Thursday, 6 September 2012

Descent Campaign Update 2

Thursday, September 06, 2012

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 At a critical point during the Interlude...

Let's see, where did I leave off?

Oh yes, the heroes had just finished the introduction and the two first quests in Act I and had started to get a feel for the game. While they had lost both The Masquerade Ball and Death on the Wing they kept a stiff upper lip and soldiered on.

Third Quest - The Cardinal's Plight

"Look! There that doddering old fool is!"

In the first encounter the Overlord is using Lord Merrick Farrow to try and raise as many zombies as possible to send off the map so they can then (in the second encounter) attack the Cardinal (an NPC with) while the heroes try to get to him in time.

The heroes played well in the first encounter, and I didn't use my monsters to block well enough so I only had time to raise and send off a single zombie towards the cathedral. Jain's special ability again proved invaluable and starting to think she's probaly the most powerful hero in the base game. It all went by so quickly I forgot to take pictures even!

Anyway, in the second encounter where I need to kill the Cardinal the heroes first had to find the key to get into the room where the cardinal was located. With only one regular and one master zombie attacking I had a hard time doing much damage to him and some of it was offset by a special item the heroes could use to heal him. They made short work of the monsters in the cathedral and I kept doing just one or two damage per turn - not enough by a longshot!

The Cardinal almost out...

The turn before the heroes were to open the door and affect the rescue I pretty much played any and all attack cards from my hand and actually managed to do a respectable nine damage! Which meant I only had to do three more to kill the cardinal and win. However, he was now free to move and if he managed to run too far my zombies (the only ones who could hurt him) would simply not be able to follow. My lieutenant and some cronies turned up at the exit but they were all killed. except for Lord Farrow. The cardinal made his way towards the exit but he lost one more wount to Disease and I managed to do another damage with a zombie, but alas he made it out alive with just one hit point left! Talk about a close fought game!

The heroes won and got the Staff of Light relic as a reward. Anders picked this up to use with his necromancer.

This quest felt a little different from many of the others simply because result of the first encounter made a big difference in the second. Had I managed to get three or four zombies off the board in the first encounter it would have been a cakewalk. Whereas none would have meant it was almost impossible for the Overlord to win. While all the quests are built with two encounters the result of the first usually don't influence the second to that degree.

Interlude - The Overlord Revealed

What it looked like after setup. The exit is at the far end and the paths 
with monsters in them have the different portals.

After playing three Act I quests it was time for the interlude and since I had won two of the Act I quests the Interlude was The Overlord Revealed. In it the heroes start in the middle of a dungeon with four paths. They would have to go down three of these paths and close portals there before I as the Overlord could pick up the Shadow Rune and bring it to the exit at the end of the fourth path.

The heroes spent the first couple of turns going to close the portal of strength, which would be the most difficult for them considering they are all physical weaklings! In a stroke of luck though, they managed to close it at the first attempt and killing the Ettin guarding it at the same time. However, while they were busy with this I rushed my goblins and barghest toward the Shadow Rune and lay my dirty paws on it by the second or third turn. Closing the first portal also allows my lieutenant, Baron Griegory, to enter play and he's quite powerful. He also carried the Shield of Zorek's Favour, that I had got during Death on the Wing, so any hero hitting him was likely to get three or four hits back in return!

Closing in on the Shadow Rune, with only Widow Tarha left to defend.

What followed was a rather drawn-out affair. This was easily the longest running quest for us, even though it's only one encounter. Basically I had the Shadow Rune and just needed to push through the heroes and two doors to win, while they still had to run off and close two more portals while still not letting me get out. I think the problem for them was that they didn't commit fully to closing the portals from the start, but rather was planning to take one at a time. Problem with this approach is that it takes too much time. If they had split up and tried to close one portal each they might have made it, but instead they were stuck at the fourth path trying to stop me getting out.

"Well Jim, Team Heroes are getting pushed back as Team Overlord is 
slowly grinding their way to the finish line"
"Indeed it is looking grim for Team Heroes, Bob, but you never know - a fumbled ball handling by the Overlords could result in a turnover giving the Heroes another chance"
"And that is why we love this sport so much, isn't it Jim? Never say never and all that!" 

It actually felt a little like playing Blood Bowl! I had the guy with the ball in the middle and a bunch of linemen  around him and the heroes were the enemy team trying to block my slow moving box of players. Of course I had a powerful star player in Baron Griegory and in the end he won me the day by getting out with the Shadow Rune.

I was actually a little sad that we didn't get to play the Shadow Vault interlude instead as I've heard that it's a lot of fun! Hopefully the heroes will do better in our next campaign and we'll get to try it.

Fourth quest - The Desecrated Tomb

"There, pretty as a picture... Aah! Zombies!"

