescending. I caught on to that rule before I opened the box by reading it here. I appreciate the thought though... you're right, it's not always clear.
 
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First, I totally understand your frustrations. My regular group has found this game to be very tough. I was OL there and annihilated them so easily in our last time out (The Masquerade Ball) that I'm thinking we should write the campaign off and start again. They too have lost every game and can't see how it can be won as heroes.

The other night I got to play as a hero with a slightly different group (two players from my regulars and two guys from my work who have never played before). We won first blood (which, as others have noted, should be easy) and also won the first half of The Cardinal's Plight (OL got 2 zombies off, so we didn't completely run away with it. Slightly better play on our part would have resulted in only 1 zombie getting away).

What made the difference?

Fatigue moving wherever possible, in order to get off two attacks.
Ignoring monsters that don't need killing (always focus on the objective).
Using heroic feats rather than holding onto them.
Unloading as much as possible on the first turn.
I'd also say that as the heroes you need a tighter strategy game than the OL and you all need to work together to achieve it. Have an objective for each turn as much as possible (e.g. in turn 1 of First Blood, your primary objective as heroes should be to kill some goblin archers).

As a general rule, I think it's better to pick on minions rather than lieutenants.

However, as a caveat, I'd say that you also have to be able to adapt your tactics on the fly. There was a nice moment in The Cardinal's Plight when the OL went from being under control to blocking the graveyard with a Shadow Dragon and pincering us. The sudden shift of power meant we needed to change our plans in the middle of battle.

Hope some of this is useful and your Descent experience gets better.
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Ken Marley
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Doomjester wrote:


I'd also say that as the heroes you need a tighter strategy game than the OL and you all need to work together to achieve it.



This is a point I strongly agree with the heros need to play together and have a tight strategy.

There are a few threads where OLs complain about heroes taking to long, but if the heroes aren't careful and plan every move they will be killed.
 
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Zilfalon Keratol
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A lot has been said and I want to add my 2 cents here, trying to get everything down from the things my friend an me noticed. We play with the Conversion Kit and all Monsters from the D1 right now.

1) Number of Players
We noticed that 3 Players is the most balanced one. That is because with 4 Players you get 2 big Monsters as Overlord and are able to blockade everything.
It is very annoying in Fat Goblin Encounter 1 2 Giants blocking the path out of the starting area and respawning again and again, sweeping you down.
With 2 Players the overlord only needs to stop Movement or any possible action of one Hero. Take one Hero out of the Game, and the other one is lost against overwelming power of swarming goblins and such.
With 3 Players you cannot spawn 2 large Monsters, so no one can block your path and you have a hero more to get maybe all Search Tokens. So far, we have noticed that heroes and Overloard can win and it now comes down more to the Shop Items and Dice Luck.

2) Quests
a) A Fat Goblin: Good Encounter both sides have chances of winning each encounter. BUT not with 4 Players. After 2 Turns in E1, your Goblins are gone with the crops, and you can block the path to them with large monsters. Also in E2, block everything with Shadow Drakes and the Heroes starting Equip can do not much and you lose a lot of time.

b)Maskerade Ball: Whatever number of Heroes, it has to be a perfekt Round 1 in E2 for the Heroes to win this. If the OL won E1, he will win E2. Just spawn Banespiders in the first Room with the Lady, and immobalize the Heroes. Keep your Traps for E2.

c)Death on the Wing: Win Encounter 1, Heroes! In that lost Turn, when you have Lost E1, the OL can spawn Sorceres, Skeletons, whatever and almost one hit the Villagers. And I dont know what they are thinking in the Quest book, which says, that they only activate if someone moves on them or adjacent. OL: "Fine, I will just attack them ranged, they wont notice!" Logic? Or did we miss something?
With less then 4 Players and a hero win E1, just run around the Elemental and kill that Officer in Round 1. Done. Easy if you won E1.

d) Cardinals Plight: I see no chance of winning whatsoever. In E1 the OL WILL get at least 2 Zombies out, if you are not totally unlucky, even 3. Then in E2 there will be 4 Zombies next to the Guy that the Zombies will attack. 3-5 Turns maximum and Heroes have lost. Like the next Quest just way to difficult, concentrating on Search Tokens, Healing that NPC, getting rid of some blocking Minions, getting the Key and there is a 50% Chance, you will not get it in Room 1. That room killed my 4 Heroes with about 12 Goblins...embarassing....

