My RPG group managed to surprise me on my birthday party with a special present – the Descent boardgame and the first expansion pack to it. After a hell of an exploration day, when we visited 3 wellness SPA’s (first one was crowdedÂ³ with 50 ppl in line and approximately 3 hours of waiting; the second one was for age 90++ and the third was already pretty far from home and already known, but better than driving several hours back without a relaxing minute)… But enough pre-talk – on to the review.
Descent is in my opinion more than just a decent boardgame, it’s great – especially for roleplaying gamers on occassions where you lack some time and prefer a boardgame over other things… First of all they got a great adressing for the evil Dungeon Master – they call him Overlord. The rules are good, but very hard to read and a few quick-rules-cards would have made the whole first-game thingy a lot easier. The game it competitive Overlord versus Players, though you should, same as in RPGs enjoy the victory of your players, it’s probably better than a TPK (though they have usually more than one life which makes a TPK far less dramatically than in a normal roleplaying game).
The accessoires of the game are great, lovely miniatures of Dragons, Demons, Sorcerers and the like, the adjustable board which is reassembled for every quest looks very promising for use in combat encounters in rpg’s… The abilities of the characters tend to be powerful and I don’t think you’re easily feeling like useless in the whole game – not only the characters but especially the items you gain during play are pretty powerful, they easily managed to kill the boss of game #1, though our group made the fatal error to give the fire-wand to our paranoid-firephiliac Tom, who not only blast 2 Manticores and the giant into bits but evaporated half of the team as well.
The game itself is very, very similiar to theÂ Doom Boardgame and the D&D Boardgame, though it’s really got an edge on the miniatures and a few new ideas.
My personal rating: 8 out of 10 points. The only real flaws were the rules which are hard to comprehend at first without some quick-tools and rule cards which made it all a hell of a lot easier and the whole concept of the game which is not really new – but a very nice and fun-promising version of it. (I mean we all played Space- or HeroQuest, didn’t we?)