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Hey guys!

I've been working on this solo/co-op variant for some time, and I'm excited to share the results with everyone here on BGG! Basically, by replacing these 39 cards into your game, you can have a random dungeon AND quest generator, and a Gears of War style card-driven AI Overlord. One caveat: it's designed with vanilla Descent + all three expansions in mind, but may be adapted to any combination of them with some changes.

Basically this variant consists of two parts. The first part consists of the Quest Cards, which replace the Rumor cards from normal Descent. There are 6 Hero Quest Cards and 6 Overlord Quest Cards, which are then combined into one of 36 possible quests.

Example:

A Hero Quest card...


...and an Overlord Quest card.


Since the quests in the Quest Guides are designed with humans in mind, it is easier to generate these custom quests where the AI Overlord still has separate goals from the human players, but the objectives are defined in a much simpler way so that it can be achieved by the AI. Both quest cards have a Relic named across the top of the card, which are Rewards for winning the quest.

The second part of the AI variant are the custom Overlord cards, which also serve multiple functions. For example:



These Overlord cards are completely different from the standard ones, and are separated into two decks. A Basic Deck (15 cards) which the Overlord starts with, an and Upgrade Deck (12 cards), where the Overlord may draw 1 card to add to the Basic Deck after each quest is complete.

After generating the quest, the player draws from the Overlord's current deck until three different Monster Groups are found: from A (weakest) to C (strongest). The monster groups generated can be found at the bottom of the Overlord cards. If a group has been chosen, just draw again!

The number on the Overlord card is used for dungeon layout generation: the number shown is the number of the next tile to place. In the example above, we would place tile number 5.

---------

So! With all that out of the way, here's a step by step guide on how to play with the solo/co-op variant.



1) Print out the 39 cards at the end of this post, sleeve your existing cards, and slot them into the sleeved cards for four new decks: 6 Hero Quest Cards, 6 Overlord Quest Cards, 15 in the Basic Deck and 12 in the Upgrade Deck. One hero starts with the Sunstone relic (if you have the Labyrinth of Ruin expansion). Add 3 random cards from the Overlord's Upgrade Deck to the Basic Deck.

Draw a Hero Quest card, pair it with an Overlord Quest card. Resolve the travel events BEFORE setting up the dungeon.

2) Draw 3 or more Basic Deck cards to generate the monster groups, then shuffle them back and draw another 4 cards to generate the dungeon layout. If you don't have the tile numbered (no expansion), either replace it with your favourite tile from an expansion you do have, or keep drawing until you find a tile number you own.

3) Layout the dungeon as follows: Entrance -> Room Tile 1 -> Room Tile 2 -> Room Tile 3 -> Exit. Place figures on each room tile as indicated by the number of players on the back of the monster cards, with the weakest Group A in Room 1 and the strongest Group C in room 3. Spread the figures out in any order you wish, but it's best to place them as evenly as possible near the middle of each tile.

The fourth room tile you draw is the Lieutenant's starting room for this quest: it will be connected to the open edge of the second room tile. If the second room tile has no open edge, connect it to the third room tile's open edge. If the third room tile has no open edge, connect it to the first room tile's open edge. If the first room tile still has no open edge, discard the tile and spawn the Lieutenant's on the first room tile.

4) When laying out tiles, connect the tile entry using the open edge furthest from the printed number on the tile, and the tile exit to the next tile is the furthest open edge from the entry. Any other open edges in between are left unconnected, and will be used when reinforcing monsters. A Search Token is then placed on the numbered square of each tile, except for the Lieutenant's spawn room.

5) Set up any additional tokens as required by the Quest Cards, and play! First, resolve the Travel icons on the Quest cards from left to right, Hero Quest card first. Then, begin the quest with the hero figures on the entrance of the dungeon. Also, each hero begins with 1 XP to spend on a skill of their choice.

6) IMPORTANT: Play order is DIFFERENT from normal Descent. After deciding the hero's turn order, it will be LOCKED for the rest of the game. After each hero has taken his turn, draw 1 Overlord card, and resolve it. So in a three player game, 3 Overlord cards will have been played after all players have taken their actions.

7) Play until either the heroes win or the Overlord wins.

IF THE HEROES WIN:
The players then receive 1 XP to spend on their skills and 25 gold per player. They can then decide to either take both relics on the Quest Cards, or forfeit either or both relics for an additional 75 gold each. The Overlord then gains 1 card from the Upgrade deck. The Overlord then gains the Sun Fury relic. The Overlord now starts with Act II monsters for ALL future quests.

