Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Descent 2.0 sidelined by Wrath of Ashardalon

Lately I have been on this Co-Op game kick. Whether it be Arkham Horror or Runebound (which can not be co-op if you want it to not be) I have been looking forward to working with another player and taking part in an adventure rather than playing a bad guy trying to kill someone.

So when I got Descent 2.0 I was a little leery of reading over everything and setting up the first adventure and then teaching someone how to play and then getting into the mechanics etc etc. Instead I played Battletech and then the next week looked into Wizard of the Coast's Wrath of Ashardalon and the Dungeon Game System they have.

Now don't get me wrong. I liken Wizards of the Coast to be the Games Workshop of the board gaming industry. Even though GW could technically be considered to be just as bad in that avenue as well. I mean hell OTHER companies make better games with their license than they do.

So I was leery jumping into ANYTHING WoTC does after how they bastardized D&D and some other games. 

Once I found out Wrath of Ashardalon was Co-Op and had random dungeon tile placement each game as well as could be COMBINED with Castle Ravenloft and Legend of Drizzt I was all on board with that series. There are a few things I like:

Random Dungeons
Random Treasures
Random Encounters

Basically anything that plays like Diablo 2 (NOT Diablo 3)

Descent is a great game don't get me wrong. However it is a bit programmed, a little linear and VERY heavy on fluff and the RPG aspect. At this point that is not what I want. I want grand adventure, I want to NOT know what I am getting into, and I want to take 3-4 friends with me and make a party and CRUSH FACE IN A DUNGEON.

So despite the fact that Descent 2.0 is out amidst much hoopla I have gravitated toward collecting Castle Ravenloft, Wrath of Ashardalon and Legend of Drizzt.

So I did a ton of research. I scoured message boards and found ways to combine all three games and actually came up with some useful resources. I found the following sites and threads about combining the 3 games very good places to refer to:

All the extra cool things in one thread:


The Examiner has an entire series of articles on this:

The Fantasy Quest site has encounter cards and more to print out:


Board Game Geek has the following threads:

Scenario Database with Rankings:

Storing the massive amount of components:

Spontaneous Derivation Blog has a deck generator AND team generator:

Last but not least someone actually built and entire ADVENTURE generator with an excel spreadsheet:


So armed with all these resources it is hard not to fall into the Wrath of Ashardalon craze. THEN Wizards of the Coast went and made Dungeon Command which was just released. This is a D&D miniatures skirmish game that, along with 12 miniatures in each faction pack, includes cards to be used in all the Dungeon System games (as well as some tiles).

When you put all that together the bang for the buck and the ability to create your own campaigns is through the roof. Sure the game has some weird monster tactics that are a bit shallow but I can forgive this for the fact that it is co-op and a huge dungeon romp. Also I will admit that I had more fun PLAYING Descent 2.0 than trying to be the Overlord. 

In my first Wrath of Ashardalon game I took the role of the Cleric and my friend took the role of the female dwarf fighter. The game is VERY literal. Follow everything EXACTLY as it says and use common sense and you will understand it very quickly. We won the intro scenario with each of us having 2 hit points left and down a surge token. I was the first one knocked out as I fell into a pit, had a boulder hit me and got noxious fumes. I missed every single attack I made and played horribly. But the Dwarf Fighter killed 11 of the 12 we needed and we won. Barely. It was a blast.