Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
16 Posts

Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Reinforcement point system rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Tatzelbelm
Germany
Munich
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) » Forums » Variants
Reinforcement point system
Hi,

during play my group discussed the monster reinforcement rules, and how the strength of reinforcements wildly varies depending on the monster groups present and the monsters already in play.

For example, if you have Shadow Dragons and Goblins as your monster groups in a scenario and you can reinfoce a single monster each turn, the reinforcement strength varies from a weak, single minion Goblin to a master Shadow Dragon. If the reinforcement entrance is near the heroes, it makes it really unattractive to kill the master Shadow Dragon, because as soon as he dies a new one will enter the fray.

This also makes the strong monsters, of which the overlord has fewer in a given scenario, more interesting to take as open groups as your reinforcements just pack a lot more punch, and the long-term strength of the overlord strongly depends on the strength of the reinforcements.

So what we thought about to improve this was the introduction of reinforcement points.

Instead of getting a fixed number of any monster as reinforcements, the overlord gets a number of reinforement points each turn. Every monster also has a reinforcement points cost. Reinforcement points not spent will be kept to the next turn to pay for bigger monsters.

So let's just arbitrarily assign some reinforcement point costs (these are just off the top of my head, I haven't really thought about what values would get somewhat balanced results):

Goblin: 1
Master Goblin: 2
Shadow Dragon: 4
Master Shadow Dragon: 5

So if the overlord gets 3 reinforcement points each turn, he could reinforce a normal Goblin and a master Goblin or three normal Goblins each turn (respecting monster group limits, of course).
Or, he could reinforce only a single Goblin in one turn, save up 2 reinforcement points, and reinforce a master Shadow Dragon next turn for 5 reinforcement points (2 reinforcement points from last turn, 3 points from the new turn).

On the positive side, this system allows the heroes to just kill the strongest enemies without worrying about having them pop back in right away. It also makes weak monster with larger numbers more viable for the overlord.

On the negative side, the current system is simpler and less fiddly. With the current system the overlord (theoretically) gets more monster strength per turn when he has few, weak monsters left, and less monster strength per turn when he already has his big hitters in play. This is basically a kind of in-built catch-up mechanism for both sides (although it does not always work, as explained above).

Has anyone else thought about a system like this? Any thoughts on this?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Dekarr
United States
Connecticut
flag msg tools
I like the idea a lot but feel I wouldn't want to bother assigning all the values and dealing with some token system to keep track of Re. points.

The current system does seem weird with the huge differention as you pointed out.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kelly Overholser
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
If you're using, say, both goblins and shadow dragons in one quest, I agree that it makes little sense to reinforce a goblin if you can get a dragon instead.

That doesn't mean the current system is unbalanced, however; there would be a problem if there was never a reason to pick goblins in your open group. Admittedly, I'm not experienced enough with the game to know if you would want goblins or zombies for an open group, but I have had issues in a recent quest where my choice of ettins and shadow dragons almost ended up hurting more than it helped, since I kept getting stuck behind my own monsters.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter S.
United States
Arizona
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
If only there was some way to implement some kind of point system based on the "threat" that each monster group posed to the heroes. Some sort of "threat cost" system if you will...
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryce K. Nielsen
United States
Elk Ridge
Utah
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Most of the games I've played have been with me and a friend. The hero player just needs to play two heroes, and it works fine. In fact, it's faster than 3 players, since there's less hero-discussion.

-shnar
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Reid Miles Chapman
Canada
flag msg tools
A way that you can make a generalized rule rather then creating a cost for each monster is making cost relate to the number of creatures of a given type you get at 4 players

1 normal/1 master - 5/8 threat*(Trolls, Dragons, Ettins)
2 normal/1 master - 4/6 threat(Bane Spider, Chaos Beast, Naga)
3 normal/1 master - 3/5 threat(Sorceror, Flesh Moulder, Ferrox)
4 normal/1 master - 2/4 threat(Zombie, Archers, Cave Spiders)
6 normal/3 masters- 1/2 threat(Kobold)

*minion cost/master cost

3 points a turn seems fair, there should be a cap of 10 or so (no saving up 20 and blowing them all at once) and no carryover from 1 encounter to the next.

Alternatively 1 point for each hero will make reinforcements scale with players, don't know what that will do for balancing though.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tatzelbelm
Germany
Munich
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Sethala wrote:
That doesn't mean the current system is unbalanced, however; there would be a problem if there was never a reason to pick goblins in your open group. Admittedly, I'm not experienced enough with the game to know if you would want goblins or zombies for an open group, but I have had issues in a recent quest where my choice of ettins and shadow dragons almost ended up hurting more than it helped, since I kept getting stuck behind my own monsters.


Well, Goblins are the fastest monsters of the base D2e-monsters and have ranged attacks, which helps them a lot as viable monster picks.

