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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

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The Ascent of Descent - Review

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31 Aug 2021 21:14 #326144 by ChristopherMD

dragonstout wrote: While there might be same total number of minutes spent reading as in, say, Arkham Horror 2E, in that game, the reading is divided up into small chunks throughout the game.


Pet Peeve: People who read the entire card instead of just the area they're in. The game is long enough already.
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01 Sep 2021 14:27 - 02 Sep 2021 13:49 #326160 by Cranberries
I really like the art! I really want all boardgames to look like Mike Mignola or Frank Miller produced them, so my tastes are a little narrow. Root also looks great.





So what's the better game, Descent^3, or Sleeping Gods?
Last edit: 02 Sep 2021 13:49 by Cranberries.

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05 Sep 2021 16:55 - 05 Sep 2021 22:51 #326264 by Cranberries
From Rock/Paper/ScissorsShotgun:

"From the moment this game was revealed, people have been moaning about how “weird and gangly” the characters look. “Look at the size of her stupid helmet!” they've been bellowing, crumbs of Oreo spraying all over their divorce papers. “Is that dwarf a black woman?”, they've gasped, leaning on their pile of unopened Kickstarter pledges for support as their spindly legs wobble on the precipice of self-realisation."
Last edit: 05 Sep 2021 22:51 by Cranberries. Reason: I am dum
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05 Sep 2021 18:26 #326269 by Gary Sax
www.rockpapershotgun.com/cardboard-child...-legends-of-the-dark

^from Rab Florence of early boardgame internet video fame
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05 Sep 2021 21:16 - 05 Sep 2021 21:17 #326276 by Dr. Mabuse

CranBerries wrote: I really like the art! I really want all boardgames to look like Mike Mignola or Frank Miller produced them, so my tastes are a little narrow. Root also looks great.





So what's the better game, Descent^3, or Sleeping Gods?

I love the illustrations and character choices!!!
Last edit: 05 Sep 2021 21:17 by Dr. Mabuse.
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06 Sep 2021 11:09 #326283 by Gary Sax
playerelimination.com/2021/09/06/descent...tter_impression=true

Another excellent review. Getting some strong triangulation from multiple reviewers about good and bad aspects.
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06 Sep 2021 12:52 #326287 by hotseatgames
I'm surprised Charlie's review didn't drill into the app issues he experienced.

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06 Sep 2021 13:27 #326288 by charlest

hotseatgames wrote: I'm surprised Charlie's review didn't drill into the app issues he experienced.


I carefully considered this. My hope is that it doesn't appear I hid or buried those by not addressing them.

The problem with Fire devices was corrected a day after I posted here, although I moved to PC at that point. I had zero problems on PC.

Since those issues were corrected, I struggled with whether it was worth mentioning at the cost of another paragraph. I feel like my review is already too long for the average reader so I had to carefully consider what to address and what not to. I assume, possibly incorrectly, app issues won't exist for the most part going forward. So raising that as an issue or criticism is fleeting.

I think a significant takeaway is that despite being overcome with strong frustration, the game ended up blowing me away.
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30 Sep 2021 23:14 #326903 by Jackwraith


So, in the above review, SU&SD basically ended up savaging this game. Quinns gushed about a lot of the things that other people have also gushed about (the beauty of the minis and terrain, the heroes are interesting, the story is at least somewhat compelling, etc.) But the fatal flaw that he found was that there really isn't much game to the game. The variety in combat and gear and feats is interesting, but what it boils down to is doing as much damage as possible and killing things as fast as possible in order to get to the next room to do the same thing. Now, many people will say that, at its most basic level, that's pretty much what a dungeon crawler is. And they'd be right, so if it works for you that, as he says, the most important thing is just to be able to walk up and attack twice, regardless of how you attack, fine. It works for you.

But what bugged me is what he showed in the context of that description, in that the game, such as it is, is ALL ON THE SCREEN. You can build that nice terrain and move those beautiful figures, but you don't really have to do any of it because all of the important actions are happening on the screen. That's what I said was the fatal flaw for me in another thread without ever having played it. I spend all day staring at screens. I'm doing it while writing this. When I'm playing a board game, I want to be looking at the board and the people I'm playing with. I don't mind having an app-assisted game. As I've noted before, I really liked Alchemists, which is app-assisted. But the game in Alchemists is still on the board and that doesn't seem to be the case with Descent (or at least not as much as I prefer it to be.)

SU&SD are neither infallible nor totally in line with my tastes. I watch their reviews because I think they're insightful and I find Quinns to be hilarious, but I don't always agree with them and have found them to be hypercritical about games that I really enjoy, like Root. I just found this one to be especially interesting because it dovetails nicely with both the concerns I had about things I was aware of and things that I wasn't. Of course, the post right above mine in this thread is Charlie's, whose opinion I also seriously respect, saying that he was blown away by this game that Quinns says isn't really a game, so take it for what it's worth, I guess.
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30 Sep 2021 23:51 #326904 by charlest
I get the concern and I share some of the annoyance of apps removing your focus from the physical game, but it's not accurate to state the entire game is on the app. The app doesn't know where your character is or where the enemies are.

