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

Subject: Caltrops rss

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Darren Nakamura
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When I first started playing, I think I overestimated the Thief's Caltrops ability.
Caltrops wrote:
When a monster moves into an empty space adjacent to you, exhaust this card to test [Awareness]. If you pass, the monster suffers 1 [heart] and is Immobilized.
That sounds great! Except...
Immobilized wrote:
You cannot perform move actions or suffer [fatigue] to gain movement points. Discard this card or token at the end of your turn.

Now, I am thinking about Caltrops purely as a source of Immobilized. The damage is negligible unless it kills the monster, but if you have an Overlord who walks a 1HP monster next to a Thief knowing he has Caltrops, then he deserves that.

Since Caltrops is a reactive skill, it is (almost always) happening on the Overlord's turn. So he moves the monster, ends up next to a Thief, gets Immobilized, and then either attacks the Thief and ends his turn, discarding Immobilized (if he single-moved), or just ends his turn, discarding Immobilized (if he double-moved). Either way, he still got most of his activation in before being stopped.

Now, there are some encounters in particular that it is good (like, game-winningly good), such as A Fat Goblin Encounter 2 or The Wyrm Turns Encounter 2. But I feel like for the most part, it's not nearly very useful. Are there uses for it that I haven't thought about?

The only thing that I haven't personally seen but could imagine is that it could combine really well with the Crossbow. Attack a monster, move it into a space adjacent to the Thief, then Immobilize it there. Anything else?
 
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Graham Martin
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Dexter345 wrote:
When I first started playing, I think I overestimated the Thief's Caltrops ability.
Caltrops wrote:
When a monster moves into an empty space adjacent to you, exhaust this card to test [Awareness]. If you pass, the monster suffers 1 [heart] and is Immobilized.
That sounds great! Except...
Immobilized wrote:
You cannot perform move actions or suffer [fatigue] to gain movement points. Discard this card or token at the end of your turn.

Now, I am thinking about Caltrops purely as a source of Immobilized. The damage is negligible unless it kills the monster, but if you have an Overlord who walks a 1HP monster next to a Thief knowing he has Caltrops, then he deserves that.

Since Caltrops is a reactive skill, it is (almost always) happening on the Overlord's turn. So he moves the monster, ends up next to a Thief, gets Immobilized, and then either attacks the Thief and ends his turn, discarding Immobilized (if he single-moved), or just ends his turn, discarding Immobilized (if he double-moved). Either way, he still got most of his activation in before being stopped.

Now, there are some encounters in particular that it is good (like, game-winningly good), such as A Fat Goblin Encounter 2 or The Wyrm Turns Encounter 2. But I feel like for the most part, it's not nearly very useful. Are there uses for it that I haven't thought about?

The only thing that I haven't personally seen but could imagine is that it could combine really well with the Crossbow. Attack a monster, move it into a space adjacent to the Thief, then Immobilize it there. Anything else?


Since the vast majority of the game is a tactical battle where moving pieces into position early is very important, stopping even just one monster from making its full move is a pretty powerful ability. Heroes always move first so moving a swift-footed theif into a narrow area so that he can stop a monster is niiiice.

Also, 1 Health is not "negligible" damage.
 
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Darren Nakamura
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Strictly speaking, 1 damage isn't negligible, sure. It can mean the difference between killing a monster and letting him get his activation. However, most of the time, it isn't worth much. You do one damage to a minion Goblin Archer and it is in the same spot for me, mentally. It's going to require roughly one attack to kill it.

What I meant by that comment is that people don't purchase Caltrops because they really want to spend 1 fatigue on the Overlord's turn to deal 1 damage to 1 monster. It's a bonus that's fine, on top of the real reason for Caltrops, which I would suggest is Immobilize. However, I still think that it's far less useful than the Berserker's Cripple or the Runemaster's Runic Sorcery, which will both Immobilize during the hero turns rather than on the overlord turn.

If you Immobilize a Melee monster during the hero turns, you effectively shut down its entire activation (as long as you don't hang out in range of it). If you Immobilize a Melee monster during the overlord's turn, right after it has moved adjacent to you, the best you've done to it is made it lose a couple of movement points.

I did think of another decent use for it, however. It can be good against the "large monster shuffle," in which the overlord cycles multiple large monsters into and out of a hallway to get attacks in on the heroes. If you Immobilize the first one right in front of the heroes, then the subsequent monsters can't attack any more. So that's nice.
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Graham Martin
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Dexter345 wrote:
Strictly speaking, 1 damage isn't negligible, sure. It can mean the difference between killing a monster and letting him get his activation. However, most of the time, it isn't worth much. You do one damage to a minion Goblin Archer and it is in the same spot for me, mentally. It's going to require roughly one attack to kill it.


