Descent 2nd Edition is the definitive all round dungeon style game experience. It was originally designed to pit an overlord dungeon player against a group of heroes but has now been adapted into a co-operative style dungeon crawler as well. The game features many expansions you can add to enhance or change the gameplay with new heroes, monsters, tiles, skills, lieutenants, campaigns and now an app (my additions highlighted green = own, blue = part owned, red = not purchased). I included some quick thoughts and ratings up to 5 stars, and I like themed dungeons so this may influence my views :
The core set comes with 8 excellent and varied heroes with different upgradeable skills, and 9 amazing key monster groups. The many double sided outside / dungeon tiles are the best i have seen for a game of this style. The rules and campaign are well produced and fun to play, and you really cannot fault this box set as it offers enough replayability for most people without ever needing expansions. However by collecting expansions and painting it all up, this game can become as much a hobby as a board game. It has so many different playable options now.
Lair Of The Wyrm (4.5 stars) (set painted)
This has a fire theme, a dragon monster boss and introduces secret rooms and a mini campaign. Both the heroes are great, a worthy warrior champion and high mage geomancer. The themed monsters include fire imps and tough sentinel dragonkins, and a Wyrm features as a large dragon boss (a nice lieutenant model is available separately). Overall the fiery hot caverns theme and additional tiles are really nice. There are two co-op campaigns in road to legend that use this set, which have made it into a must have expansion.
Labyrinth Of Ruin (5 stars) (set painted)
A bigger and more costly expansion with a full new campaign and a cool spider boss. Four new heroes are pretty decent additions, especially the outstanding Pathfinder Durik and his wolf. The monsters are also great ones with insectoid volucrix reavers, spiders with crab pincers, snake drakes and goblin witchers. Tiles and cards are very similar in theme to the core set and so fit really well as direct content expansion. The Queen Ariad spider boss (an amazing separate lieutenant pack model is available), and a great campaign make it one of the most important all round expansions, and this box is used in a road to legend app campaign.
The Trollfens (4.5 stars) (set painted)
A swamp theme with new disease conditions along with a very cool troll boss monster called Bol’Goreth (a great separate lieutenant model is available). This box has two interesting monster groups in the harpy and flesh worms, and two heroes that are very likeable and enjoyable to play, the female loner tracker elf and a prophet dwarf. Overall this box does not have one of the best campaigns really, but does have a strong theme and great models, and represents excellent value and is still a highly recommended addition.
Shadow Of Nerekhall (5 stars) (set unpainted)
Another bigger expansion set in a mysterious city with a new campaign plus four heroes and monster types. Of the heroes Rendiel and Orkell the Swift are particularly interesting, with the others good if not overly spectacular. The monsters are all great with changelings, rat swarms, iron guardians and some ynfernal demon models. The new lieutenants, like the core set, are largely humanoid based but do include a rat king, and the tiles have a city street style. Overall this is another lovely expansion, the campaign is highly praised and there is a specific co-op road to legend story available too. I just need to get it painted.
Manor Of Ravens (4 stars) (set painted)
A haunted manor house was a great idea, and the new heroes, a female righteous knight and a witch hunter with a repeater crossbow, are two nice additions. The monsters included wraiths which are useful to add an undead dungeon theme, plus human bandits and a golem boss. It was a little less exciting for me than some of the other boxes but still a great smaller box addition even though there is no Road to Legend content for it.
Mists Of Bilehall (5 stars) (set painted)
An undead themed expansion, a new campaign with 3 excellent new monster groups including broodwalkers, skeleton reannimates and bone horrors. Unusually there are no heroes in this pack, so this is more for the overlord player and new story campaign. Three new lieutenant models were released alongside, with an excellent skeleton leader called Ardus Ix’Erebus and an elf sorceress Zarihell. This set offers a chance to set up a proper undead themed dungeon, and the monsters make it one of my favourite expansions.
Chains That Rust (3.5 stars) (not purchased)
This expansion continues the undead theme and campaign from Mists of Bilehall and has 3 new monster groups including shambling colossus, the dispossessed and marrow priests. It also brings in hybrid classes which mix two existing ones together such as the monk, who is a healer and scout, and a new harrowing tainted condition is introduced. The new monsters did not quite match the highlights of the previous expansion and there are no hero models, but the other new ideas and ongoing campaign still look interesting. Sadly i delayed and missed getting this when it was available.