How much the larger size of the big monsters hurts you depends a lot on both the scenario and the number of players - with less than four players you only get a single model of the large monsters, which makes maneuvering easier. But yes, having four large monsters run around in a tight space can be very problematic.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tatzelbelm
Germany
Munich
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
reidmc wrote:
A way that you can make a generalized rule rather then creating a cost for each monster is making cost relate to the number of creatures of a given type you get at 4 players

1 normal/1 master - 5/8 threat*(Trolls, Dragons, Ettins)
2 normal/1 master - 4/6 threat(Bane Spider, Chaos Beast, Naga)
3 normal/1 master - 3/5 threat(Sorceror, Flesh Moulder, Ferrox)
4 normal/1 master - 2/4 threat(Zombie, Archers, Cave Spiders)
6 normal/3 masters- 1/2 threat(Kobold)

*minion cost/master cost

3 points a turn seems fair, there should be a cap of 10 or so (no saving up 20 and blowing them all at once) and no carryover from 1 encounter to the next.

Alternatively 1 point for each hero will make reinforcements scale with players, don't know what that will do for balancing though.


Basing reinforcement cost on group size seems very sensible. With more experience, one could later make small adjustments to the costs to "correct" imbalances between different monster types of the same group size.
The costs you listed seem like a solid starting point.

Reinfocement points gained also have to depend on the scenario, because some scenarios (e.b. The Dawnblade) give you more than one monster each turn. Maybe something like 3 points per round if the scenario allows reinforcing one monster, 5 per round if it allows reinforcing two monsters, 6 (or 7?) points if it allows reinfocing three monsters each turn. The reason for the diminishing points per additional monsters would be that by the normal rules, you can only reinforce your strongest monster once, then your next strongest available monster and finally your third strongest monster each turn.

I also think the points gained each round should scale with the number of players, but not too much. 1 point per round per hero could work well for starters.

I've also thought about saving up points and then releasing a horde of doom, a maximum number of points that can be saved up would be good. I also think it should not be possible to spawn more than one four squares of monster per monster entrance per turn (well, with the big 6 square monsters counting as 4 squares for this).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
R N
United States
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
In my experience, the big monsters are often the first to die even with the large incentive to kill small monster first because they are better at blocking the heroes' path. I think the small monsters might be ignored if they came back as fast as the large monsters do (relative to their group size).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Heart Worm
msg tools
mb
I've found that if the spawn point is close enough to the heroes is close enough so that killing a large monster means he's right on the heroes again on the OLs turn, the heroes try to block the spawn, forcing the OL to spawn a small guy or not spawn at all. Not sure if there's an official rule backing this up (or forbidding it) but it prevents the downer of seeing the thing you finally brought down just pop back up again - which as OL I even found a bummer - takes meaning from otherwise exciting battles.

An alternative might be rule that if the heroes are close to a spawn point (are they always entrances/exits?), that point can't be used - even if it's the only one. This would echo the 1st ed rule about line of sight and spawning, except that it would be based on a number of spaces rather than sight. Gonna try it at 6 spaces, see how that works.

Either way, defeating a large monster should always give the heroes some gain, even if it's just a turn free of the monster, otherwise combat loses it's appeal.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryce K. Nielsen
United States
Elk Ridge
Utah
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
You can never 'block spawn' in this game. The rule is in the Quest Book in the Reinforcements section. If there are not enough spots on the spawning tile (usually Entrance or Exit tile), then the Overlord can bring the monster in on the closest available space.

-shnar
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ondrej Kocnar
Czech Republic
Prague
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
reidmc wrote:
A way that you can make a generalized rule rather then creating a cost for each monster is making cost relate to the number of creatures of a given type you get at 4 players

1 normal/1 master - 5/8 threat*(Trolls, Dragons, Ettins)
2 normal/1 master - 4/6 threat(Bane Spider, Chaos Beast, Naga)
3 normal/1 master - 3/5 threat(Sorceror, Flesh Moulder, Ferrox)
4 normal/1 master - 2/4 threat(Zombie, Archers, Cave Spiders)
6 normal/3 masters- 1/2 threat(Kobold)

*minion cost/master cost

3 points a turn seems fair, there should be a cap of 10 or so (no saving up 20 and blowing them all at once) and no carryover from 1 encounter to the next.

Alternatively 1 point for each hero will make reinforcements scale with players, don't know what that will do for balancing though.


Good idea in general, but how did you calculate the numbers?
Also note that the numbers should probably be fixed for abilities like Split and perhaps even Undying. Otherwise you would make Kobolds a nightmare. Also perhaps there should be little adjustment for speed, faster reinforcement are better. Zombies scould be cheapened and razorwings perhaps more expensive.

And I thing that it is important question whether reinforcements should be scaled to the number of players. I dont know the answer now.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Panu Halonen
Finland
flag msg tools
other thing that could work which is tokens that you use to resurrect monsters

example.
shadow dragons cost 6/4
small ones cost 2/1
token of resurrection regain is 1 per monster alive in a start of OL turn and 1-2 points when kill hero.
your max token at the time is 2-3 times value of highest monster or minimum 10-15 points which you have at start in full

this way you want to get small ones and big evenly cause to much big ones and if you get thous killed its pain to get points back for new ones.
to much small ones die and need to resurrect more often and soon you cant get them enough to do the job

(haven thought this much just came up the idea)

or just simply if you want to get big monster back you cant get any big monster for your next turn

some scaling system for this would be nice
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seph North
United Kingdom
Oxford
flag msg tools
Though I agree with the theory, I think your method makes things far too complicated. My first thought on the issue was exactly the same, assigning some sort of point system to monsters and so on. But Descent is, after all, a very rules light game. When I want complexity I'll dig out something else to play.

