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Go to the Descent: Journeys in the Dark (2ed) page
77 out of 90 gamers thought this was helpful

..but unfortunately I can’t. After reading numerous reviews on different sites I had the chance to try it with a bunch of people playing a random mission and I really liked it, so I got very excited when a friend of mine told me that he bought the game. We got together with some gamer friends to play the initial first mission then kick off a campaign over the following few weekends.

Descent: Journeys in the Dark is set in a classic fantasy universe filled with all kinds of sentient races, great monsters and the evil forever lurking in the shadows. Great forests, deep caverns, wizards, druids, knights, rangers and thieves and all the other usual components of adventure give any hero-to-be the perfect breeding ground.

All the components are well designed and great quality and FFG made sure you get a bang for your buck. Beautiful cards, game tiles, nice hero and monster minis, everything. The only thing I don’t understand is why they didn’t make minis for the lieutenants (the overlord’s agents, basically evil heroes), only tokens. You can purchase the figures separately from FFG in metal but it would have been nice to include them, perhaps in black or dark grey plastic.

The Game
In Descent players take roles of a hero each, and one player acts as the overlord, controlling the monsters and playing against all the other players.
The heroes available are 4 classes with 2 career choices each, totalling at 8. These are: Warrior (Champion/Berserker), Healer (Knight/Disciple), Scout (Thief/Wildlander), Mage (Runemaster/Necromancer). The 8 models are only assigned to the 4 classes (2 each) so with their different skillsets and heroic feat you can assign them to your choice of career, giving you 16 different heroes out of the box but don’t expect a drastic difference. As I just mentioned heroes all have a ‘heroic feat’ ability which they can use once per encounter. This is usually a quite powerful action, or a certain bonus to the standard actions. As it is once/encounter you will have to choose wisely when to pop this but it is quite rewarding.
The 4 main stats for heroes are Movement, Health, Stamina and Defence. These are your most important stats and much of the game and the flavour of your character depend on these. There are also 4 more stats for further tests.
You can play one-off games of Descent, but where it should really shine is campaign mode. In this version you will play a chain of quests according to the quest book. Your heroes will gain experience and buy new skills, loot treasures and buy items they can keep. They travel between missions and there’s a card deck to tell you what event happened during these travels. The quests are set up by the overlord who decides what monsters to take and where they go (unless specified by the quest), then once everything is ready heroes enter the board and the game starts.
A hero can take 2 actions per turn, which can be move, attack, search, revive a hero, anything special from a card or feat etc… in any combination and in any order. Some actions also cost ‘fatigue’ points, these can only be taken if you have enough stamina left.
Once all the heroes finished acting, the overlord takes over and activates all the monsters in groups. Their activation is almost the same as that of the heroes with the exception that they they cannot attack twice in a turn. Additionally the overlord has a hand of cards that he can play against the players or to buff his monsters.
The turns go back and forth until either the heroes or the overlord achieve their goal, then wrap up the game, gain XP and move onto the next quest.

All the quests and their combinations and the different combinations of hero parties should give this game a good replay value, but I did not get to play it that much. With all the expansions out and in the pipeline, if you like this game you will have fun with it for a long time.

Last words
So all of this sounds pretty good, and all the reviews say what a great replacement this is for any RPG that would take more planning and work. Sadly, we did not experience any of that. We played through a campaign and found the following things annoying:
The overlord will win most quests, unless he’s doing something very wrong or he gets very unlucky / heroes get very lucky with dice.
Winning or losing quests does not matter throughout the game, it only influences the storyline as whoever wins the final game wins overall.
Heroes don’t ever die. If you die you just get up next turn, or wait for someone to revive you
The game consists solely of running around and killing stuff. Most missions can be solved by running up to a key monster and killing it as fast as you can. Yes you have to go and find the secret thing or pick the magic lock, etc.. but the only way of getting there (or getting through) is by killing everything else that blocks your way. And there’s a lot of that on a game board built with 2 square wide corridors. There is no alternative solution, no real logical puzzle and no challenge.
There is 0 amount of roleplaying involved.
Many combinations of heroes make the game unplayable, mainly due to the above 2 issues.

I may be the wrong kind of RPG player for this game, or maybe I had too big expectations but I would pick any pen and paper RPG with pre-generated quests over Descent any time. It is a very good looking game and it is very enjoyable up to a certain point, but there is only so much fun to be had in rolling dice and killing monsters.

Go to the Guilds of Cadwallon page
28 out of 30 gamers thought this was helpful

Guilds of Cadwallon is a light-hearted worker placement / strategy game with a fantasy theme. I went in on the Kickstarter as I am a great fan of Rackham, and Cool Mini or Not tends to produce good quality games so this review is of the Kickstarter edition with the few extra bits that came as stretch goals. The difference between this is that the amount of cards for the ks edition is doubled, and there are 4 additional sets of pawns (different sculpts in 4 new colours), so it can be played by up to 8 players, or on a bigger play area.