The first quest of Act II! In the first encounter the heroes are searching for a map in an old tomb and they need to get it quickly and escape with it to win. The Overlord gets to spawn loads of zombies and simply have to try and keep the heroes occupied for as long as possible. If it takes eight or more turns for them to ge off the map with the map the Overlord wins. In the second encounter my lietuenant, Sir Alric Farrow, armed with the Duskblade is going to kill a powerful Shadow Dragon. The heroes have to take the sword from him and escape with it.

The first encounter was a lot of fun as it felt a bit like a zombie movie with new undead crawling out of the ground as fast as the heroes could put them down! As in virtually all of the quests in this second edition speed is critical and using monsters/heroes to block movement is often the best tactic.

They just keep popping up!

I managed fairly well as the heroes had to search several times before they found the map. I blocked their way back with rotting corpses and even managed to get a couple of them Diseased! They did manage to cut their way through in the end though and I think it took five turns for them all in all.

Because it took five turns at least Sir Farrow got to set up five spaces closer to his target, the dragon Khorayt. The way I saw it was this, if the heroes ever got hold of the sword they would win as there simply was no way for me to be able to catch them (especially not Jain!), so I used Dash on Farrow to get him to the dragon as quickly as possible and then I used an elemental to block the path to him. It took a turn or two for the heroes to deal with the elemental which allowed me to get a couple of solid hits in on Khorayt.

Brave, brave Sir Alric - racing to kill that nasty dragon. Pesky adventurers.

Hower, the dragon didn't just roll over but of course fought back to the best of its ability! Again the relic shield proved its worth as Farrow has high strength and sent four or five wounds back to whoever attacked him. When the heroes got past the elemental they started to attack Farrow while still staying out of reach of the shadow dragon. At the end of the heroes turn Micke actually managed to bring Farrow down using Jain's crossbow but as he works like a hero in this quest he could get back up and with a final blow he killed the mighty Khorayt, giving me the victory. This earned me the Duskblade relic and the option to always use Shadow Dragons in future quests if I wanted.

The penultimate turn I think. Farrow in the corner trying to bash the dragon's 
head in while being peppered by arrows from Jain.

I really liked this quest as the first encounter was zombie fun, and the second quite different with a big dragon to kill/save instead of just some magic trinket to get to. Both Micke and Claes thought the second encounter was impossible for the heroes (with the Shield of Zorek's Favour and all) but me and Anders both felt it was a close fight. I think they simply were a bit too involved to perhaps see the larger picture. Fact remains that they did down Sir Farrow. Had I been a little less lucky with that last dice roll of mine, or if they had had an un-activated hero left I think they would have won. Farrow wouldn't have survived another hit and, as I mentioned above, had they managed to pick up the sword it would have been game over for me.

Final thoughts

Another fun bout of dungeon crawling! It's now apparent that the majority of quests in this second edition are some variety of race. After a while this might start feeling a bit artificial I think, but on the other hand it makes for very tense, exciting games with an in-built timer mechanic. There's no wasted turns where the heroes or Overlord is simply dallying about. I for one think this was a good choice by the designers as it also keeps the play time down.

The Relics (which we didn't pay much attention to last time) are starting to really prove their worth and I wonder what would have happened if the heroes had got hold of them instead of me... *shudder*

I definitely enjoy being the Overlord but I wish there was some other experience/levelling mechanic besides buying cards for your Overlord deck. Now don't get me wrong, having the right cards at the right time can be both crucial and utterly hilarious, but it's not as exciting to buy two new cards that might turn up in the next quest, as it is to buy a new skill for your character allowing it to do new cool stuff every turn! However, I'm confident that there will be a expansion in the not too distant future that not only brings more quests and monsters but that also expands the entire campaign mechanic.

Anyway, goot times were had by all! We've actually already played another session, but I thought I'd keep things manegeable and still split them up into two.

Let me know if you have any questions or anything! :)

3 kommentarer :

  1. The one thing in first edition that got tedious was the 'wasted space' stuck in between regular game moments and it sounds like they've gone a long way to fix this with the 'off to the races' mechanic built into the missions themselves. I don't know when we'll roll around to Descent again, but 2nd edition may be worth switching to.

    Overall fun game night report, as usual!

  2. Yes, that's definitely a thing of the past. With this new revision some parts of Descent have fallen by the wayside and while I'm sure they'll be missed by some older players I fully embraced the leaner and meaner version.

    Calustrophobia is probably my favourite rumble-in-the-dungeon game, but it doesn't scratch that true dungeoncrawler itch the same way Descent does. Mice and Mystics certainly looks good though and I like what I hear about the importance of story in it.

  3. in my experience i find OL to have to big advantage, i have only played 4 hero games where i controll all 4. We are both experienced boardgamers and "abuse" rules when we can. and most the time he just block me from winning.
    quest i played fat goblin, masqurade, castle derion and the interlude. as i can see so far is that its only the fat goblin and interlude thats even close to 50/50. start quest is close to 100% win for the heros but do not give a reward exept for cash.


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