Upgrades cost 1 XP regardless of the value on the Skill card, provided the players have a skill card of a lower value already. E.g. they can only buy 3XP cards if they have a 2XP card on their hero.

IF THE OVERLORD WINS:
The players still receive 1 XP to spend, as above, and 25 gold per player. In addition, as a balancing mechanism, they gain the Sunstone relic for the next quest, 100 gold, and the top card of the Act I item deck (even if the Overlord already has Act II monsters). The Overlord gains 2 cards from the Upgrade deck instead of 1.

8) Players can then go Shopping as usual, drawing 5 cards regardless of the number of players. Then, they repeat from Step 2First side to THREE WINS is the winner! If you have Threat tokens from the Lt Pack expansions, this would be a great way to keep track of the Overlord/Hero's scoring.

Some points:
---------------
-'Move into range' means move up to the monster's movement (single move action) towards a square that's within a certain range of the target, depending on the monster's attack type. For ranged monsters it's 5 squares, for melee it's 1 square (adjacent) or 2 squares (with Reach). If already within range, the monster does NOT move. Monsters with Ravage attack twice during their activation!
-'Nearest hero' means the nearest hero within range. If two or more heroes are equidistant and tie for 'nearest', select the hero with the least Health remaining.
-Lieutenants activate every time ANY monster group activates, making them particularly dangerous! Unless specified otherwise, all Lieutenants gain the stand up action, restoring 2 red die worth of Health during activation if defeated.
-When respawning, entrance and exit tiles count as open edges as well. If there isn't enough space to spawn a figure within 3 spaces of the open edge, pick the next nearest open edge. If there still isn't any space, the figure simply doesn't reinforce.

--------

That's about it... just a simple suggestion to make full use of those Descent miniatures and tiles you have lying around if there aren't enough people or time for a full game/campaign, or if your gaming group doesn't like confrontational games, or if you just want to try something different! Do let me know what you think after you've tried it, and if anyone wants to print nice shiny versions of these cards and send them all the way here to me for free, OMG YES PLEASE DO IT. Also, I realise most of this variant does require the expansions to make full use of (Secret Rooms, Lieutenants, etc), but you can easily edit the cards to make versions that suits what you do have.

Cheers! And oh yes: below are the images for the cards:

-nerdook







EDITS: Changed the Quest Card text. Some amendments on Overlord's starting Setup and tile orientation.
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nicolas korn
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That's just absolutly brilliant surprise....i've searched through every forum and your conception of solo/coop gameplay seems to me by far the best i've found (no offense for the others, there are excellent ideas too, but i find this one much more appealing since this will lead to faster gameplay)...Do you plan to extend the idea to longer campaigns, other combinations or situations? Plleaaaaaase say yes and count on me, ill test this as soon as possible!
 
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There are still some weird stuff to work through, like how to handle Stuns, but for the most part the game proceeds pretty smoothly. You can easily extend this to a campaign by replaying different combinations to generate the missions, though there won't be much of a story. Pretty much a random dungeon crawl!
 
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Robin Reeve
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Wonderful idea ! thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
I am looking forward to trying it !
 
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Neil J.
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Microbadge: Always room for 1 more gameMicrobadge: Variant DesignerMicrobadge: I'm my own worst enemy - I play multiplayer games solo.Microbadge: Always looking to sky!Microbadge: I tried it at home!
Beautiful work, Nerdook. Thanks for posting. I'd definitely be interested in trying this out eventually. For all you other playtesters out there, please post your thoughts as you play. I'd love to hear how this variant works in practice.
 
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One minor change: Ashrian's passive ability will need to read: "When a minion monster begins its activation adjacent to you and you are the current hero, it is Stunned."
 
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Hm... on the bottom left of the Overlord cards, the monster groups have already been divided into A, B and C groups. So you do need to draw one A, one B and one C to build the monster groups.
 
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Joel Zapf
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Is there files for Artscow?
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Not until the text on the cards are finalised... feel free to make one if you wish, though the images are a little low res.
 
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Wow, thanks for the playtest and comments! One small change I'll be making is to use the monster group limits for three players on the back of the cards, regardless of the number of players. E.g. one master ettin for 2,3 or 4 heroes. Since the monster activation already scales based on the number of players, I feel this makes things much more interesting. Maybe you can give that a try and see how it works out.

Mm, so far my own playtests have resulted in some close games, though that might depend a lot on the monster/hero choices. I once had Jain + that exotic Act II bow on a "Kill Monster C" quest, and she just sped ahead and put two arrows into the monster's head in one turn, winning the quest in a single turn. Not sure if that's epic, totally unbalanced, funny, or all of the above...

