Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New to Me June 2016 --> Did it Stand the Test of Time?

BGG user Martin G does a monthly list - New to you a year ago (date) --> Has it stood the test of time? This month's list can be found at here.

Last year, I only had one new to me game in June, which was only semi-new. Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) – Road to Legend. I say semi-new because the game of Descent was not new to me at all, but FFG released their new companion application to the 2nd edition, and it changed things up for me. First off, I had only managed to get the game in its natural form (1 vs many) to the table once or twice. The picture here are my painting of the base Descent set, so I obviously have some personal investment in Descent and just beyond that, I really enjoy the game, so not getting it played bothered me a fair bit. I've always been a fantasy fan and a fan of dungeon crawlers, but this game has never really resonated with others like it has for me. FFG had released a couple of solo/co-op adventures for the game (materials from their Game Night kits) and while I liked those well enough, they were really static - static monster sets and basically just a single (hard) quest.

The Road to Legend app changes the original game by providing an AI for the monsters, allowing you to play the game as a co-op (which also means, solo). It is very similar in feel to the released solo/co-ops adventures in that the app provides instructions for how the monsters should activate and behave each round, but the monsters are not static for each quest. Instead of the monsters being the same for each quest or episode, the RtL app picks randomly from all the monster sets that you have available. So if you have a lot of expansions and monster packs (like I do), then you can run the same campaign or quest multiple times and get a different feel each time.

Not only that, but unlike the released co-op adventures, RtL wasn't a single adventure. The app originally came with one small campaign which everyone figured was just the teaser to get you to play Road to Legend and then buy future material. Well, we all did play that intro and were chomping at the bit for more. FFG then released a full campaign - for free! One nice bit - all the expansions and Hero and Monster packs also added additional side quests to the story, which also lent itself to the replay ability of the campaigns. You could play a campaign repeatedly and while some of the adventures would be the same ones (albeit with random monsters from your collection), the travel / side quests would be random.

The only downside to RtL was that there still was no way to solo / co-op play the actual campaigns packaged in the game. So despite my new found "game", I still wanted to play through all the material that I had purchased. So after a bit of hemm-ing and haw-ing, I broke down and printed out RedJak's Automated Monster Variant (RAMV). BGG user RedJak had come up with a system of automating the Overlord player (RAOV) that I had tried, but I just didn't care for tracking the Overlord stuff from session to session). With RAMV, you skip the Overlord and the system defines the monster behaviors for each adventure (or monsters for randomly picked ones in each quest). In essence, it did what Road to Legend did, but in a manually defined way. So RAMV gave me the opportunity to play through campaigns, while RtL gave me similar experiences with new material in an app. The truth is, I probably wouldn't have investigated RAMV without RtL. With the two, I had a new wealth of material to play through (probably more than one guy that doesn't play all that many solo games could play).

So has it stood the test of time? Heck yeah. In fact, RtL released an in-app-purchase called The Delve, which lets you play Road to Legend as a one-off randomly put together experience (think Diablo style dungeon delve). That really lets you dive in and for a quick fix, and lets you scratch that dungeon crawl itch.

Yep, I painted all this. All the monsters from the base game.

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