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Descent: Journeys in the Dark» Forums » General

Subject: 3 Player Action >>> Why 2 Heroes Get Their Butts Kicked!!! rss

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Dave Kudzma
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Well, here we are on our 3rd session of Descent with a mere 2 heroes to our Overlord....me being the Overlord of course, and our experienced (even D&D experienced) heroes are still being decimated by the Overlord.

I have to say, while most reports will have you believing that this game is far too easy for the heroes, I will state that it might be too easy for the Overlord player unless he has at least 3 heroes to compete with.

2 heroes, even after having gained gold treasures (and good ones to boot), had hard time (even dealing up to 14 damage to foes) winning.....which they didn't.

I have read that 3 heroes (4 player) is the sweet spot for this one...and I have to concur with that observation.

Does anyone have any strategy for a 3 player game that would go against my viewpoint?
 
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Tristan Hall
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You could try having the OL draw only 1 card per turn, that seems to be working okay for us . . .
 
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Martyn Fookes
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I have to say, while most reports will have you believing that this game is far too easy for the heroes, I will state that it might be too easy for the Overlord player unless he has at least 3 heroes to compete with.

Gotta agree with you there - it seems that one mistake can lead to ultimate downfall for the heroes...

But, after 5 sessions (about 10 games) the heroes (2 players p1=Overlord, p2=2xheroes) finally got their first victory last weekend...

The trick seemed to be: Don't try to kill every monster and remember to use fatigue to roll those extra power dice and get those extra wounds.

It was still a close run thing, but I managed to hold off the hordes by camping Ronan in a corridor equipped with the Word of Vaal whilst Steelhorns introduced Narthak to the Rage Blade and the Serpent Blade (he was also holding Pico)...

Admittedly this was only the introductory scenario, but we'd revisited it purely because the heroes kept getting stomped on the others we'd tried!

Now we know 2 heroes can do it we'll move on again. cool

Don't get me wrong, it IS great fun even when you do get slaughtererd by a nine-year-old Overlord!

 
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Dave Kudzma
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Re: 3 Player Action >>> Why 2 Heroes Get Their Butts Kicked!
I know the heroes could win if my friends used a more "run and gun" strategy.

I think the major issue is the fact that I tend to get the Power cards out earlier....and Doom! in particular has a drastic effect on the gameplay....
 
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Craig Macbride
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Re: 3 Player Action >>> Why 2 Heroes Get Their Butts Kicked!
I believe the worst problem with the 2 hero game is that the limiting factor for the OL doing monster damage is the rate at which he can spawn new monsters, which is one spawn card per turn.

In a 3+ heroes game, the OL can spawn Beastmen into a new room and have most or all of them killed by the characters the turn they arrive. With only 2 heroes, it's fairly easy for the OL to keep the Master Beastman alive to the next turn, then spawn, say, Sorcerers, and have the Sorcerers, the Master Beastman and the monsters in the room all attack one hero. Once one hero is dead, the other is facing about 6 monsters and is toasted easily. (... and literally if some are Hell Hounds.)

Significant player-bases tweaking, such as the OL only drawing 1 card per turn, may work, but who wants to play umpteen games of this length to test it out?! I could have played dozens of good, enjoyable games in that time. It looks as though Descent hasn't been properly playtested for 2 hero play and I'd suggest simply never playing it that way. Indeed, it's hard to think of a single game that is so appallingly unbalanced and takes so long to get to its conclusion as 2-hero Descent.
 
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Martyn Fookes
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Indeed, it's hard to think of a single game that is so appallingly unbalanced and takes so long to get to its conclusion as 2-hero Descent.

I don't have any experience of other games of this type so I can't really comment on whether it is "unbalanced" as I have nothing to compare it to.

I think I'd rather say it was "challenging" for 2 heroes.

My nine-year old son manages to put up a fair fight with two heroes under his control: He uses careful LOS positioning to make sure nothing can spawn nearby, runs as often as he fights (until he gets tooled up with gold treasures), and spends his fatigues as much as he can to do extra damage or run farther.

