Thoughts From The Gameroom

The ramblings of a Euro-gamer from South Dakota

Game Day: DreamBlade & Descent

Posted by sodaklady on July 2, 2007


When Mike arrived yesterday, there were just the two of us until Cori and/or Richard could join us so I showed Mike the free sample version I’d made of DreamBlade.

 This game came to my attention by way of another blog,   Mosse’s enthusiasm for the game after being less than impressed with the interactive demo made me curious enough to look for more information.  What I found was some very pleased gamers and a downloadable Virtual Starter.

Homemade DreamBlade         

The game is played on a board of 5 X 5 “cells”, creatures being brought into the game from your reserve according to the roll of 2 dice, which limits your selection but still offers enough choice of pieces.  On your turn, you have two actions and can choose between:    move (shift) or attack (strike).  Each player has cells that will award him points if his piece(s) are the only ones in it at the end of the round.  You also get one point for each enemy character you’ve killed in the round.  The player with the most points wins the round.  You must win 6 rounds to win the game.

 I had tried out a few turns in a solo game after I finished my do-it-yourself project and thought it moved a bit slow.  Then I discovered I’d made a mistake with the rules, moving only 1 piece each time I chose the “shift” action.  Well, that would make a difference, wouldn’t it?!   So this game did not get relegated to the trash can and it continued to occupy a part of my mind.  Maybe it was the concept of putting together pieces that would enhance each other, maybe it was the feeling that there was a unique game here, or maybe it was the dice.  Yeah, I have a love/hate relationship with dice; I love them, they hate me.  So with Mike as a fellow experimenter, we gave it another try.

 I set up the paper pieces and dug out a fistful of dice while Mike read the rules.  Maybe I’ve mentioned before that Mike is great at reading and digesting rules so this is a better method than my trying to explain a game I’m not yet totally familiar with.

  Mike won the first roll for initiative, and every one after that for that matter.  Mike won the second round by taking possession of one of his scoring cells while I hadn’t reached one of mine due to forgetting to spawn in my spawn row instead of my portal.  Mike continued to win the initiative and kill off my creatures for the next 3 rounds, winning all but one round, which was a tie.

 I was feeling a bit helpless by now.  I couldn’t win the initiative and was not allowed to run from a fight and couldn’t roll well when I did attack.  That’s when we realized that we had missed a crucial rule.  Since Mike had the initiative, my creatures should have been granted a “deathblow” when they were killed, as a way to balance my being second player.  It was too late in the game to fix the mess we’d made of it but we had gotten a feel for how it worked and decided it was, indeed, kind of a neat game.

Descent:  Journeys In The Dark

Cori was now ready to play with us and Richard was due home shortly so Mike and I set up Descent.  I and my family had never played before, though we had a basic knowledge of the characters from our previous playing of Runebound.  I chose a character for Richard, a hunky dude with a reach of 2 spaces and the ability to cleave, who should be great in melee.  For myself, I chose a sexy lass who was fair in melee and good with ranged weapons, with the ability to shoot from the aspect of an adjacent square.  Cori covered the magical arena with another sexy lass who turned out to have quite an attitude.  We made a formidable band but, sadly, clueless as to what awaited us.

 Our band of heroes took a vote and pushed Richard toward the first door.  We were greeted by bow-wielding skeletons and hairy, beastmen; not a large obstacle for such a talented bunch as we were.  We cleared the room and headed towards the next door.  Our first surprise as novice adventurers came when Mike spawned a couple of beastmen and huge bat-like creatures right behind Cori.  She took the brunt of their mindless hate and then returned their attack with an area blast, killing two of the beastmen and a bat.  As a necromancer, she then revived one of the beastmen which killed the second bat.  

When it was time to open the next door, we again took a vote.  I found myself facing more skeletons and a room full of hellhounds waiting to breath fire on any brave explorer.  I took out a skeleton then stepped aside to allow our hulking brute-force comrade to step in and cleave another skeleton and two hellhounds.  What a man!  I think I’ll marry him if we make it out of here alive.  Cori set off down the hallway to show the last hellhound the error of his fire-breathing ways.

 We cleared the hallway and next room which was guarded by an Ogre but not without mishap.  The ceiling fell in on Cori, causing some minor sprains and putting her in a foul mood.  Her mood was improved when the treasure chest held a spell for Burn.  This determined lady had just become very dangerous!

The next room was so full of demonic creatures you couldn’t spit without hitting one.  Spiders, bats, beastmen and a wizard or two milled about waiting for fresh meat.  So far we had been lucky, suffering only minor bruising and sprains…well, I was developing a headache but I think that was just the bad air in the place.  We gave it all we had; cleaving, and burning, and necromancing fallen enemies, and shooting arrows around corners.  The enemies were falling without too much trouble, except for the wizard who wouldn’t stay dead after all the work I’d gone through to kill him the first time and Richard’s bad luck to be caught in a web for three turns.

 Finally the room was quiet, albeit messy.  We looted the room and headed to town before opening the Red Door.  I opened the door, Cori right behind me, and found a beastman, two spiders, two manticores and a large, very ugly giant.  I took a shot, doing little damage, and fell back to allow Cori to Burn.  This is one mean spell and she took out the beastman, one spider and one of the manticores, and burned the second manticore to within an inch of death in a fierce Battle attack.  This enchantress then resurrected the beastman, who proceeded to kill the second manticore.    Richard took out the second spider but then we heard a sound behind us and found several creatures had come in behind us. 

Since I couldn’t penetrate the giant’s shields but did manage to ensnare him in a web, I set about to clear the room behind us of monsters while Richard stepped up to confront the giant, now only 1 space away.  Unfortunately for our muscle-bound hero, the giant did not play fair and turned him into a monkey.  So the marriage is off.

 In a desperate act, Cori sent her Burn spell towards the giant, eliminating the monkey as well.  It was a blessing, really, since he was doomed to a boring life of nit-picking.  Cori continued to fight with her Burn spell and I continued to attack smaller prey.  We fought as ones returned from the dead and finally managed to prevail, watching the giant breathe his last through the wall of flames that had engulfed him.

 We headed home to await our next chance encounter with a creepy old dude spouting information about adventure and loot.

 (Poetic license filled in where memory failed.)


5 Responses to “Game Day: DreamBlade & Descent”

  1. Linnaeus said

    So how did you feel about Descent as a game (as opposed to a source of narrative inspiration)?

  2. sodaklady said

    Storytelling aside, I liked it very much. We all had fun and it kept everyone engaged throughout the game unlike World of Warcraft, which felt like 2 teams each playing a separate game, or Runebound, which felt like it dragged for some reason that I haven’t pinpointed yet. I definitely want to play again. There are so many heroes to experiment with and the cards you’re given at the beginning of the game makes them unique to that playing. Fun and variety. Both good things, in my opinion.

  3. What a brilliant session report of Descent! Thank you.

  4. sodaklady said

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, Joe. There’s a slightly different version of it at the Geek–A Love Story Gone Awry. 🙂

  5. June

    For the most part I agree with you and enjoy reading your posts.

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