As I mentioned, the game is set in Cadwallon, the Free City (or City of Thieves) in the world of Confrontation and Rag-Narok created by Rackham. I’m not sure if the game was created and then the theme pulled over it or if the game was made specifically for this setting, but they fit well together. Cadwallon is meant to be the one free city on the world of Aarklash where nations live together more or less in peace (well, compared to the war going on outside the walls of the city, that is). People are organised in Guilds and these Guilds fight each other for wealth, prestige and to gain more control of the city. It is an ideal setting for role playing (which is what it was created for), but the simple diceless mechanics of this game seem to work well with it too (opposed to the other board/card games created for this franchise which ended up being completely based on luck, thus trumping all over the supposed intrigue and power play), although not as well represented as it is in Lords of Waterdeep. The personality cards are well known characters of Cadwallon RPG and Confrontation so fans will be happy to see the familiar faces – if not a little disappointed to see the exact same faces again.
Also, having played Cadwallon back in the day I have to say the Guilds are a little off, but this will likely not bother anyone and does not let the game down.

This was a little bit of a let down for me, and the reason for the game rating going down to 6 instead of 7. Having seen Zombicide and the rendered pictures of the pawns (same as on the box and in the official description above) I got very excited. The game uses the little ‘familiar’ models from the Confrontation Game and are shown in vibrant colours. These colours are represented on the cards too. Unfortunately the pawns themselves turned out to be completely different. All the colours seem faded compared to the renders, and I don’t mean it in the usual ‘screen-to-irl’ difference. The blue is very pale, the red is non existent, the orange is maroon, the yellow also looks pale, the gray is black, etc… Not only it is difficult to differentiate between some colours (not much of a problem for the pawns, but it is for the plain flat tokens) but also impossible to relate to the colours on the cards. Again, this is not really game changing, but it definitely ruined my excitement.
Quality wise both the pawns and the tokens (coins) are OK for a board game, but still, the colours…
The cards are nicely printed, but very flimsy. And some of the rule cards have typos on them which is again a bit annoying. The rulebook is small and well laid out, but has quite a few typos. Overall it seems CMoN tried to save on proofing of all the products and got unlucky.
The box is small which is a good thing, but it is only split to 2 sections inside so you will need to keep your zip bags to keep things organised. Luckily I managed to fit all the free kickstarter extras in the box all right, but if you ordered any more add ons you will need a bigger box. This was also available (along with a game board) from CMoN during the KS campaign.

The Game
Guilds of Cadwallon is played on a 3×3-5×5 grid of cards placed on the table. There is no need for a game board, but the optional one avalible during the KS campaign is very nice and could improve game experience. Cards have certain characteristics, depending on what kind of cards they are. Guild cards have guild points and support values, militia cards have ‘negative’ support values, personalities and actions have special effects. The spaces between cards are called boulevards and this is where players place their pawns. The pawns get ‘support’ from adjacent cards on their opposite side and the highest total wins. The object of the game is to capture cards with pawns in a top-trumps kinda way played on this matrix. Captured cards go to the players and get replaced by new ones from the deck. This is very easy to understand after only one played round. An extra twist comes in with personalities and action cards. These can change the way totals are calculated or swap cards on the table, changing the support pawns get. Very easy to get the hang of it and a lot of fun trying to constantly thwart your opponents’ plan to capture certain cards. The game ends when you have not got enough cards left in the deck to replace all the captured cards on board. At this point players add up the total guild points of their captured cards, add any bonuses, and the highest total wins the game, having acquired the most influence over the Free City. Easy to learn and you can dish out a couple of games in an hour which makes this a very good filler game.

I can imagine this game getting boring after some time and thus should not be played as the main game. I would compare it to a card game like UNO which you play around for an hour or two if you have nothing better to do, or just have a quick go at it between two bigger games for a change. As a filler game it is great though, and will keep you entertained on those occasions when you haven’t got the time for a big game for years to come.

Last words
I was trying not to compare this to Lords of Waterdeep too much but it is difficult to avoid considering that both of them are euro-games in an RPG’s skin. Luckily the nature of these games is different; while Lords of Waterdeep is a more complex game with more options and longer play, Guilds of Cadwallon is a very simple little game with few components in a small box. Considering the low price I think it is a good buy if you can get over the colours of the game pieces. The small box will not take up much space in your game cupboard so you won’t mind it sitting there for longer between two games, and if you like the artwork of Cadwallon/Confrontation and these kind of games, you will be happy to have it in your collection. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more serious game with more involved mechanics, this is not for you.

43 out of 50 gamers thought this was helpful

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Already bought two new card games and a board game thanks to this… my wallet is crying but I’m happy with my new games and it was really good to go into the shop knowing exactly what I wanted thanks to the numerous reviews, game tips, etc.

A must read site for anyone into boardgaming, I only wish they extended their miniature gaming section a bit.

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