The thing we've found is that there are a lot of strategies to remember. We adopt a "use it or lose it" philosophy: if after a few rounds it is realised that one of heroes hasn't been applying a trait well, that's just too bad... If the heroes have forgotten to use fatigues to roll extra power dice to kill off that master bane spider well, tough... This problem usually rears its head if we have played a few games of something else in between Descent sessions. It's always the little things we forget that make the big differences: LOS/spawn blocking being a prime example. It takes a while to get our heads "back-in-the-groove" by which time it's too late for the heroes and we need to have another game for the heroes to play "properly".

Of course the heroes still end up going down-in-flames but we still fight over who gets to play the heroes because a) it's a challenge b) it's fun and c) if you beat the overlord you get supreme bragging rights for about a week!

 
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Sean D.
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Well, when we started out playing the game it seemed like the OL had all the advantages. Pretty much endless monster spawns, once he got the evil genius the hammer usually fell hard. The heroes were left to wonder if they could ever win with just 2 heroes.

But, I have noticed a simple pattern (In our games anyway). We draw heroes randomly and at least one of which is a magic class. Unless you are the battlemage, magic types tend to get beat on and die fast to the OL. Even if he only gets 2 points for a kill, he can kill them over and over again much more quickly than he can get one kill on a well armoured melee type hero. The last game we played on saturday had 2 heroes, Grey Ker and Mordrog. We tried going a lot faster and advancing through the rooms as quickly as we could even if we weren't at full strength. This strategy worked very well, despite the fact the the OL was able to get trap master, Evil Genius and Doom, we got to the end boos without ever dying once. Several close calls but we were able to stifle the OL and blaze a trail to end of the quest without dying. Perhaps we were just lucky, but by the end of the quest we had saved enough conquest tokens to die 3-4 times. I think it really depends on the dice sometimes. The OL rolled a few "X"'s when he might have been able to finish off a hero. But I don't believe that is quite so hard for the heroes as I had believed earlier.
 
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Bobb Beauchamp
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Re: 3 Player Action >>> Why 2 Heroes Get Their Butts Kicked!
Liberal use of dodge. The heroes need to be flexible enough to adjust strategy based on their resources. 3 or 4 heroes can waltz through wiping rooms before any inhabitant has any chance to blink. 2 heroes have far less firepower, and need to be willing to go on the defensive more often, using ready actions to attack, burn fatigue to move, and then place the dodge order.arrrh
 
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Daniel Kearns
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I don't understand how the liberal use of dodge helps two heroes.

With 2 heroes the greatest number of attackes you can off per turn is 4. If both heroes order a dodge, your number of attacks is reduced to 2, with no movement besides spending fatigue. Since the overlord is usually spawning 3 new figures/turn (when the OL decides to press), using the dodge option results in the heroes getting overwhelmed.

I haven't won yet with 2 heroes. The OL I play against saves threat until a new area is revealed then spawns for about three turns in a row to overwhelm.

I've also found it difficult to voluntarily send a hero back to town due to the sheer difficulty of reducing the monster number prior to leaving the remaining hero to fend for themselves.





 
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Paul Orr
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Re: 3 Player Action >>> Why 2 Heroes Get Their Butts Kicked!
Here's a strategy that may help for 2 heros: Use the Advance order to... retreat! Make your attack before you move, then move away. Stay out of the range of those beastmen, and you'll find yourself taking a lot less damage. Skeletons may plink at you, but they just don't do that much damage.

Takes me back to Starfleet battles, and retrograde maneuvers.
 
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Dwsparks
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I played as the Overlord for the first time this week in a 4-Hero game, and really had a lot of trouble keeping the Heroes damaged. It was just the introductory scenario, but needless to say, they walked all over me.

Sounds like a 3-hero game is more fair.
 
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Gene Vogel
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Re: 3 Player Action >>> Why 2 Heroes Get Their Butts Kicked!
With a 3-player game (1 OL, 2 Characters) the Heroes got their arses handed to them in the 1st room! So, the next immediate game the one player picked a stronger character, and this time they made it to the last room by running past many monsters and rune-locking the door behind them. They then proceeded to die and loose the game. Of course, this was an extremely long game, as most Descent games are.

One of the things that came to mind for me is to limit the number of 'Spawn' cards in the OL deck. It would give 2 Heroes a better chance(?) and make the game play faster - but too fast and with little fun for the OL?

I'll give it a try sometime today and post an update.
 
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