After hearing and reading so many reviews, I have been more and more wanting to demo and possibly purchase Descent.
My favorite FLGS, Huzzah Hobbies, actually has a store copy for play. So, I convinced a buddy that had played the game before to run it for myself and three other friends. He agreed and we played a few games of Coup while he set up the board and refreshed himself on a couple of rules.
We dove into a scenario and I was immediately excited that the game wasn’t just about killing and fighting through a dungeon. I thought, cool, so a step up from Heroquest.
We all have experience as table top roleplayers with D&D, which this game is an awful lot like. It also has some similarities with Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, which FFG also makes.
With all this gaming knowledge, we got our butts kicked. We lost the scenario, and it seemed almost impossible to actually have a chance to win it. As an introduction, and it was the first quest in the book, it was not very forgiving.
In that quest, monsters all respawned after you killed them. It didn’t make much point to fighting. I also don’t like games that are combat based and yet there is no way that your character can die. They just get back up again on the next turn.
It just didn’t make a lot of sense. Honestly, that lack of fear of your character dying and the speed at which damage adds up, just didn’t add up for me.
After the game, I spoke with my friend that has played the game more and that ran the game. He was explaining to me that it is supposed to be more of a competitive game of the characters vs. the overlord. This made the game make more sense in the way it is set up. It relieved some of the frustrations that I had in the game. Also, finding out that you can lose a quest and keep playing a campaign is a totally acceptable thing to do. Some of the quests even split based upon who wins a previous scenario.
That all being said, its not really the game that I was hoping for. I wanted another game that I could play as the game runner, in this case Overlord, and play it with guests. I just want to be able to casually run and play little adventures. It could still be that, but so far, I just don’t have a good feel that the game would work for that.
At this point, I’m passing on Descent and looking elsewhere for this type of game.