Friday, October 24, 2008

Look on my works ye mighty...

Journeys in the Dark
Flush from Saturday's victory I was ready to take on the role of the Overlord in Descent when Andy, Donald and Tony turned up on Sunday for games. We played dungeon 4, with the end result that Descent's reputation as very tough on the heroes has proven to be more than deserved. I won while the heroes had only just opened their 2nd area on the map. I was taken a bit by surprise, because I hadn't realised that the kill I was just about to achieve would win me the game.

After 3 straight defeats for the heroes, the question of balance naturally came up on Sunday. I think the point is that the dungeons in Descent are supposed to be serious challenges, perhaps more so even than the missions in Doom, and I'm sure our marines took more games of Doom to beat the Invader than we've yet played of Descent altogether.

Clearly then we've not learned the necessary lessons about how to run a party of heroes in Descent. I have my own ideas about this, naturally enough, but as next Sunday's Overlord, I am reluctant to share them right now. But I can suggest that players who haven't yet done so read Kevin Wilson's Advice for Heroes. Of particular interest here are the thoughts of the man who designed dungeons to distract and divert heroes with trinkets and baubles. Also worth a look is Decrees for an Aspiring Overlord, which looks at the same things from the Overlord's viewpoint. Both of these articles contain good ideas about how to run a party of heroes in Descent.

Puny mortals 0
His Supreme Overlordship 1

Meanwhile, over at the Monolith
Descent done and with time to spare before dinner (Millefoglie alla 'guardia' as I'd done for Badger once before), we decided to play Nexus Ops. This was the first full 4-player session of the game, and it ran pretty smoothly. Even with 4 players, Nexus Ops is a game that should be playable in an hour or less.

We were following some new tactics I'd picked up off a thread over at BGG, so the game set off at a cracking pace. Donald was soon in a strong position, with a large empire and a strong VP lead. By this time though I had managed to seize the Monolith and was making good use of the extra cards this position gave me. As we entered the end game, Andy and I sat on opposite sides of a DMZ on my right, Tony had been ground down between me and Donald on my left, and Donald was looking for the breakthrough to victory.

Quite sensibly, Donald was massing to sieze the Monolith. Unfortunately for his plans, the sight of so many of Donald's units on his own borders made Andy nervous, and he launched a spoiling attack on Donald's army, which effectively saved me. Donald was justifiably miffed at this, although it has to be said that he kept quite quiet about his intentions throughout his buildup, so that Andy's misunderstanding of Donald's intentions (not shared by me I have to add) was essentially entirely Donald's fault.

In any event, with Donald's attempt to knock me off the high ground of the Monolith foiled, I swept to victory by winning 2 battles in a single turn, including swallowing up a puny human with one of my Rubium Dragons which had flown down from the Monolith.

Puny humans 0
His Supreme Overlordship and Master of the Universe 2

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