So hey, board gaming friends, I’ve got a question for you. When you play Descent, does your Overlord act like a GM in a roleplaying game or does he/she really try to beat the players? Last time we played to took a turn in the Overlord chair and I found my natural instinct was to act like a GM. For example, when I realized how tough the opening fight with a giant was going to be, I just used the basic giant stats instead of the buffed up ones the scenario specified. Is that common? When you play, is it more Overlord vs. players? And what do you think the game intends?
My comment is on the Lord of the Rings minis game, which I played again last night. I wish the game did a better job modeling the Riders of Rohan. In the books the Rohirrim are the premier heavy cavalry of Middle Earth. In the minis game they got owned in hand to hand combat by Uruk-hai missile troops. You’d think that when your cavalry breaks through and sets upon the unsupported enemy skirmishers, you’d roll right over them. Not so much. Also, it’s weird that the Rohirrim cannot have lances or thrusting spears, only throwing spears. Gondorian cavalry gets lances but not the Rohirrim. I want more shock in my shock cavalry.
I think the game is designed to be competitive in nature. By default I am the Overlord, and I do work to defeat my opponents (keyword: opponents).
Though I will admit that I sometimes pull back from the worst of what I can level against them. I do so for a couple of reasons:
1. While it is competitive, I don’t want anyone playing to get so frustrated with the play that they never want to play again.
2. They are new players and thus not always choosing the optimal approach or are aware of the extent of their enemies powers.
The final note on those two points is that I pull back during Road to Legend only. In vanilla Descent it’s a no-holds-barred match of death dealing goodness.
I have been craving a true RPG experience lately, but Descent (RtL is as far as I can get for now).
We’ve played it straight competitive. Frankly, if we want to play an RPG we play an RPG. We might add some color to the battles but we never lose sight of the fact that both sides are trying to win.
Oh, and a comment on your comment…
The Lord of the Rings minis game is a great little game that they’ve tried to do too much with. When you play it with a handful of figures on a side doing little skirmishes it can be quite enjoyable. Trying to do large-scale combats is where it breaks down and I think that this includes trying to model cavalry and such.
Of course, I think that the Legends of the Old West version of the rules is better and I really want to try the pirate game as well.
I have the Old West game and my friend Rick just bought it and the pirate one. Since I already have both pirate and Old West minis, I imagine we’ll be trying them out soon.
As far as Descent goes, after everyone is used to the game and had a chance to figure out what works and what doesn’t, It should be kill, kill, kill. The overlord should show no mercy.
In Descent I’m usually only nice to new players and, sometimes, early in the game. I don’t want anyone feeling like the game is unfair and, like court said, refusing to play a second time. I also don’t want the game to be half an hour long. Overlord victories can be very, very fast and that’s just not as much fun.
I have this “problem” with all my games – when I’m supposed to compete, I end up GMing. My friends playing Descent had to encourage me to stick it to them, so they felt they’d have a real challenging game.
This is why I inevitably end up playing collaborative games, or GMing. I’m so wrapped up in making everything fun, it’s difficult to compete properly.
Love your D&D; posts, Chris.
The guys who play overlord at the office are brutal, man.
now I among your readers