e) Castle Daerion: How-Do-You-Win-This? There is simply no way, whatever number of Heroes you have, whatever number of Villagers you have rescued in E1, you WILL LOOSE E2 as Heroes! E2: If you cant get the Entrance cleared in Round 1, you will not have a Round 2, or you are extremely lucky with Dice. (like very extremely) Spawn an Ettin in the upper Path, move him in the cathedral and place him between the blocking rubble, blocking the path for the heroes, take all remaining monsters of the Entrance, move them behind the ettin and attack that NPC with all you got. If you have a Dash or Frenzy for your Officer you will be able to let him attack too. Just get the one search token.
I just have to get it out here, our experience:
2 Players: A Shadow Drake and Skeleton Archers in E1, managed to rescue 1 NPC. Medusae wanted to immobalize one, but a trap did that already, Ettin blocked a path. Round 2: OL victory
3 Players: Skeleton Archers in Entrance Room, ettin blocking path, 2 Zombies, Lt. with Dash, Round 1: NPC 1 health left, Diseased, failed the test, has no fatigue, died. ROUND 1!
4 Players: just block that path and hit with another Ettin. The NPC has same Life Points whatever the Number of Heroes is.
I do not approve of that Quest! What is the secret?
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Rauli Kettunen
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Zilfalon wrote:
2) Quests
a) A Fat Goblin: Good Encounter both sides have chances of winning each encounter. BUT not with 4 Players. After 2 Turns in E1, your Goblins are gone with the crops


Not so. It takes one full double turn move to get within reach of the crops, so on turn two, they'll have to use an action to grab (interrupting their move action) and maybe make 3 spaces back. Since the heroes only need to kill one of the big blockers, I'd think two heroes should be able to double move + fatigue into a position to attack goblins on hero turn 2.

Quote:
d) Cardinals Plight: I see no chance of winning whatsoever. In E1 the OL WILL get at least 2 Zombies out, if you are not totally unlucky, even 3.


I've played this twice, first time only got one zombie out, never seen so many 7s rolled for an attribute test, second game got three out. But won E2 both times.

Quote:
That room killed my 4 Heroes with about 12 Goblins...embarassing....


12?
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Zilfalon Keratol
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Fat Goblin: if you happen to loose one large Monster, you can at least seperate the group while placing one of those surviving large ones in the path on your first turn. If it comes down really bad, you can put your respawned one back on the path.
In a lucky situation you can place your heroes in a way not a large monster can seperate you, but that is lucky.
YOu need about 3 Attacks to bring a Giant down, means 1 and a half Heroes turns. Its tricky, but I do not see the Heroes winning with 4, but with a lot of luck.

Yes..I meant Kobolds...sorry. You get 6 Minions, 3 Masters, the Masters have split and if it goes bad you have 12 Minion Kobolds standing there.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Zilfalon wrote:
YOu need about 3 Attacks to bring a Giant down, means 1 and a half Heroes turns. Its tricky, but I do not see the Heroes winning with 4, but with a lot of luck.


First two heroes fatigue up to the Giants and double-whammy, leaving the other two free (if G is killed) to rush into the Water's Edge tile, ready to take down 3-4 goblins turn 2.
 
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Zilfalon Keratol
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Like I said, Fat Goblin is possible.

But what about the others?
 
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David Wann
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In A Fat Goblin I found the Barghests to be great at blocking the heroes. (I do not actually have the CK though). With a 2x2 monster the heroes just need to kill 1 of them. Sure they have more health and generally more armor than the 2x1 monsters.

What wins it for me with the Barghests is thier howl. Any remaining monsters and the reinforcements move into positions to affect as many heroes as possible. The lack of fatigue means they can not fatigue move, meaning they need a MOVE action. Or if they rest it costs them an action. On the plus those heroes who burnt thier fatigue in turn 1 to get 2 heroes through start taking some easy damage. With no fatigue to heal and continual damage from howl my heroes really struggled to stay upright in encounter2.
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Robin Reeve
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I like the howl a lot too.
Barghests are interesting beasts.
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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We pretty much breezed all the Act I quests as a 4-hero party.

And now we're getting *murdered* in Act II; neither the interlude nor the first Act II quest were remotely close. Both times we had to switch to grabbing gold as it became abundantly clear that the stated aim of the quest was way, way beyond us.
 
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Phil Thompson
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RDewsbery wrote:
We pretty much breezed all the Act I quests as a 4-hero party.

And now we're getting *murdered* in Act II; neither the interlude nor the first Act II quest were remotely close. Both times we had to switch to grabbing gold as it became abundantly clear that the stated aim of the quest was way, way beyond us.


As the OL I must disagree, although I see how it could seem that way. Both victories relied on the draw of one OL card, coupled with the fact that I don't remember when I last rolled a miss. Admittedly I've also missed a couple of knockdown card draws each time, but I also had some amazing defence rolls which made the Act II monsters seem tougher than they were.

Of course, you also have one player who plays sub-optimally ( buying a three point skill and never using it, for example ) and you can possibly get away with that to begin with, but not in Act II I suspect. I think he must feel sorry for the monsters.
 
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