If you are a fan of dungeon delving games, then you more likely than not have heard of, played, or own Descent. Fantasy Flight Games took something that, in my opinion, was pretty darn near perfect in Hero Quest, and made it even better. But now, there is a 2nd Edition of Descent, that has some crying foul and some praising the re-spin...
Some people are calling this a "streamlined" version, or an "Easier" version. Some are calling it a "dumbed down version" even. But what is it really?
I bought the game recently at one of my local stores, because yeah, I'm that kind of guy, and after playing several quests, along with some of the main campaign, I'm here to tell you all about it! More, after the video break... however, be forewarned... this one is rather lengthy, as I wanted to include a lot of details which I thought would be important to cover.
Descent is a table top game of dungeon exploration where one player is the Overlord, controlling the game and it's monsters, and the other players are the game's Heroes. This isn't DnD, let's get that straight from the start. This is not a technical experience, it is, if I may, a storytelling one. There are two ways Descent 2nd Editoin shines.
First, is in it's excellent quest builds, providing unique and fun objectives for both the Heroes and the Overlord during the course of the quests and campaigns. These aren't the typical "kill this, fetch that" quests, or even, when they are, they are done with enough wrapping, to make it interesting, and more to the point, meaningful.
The game comes with backstories on all the Heroes (heck, it even comes with a background on the monstoers!) and each quest can easily become person for them, and in turn, pulls you into the experience, making it all that more enjoyable.
Second, is that you have so much in the box, for those with great imaginations, you can easily create your own adventures and stories as you go. Customization is only limited by the amount of tiles you have and what you can dream up!
The game can be played in a multitude of ways. You can simply sit down and play one quest or you can sit down for a long session of multiple quests strung together. Each quest is broken into two acts. This is very clever as it accomplishes two things. It reduces the size of the board, both creating quick set up/break down times but also provides a shorter amount of time to get to a break point. You can easily get through an Act I of a quest in 60 to 90 minutes, thus allowing for a drink break and not feeling like it's "taking forever" to get someplace meaningful.
In addition, depending on who wins the overall quest will determine the next quest played in campaigns. The main campaign included does an excellent job of making this a satisfying experience. In games like this, the worst possible thing is if the Overlord (Dungeon Master) or the Heroes always win. Let's face it, even the Hobbits had to deal with set backs along their journey, and Descent provides these very well. At times, it seems insurmountable for Heroes to beat the Overlord, and rightly so. In other cases, it seems impossible to stop the Heroes! In either case though, it is possible, it is fun, and the outcomes changing the next chapter of the story pulls you in and makes you want to play that "one more quest"!
For 1st edition players there will be some new rules to adjust to, like the line of sight rules we go over in our video. For the most part though, I have yet to play a game with a 1st Edition veteran who has any issues with things like this. For the most part, they all are welcoming the changes. In the end, there is not a ton of adjusting to do and in one session you will become familiar with the new rules... simpy said, veterans are called veterans for a reason.
For new players, its a GREAT jumping on point! If you have never played Descent before, this is really a tremendous opportunity to jump into a great franchise that is sure to expand from this set.
So what do I think? Well here's a comprehensive list:
What Tox likes (in no particular order):
What Tox doesn't like:
If you haven't guessed by now, you can probably tell what we're giving this game. Descent was a great experience as it was and the 2nd Edition only expands on that and provides new challenges and new options for player Heroes and Overlords alike! We've barely scratched the surface of what is inside this box, but remember, there is a sage line... "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want... well, that and what you get when you kill a dragon!" So what are you waiting for? Stop reading this and go slay some monsters in the caverns of Descent, 2nd Edition!
Final Critical Review Score (Miss, Hit, or Crit):