The method I use is to reinforce the large monsters half as quickly. When reinforcing large monsters I place the reinforcement model on it's side beside the entrance area to indicate that it has been half-reinforced. On my next reinforcement I stand the model up and bring it into play. This way it takes two reinforcements to bring a large monster into play. Obviously this is not a perfect fix, but I think it does the job without making things much more complicated.

I do think something needs to be done to scale the reinforcement to the number of heroes as well. In the interest of simplicity I again go with a half reinforcement rate for 2 heroes using a similar method of laying models on their side by the entrance to show that they are half-reinforced.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
demonhanz demonhanz
msg tools
mb
I also must agree that this is more on the complicated side. I like the variant but think it adds too much. This might be better for single scenarios, or for custom sessions, but don't think this will be a good idea for the normal campaign.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
alexandre Boureau
France
Paris
flag msg tools
mbmb
reidmc wrote:
A way that you can make a generalized rule rather then creating a cost for each monster is making cost relate to the number of creatures of a given type you get at 4 players

1 normal/1 master - 5/8 threat*(Trolls, Dragons, Ettins)
2 normal/1 master - 4/6 threat(Bane Spider, Chaos Beast, Naga)
3 normal/1 master - 3/5 threat(Sorceror, Flesh Moulder, Ferrox)
4 normal/1 master - 2/4 threat(Zombie, Archers, Cave Spiders)
6 normal/3 masters- 1/2 threat(Kobold)
*minion cost/master cost

3 points a turn seems fair, there should be a cap of 10 or so (no saving up 20 and blowing them all at once) and no carryover from 1 encounter to the next.

Alternatively 1 point for each hero will make reinforcements scale with players, don't know what that will do for balancing though.


Alternatively, something like :
Quote:
1 normal/1 master - 1/turn , discard 2 cards to reinforce(master only after 1 normal on board)
2 normal/1 master - 1/turn , discard one card to reinforce (master only after one normal on board)
3 normal/1 master - 1/turn (master only after 2 normal on board)
4 normal/1 master - 2/turn (master only after 2 normal on board)
6 normal/3 masters- 3/turn (master only after 3 normal on board)


Would be easier to keep track of, even though it would not be as accurate.
The values might be completely off, and it might be hard to pull out with danger sense (but I think danger sense needs to be modified too to apply only above a given card threshold).

But I don't think reinforcement cost is the main problem. I think what we should focus on is finding a way to not ever be in a situation in which the heroes prefer not to kill a monster on purpose, even if they could easily afford the actions to do so, because he would immediately come back, only stronger. A way to address it could be to have a "backlash" after a monster die (ie a time during which the OL could not reinforce any monster concerned by backlash). This way, killing monsters would have an incentive most of the time.


Quote:
Monster-------------- Summoning backlash on death
1 normal/1 master - normal 1 turn, master 1 turn
2 normal/1 master - normal causes no backlash, master 1 turn,
3 normal/1 master - normal and master : no backlash, and unaffected by it
4 normal/1 master - unaffected by backlash, 2 normal or 1 master /turn
6 normal/3 masters- unaffected by backlash. 3 normals or 1 N+1M/turn



This way, all groups come to full strength in about the same number of turns (3 for zombies/cave spiders/archers, or 4 for everyone else, instead of between 2 and 5 or even 9 turns).
It is a slight handicap for the overlord, though, so I suggest he can pick twice the number of allowed open groups, but only deploy 1 open group in the beginning.

To keep track of the summoning backlash, the heroes keep the figures of the monsters slain (the master for the 2/1 spawn, and every figure for the 1/1 spawn), and hand over one of them to the overlord at the beginning of their turn, after the reinforcement phase. The overlord cannot summon while the heroes hold one monster figure causing summoning backlash.

The overlord can chose to kill one of his own unnamed monsters himself at the beginning of his turn, before getting any reinforcement. If this monster is causing summoning backlash, he hands the figure to the heroes (preventing him to summon this turn).

A variant would be to make the 1/1 masters cause 2 turns backlash, and the 1/1 normal zero (the heroes would flip the figure on its back at the end of the first OL turn, and hand it to the OL at the end of his second turn.

This way, there should be little incentive not to kill the monsters, but that would fall under this thread http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/848383/delayed-reinforcement... rather than the current one (I further discuss this idea in the other thread).

But while we are at giving incentives for killing monsters, a more direct solution would be to award gold again on monster death.

Quote:
Monster-------------- gold awarded
1 normal/1 master - normal nothing, master 50GP
2 normal/1 master - normal nothing, master 25GP
3 normal/1 master - normal and master : nothing
4 normal/1 master - nothing, 2 normal or 1 master reinforced /turn
6 normal/3 masters- nothing. 3 normals or 1 normal+ 1 master reinforced/turn
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.