News for June 2012
Pick Your Poison
A Preview of Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition

As both Realms of Terrinoth 2012 and the Second Edition Preview Event approach (and with them your first chance to play Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition), we’re nearing the end of our series of in-depth previews. We’ve gained insights into the game’s mechanics with our look at the heroes’ and overlord’s turn summary, the basics of combat, and the campaign system. But we’ve also learned how hero players can spend experience points to add valuable class-based Skill cards to their repertoire of tactics (our preview of the Scout class is coming soon), and we’ve alluded to similar options available to the overlord player.

Today, we’ll see how the overlord “purchases” new abilities and incorporates them into his selection of nasty tricks, and how Second Edition uses light deck-building elements to help create a compelling overlord experience.

From Humble Beginnings

In the preview entitled Sinister Schemes, we explained that the overlord player draws one Overlord card from his deck per turn, then may play as many as he likes provided each card’s specific triggering condition is met. The important detail, therefore, is which cards are in his Overlord deck, waiting to be randomly drawn.

At the start of the campaign, the overlord player begins with a predetermined fifteen-card deck of basic-level Overlord cards. In addition to having the word “basic” in their lower left corners, these cards have another commonality. The zero in each card’s lower right corner indicates its cost in experience points; naturally, these particular cards are free because you begin with them.

These basic cards provide a range of events, traps, and magical effects with which to foil the plans of do-gooding heroes. Dash lends you minions a sudden and unexpected burst of speed, while Pit Trap can help whittle down the heroes’ all important health and movement points. Even the classic favorite Dark Charm is back, compelling Terrinoth’s warriors to turn on their trusted allies.

Note that Dark Charm requires its victim to test his willpower attribute before determining its effect, and what’s more, it provides the overlord with a new card should the hero successfully retain control. This consolation prize takes some of the sting out of a potential Dark Charm failure, but it also gives the overlord player another method of gaining new cards. Many Overlord cards offer this same benefit for failed effects, helping ensure a consistent stream of options, even for aggressive overlords.

A Growing Evil

It’s after the overlord has earned some experience that his deck becomes especially dangerous. We’ve previously mentioned that the overlord, like the heroes, chooses a class. While he does have class-specific options, however, he is not required to commit to a class per se. It’s entirely feasible that an Overlord deck could consist of cards from all three classes, if that’s how the player has chosen to build it. What’s important is that the overlord player purchases his new cards in the correct order, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

There are three overlord classes:


Above, a level I, II, and III card from the Warlord class. To purchase a level II
card, the overlord must first have two level I cards. To purchase a level III
card, he must first have three Warlord cards in any combination of levels.

Within each class, there are then three levels of cards, increasing in potency from one to three. Here, then, is the important part when spending experience points: While all level one cards are always available for purchase by the overlord (regardless of class), the overlord must have two level one cards of a specific class in his deck before he can purchase a level two card in that class. Similarly, he must have three cards (of any level) in a specific class before purchasing a level three card in that class. An overlord hoping to spend his hard-earned experience on a new card must therefore first ask two questions: Do I have enough experience? And have I built the necessary foundation for this pyramid of skills?

The question, then, is one of strategy and personal preference. Will you be a jack-of-all-trades, spending your experience points dabbling in the lower levels of all the overlord classes? Or will you concentrate your points into one class, earning your way to its top tier of powerful abilities?

Whichever evil path you decide to walk, you’ll have the freedom to rebuild your deck of at least fifteen Overlord cards between every quest, pulling from all the basic cards plus any others you’ve purchased. There are even “universal” cards, like Plan Ahead and Schemes, that can be useful in any nefarious plot!

Anxious to be among the first to play Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition? Realms of Terrinoth 2012 in Roseville, MN is just three weeks away, and you can still register on our webstore! Can’t make it to Minnesota? Check with your local retailer to see if they are participating in the Second Edition Preview Event, July 6th-8th.

Either way, you may want to clear some time in your schedule next week. On Thursday the 14th, you’ll have some reading to do...

Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition is a story-driven board game for 2-5 players that takes a party of adventurers deep into the dungeons of Terrinoth for adventure, treasure, and glory. Players will embark on a campaign of linked quests as they develop characters based on four fantasy archetypes.

    
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