Mennara is a world of magic, mystery, and adventure. In the deep places beneath the earth lurk terrifying monsters and foul villains, conspiring to plunge the land into shadow. Fortunately, Mennara is also a world of heroes. Heroes clever of mind, strong of sword arm, and stout of heart. Heroes in many shapes and sizes, unlikely heroes of many races and creeds and from many walks of life. Heroes like you…
In a socially distanced world, Descent: Journeys in the Dark brings swashbuckling fantasy adventure and dungeon crawling back to your tabletop. At a time where getting the gang together for a weekly session might prove somewhat difficult, you can find an amazing solo or small group experience right out of the box – even without a DM.
After all, if you’re going to be trapped somewhere for the Circuit Breaker, why not imagine up a dungeon?
TLDR: Descent: Journeys in the Dark is a 2 to 5 player board game dungeon crawler which can be played head to head with one player controlling the monsters, or as a 1 to 4 player cooperative campaign experience with a free app automating the running of scenarios. It seeks to provide a boxed board game take on the whole Role-Playing Game Dungeon Crawl experience.
Right from the start, Descent promises an experience that hearkens back to the traditional RPG. The box is loaded with a veritable hoard of map tiles, dice and plastic miniatures that hearkens back to the traditional fantasy storytelling experience, to the point where a box of Descent could probably be a stealth upgrade to any DM looking to spruce up his own games of Dungeons & Dragons.
Descent might seem like a complicated game, but there’s method to the madness. Players control heroes which have limited number of actions, whether to move or fight, and combat is an elegant mechanic, rolling colour coded dice against shield dice representing the defender’s defence. Shields cancel damage with any spillover transferring to the character, while surge symbols do nothing, but allow both attackers and defenders to activate special powers and bonuses.
This sees players rampage through dungeons like a medieval fantasy SWAT Team, opening doors, looting rooms and tussling with a spread of savage monsters unleashed by an Overlord player, all while time ticks away as a Overlord builds resources steadily, plotting to unleash ever more powerful minions, traps and other horrible plots against the marauding players.
Though originally designed as a traditional board game with one to four players each choosing one of several heroes and battling to stop the efforts of an Overlord player, Fantasy Flight Games has elevated the game-play of Descent with the simple addition of a free App.
The brilliantly designed ‘Road to Legend‘ is a free download for Apple, Android, PC and Mac platforms which controls the monsters arrayed against you, dungeon layout and the unfolding scenario. The adventures are even strung together into a full campaign, so winning and losing can have long term repercussions on the party. Everything from hero level ups to loot drops can be recorded, chronicling your victories and defeats in each scenario and changing the evolving story.
This turns Descent from an adversarial relationship into a purely cooperative one, with one-to-four player controlling heroes against a campaign against the ever escalating threat of a virtual Overlord.
Descent just oozes the usual expected Fantasy Flight Games quality, with physically beautiful components and a rule-set that while dense, is still a streamlined affair considering its RPG roots. If you play Descent with people who are there for the RPG experience, I recommend breaking out the Road to Legends App which will challenge you, thrill you and reward you in many of the same ways a tabletop DM could. For all that this fantastic dungeon crawler draws from its keenly Dungeons & Dragons inspired roots, it knows that there’s nothing better than walking away from a well fought battle with a pocket full of gold, ready for your next quest.
– Kenneth, Games @ PI Manager