What is it?
A dungeon delving adventure game, pick your character(s), get the board out and prepare to fight tooth and nail over quests for treasure and unlockable kit.
What do you get?
Descent comes in a large box brimming with figures, board tiles, dice and cards. The price point of entry may seem steep but there is a lot of gameplay value to be had from Descent.
How does it work?
There are essentially two modes to Descent now, versus the system and versus the dungeon master. The classic way is against an evil overlord that controls the enemy units and activates monsters on his turn. This overlord is also hosting the dungeon and reveals parts of the story when they happen to the players. The other mode is against the AI. Using the app it instructs players when to place board pieces and what motions happen next. This same method has been ported over to several FFG games to very high acclaim. Essentially players are still rolling for monsters and letting the system know how things progress once the combat is finished.
Is it any good?
I’ve had a lot of good times playing Descent. When version 2 was announced I thought it would be the same game over again but they tightened a lot of rules that turned it from an 8 hour game into a slick 2 hour session. The AI game really enhances the flavour of it too because it has a progressive party feel to it rather than having a lonely person on their own.
I always had issues with being the Overlord before because secretly you want the heroes to win just so you can play the next mission. But in that, there is an issue isn’t there. Where is the challenge if I am letting the heroes win?
It’s the same reason I think Pandemic (Legacy) is such an amazing experience, because it has us vs the system! Gloomhaven and Sword & Sorcery, all games versus the system.
Sure, you can look back fondly at hero quest and in my old memory it can’t be beaten, but honestly modern games demand more than that.
So, back to the question is it any good. Well, yes. It’s the father of Imperial Assault and in my opinion a more fitting game for the system. Imperial Assault sort of worked but it always felt like there should be bigger stories to tell whereas a dungeon crawler is meant to be set in tight spaces.
Descent is probably one of the best Crawlers out there realistically. The price point of its many expansions can be a little overwhelming however.
If you have a really dedicated group of 4 that want an adventure it’s a great game to get. Between this, Kingdom Death, Gloomhaven or Sword & Sorcery they all have very similar flavours and pros and cons that come with the individual tastes. In a sense, we’re quite spoilt with options.