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Friday, September 6, 2013

First Descent Game

by Joe Mezz

Greetings my fellow cave dwellers and Adventurers,

     The other night I was able to get a game of Descent in with Diry Jon and his group of friends.  It was the first time I was able to sit down and get my noob commander hands on the game.  It has been on my radar for some time and I was glad to finally be able to sit and enjoy some runs.

     Descent has had two editions out on shelves for many dungeon dwellers to join into parties and leap into action.  Not only the main core games but at least 3 expansions have added to this deep game. A common thought on the first edition was the insane complexity of the system.  2nd edition seems to have had solved many of these problems and made it easier for many to enjoy and not feel like they have a hangover.

     This review is coming from the direction of  my first experience with the gaming system.  There has been plenty of in depth reviews on the Internet gaming sites for you to absorb.  I won't be doing an in depth review.  FYI ...
My character mini, character card, weapon card and special card
     As we sat down at the table with our frosty adult beverages, I began to glance at the character cards.
Each character had a detailed mini figure (added bonus) and was able to pick a theme of how you wanted your character to develop.  You had your typical variety which included dwarfs, fighters, mages, rangers and clerical types. I chose the Mage/Runemaster path for my career and picked the appropriate model to match my character. I wanted to play something different and not just chop my way through things.

     Our first mission was an encounter with some large fellows whom jumped a convoy.  Goblins (dirty little fellows) where attempting to sneak past our party as their larger cohorts were bent on making flesh patties.  The Overlord (Dirty Jon), whom controls the evil legions, was attempting to get 5 goblins total off the board before the big fellows were taken out.  Welcome to the jungle, we have fun and games.

     Each character has stats on his or her character card representing Movement, Health, Stamina and Health.  They also have Might, Awareness, Willpower and Knowledge .... or close to that.  These stats allow you to accomplish tasks such as movement, shooting or attacking, overcoming challenges and solving problems.  Also included are tokens to help keep track of stamina, health and special actions that use "sweat" such as heroic feats.

     There is also loot tokens which can be retrieved by our merry band of adventurers, at any time during the fight!  In fact our Ranger character of the group was gold crazed and seemed to also be looking over his shoulder for the loot constantly.  The loot can range from coins, weapons, armor or potions.  The Overlord can also boobie trap them as our Gold loving Ranger found out.  Not only was he poisoned BUT the effects carried into the second part of one of our battles.

View from the Overlord's position. Scenario One
     Our second mission was picked off the adventure sheet.  Once the first scenario was won, the Overlord shows the party a list of adventures and gives us some choices to continue forward.  Ted, our dwarf, picked the Castle scenario.  And did we have fun storming the castle !

     Each scenario is set up using tiles.  These tiles can vary and allow for some interesting maps.  Our castle mission had doors as props as well.  The citizens were the only ones who could open or close the doors.  Not only that but we had to protect them and light 4 signal torches to warn the city of the invasion. No problem !

     Action was fierce.  Monsters when killed are brought back one at a time via entry points on the board.  We had two entry points, one in front of us and one behind us.  Ugh! It was a close battle indeed. We lost three out of the dour citizens and barely light the last torch to win the game.  Mage FTW !

Defend town folk and light the Invasion torches ? NO problem ... maybe ... oh ok damn !

Our merry group of adventurers.  Our gold loving Ranger is defending the rear !

Who forgot to clean the fishbowl ?!?!?
My character in all his glory.
     Being my first Descent game, it was a lot to take in.  I am a hands on gamer and learn best when playing.  It allows me to see things in action and see why things are being done.  This game allows for that.

     After 15 minutes, I was able to grasp the rules and start getting into the game.  The action was easy to understand.  Movement and combat was not complicated.  The Overlord has some nice modifiers and balancing abilities to make it interesting.

     The game pieces are awesome.  The tiles, tokens and other cardboard features are well made.  The cards and character mats are well draw and feel perfect for the game theme.

     Most of all, this game seems to remind me of HeroQuest.  Similar in the fact that you campaign and earn new abilities, weapons and the like.  Anytime the replay value of a game is high is a bonus for me.

     I can't wait to play some more of this game.  Its not hard to learn, plays easy and is great when you can allow a group to get together and adventure.  Thumbs up from this humble noob commander !

Keep the paint flowing and the dice rolling !!!

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