Friday, 31 October 2014

Playing with myself!

Finding myself with a few hours to kill this morning (all my models were drying along with the kitchen floor I'd mopped before realising I needed to get into the kitchen to make lunch!) I thought I have a run through with the co-op version of Descent as it does state that it can be a one player game. The problem is that I've never been one for single player games as I just end up talking to myself.
A quick explanation of the changes:
- No Overlord, obviously, meaning some powers don't work. 
- There are four types of Monsters used in this story and so the activation deck determines their moves and attacks.
- Rooms ara determined by a deck that has three specific encounters shuffled in at specific points to ensure a rough length to the game.
- Characters can still level up and half way through the monsters move to their Act 2 states meaning the game ramps up too. 
- The game is timed by two counters (Doom and Fate) meaning you will need to balance the speed of the turns with the risk of getting knocked on your arse too often.
Here is the basic set up, you do unfortunately need to either print the rules or use a tablet as they don't come in the  product with the decks.
I went with two characters, Lord Hawthorn and Augur Grisom 
Much like castle raven loft the board expands as you explore, so you may need a large surface, though th rules include a guide on how to get around this which is very helpful
At this point I had finished the first third of the game and had a good enough handle on the mechanics to be able to run it with a group so stopped to avoid ruining any surprises in the story.
Having played through four of the encounters I can see why Fantasy Flight first pitched this as the 'In store intro' pack for Descent. It makes it really easy to grasp the base mechanics and get an enjoyable dudgeon delve without having to go through the process of setting up an Overlord. 

Things I liked:
- Once you have the piles of parts set up it is very quick, so could easily be played for a one off Descent fix or to test out character and skill sets combos.
- It has the potential for lots of expansion without the need for a high cost expansion pack.
- The game timer seems well thought out to produce a sense of drama either through slow play or running the risk of getting battered to death.
- Your characters get to access shop and search items with enough regularity that you won't feel stuck with a bland character.
- The activation cards mean that the monsters will behave differently every turn and so makes it harder to meta the monsters.

Things that made me go hmm:
- I just prefer to have a player to play against in a longer game or campaign, meaning that whilst I'll happily play this version for a quick game it's not going to replace the standard campaign version, though I do think this is better than just playing a one off of a random quest from the book as they aren't balanced enough give a fair game for the Overlord without the opportunity to develop a strategy to del with the players powers.
- Whilst the variation in monster actions/activations is really good the variety of monsters isn't. This will change with the next version, they are doing one every year.

Overall I think it is a must for anyone that has already invested in the game as it is only about £12 and gives you a whole new way to play. It's got more grit than Ravenloft but hasn't got the variety of monsters or campaigns yet.

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