|Descent: Journeys In The Dark | Published 16 September 2009|
Among the distant isles of Torue Albes, sailors go ashore to spend their hard-earned gold in the taverns of Shellport and Hardell, where they drink, fight, sing, and swap tales of the sea. As the ale overtakes their wits, they whisper loudly of mighty krakens, mysterious ghost ships, and waters infested with massive sharks. But where there used to be only the harmless and jovial exaggerations of sea-weary sailors, there is now a dark and ominous tone. Something evil is lurking out to sea... and its power is growing.
Welcome to the second preview for Sea of Blood, an advanced campaign expansion for Descent: Journeys in the Dark! If you’re not familiar with the concept of an advanced campaign expansion, check out “On the Campaign Trail,” in which we explain the fundamental changes that Sea of Blood will bring to your Descent experience. If, on the other hand, you’re already familiar with advanced campaigns, you might be asking yourself what differences you can expect between the Road to Legend system and that of Sea of Blood. In the next two paragraphs, we’ll outline some of those differences, and after that, we’ll get a sneak peek at one of the fearsome lieutenants bolstering the Overlord’s forces: the mighty Kraken!
Fans of Road to Legend will notice a few minor changes when comparing its advanced campaign system to that of Sea of Blood. First, the Overlord has different victory conditions in Sea of Blood: the completion of his evil plot, or the destruction of five cities. The heroes have no “home city,” as in Road to Legend; they return to the The Revenge if killed, and if The Revenge is destroyed, it magically reappears at the last port it visited. This means that no one city can be razed to end the game.
Second, a few changes have been made to ensure that over the long haul of a campaign, no one side gains too significant an advantage over the other for too long. Among the most significant is the inclusion of “Divine Favor,” a rule that handicaps either side if it begins to run away with the lead. For every 25 Conquest Points that make the difference between the Overlord’s score and that of the heroes, each hero’s Conquest value increases or decreases accordingly. So if the Overlord is 50 points ahead, each hero is then worth two fewer Conquest points, in order to slow the Overlord’s further progress. If he is 50 points behind, each hero is worth two additional Conquest points, to help the Overlord close the gap. Other differences include dungeon bosses whose stats scale based on the campaign’s difficulty level (copper, silver, etc), and a reduction on the amount of fatigue each hero can add with experience. Each of these differences ensures that the campaign aspect of Sea of Blood will offer a consistently satisfying challenge for both Overlord and hero alike!
Challenging the heroes even further, several new and menacing lieutenants stand prepared to lay waste to the islands of Torue Albes. Worse yet, as heroes look to the horizon to catch a glimpse of the Overlord’s next fiendish minion, they are woefully unaware of the massive threat that stirs beneath the waves. The Kraken has awoken, and it will break its thousand-year fast on the bones of unwary sailors!
As The Revenge approaches this gargantuan sea-beast, it at first appears to be a great whirlpool... until the heroes notice the razor sharp teeth lining its edges. Soon, five massive tentacles sprout up from the murky depths, grabbing at anything foolish enough to swim nearby. Each tentacle seems to have a mind of its own, and they grapple and pull their prey toward piercing and poisonous teeth. Worse yet, the beast and its groping tentacles seem to have skin of iron, and even when wounds are inflicted, they heal with supernatural speed! It will take everything the heroes can muster to send this monster back to his dark resting place. This fall, the Kraken will be hungry, and he intends to gorge himself on blood...
Join us in the coming weeks as we look at the exciting ship-to-ship combat system, new scheming avatars, dark plots, and much more!
Descent: Journeys in the Dark is a scenario-driven board game that takes a party of adventurers deep into the dungeons of Terrinoth for adventure, treasure, and glory, but beware: the Overlord and his minions stand poised to oppose any heroes foolhardy enough to enter the dungeon. Descent: Sea of Blood takes the game to the next level, introducing campaigns and long-term character development for both the heroes and the Overlord. Cross the dungeon's threshold and step into a world of adventure today!
I do hope they add at least "up to a minimum of one" on the reduced values of the heroes. One obvious exploit of this rule would be to do a dungeon with only the 2 valued hero - guaranteed zero points for the Overlord. If the hero chosse the Dungeon well, they could get a rumor for free.
And it is worth remembering that XP is not that vital for the heroes (money is the real deal braker here). Even heroes moderatelly upgraded could kick the Overlord's fully upgraded ass in the final battles.
But I'm just ranting for now (as I'm greatly dispointed with FF nowadays) - let's see how the rules turn out...
Unless I missed a update, the Overlord's best option is to just stack up all his Lts and endless assault Tamriel, making RTL an extremely boring game. They also never addressed the issue of the Overlord always picking the same Treachery cards due to extremely strong and weak cards.
How about playing differently for fun? Taking different cards or another strategy than besieging the home town, to see how things would turn out? No need to be boring and always trying the same thing. That's not a game issue, that's a gamer issue.
Yummi, it sound really good, can't wait to try this new Descent.
The Kraken looks great.
I forgot the most important part of all FFG board game releases. How about for once releasing the rulesbook PRIOR to duplication? You have to admit, your rulebooks have been ... very bad, in both explaining how the game works and more importantly for game balance. You could have avoided a lot of game issues in RTL had you just released the rulebook publically, prior to duplication.
I appreciate their efforts to balance the woefully broken RTL, but, unless I'm missing something, their conquest token solution is bad for the game, probably making it not even worth playing. Why would an Overlord, or even the party, bother trying to be careful if the game just magically balances itself out over time? There's no incentive to play well when you know the game will become easier for poor play. It's poor design to force players to stay on par with one another to keep a game competitive. Their solution seems like it makes playing the first 3/4s of the game pointless.
Also, how about fixing the broken parts of RTL? The game is unplayable with the current rules. Unless I missed a update, the Overlord's best option is to just stack up all his Lts and endless assault Tamriel, making RTL an extremely boring game. They also never addressed the issue of the Overlord always picking the same Treachery cards due to extremely strong and weak cards.
Lastly, why not publish updated pdf rulebooks including the huge number of FAQ and rule updates? It's very hard to find a rule when so many are updated in a FAQ.
"So chance missed. All I see is another Moneymaker-Box for FFG without a soul."
Wow, that's an extreme reaction. Road to Legend plays just fine with the imbalance and Sea of Blood has lots of cool new ideas. Just because this one fix is underwelming its not time to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
I'm a little confused why FFG wasn't aware og the big Balanceproblems with RTL. It was quite obvious in our first campaign. So i ask myself who is testing those games.
After all thy fixed it. But this minor fix can be easyly transfered to RTL, and doesn't make Sea of Blood the better campaign box. Also i agree with Skywalker this is artificial. An extra cardpile, with specific cards for the overlord, and the heroes with some storytelling text and a random rule to ensure the balance if one side gets to strong or weak, would have done more to the atmosphre.
So chance missed. All I see is another Moneymaker-Box for FFG without a soul.
And, if this kind monster has separate (removable jaws alike as hydras heads) then it will be really strong monster ...
Hrmmm, I dig that the bosses get stronger with increasing campaign level, and the decrease of fatigue, but I am not too sure about the conquest stuff. Well, if the changes work, they can also be used for RtL probably. Nice to see they are trying to address the balance issues.
Not sure about the changes yet, and if the avatar battles are as easy as ever, then none of this will matter.
I am a little disappointed that the way to deal with a Conquest advantage is to reduce the Conquest awards. Wouldn't granting some kind of additional advantage (more Feat Cards) to the loosing side be better than simply devaluing Conquest currency to achieve an artifical balance?
Finally I have an excuse to say "Release the Kraken!!" in my Descent games! XD