Since there’s a lot going on, we missed a number of elements in the first time through, but we were able to get a good handle on it after playing a couple encounters that night. And by the end of their Christmas break, we had played enough times that Descent: Jouneys in the Dark landed near the top of our most played games of the year!
For example, the Crypt Dragon is the same dimension as the Shadow Dragon (2nd edition), so we just use the Shadow Dragon figure on the board and the new card for Crypt Dragon to know it’s stats and special powers.
However, before our Descent campaign play slowed a bit, we did buy a copy of the Descent: Journeys in the Dark Conversion Kit. And we’re so glad we did!
The biggest praise is that my boys are eager to spend time with me playing the game. They’re chomping at the bit to play as soon as I get home from work or the instant we finish dinner.
What the Conversion Kit does is take all of the heroes and monsters from all the 1st edition Descent games and makes them playable with the new Descent 2nd Edition game. And since we don’t have any of the original Descent games or expansions, we say SWEET!
Descent: Journeys in the Dark is a semi-cooperative game in which two to five players will take on the antagonistic roles of heroes and Overlord. Up to four players will choose characters with a wide assortment of skills and innate abilities to be the heroes who will explore dungeons in search of treasure and adventure. One player will take on the role of the Overlord and will control the dungeon's many traps, puzzles, and monsters.
I’m starting to think into diving in a “miniature” game and a lot of people pointed Descent 2.0 as THE game to get.
Update: Love it so much, we picked up a copy of the Descent Journeys in the Dark 2nd Edition Conversion Kit. Check it out.
I don’t think we’ve had a board game that our boys have begged me to play as much as Descent: Journeys in the Dark (2nd edition). It has been such a hit at our house that I have many praises for the game!
Since we got it for Christmas just a month ago, we’ve already played 17 times! How’s that for some father/son bonding time!
We will see soon enough, but until then….Descent is my own number 1 right now
Ok, that’s a bit extreme, but I think you get the picture – Descent: Journeys in the Dark (2nd edition) gets a big 5 out of 5 from the boys!
How does your youngest handle the game. I have a 6 and 8 yr old
The insert that came in the game is a good one to help with some division of the components, but the way it was set up meant that most of the items would need to be placed under sides of the insert. What we’ve done is turn the insert upside-down to hold the components in a more visible manner.
The components alone make this game a good, solid 9/10 but that’s where the praise all but ends.
In summary, Descent is a deep tactical combat game with an impressive breadth of content, but it’s a bit kludgy, and it won’t necessarily scratch your RPG itch.
This game does have a “Dungeon Master” role, so it’s that person vs the rest of the gamers, essentially. The adventuring party is fully co-operative though.
I’ve been told the 2nd edition is an improvement, but I do not have any direct experience with it yet.
The trouble is, since Trevor, Jaden, and Caleb are playing the heroes and I’m playing the overlord in our current Descent campaign, we all need to be around to play. (Actually we did play proxy for Jaden one time when we couldn’t wait any longer.)
And while we may not be playing it as regularly as we did in January after we first got the game and posted a video review on it, it’s still set up on a table in our basement – just begging us to play. In fact, Caleb really does beg to play it regularly, “when can we finish our campaign?”
But either way, it’s just so cool to see them carrying on together. When they’re getting along so well, talking together and planning what they want to do in the next quest, I’ll gladly play the overlord any day and let them come at me.
However, we’ve decided that for our next campaign we’re going to put some randomization in their hero selection so they won’t just keep choosing the same super-powered heroes. For example, we might have each hero player choose a class, then randomly pick 3 or 4 hero cards that fit that class and then they have to choose one of those to play. This way, there’s still come choice, but from a limited selection.
The basic rules are much easier to grasp than I expected, and the detailed rules (such as monster abilities) can generally be learned as they come up, making Descent remarkably easy to teach. However, there are a multitude of special cases with unclear or counter-intuitive rules that will crop up from time to time, and the game has been errata’d extensively. Download the FAQ, and be prepared to discover you did some subtle-but-important things wrong your first game.
Our youngest loves Descent. In fact he’s setting up another quest right now. He was 10 when we first played, and had been playing strategy board games for many years prior to that. Because it’s semi-cooperative though, younger kids can still have fun being on the hero team and working together to defeat the evil overlord (dad).
Yep – they’re not the games that appeal to the girls/women as much. Mom likes lighter games and doesn’t get into any fantasy themed stuff (or Memoir ’44 even though I’ve tried). But that’s also why I was so surprised that Brooke loves Defenders of the Realm. With so many games to play, there’s plenty for everyone to find what type they like.
Descent is the first “dungeon crawl” board game we’ve played. As I’ve looked into board game with a dungeon theme, I’ve wondered if it would be a type of game that our boys and I would like. And over the years, the dungeon board game that hits the top of the reviews lists has been Descent. So when Fantasy Flight Games published a new version of Descent in 2012, I started taking a closer look.
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Descent: Journeys In The Dark Board Game
LOL it’s funny how these fantasy and war type games seem to always have ‘has not played’ beside Brooke and Mom! I like some thinking but not sure I’m ready for a lot of fantasy and military themes (though I AM looking forward to trying Memoir ’44 thanks to your review and played a fantasy game called Cave Troll a week ago – it’s out of print it seems but someone had it at a game group). so glad you guys found one you can really get into together!
How long does a game of Descent last? It’s easy to play a game many times when it’s only a 5 or 10 minute game. That’s how a game like Hive can make a “most played” list. But with Descent it’s another story.
Stand-in Figures needed The only drawback is that we need to use stand-in figures. But we’re okay with that. We found a list showing the size of the monsters from all the 1st edition games and can use the figures we have in Descent 2nd Edition to represent those monsters.
And yesterday, as soon as I walked in the house from a scout overnight camp, there they were with the game set up, begging to play some more. (I was able to hold them off while I cleaned up and settled in, but we did end the night with another quest in our ongoing campaign.)
Can’t get enough Even when we’re not playing, the boys can’t stop thinking and talking about the game. They talk about the past quests and how things turned out or what else could have happened and what special cards they should have upgraded to. They read ahead about the upcoming encounters and worry about what they might face and jump into planning their strategies.
Much better than spending heaps of cash on an edition of a game you’ll never want to play, considering you have the improved version at had with all the converted cards ready to use with it. Though that’s just me. ^_^
It’s great that you had a review for this one as well thanks.
Clint – Thanks for letting us know that you’re loving Descent. What a great thing to do together!
Despite appearances, this isn’t a traditional RPG. The overlord is an opponent, not a referee. The heroes are under constant time pressure, even when no monsters are visible, so the game is a sort of race. Both sides are expected to exploit all the strategies available to them, even if they are sometimes counter-intuitive. Expect a tactical miniatures game, not a storytelling game.
When recording how many times we’ve played Descent its really a matter of how many ‘game sessions’ we’ve played because of how the game is structured.
But with a teenager that has a job, boys in rehearsals and doing school plays, homework and school schedules, scout camps, and dad out of town on work here and there (also getting up to speed on a new job), it’s a tough proposition to all be around to sit down and play.
There’s quite a bit to set up, and it takes a while to play, but it’s SO enjoyable.
Thanks for the review, this is one that I definitely want to play someday especially since this edition doesn’t take all day to play.