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

Subject: Is descent 2e for me? rss

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Yasha Maru
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I have Wrath of Ash. It is good, but at the same time I find it kind of lacking. I'm looking for a game that fills the space I found lacking in WoA, and wondered if you could give me some thoughts on if Descent 2 was that game.

First, WoA. It feels like 95% of the time the players can only choose between at-will attack 1 or 2 and a move. The move has some tactical element but it's not very deep. Also, there seems to be a lot to keep track of. It has complex rules like say chess, but whereas chess can play fast once you know the rules, in WoA there is always one more little thing to remember. Then there are the encounters. They seem to play far too high a role in the game. Indeed you can start a game with all characters dazed/half dead before anyone has had a chance to attack a monster. Character progression is pretty much nonexistent. It just doesn't feel right somehow. A game session for us is usually the thief storing up his tornado and ferocious strike for the boss and trying to survive the encounter cards and some unlucky rolls until we get to the end, and if all goes right basically one-shot the boss. Every game also feels like, ok let's get to that dungeon tile with the goal on it....Maybe what I am trying to describe is that there feels to be little skill involved, there seems extremely limited room to improve your game through skill, while the game feels dominated by the drudgery of the rules and luck.

So after reading many reviews, watching it played on internet etc, I found three possible games that might be more fun for me: 1) descent 2e, 2)super dungeon explore, and 3) dungeon command.

So I know that DC is quite different, but the pretty minis, tactical and seemingly deep gameplay and possibility to breathe new life into WoA with some new monsters appeals to me.

With Descent 2e, what worries me is that with just 2 players (usually I only play 2 players), there will be too much to track. I also am not sure if there is much tactical depth, and I don't have a clear picture on the character development potential and scope for interesting choices for players each move (especially compared to WoA). It also seems exceedingly luck based from what I can see. I also wonder if it plays more smoothly than WoA and is not so "stagnate".

Super dungeon command looks like fun, but also it looks to have limited replayability. I like how the heroes seem to have lots of powers and how you can get potions and other treasure quickly, although it lacks character development and the monsters seem limited, also some people have said the game pretty much plays out the same way each time or descends into a boring game of rolling to attack over and over without much real purpose.

Thanks for reading this long post, if you have any feedback that would be much appreciated. Each of these games is quite expensive, and also takes up a lot of wall space so I don't want to buy each of them only to find that I only like one (or none) of them, or I only play it a few times.
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Yasha wrote:
I have Wrath of Ash. It is good, but at the same time I find it kind of lacking. I'm looking for a game that fills the space I found lacking in WoA, and wondered if you could give me some thoughts on if Descent 2 was that game.

First, WoA. It feels like 95% of the time the players can only choose between at-will attack 1 or 2 and a move. The move has some tactical element but it's not very deep. Also, there seems to be a lot to keep track of. It has complex rules like say chess, but whereas chess can play fast once you know the rules, in WoA there is always one more little thing to remember. Then there are the encounters. They seem to play far too high a role in the game. Indeed you can start a game with all characters dazed/half dead before anyone has had a chance to attack a monster. Character progression is pretty much nonexistent. It just doesn't feel right somehow. A game session for us is usually the thief storing up his tornado and ferocious strike for the boss and trying to survive the encounter cards and some unlucky rolls until we get to the end, and if all goes right basically one-shot the boss. Every game also feels like, ok let's get to that dungeon tile with the goal on it....Maybe what I am trying to describe is that there feels to be little skill involved, there seems extremely limited room to improve your game through skill, while the game feels dominated by the drudgery of the rules and luck.

So after reading many reviews, watching it played on internet etc, I found three possible games that might be more fun for me: 1) descent 2e, 2)super dungeon explore, and 3) dungeon command.

So I know that DC is quite different, but the pretty minis, tactical and seemingly deep gameplay and possibility to breathe new life into WoA with some new monsters appeals to me.

With Descent 2e, what worries me is that with just 2 players (usually I only play 2 players), there will be too much to track. I also am not sure if there is much tactical depth, and I don't have a clear picture on the character development potential and scope for interesting choices for players each move (especially compared to WoA). It also seems exceedingly luck based from what I can see. I also wonder if it plays more smoothly than WoA and is not so "stagnate".

Super dungeon command looks like fun, but also it looks to have limited replayability. I like how the heroes seem to have lots of powers and how you can get potions and other treasure quickly, although it lacks character development and the monsters seem limited, also some people have said the game pretty much plays out the same way each time or descends into a boring game of rolling to attack over and over without much real purpose.

Thanks for reading this long post, if you have any feedback that would be much appreciated. Each of these games is quite expensive, and also takes up a lot of wall space so I don't want to buy each of them only to find that I only like one (or none) of them, or I only play it a few times.


