Descent 2nd edition is the subject of some speculation at the moment, whether there will be new expansions or maybe it is at an end and there will be a 3rd edition. This game was my top fantasy game for a number of years, but slid a little as new games came out this year. However it has seen a resurgence in my interest of late, largely and strangely since the arrival of Massive Darkness which came with much expectation but failed to deliver on most of it. As a result i re-looked at my Descent and started to play it more.
So what is wrong with Massive Darkness as the models are considered to be amazing. Well they are, although i do not rate the monsters overly better than Descent really, and a lot of minions have a similar two handed weapon pose. The real problem is gameplay, there is no engaging campaign or story to draw you in, the single scenarios are fine of course, but your characters tend to achieve a whole load of new skills in one game, and that’s it, no longer term progress or development that works properly anyway, and treasure is thrown at you constantly. As a result skills and treasures tend to lack any significant meaning in the end, as you will easily forget you have some of them, and you only have a skills pad which you tick off which is not very interesting. Descent and Sword & Sorcery make skills so much better with cards you read and keep and meaningful decisions on which to choose, and heroes in these games feel very different to each other and play their role, while in Massive Darkness they can interchange much more but become generic.
The point of this is not to completely bash Massive Darkness, it is a simple, quick to learn, crash through a scenario game and it has its place, but Descent is still good enough to fight its corner well against newcomers, and Fantasy Flight Games really should keep it going. A 3rd edition which has an even better app driving it as a co-op dungeon crawler would make me happy too, but the danger is so many already own so much for 2nd edition that some cross compatibility will be needed really. Hopefully it will not be the end of edition two, and i doubt another edition would appear before 2019 anyway, but sadly stock is becoming extremely scarce in the UK. This Christmas i added two expansions to my gift list, Verminous (to use in the seeds of corruption campaign) and the Stewards of the Secret set. It is a slight surprise to me really that this year my present list should return to this old favourite, but i am really enjoying this game again and am even painting some long outstanding models. You can see details on some of the expansions on my dedicated webpage > Descent 2nd Edition