Also, just to clarify: "For a number of monster figures equal to heroes" means that for two heroes, UP TO two monster figures of that monster group activates, so there shouldn't be nothing happening on a turn. For example, with two heroes, maybe two skeleton archers will move and strike, or the sole remaining barghest leaps at your heroes... with master figures activating first, if possible. Not sure if that's how you're playing it...?
 
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Sure, hope you'll have fun!

I just had a Beastmaster & Disciple duo in a quest where Eliza Farrow tries to escape through the entrance while the heroes are desperately clearing the search tokens. She made it in the end, thanks to an unfortunate Web Trap draw that left my Disciple JUST out of range of her, Immobilised and staring helplessly as she dashed past, while the Beastmaster is buried in a Secret Room far away. Ouch.
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Definitely, thanks for the detailed feedback and playtest! Good to hear that you had a fun time with your son using this variant. I do agree that a lot more balancing is required, but as long as the basics of the variant holds up, it's easy to tweak numbers and statistics to get a better balanced game.

Cheers!
 
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Mark Campo
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printing for a test run, i like all the positive comments though currently i only have base set and lair of wyrm, hopefully let you know soon id love to get to play this more multiplayer for a fantasy game is so rare for me,,
does this want the conversion kit? im sure i can skip over things i dont have just checking.
 
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Mark Campo
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played 2 hero vs 3 player monster and got trounced, i wanted to play 3 hero but thought 2 would be quick and slicker...

SO vampire lady vs the book and Avric

Goblin archers > Barghests > Ettin

the bargehest didnt move, all ways going well but i could not pass the ettin, i also played random corridors between each room, quite long ones.. ...

Nice little AI deck there, im yearning to tweek to make custom AI for each monster like gears, but the basic is good will try it again, its been a while since i played descent so glad to have it out again

a few cards said current hero.. now you could alternate a start player token each turn but i took that to mean the hero deepest into the dungeon


also for dishing out attack where both where closest i just tried to even the attacks on each hero. rather then take out one.. and i was a pain remembering to move the villain since thats not mentioned on the cards a reminder icon i dunno why might be nice..

the goblin group lost its master on a early turn and never got it back.. lucky limiting there surge power, nothing respawnactuly could be my bad play style i took out lady farrow once, that s its and the goblin red.

a few turns with the unlucky miss cross when fighting the ettin did me in, i probably could of pulled of a win if i hit, his hits all counted! ,,,

also the quest card mentions a token in each room as the original rooms seem to say 3 rooms, but a 4th for the villain would you want 3 or 4 glphs activated , might be the difference between normal and hard mode and a choice to light 3 of 4 to win.. so you can branch off if 1 passage is blocked or hard.

all in all good work very good work thanks for shareing
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Yes, I really should reword/redesign the cards a little so that everything is clearer! Thanks for sharing your feedback, I'll upload the updated cards once I get around to fixing them.

Also, I've been reading up on Road to Legend, and it would be awesome if there was some way to put a long-term, freeform campaign into this AI system. We'll see how it goes!
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FINAL SHOWDOWN:

The original variant stated, First side to THREE WINS is the winner! Well I have created a great way have a FINAL SHOWDOWN and have a climatic final battle to the randomized campaign.

1) First off you will need to keep track of the winners of each round of play.
If the Heroes win a round they will gain a Villager token that can only be used in the FINAL SHOWDOWN DUNGEON.
If the Overlord wins a round the Lieutenant that participated in that round and helped the Overload will once again battle the Heroes in the FINAL SHOWDOWN DUNGEON. The Heroes may go shopping before the final dungeon as usual. Travel to the Dungeon is uneventful for the Heroes. The Overlord is preparing for this epic encounter as well thus allowing the Heroes safe passage to Dungeon.



2) Setup for the dungeon is the same except for the following changes. For Each Lieutenant that defeated the Heroes you will need to add an additional random room tile to your dungeon layout. Example: Splig bested the Heroes in the first round of play. Splig will then be placed in one additional room. Any Lieutenant in the FINAL SHOWDOWN will be of Act II difficulty. Only place search tokens in the Monster Group A , B & C rooms

You will still need to have a FINAL SHOWDOWN Room. Make sure the Exit tile is attached this room.

As for last Lieutenant. Use Dragonlord Gryvorn or any other Lieutenant of your choosing as what I like to call the Boss Lieutenant. Do Not place the Boss Lieutenant until all other Lieutenants are out of play. Only place the Boss Lieutenant at setup if there are no Lieutenants placed. The only way this could happen is if the Heroes won 3 and the Overlord won 0. Boss Lieutenants are to be placed as close to the Exit as possible in the FINAL SHOWDOWN Room.




