Saturday, January 12, 2008

Rocking and Slaying

What do you get when you cross Descent: Journeys in the Dark and Rock Band? No, not GWAR, though that's not a bad guess. The correct answer this weekend was SABG!

The best cover band in the universe reunited for a day of Rock Band today. In addition, three intrepid heroes plumbed the depths of Descent to chase down an evil demon, the source of evil infecting the nearby generic fantasy hamlet.

From what I could see, the rock stars were having a great time. In the Descent game, the heroes finally one one, vanquishing evil, with the final death scene of the poor misunderstood demon sounding something like this. Sorry... I'm on a bit of a Predator kick right now.

I sincerely appreciate the hospitality Chris provided today, and the great gaming fun provided by Scott, Steve, and Chris around the Descent table. Descent is a tough game to love, but I like it well. It can go a bit long, and when death comes to the heroes, its seems like it usually seems unfair (e.g., surprise! attack yourself!). Still, I am glad we played, and I can't wait to start up a Road to Legend campaign this spring.

What's next? There's preliminary whispers of TI:3 on MLK Day, but I'm not getting my hopes up yet. If you're interested post a reply here. Otherwise, I need to play lots of C&C: Ancients, Combat Commander, Hannibal, and maybe even Lock 'n Load some day.



At 11:53 PM, January 12, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really had a good time playing Descent. The game feels like D&D on steroids, with the heroes and monsters getting progressively stronger fairly quickly (although, to be honest, if anything seems quick in this game, it's probably an accident--there is no quick in this game). Every time we'd get new weapons or Ben would bust out new spells, there was this sense of "Oh yeah? Well, look at THIS crazy powerful effect!" I liked it though--I really like everything about this game. I think 3 heroes against one Overlord is clearly the sweet spot for this game.

It's inevitable that many people will feel like this game drags after a while. As a consequence, there was a collective feeling as soon as we finished that Descent won't see the table again until Road to Legend comes out. I think that's unfortunate, since I like the game so much. But I also think it's unavoidable. There are simply a lot of decisions to make every step of the way, and they frequently depend on everyone else to finish their moves before they can be made. I know Ben faced a lot of downtime as we took our turns, but I never thought that we wasted a lot of time and I'm not sure we could have sped it up much. In fact, I really thought Steve, Scott and I made a good team and reasoned through a lot of situations very well. That reasoning process was a lot of the game's appeal to me. (I don't think Ben enjoyred that part as much as I did, though.)

The other big reason Descent won't see much playing time any time soon is because there are just so many other games we all want to play. There are worse situations to be in than to have too many games to play.

Ok, Ben, two words just for you: Red Scorpion.

At 5:35 AM, January 13, 2008, Blogger Ben said...

Actually, now that my brain has cooled off a bit (it sucks to lose this game!), I can say I would play anytime we have at least 3-4 players together. I would like to try being one of the adventurers some day, just to experience the game on the other side.

Downtime is tough for the DM, as I could finish my little turn, which didn't involve planning or discussions with a party, in 5-10 minutes, then I'd wait 30 minutes for another turn during which time my forces were usually getting swept from the board. Still, I'm sticking by my rating of 8 out of 10 for the game on the BGG scale.

At 9:39 AM, January 13, 2008, Blogger Brian said...

Thanks again for hosting, and for breaking out the "100% Aidan Approved" new speakers for him.

I see the appeal of Descent, but it's a vague feeling. I'd see lots of games of this at the convention where the DM would spend an hour setting up (and the group would spend 30 minutes cleaning up).

GWAR is OK, but its no Hatebeak.

At 11:16 AM, January 13, 2008, Blogger Mark said...

MLK day is not a holiday for us. Otherwise I would love to try out TI3. Lock n' Load is on my list for games I must try.

At 12:03 PM, January 13, 2008, Blogger Schifani said...

Familiarity would help. We don't play this enough, and thus our group decision making process is unavoidably slow. But the teamwork part of the game is where most of the fun lies.

It might get a lot better. As an example, Jon and I have gotten in a lot of games of WotR, and we seem to be completing games incredibly fast these days.

Familiarity will also make me more immune to all the "gotcha!" aspects of the game that come up for both sides.

At 1:56 PM, January 13, 2008, Blogger Brian said...

I don't get MLK day off, but I could make DLair by 4:30 or so. So ya'll can be finishing up TI3 and ready for other things...

At 4:26 PM, January 13, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm out the next three Mondays, as my two best friends from college have chosen the next two to make their way down to San Antonio for a visit. Then crazy old work is making me stay in the hospital for overnight call on the third one. Don't they all know Mondays are reserved for DL gaming?

At 5:28 PM, January 13, 2008, Blogger Ben said...

Bummer! Chris is out of the picture for MLK?

If you guys would like to play Descent again this coming Saturday, I have another nice, relatively short scenario picked out that looks like good fun. If it helps, I'd even DM again.

I'm in the phase of my marathon training where I'm pretty much hungry and tired constantly, so this may have made me a tad impatient for my turns to come up. Sorry about that. I ran 20 miles this morning and spent a good portion of it thinking about Descent and how much I'd like to play it again.

At 4:46 PM, January 14, 2008, Blogger seanp said...

So did the band make the Hall Of Fame? I realize I'm just the stand-in bassist, but it was a blast playing Rock Band with the full contingent. I see that they've released it for the PS2, but cut out the majority of the world tour portion of the game, which is one of the most compelling additions... perhaps we'll wait for the Wii edition.


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