Lieutenant Packs (painted)
These small lieutenant sets offer a boss model with extra expansion choices for the overlord, including new cards and strategies to use. Most of these packs I would place in the 2-3 stars category, but some models stand out as rather special and enhance the other box expansions. I currently own eight packs (see painted link and green text) as follows:
|4.5 stars – Bol’Goreth the troll, Queen Ariad the spider, Ardus Ix’Erebus the skeleton, Skarn the golem, Valyndra the wyrm – all excellent boss models for the box expansions.|
|4 stars – Splig the goblin leader, Belthir & Merrick Farrow (core set), Verminous the rat king, Tristayne Olliven & Gargan Mirklace (Nerekhall) – all recommended for the Road to Legend storylines.|
|3.5 stars – Raythen & Serena combined hero and lieutenant packs – the next best ones for gaming content value.|
These are also great additions adding in 4 heroes and 3 monster groups within each box set. There are 9 released so far and i suspect your choice of pack will largely depend on what models or characters you most like the look of. My own personal preferences are highlighted below:
|Oath of the Outcast (4 stars) – great for the main Terrinoth creatures with Bane Spiders, Razorwings and Beastmen. Favourite hero character and model Laurel of Bloodwood.|
|Crown of Destiny (3.5 stars) – includes some good monsters with the amazing Chaos Beasts, plus Lava Beetles and Giants. Heroes feel slightly less exciting though. Favourite hero character and model Lindel.|
|Crusade of the Forgotten (2.5 stars) – some rather unexciting monsters with Golems, Medusae and Sorcerors. Favourite hero character and model Tetherys.|
|Guardians of Deephall (4 stars) – Wendigos and Crypt Dragons are amazing models, with less exciting Dark Priests. Favourite hero character and model Lord Hawthorne. This one is high on my wish list if i buy another set.|
|Visions of Dawn (3 stars) – A larger size monster box with Trolls, Ogres and Manticores. Favourite hero character and model Master Thorn.|
|Bonds of the Wild (4 stars) – decent monsters with swarming Kobolds, Hellhounds and Dark Elves. Heroes though all seem quite similar, as three have familiars. Favourite hero character and model Challara.|
|Treaty of Champions (5 stars) – undead monsters with Skeleton Archers, Crow Hags and Demon Lords. Favourite hero character and model Grey Ker, Krutzbeck, Jonas the Kind and Zyla – all are excellent although the Dwarf model is a little oversized. The first set i added.|
|Stewards of the Secret (5 stars) – Ferrox, Blood Apes, Nagas are all really great looking monsters. Favourite hero character and models Okaluk riding Rakash & Tatianna. The second set i added.|
|Shards of Everdark (4.5 stars) – more great monsters with Minotaurs, Ice Wyrm and Shades. Heroes seem on a slightly larger scale size but they include a minotaur and a giant which can explain these at least. Favourite hero character and model Steelhorns.I was slow to add these sets and although i did want more eventually i have probably missed that chance now.|
Co-operative Adventures (4.5 stars)
The three co-operative adventure packs Forgotten Souls, Nature’s Ire and Dark Elements were at one time my favourite additions to the game. These individual scenarios provide players with a way to work together as heroes, as the dungeon is automated against them. Each scenario has a custom storyline which plays out in a random order. They are well scaled and offer a neat adventure experience allowing for solo or co-operative play, trying out different combinations of heroes against the dungeon. During each adventure you will be able to obtain new weapons and items, and even level up your heroes, all in just one short game. If you like dungeon crawlers, or your playing time is limited and large campaigns just seem too much to do, then these expansions help you get more from the game. Road To Legend has largely replaced them now as the way forward for co-operative play, but they are still really enjoyable and are very useful for creating your own dungeons.
Road To Legend (5 stars)
This app provides a series of campaigns and a random dungeon delve, where the overlord control is passed over to your tablet, allowing you to explore a new quest together in co-operative format. There is a storyline to follow and whilst the quests are pre-written there is scope for random monsters to appear depending on which ones you have bought so far. The app will let you know how the monsters are reacting to your party and which tiles to spawn next. It breathed new life into the game, allowing you choose the way you want to play, and the delve option makes this into a random dungeon crawl too. A superb game addition.
Heirs Of Blood (3.5 stars)
This hardback campaign book is an add on for the original core set and brings a new set of adventures to play through. Regarded as much better than the originally boxed campaign it is now included as a softback version within the core box itself. The hardback book is for those with earlier versions of the game, but is in itself a beautiful item with background and pictures which build up the world of Terrinoth. For those who need this as an expansion the product is good quality which makes it feel like a worthwhile addition to your game.
Lost legends (3 stars)
The Lost Legends card pack includes new class options for players venturing into the dungeon, including two new standard classes and eight new hybrid classes.
|Conversion Kit (4 stars)|
The conversion kit is a pack of cards for heroes and monsters which allow you to bring your models from the original Descent Journeys in the Dark to the game. It also unlocks all the monsters content within the Road to Legend app so you could just use these cards with alternative models if you wish. This went from being a selectively useful addition to a pretty good one as it potentially expands the game content without high cost.
The vault was where you used to be able to build and publish fan made quests and campaigns, and was a great resource which has now been removed. I wrote 3 quests which follow a solo dungeon crawl exploration style of game rather than a tactical battle with the overlord, and called these the solo series. These are now available here :
|Death Keep – discover the secrets of the forgotten keep which has been taken over by a dark sect of acolytes. Uses the core set and optionally makes use of the Forgotten Souls monster cards.|
|Spiders Lair – gigantic mutated spiders have established a colony in the underground caves and you must eliminate their threat. Uses the core set and Labyrinth of Ruin and optionally makes use of Nature’s Ire monster cards.|
|Fire Caverns – distant flames at the lost caverns light the night sky. You must establish what is happening there and eliminate the threat. Uses the core set and Lair of the Wyrm and optionally makes use of Dark Elements monster cards.|