3) Special rules inside the FINAL SHOWDOWN DUNGEON.

A) -- Any Monster Groups, Lieutenants or Boss Lieutenant may NOT revive or reinforce their numbers.
B) -- Heroes have a fixed amount of Revive a Hero or Stand Up actions. The Villager token the Heroes gained for winning a round, will represent how many times the Heroes can use the Revive a Hero or use the Stand Up actions inside the dungeon.
C) -- Once Boss Lieutenant is activated they will enter from the Exit in the FINAL SHOWDOWN room.

D) -- All Lieutenants & or Boss Lieutenant (when active) simply will move to the closest Hero within their range and attack the Hero if they can, using abilities they can to take down the Heroes.



4) Winning Conditions

The Heroes win the FINAL SHOWDOWN when they Kill the Boss Lieutenant.

The Overload wins the FINAL SHOWDOWN when the Heroes are unable to revive or Stand Up.





Thanks again to -nerdook for making these rules. I would have never thought of this if it were not for your undertaking!
 
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Neil J.
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All neat ideas here. Thanks for sharing!
 
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Great idea--where is the file for the 39 new cards? Take care and have a great day
 
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Sean ONeil
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So, I will also toss you some props on this, Nerdook. My wife and I are each other's most common gaming group, and always facing off Overlord vs Heroes (1v1) can cause some tension lol. We also own Gears of War so this was a very clear and easy-enough transition. All-in-all, well done. A few rewordings/clarifications wouldn't hurt, but no big deal.

We also did 2 heroes 3-hero monster rules, and won 3 to 1 with moderate challenge, after scoring some heavy armor for our champion(Syndrael)/wildlander(Tomble Burrowell) combo - Tomble's hero ability is amazing, and my wife once rolled a black, 3x gray, 1 brown, with the shield of the dark god and a valor token, and scored something like 13 defense! We're about to roll another round where we will implement the FINAL SHOWDOWN (caps necessary) that was posted recently, and using Ashrian as the spiritseeker, and Reynhart as the berserker. Thanks for giving us an option where we can play a Descent-styled Gears of War We enjoyed it.
 
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Mark Campo
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soo with the brief glimpse at the FFG news that was taken down,

the coop play variant in shops
they hint at overcoming challenges to open doors to progress..sounds like a simple implementation to this system, just add doors before any room

they mention "i hope we don't get the Heap card next" so their system has specific room cards with specific rules sounds like "D&Dsystem chamber" cards go from 1 chamber to the next..

but anyway on Doors subject. for the challenges to open doors, you could use the secret door system, to open a door reveal a red search icon, and fulfill its task if you fail spawn a monster, and attempt again next turn

they also have a "terror" track of some kind for time pressure, i've many ideas for these but none any where near tested. so wont tackle it now..
i only hope we see the official variant sooner rather then later
 
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Bruno Reeuws
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i see they put the news officially on their site now that the kits can be preordered for retailers
sent a text to my friends who have a shop allready
 
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Selwyn Hope
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Had a look over this a few times, and kinda wishing I had some Descent 1.0 monster figures to use all the cards.

Have made an attempt at adding to Nerdook's work, incorporating all 2nd Edition Lieutenants and monsters, most of the passage ways and rooms, and the artifacts so far released.



Ill try uploading a PDF for printing if anyone is interested (cards are roughly 5.5cm x 8.5cm).

The yellow circles contain the room tile to use, the blue are the passage tiles to use, and the green circle is the monster group that activates.

Link to PDF
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Hi!
Great work on Descent Cards! I'll try it here today. I'm wondering if you plan to create a card with the rules printed on it.
In which software you did it?

edit: It will be nice to add a symbol to identify which expansion the component indicated in the card belongs to.
 
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Great adittion! Worked smoothly. I've put some photos with captions in portuguese here:
https://plus.google.com/photos/+IgorKnopBr/albums/5970310627...

I'll look for a good quality print with colored cards now.

Thank you again Nerdook and Cesspit!
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Selwyn Hope
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If anyone is interested, I have done a TrueType Font containing the assorted symbols used in Descent. I uploaded it to files, but either it isn't suitable for BGG or an admin hasn't got around to verify it.

In the meantime if you want a copy so you can create your own Descent variant(s), drop me a geek mail.

Complete Font Set:


URL (while it lasts): http://www.filedropper.com/showdownload.php/descentsymbols

Thanks,
Cesspit
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