I don't know dungeon command but it might be good for you if you wished to add more monsters to you woa

now about descent, imo its not the best game for 2 players, the bookkeeping isn't that huge but the balance is a bit of with 2 players :s but it is a lot more strategy/tactical than the others.

super dungeon explore is worse in bookkeeping, with all the aura's, smoke bombs etc which you forget a lot in your rolls. But overall gameplay, it is lighter if compared to descent.


Tbh I like descent more, because of the strategy/tactical, Campaign, character building, etc

in super dungeon explore, you have 1 boss/quest and that is it... and is 85 euro's. It is not a bad game, I aint saying that, but compared to descent it is inferior.

But for 2 players I won't recommend any of the 2.



Some games you might wanna look @
coop game: Gears of war
head2head combat: "Earth reborn" or "Dungeon twister 2"

I took as a reference that you might like miniatures

otherwise you might wanna look @ "summoner wars" and "mage wars"
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Rafal Areinu
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You might want to watch Critical Plays of one of most basic quests: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97BM8EOMPTg

In 2 player game hero player is suggested to control 2 heroes(but it's better if he goes for 3 or 4). The person who did this series was a bit confused about cutting corners(you can, he doesn't) and made some more mistakes, but overall from watching this series I knew everything I wanted about the game and I made my purchase decision. Once I went to playing I met the same game as on those movies.

The game is in favor of overlord with 2 heroes, and in favor of heroes with 3 heroes. It's not much harder to control 3 heroes than 2... So you might play 2-3 single scenarios to get the feel which option fits you more, and then it should be a blast for 2 players.

The game has some pretty nice ways to make bookkeeping easy - status cards, that have reference what describing what effect it does, all special skills of monsters described on cards, always available, not too many tokens, but enough to see everything easily.

Descent offers some interesting choices during quests, where you often have to skip some combat or healing in order to accomplish objective. There's a lot of fighting, but it's not main emphasis of the game, which some find appalling, and some find great.

I'll say it again - find an hour to see how it's played on that series, it really gives really close image of the real game - and it uses 2 heroes, which is standard for 2 players. The quest used favors the heroes.
 
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Toxica
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If the hero player is able to control 4 hero characters at once, then it is no problem. But with only 2 hero characters the game is not so much fun, for the Hero player.

Descent is best played with 4 players each controlling one hero and 1 overlord in my opinion.



 
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Rafal Areinu
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I would disagree on this point. When we have only 2 players number of heroes that hero player is controlling is nice scaling factor. With 2 players it's quite possible that one side will be clearly better, thus changing number of heroes can quickly balance things out without need of house rules.

It's great fun even with 2 heroes, if the OL is on weaker side.
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Graham Martin
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Yasha wrote:
With Descent 2e, what worries me is that with just 2 players (usually I only play 2 players), there will be too much to track.


Not true.

Quote:
I also am not sure if there is much tactical depth...


There is. It is all about using the best tactics to put your figures in the best position to succeed.

Quote:
...and I don't have a clear picture on the character development potential


It is very good, imho. Many skill decisions to make and you must take into account what the other players are choosing as well. If you add in the Conversion Kit with ~48 heroes, your choices are pretty big.

Quote:
... and scope for interesting choices for players each move (especially compared to WoA).


I can't speak to WoA but every move you make in D2E is extremely important. You may choose from the following:

1) Moving your figure
2) Attacking
3) Using any one of your many skills
4) Using your one-use-per-map "Heroic Feat" skill
5) Opening or closing a door
6) Searching for treasure
7) Helping revive another hero
8) Resting to regain your energy
9) Standing up if you have been knocked out

Quote:
It also seems exceedingly luck based from what I can see.


There is a large luck element. That's why I described the tactics as the decisions you make to put your figures in the best position to succeed. If they fail on a roll, they fail and that's the way the game goes. I find it fairly fun to have that element but I understand how this would not appeal to some.

 
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S C
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I'm player of the dice rolling game which includes Descent 1st and tabletop games like Warhammer (both Fantasy and 40K), while luck is one of the factor in these type of game but statistic always ring true at the end of the day.

It's a game where you have a certain degree of control over your luck by modifying the chances towards success, like the previous poster mentioned that movement is a very large part of the tactic you employ... I'd even say 50/50 in term of movement vs luck. You are always having to think ahead of the possible outcome and ways to remedy the situation should it fail. Then, there is the possibility to enhance that chance even further with modifiers such as cards, additional dice roll (obviously, more dice the better), re-rolls, etc..

I love these kind of game as there is no definitive outcome, every game is different.
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Yasha wrote:
It has complex rules like say chess, but whereas chess can play fast once you know the rules, in WoA there is always one more little thing to remember.

If you think Ashardalon is complex, then you probably won't like Descent, Super Dungeon Explore, nor Dungeon Command. You might want to try something more along the lines of Dungeon Run or even Munchkin.

-shnar

P.S. Typically in chess, the more you learn the slower the game plays, as you and your opponent try to out predict each other's moves.
 
