Descent: Journeys in the Dark

Ok. Bought the base game the other day, and we are planning on playing tomorrow evening (me, the wife and our two boys, ages 8 & 6). I really like what I see in the game. If they like it also (which I am pretty sure they all will), what expansion(s) should I buy first?

Also, one question:

Can the Overlord spawn monsters in previously explored areas?

Ex: The Heroes have gone through Area 1, cleared out the monsters, and moved on to Area 2. Can the Overlord now spawn monsters in Area 1 (since the heroes are deep in Area 2, no line of sight into the previous area)?

Thanks

Chris

Don’t buy Road to Legend, is all I can say.

(If you think it sounds fun, get D&D 4e starter stuff instead. It’s a better board game and a better experience.)

Don’t buy any expansions until you’ve played at least half a dozen games. You’d be better off learning the core rules before the expansion starts changing some of them.

In the core set the Overlord can ONLY spawn monsters in explored areas (but out of line of sight). The only exception to this is a power that will allow him to spawn a couple extra monsters in a new room as soon as you open the door to it.

Because different expansions offer different changes to the core gameplay, and different features (such as more Overlord abilities and such) it would be hard to tell you what expansion to get until you’ve played 5-6 or so of the maps in the core set and have figured out what you like/dislike about the game and what features you wish there were more of. One expansion offers adventures that don’t take as long as some of the core maps, while another significantly beefs up and changes Overlord game play.

Typically I think people start with the Well of Darkness or the Road to Legend expansions, but they offer different things your play group may or may not need.

This was stolen from a boardgamegeek.com thread to give you an idea what different expansions might do for you

Well of Darkness - Balanced
Altar of Despair - Powers up Overlord
Tomb of Ice - Powers up Heroes

You can read more about the game there too.

kerzain already answered the rules question, but really the Overlord has very little reason to do that. Typically the Overlord wants to spawn monsters as close as possible to the heroes while complying with the line of sight rules. Monsters that are too far away will never catch up because the heroes will usually be running as much as possible towards their objectives.

Our experience with playing Descent was pretty funny. Seeing the Overlord put down all those monsters at first is pretty intimidating, but once combat actually starts, they just pop like balloons.

They do, but they serve as a distraction when there are bigger monsters in the room, and even though some (like skeletons) die very, very easy, they can lay out some significant damage (especially the red ones) if the heroes don’t take care of them.

@MythicalMino: I love the game. My only complaint is that it is extremely time consuming to setup, play and put away. But it’s a ton of fun. If you end up playing as the overlord be prepared to alienate your children and and estrange your loving wife. If you are the type of guy that plays to win (because you appreciate the added fun of a merciless opponent) they might start hating the game if they’re just there to have fun. Remember, Descent is a PvP game, your family will be the enemy. Best wishes.

This is absolutely true. Road to Legend takes the delicate balance of Descent and smashes it into a million zillion pieces.

I am hoping that my oldest boy will be able to grasp it enough to play as the Overlord in a couple of games, letting me play as a hero.

One thing I am wondering, though. How do the heroes ever “safely” go to town? It seems that when they go to town to buy/sell, the Overlord would just spawn several monsters in the area they just cleared…

Chris

Well you want your trips to town to be as quick as possible. You are in a race against the deck to complete your business and clear the dungeon. Every time the Overlord runs out of cards you (heroes) lose 3 victory chips, and when you run out of victory chips the heroes lose. Since the OL is constantly drawing more cards (2 or 3 depending on what other cards he has played) he must do everything he can to slow you down and you must do everything you can to get on with it.

Most trips to town shouldn’t last longer than a turn or so. And if he summons a bunch of beastmen there’s not much you can do other than run in and fight them unless there is another activated entrance close by that you would prefer to use that wouldn’t cost you too many turns in travel time towards the goal-room.

Also, your son should be able to play the basic mechanics easily enough (there’s not really a whole lot of different things for an OL to do in the core set), but there are a lot of tactical choices to be made if he is going to properly challenge a party of heroes (that includes two adults). I’m sure fun will be had by all regardless of his ability to crush you all without remorse.