Saying that you can ignore the playing area completely would be just as valid pointed at any dungeon crawler. You could just compare attack and defense and roll without ever moving a figure.

The combat mechanics are not deep or as involved as something like Gloomhaven, but I think they're very smart. By having you flip cards and components they make you feel clever, but they also physically draw you to the table and away from the app.

The magic of the game isn't really in the combat, it's in the scenario design and exploration element.

However, I wouldn't recommend it to you if you are concerned about the app. You should likely trust your instincts. It's far too expensive to take a gamble on.
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01 Oct 2021 03:54 #326905 by Erik Twice

Jackwraith wrote: But the fatal flaw that he found was that there really isn't much game to the game. The variety in combat and gear and feats is interesting, but what it boils down to is doing as much damage as possible and killing things as fast as possible in order to get to the next room to do the same thing. Now, many people will say that, at its most basic level, that's pretty much what a dungeon crawler is

I'm surprised they have this criticism of Descent but not Gloomhaven because, in my experience, it's absolutely true of the latter.

Sure, dungeon crawlers are about moving to room to room and fighting monsters. But wargames are also about that and they have more thought and depth.
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01 Oct 2021 04:54 - 01 Oct 2021 04:55 #326906 by southernman
So it boils down to do we listen to Mikey Barnes and Charlie or to SU & SD :silly: ... through track record (plus one of them is a dickhead and the other two aren't) I follow Mick and Charlie, but again it is all subjective (and a hard eurogamer probably wouldn't listen to any of them) and we listen to people who like what we like.
Last edit: 01 Oct 2021 04:55 by southernman.

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01 Oct 2021 11:47 #326917 by dragonstout
Yeah I wouldn't at ALL say it's all on the app. It's primarily on the board, you just use the app to keep track of monster conditions and health, to get instructions for what the monsters do (i.e. monster AI), and to find out what happens when you interact with scenery or enter a new room. Like Charlie said, all of the miniatures are on the board ONLY, and the app doesn't keep track of the cards either. For me the time when the app becomes onerous and too much is between scenarios, when you're fiddling with the crafting or reading aloud a TON of dialogue.

That said, I completely agree with SUSD's assessment that the game is basically nothing but "move and attack twice", and is pretty boring as a game. The card-flipping is not interesting basically at all. That said, while I had some serious fun with the Road to Legend campaign for Descent 1E back over a decade ago, this has been how basically every dungeoncrawl game I've ever played has been: monotonous and simple at their core, Gloomhaven included, with major pacing problems given how monotonous they are. Always lots of fiddling and administration work.

Folks have raved about the scenario design for Descent, and while the scenario design SEEMS creative, it all ends up still being same ol' same ol'. The best example of this is the dream sequence: how creative and cool is it that there's a dream sequence mid-game???!? Super cool! Until you actually play it, and it amounts to nothing more than one character moving and attacking twice, or, if after the first attack the monster's dead, opening a door. It was EXACTLY like every other turn of the entire campaign so far, and there is quite literally nothing for the character in the dream sequence to think about or decide (ok I exaggerate, there is ONE moment of actual decision). This has been how it's been for every single one of the theoretically very creative and cool ideas so far: cool in theory, but in practice all the same.
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01 Oct 2021 12:03 #326920 by san il defanso
I still have a huge issue with dungeon crawl board games, basically what you said dragonstout. It feels like they are at their core either too simple or too fussy. For me the basic appeal has always been the narrative unpredictability of dungeon crawls. The player freedom, solving puzzles, interacting with NPCs. Aside from a very select group (limited to Dungeonquest and Silver Tower) I think I would be fine never playing another board game designed to emulate an experience that, to me, fundamentally belongs with TTRPGs.

I know that's not how everyone feels, for a lot of reasons. But for my own purposes I have not yet found a justification to buy any of these games when I already have lots of 5e, DCC, and OSR stuff around. I like those better anyway, even though I still don't play them as much as I'd like. Every time I am tempted by something like Gloomhaven or the new Descent, that's what I have to remind myself.
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01 Oct 2021 12:12 #326922 by Jackwraith
The only recent dungeoncrawler that I've found that really has game to its game, as it were, is The Others. It's a pretty serious tactical engagement for both Sin player and FAITH players. In other words, by Quinns' estimation, there's a lot of game there. OTOH, it has no crafting or real campaign elements whatsoever, so if that's what you're looking for in a crawler, The Others ain't it. And that was one of the complaints about Descent 1st Ed: it was too mechanical and was mostly about moving figures for two seconds and then adding up numbers and attack bonuses for the next 30 seconds before finally rolling some dice. The "fantasy" and storytelling elements took a back seat to mechanics. I guess that just means there's still a lot of space in the genre to find the sweet spot and enough variety for people to find what they like? I've never played Gloomhaven, so I don't know how closely the new Descent ended up mirroring its approach.

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