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 Descent 2nd Edition: First Impressions!

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PostSubject: Descent 2nd Edition: First Impressions!   Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:35 pm

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Descent 2e game has been released by Fantasy Flight Games (FFG)! I was fortunate this week to receive an invite to check out the game. First, a little background: I've played a fair amount of Descent 1e over the years and thanks to Aaron's extensive expansion collection I've also had the chance to see many of those in play as well. We played through the first scenario of the new game with 3 players and the overlord.

Out of the Box: Box is half the size of the original! Right away the colorful outdoor tiles are striking. These tiles are more efficient with dungeon-scape on the flip side and a little smaller enabling you to fit more tiles into the play area. Fewer heroes came in the box which means more lovely expansions to come but for those who can't wait and have the older edition FFG offers a conversion set allowing you to play with all of the heroes and monsters from the old game! One of the better jobs of inclusion of an older edition I have seen.

New Heroes!: Each hero has a 'class' so-to-speak and starts with 1 of 2 options for starting gear and skills. For example, the dwarf fighter got to choose between 'Knight' and 'Berserk-er' for starting options. I knew I wanted to try one of the new one 'classes' in 2e and immediately picked up the Cleric hero and chose the 'Healer' option to explore what this was like. I was not to be disappointed! I started with 3 healing abilities: (1) A passive ability where everyone within 3 spaces of my healer got to spend a 'bolt' (a die roll that allows the activation of special abilities) to heal 1 health, (2) A healing skill that allowed me to roll a red die to heal anyone I'm next to and cost me no actions to use, and (3) a powerful single-use ability that healed everyone within 3 spaces for a lot of health. The base game also includes the option to earn XP and spend this to gain additional skills and abilities, something we tried out after part 1 of the scenario!

Game Play: All the parts I remember from the old game: Armor, weapons, potions, fatigue, health, and skills. What's new is the defense dice everyone now rolls. Despite adding another roll to game play, things really did move much faster. I'm attributing this to less fiddly bits for the Overlord with no counters to track and spend (only a limited selection of cards in-hand) and players need only spend an action to 'revive' a hero and no 'town portal' option either.

Scenario: This one was a two-parter! In retrospect, we did seem to go into part 1 of this scenario expecting a bit of a cake-walk for our veteran group of delvers. Instead I was pleasantly surprised to see our merry band fail horribly as we watched helplessly as the goblins plundered the village's crop fields and made off with the 4 sacks of grain we were suppose to save! So be sure to pay close attention to the mission objective and actively work towards them as soon as you take your first turn! Fear not however as our band of adventurers followed these knaves into the dark hole in the ground they crawled into!

Part 2 was down in the dungeon to save a villager and defeat the goblin king! A fun romp where an ogre played tennis with fellow heroes against the far wall and the big bad was 3 levels more powerful due to the grain he ate from the village! To get a feel for the leveling aspect for heroes we went ahead and were given 3 XP t o spend on skills and 150gp for new gear. My cleric spent all his gold on Chainmail which added an extra grey defense die and a skill that allowed my to holy strike my foes and heal my allies at the same time, very nice!

Overall: Game play was faster and even allowed for a defense roll to be added. The base game includes leveling heroes for on-going campaigns and the scenarios are challenging and fun! Parts of the old game can still be used and add a lot. Only a handful of heroes in the base game but a wealth of options for starting and leveling them. A big thumbs up here for 2e!
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PostSubject: Re: Descent 2nd Edition: First Impressions!   Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:31 pm

How long was the setup time? With 1e, even with having everything sorted out and in labeled boxes, setup time was still pretty long. It was one of the things that I'm hoping they improved upon, as well.

-Chris


Last edited by darkpaladin45 on Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Descent 2nd Edition: First Impressions!   Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:40 pm

Didn't take too long though we weren't rushing anything. Iirc Aaron pulled out the base 15-card overlord deck, the scenario, put out the map, we dumped out enough tokens to grab, and the various character decks of cards. Wade, Jon, and I picked our characters and their starting options, then Aaron put monsters out and then we played. Given there are slightly less fiddly bits set up didn't take long and all the scenarios are desidned to be much shorter as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Descent 2nd Edition: First Impressions!   Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:44 am

Yeah, setup time was not very long, and it was our first attempt at play. Knowing what the cards are, what cards you need, and what can stay in the box will reduce the setup time to something like Ticket to Ride or Monopoly. Pretty easy to get a game in.

We got to Wade's at around 6:30, goofed off a lot, got the game setup, played an encounter, leveled everyone, played a second encounter, deconstructed the game and were still done by 10. Pretty quick really.

All the old fiddly bits were replaced by cards with teh rules on them. So if you got poisoned your card told you what was wrong. Monster abilities were printed on the back of thier card. No more looking through 5 rule books to find something. In teh whole game, I think I looked at the rulebook three times and only made two errors. This GREATLY speeds up play.
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