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Frank Franco
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Descent is more complex than Ashardalon, but the complexity is worth it. I'd rate descent a 10 and Ravenloft (which is like Ashardalon) a 3.
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Yasha Maru
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shnar wrote:
Yasha wrote:
It has complex rules like say chess, but whereas chess can play fast once you know the rules, in WoA there is always one more little thing to remember.

If you think Ashardalon is complex, then you probably won't like Descent, Super Dungeon Explore, nor Dungeon Command. You might want to try something more along the lines of Dungeon Run or even Munchkin.

-shnar

P.S. Typically in chess, the more you learn the slower the game plays, as you and your opponent try to out predict each other's moves.


I think in WoA it's like although there are many things to keep track of, your tactical choices are extremely limited, whereas in chess there is nothing to keep track of yet your tactical choices are extremely deep. It's difficult to explain, but in WoA I find my mind mainly occupied with bookkeeping-like tasks and in chess I am mainly thinking about upcoming moves. Obviously two very different games, and although I like WoA, as I mentioned the lack of choices, strategic depth, character development, and the heavy handed traps etc, and degree of bookeeping as opposed to gaming tasks pull it back from greatness for me.

I want a game where similar to chess and shogi (my two favorite board games) my mind is always engaged in the game (once the rules are learnt), rather than being preoccupied with keeping track of tokens and the like while the tactical choice is severely limited.

But anyway, it's difficult to describe, and using "chess" is just a rough aid to explain the difference between a game I really like and is basically perfect, and WoA, which I want to love (because I love the fantasy theme) but somehow just can't fully get into.

I appreciate everyone's feedback thank you.
 
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Sounds like out of those three you will get the most out of Dungeon Command. I would also recommend you look into Summoner Wars. Neither are dungeon crawlers, but they are more about thinking tacticaly and less about "bookeeping".
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Robin Reeve
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If you can find Dungeon Twister, it is considered a "chess-like" fantasy game.
About no randomness (except the initial tile setup and the unknown enemie's placement - but both sides have the same characters/items).
Once the game is initiated, luck is clearly put aside.
 
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Yasha Maru
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I just watched the critical plays video, the game does look like fun. I like the look of the rpg elements where each adventure appears to be a quest with a specific objective, which then links into and impacts the next adventure. For example in WoA one of the linked "campaign" quests is to find and kill the kobold, evil dwarf, and orc leaders. But it is just the same game played three times with a different boss at the end. Even having done that nothing changes, it's not like you weaken Ash's strength or anything. I guess it would be like playing descent in non-campaign mode (from what I can see). So yeah, that looks like a very big plus and exciting element in favor of me picking up descent.

The monster and player movement looks to be more tactical than in WoA, and I like the fatigue mechanic which adds another level of strategy. There still seems to be a lot of little things to remember but I get the impression from the video that it would run smoother than WoA because the overlord can focus on the monsters. I think one of the things that hampered the flow in WoA for me is that the players also control the monsters (although the DM-less mechanic is also one of the things I like about it).

One thing that I didn't like was that the heroes could only do a basic attack or their once per adventure ultimate move. Does this change a lot as you progress through the campaign? Are there cool abilities for the characters, like say the ability to drag a monster who is at range next to you and attack (the paladin in WoA has this, definitely my fav ability and reminds me of a DK's death grip in WoW)? I'll try and find a list of the ability cards so I can get a better idea, but feel free to post and fill me in if you know more about it.
 
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Rafal Areinu
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That changes, but it varies on which abilities you chose and which class you play.

For example runemaster at first is not really different than archer - he attacks at distance, end. He quickly can get exploding rune, giving him are of effect spell. He can then proceed to get double cast, where he can attack twice with one action, or get ability that lets him put any status on the enemy. As most of his abilities are actions he has to choose one or other - will he choose AOE to damage every monster a bit, or will he try to immobilize the strongest enemy? He also can get really powerful spell that affects anyone within 3 spaces of runemaster.

On top of it, some weapons add some special effects at your disposal, like knockback, which even though name says something else let's you move enemy in any direction.

Knight is more focused on mobility, defense and a bit of crowd control. His tactical options focus on placement than on what type of attack to use. Though he has some nice special things(ability to jump adjacent to monster that is adjacent to your friend, and attack him, or chose a monster to "duel", where Knight gives him more damage, but also takes more damage from him).

On paper it might look underwhelming, but instead of just being cool the active abilities characters have tend to add tactical possibilities and give you more meaningful choices to make. You also have to plan your fatigue well to use the system to it's fullest.

Also overlord player gets some nice monsters which have a lot of fun and diverse skills, so he also isn't bored by doing only "attack, attack, attack".
 
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Yasha Maru
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Thanks for all the feedback. After watching the suggested videos and reading various reviews I decided to go with Descent 2. It is in the mail. It looks like a fun fantasy tactical skirmish with rpg elements, should be a blast to play.

BTW I may have seemed critical of WOA earlier, but I actually quite enjoy the game, it was just not hitting the spot for me on a rpg (read rpg video game) level or tactical level.
 
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