Agree, but I also am mindful of the dreaded X on the blue die. A sure-fire 1 damage is pretty nice sometimes. But, yes...it is not the gnat's knees, so to speak.

Quote:
What I meant by that comment is that people don't purchase Caltrops because they really want to spend 1 fatigue on the Overlord's turn to deal 1 damage to 1 monster. It's a bonus that's fine, on top of the real reason for Caltrops, which I would suggest is Immobilize.[q]

Agree 100%.

[q]However, I still think that it's far less useful than the Berserker's Cripple or the Runemaster's Runic Sorcery, which will both Immobilize during the hero turns rather than on the overlord turn.


Also agree.

Quote:
I did think of another decent use for it, however. It can be good against the "large monster shuffle," in which the overlord cycles multiple large monsters into and out of a hallway to get attacks in on the heroes. If you Immobilize the first one right in front of the heroes, then the subsequent monsters can't attack any more. So that's nice.


Good idea. Must remember that one.
 
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Amish Cow

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I'd use caltrops to take advantage of Tomble's "If you are attacked while adjacent to at least one other hero, you may choose an adjacent hero and add the defense pool of that hero to your own.". If Tomble is always at the head of the party with a highly armored hero behind him, the OL might be forced to attack Tomble with all his melee guys.

ACT 1 Scenerio
Tomble with leather armor and shield standing infront of another hero with chainmail armor. Thats 3 gray, 1 brown, and a re-roll. 0-11 shields

ACT II Scenerio
Tomble with Demonhide leather and Shield of Dark God in front of another hero with Platemail. Thats 1 black, 3 gray, and re-roll any of the 4 die. 0-13 shields.

OR

C-c-c-combo caltrops with Prayer of Peace and keep tomble and your disciple at the front lines... would shut down melee monsters completely.
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Tom H
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Grahamers2002 wrote:
Dexter345 wrote:
I did think of another decent use for it, however. It can be good against the "large monster shuffle," in which the overlord cycles multiple large monsters into and out of a hallway to get attacks in on the heroes. If you Immobilize the first one right in front of the heroes, then the subsequent monsters can't attack any more. So that's nice.


Good idea. Must remember that one.

That is a good idea. For it to work you will have to ignore the rulebook where it says that when a monster expands it doesn't count as "entering" the new spaces. I heartily endorse this ignoring.
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Darren Nakamura
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Terah wrote:
Grahamers2002 wrote:
Dexter345 wrote:
I did think of another decent use for it, however. It can be good against the "large monster shuffle," in which the overlord cycles multiple large monsters into and out of a hallway to get attacks in on the heroes. If you Immobilize the first one right in front of the heroes, then the subsequent monsters can't attack any more. So that's nice.


Good idea. Must remember that one.

That is a good idea. For it to work you will have to ignore the rulebook where it says that when a monster expands it doesn't count as "entering" the new spaces. I heartily endorse this ignoring.


Ah, that's right. If the Overlord were unwise enough to actually move into the space adjacent to the Thief, then it would work. I suppose it only really comes up if the large monster is trying to move past the Thief.
 
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Dawid
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Caltrops seems great against those sneaky little goblins, especially in encounters where they just want to scamper from you.
I think it adds nice interaction between heroes and overlord. Something that he must take into consideration when planning his moves. Similar thing does Wildlander's Danger sense but on other level.
By the way, wouldn't it be great if Caltrops was within the same Class with Nimble(?)
 
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David Scott
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For what it's worth, Caltrops singlehandedly swung Encounter 1 of At The Forge the other night in my play group (we were playing the Lair of the Wyrm mini campaign).

I dominated the Act 1 quests and was well on my way to winning the first finale Encounter. I had the heroes pinned on a 2x2 with giants and Splig was clear to run to the end (gotta love Dash). Lindel the Thief managed to Tumble through the giants and nail Splig with Caltrops. Using a well timed stamina potion, the heroes managed to keep Lindel positioned such that I'd have to walk adjacent to him (and get immobilized) every turn.

Complicating matters, I rolled 3 consecutive misses trying to attack him with Splig, and I couldn't seem to pass the attribute test on my last monster group to wake them up. Without Caltrops, I would have steamrolled the Encounter and, based on the result of Encounter 2 (I won by the skin of my teeth), I would have dominated that one too.
 
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Vlad Ponomarev
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Dexter345, are you aware that you have to move into an adjacent space with big monster (without Reach) to perform an attack? Check the official FAQ and Errata.
In general, to interrupt a move action with attack, your monster have to be in the correct tile IN THE SHRINKED state.
 
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