Descent: Legends of the Dark
"But this is, without a doubt, the best board game with an integrated app we’ve ever played, and it’s not even close." – Tony Mastrangeli, Board Game Quest
"What has struck me about Legends of the Dark as I journey through its campaign is how far the app cleverly stretches what’s in the box, to make it feel like a game of twice the size." – Matt Jarvis, Dicebreaker
"The app-driven experience feels like a board game, but plays like an RPG... The result is a rich, seamless experience and one of the very best board games published this year." – Samantha Nelson, Polygon
Terrinoth is in peril. The demon-tainted Uthuk Y’llan barbarians stalk the realm and the undead servants of Waiqar the Undying venture beyond their borders for the first time in memory. The leaders of Terrinoth are divided and fractious, unable to unite against these common threats. And in the northern barony of Forthyn, the stage is set for the next great confrontation between Terrinoth and the forces of darkness...
Forge your own legend as a hero of Terrinoth in Descent: Legends of the Dark, the definitive cooperative dungeon-crawling board game for one to four players!
Across the gripping quests of an unfolding campaign, you and your fellow heroes will venture across the realm, battling terrifying monsters, unlocking new skills, and exploring a wondrous fantasy world. Legends of the Dark features a fully integrated companion app, opening the door for an unforgettable journey as you explore high towers, dismal tombs, dark forests, and the city of Frostgate. With 46 pieces of 3D terrain and 40 striking hero and monster miniatures bringing your game to life, Legends of the Dark is an invitation to adventure that no one will want to miss.
Becoming a Hero
Six unique heroes await in Descent: Legends of the Dark, each offering their own strengths, weaknesses, and combat styles. Brynn, the Human Avenger, wades into combat, making powerful strikes with her sword and warhammer. Vaerix, the Dragon-Hybrid Outcast, is adept at healing and inspiring his fellow heroes. Chance hides in the shadows, springing out to make a deadly attack before disappearing into the darkness once more.
Syrus calls upon untamable magical forces and his own bond with his phoenix to turn enemies to ash. Kehli, the Dwarf Artificer, has a knack for finding the perfect tool, constantly innovating and inspiring those around her. And Galaden the Elf moves with balletic precision, firing arrows from afar and following up with devastating sword attacks.
A hero’s individuality isn’t completely expressed on their hero sheet though—each hero boasts a suite of unique weapons and skills that embody their own playstyle and flavor. In Legends of the Dark, each hero starts the campaign with two weapons. For instance, Vaerix begins the game with the Ironthorn Warbell and the Riverwatch Spear. These two weapon cards are sleeved together back-to-back to create a single attack card. (Sleeves for creating attack cards are included in the game!) As you engage in battle, you’ll flip back and forth between your two weapons, adapting to the evolving battle and exploiting the weaknesses of new enemies that arise to attack you. And of course, as you play through the campaign, you’ll uncover the recipes and crafting materials that allow you to craft new weapons, opening new avenues for attack
Beyond just your weapons and your inherent abilities, every hero earns experience as you advance through the campaign, and you can use that experience to pick new skills for your hero whenever you start a quest. Like the hero sheet, skill cards are double-sided, with different abilities on each side—for example, Vaerix can use Destiny's Call to doom an enemy and inflict a powerful negative condition, while on the reverse side of that same card, you’ll find Fate's Embrace, which you can use to make a deadly attack, potentially eliminating that doomed enemy. As you move through any quest, you’ll need to keep a careful eye on your skills, ensuring you have the right quest available to you at any given time.
Descent: Legends of the Dark also offers an unparalleled ability to customize your hero over the course of the campaign. When you pick your hero at the beginning of a new quest, you can pick your weapons and skills anew from all of your available options, giving you complete flexibility to customize how you want to play and explore new ways to engage in combat as the game goes on!
Dive into Battle
The gameplay of Descent: Legends of the Dark is fast and intuitive, and on each turn as a hero, you’ll get three actions, choosing from:
One of your actions must always be a maneuver action, but for the remaining two actions, you can choose your options freely.
A maneuver action gives you movement points equal to your hero’s speed, shown in the upper right corner of your hero sheet, which can be used to move across the battlefield. The explore action lets you interact with tokens and 3D terrain in the app—which could mean investigating a corpse, cracking open a booby-trapped treasure chest, climbing a tree to get a better view, or dozens of other options. Certain abilities on your skills, weapons, or hero sheet require an action to activate, and the unique action lets you use these actions to gain the upper hand.
As mentioned above, many of the cards in Legends of the Dark are double-sided, with your hero sheet, attack card, and skill cards each offering different abilities on opposite sides of the card. The ready action lets you flip one of your cards to its opposite side, unlocking a new ability and clearing all fatigue or condition tokens that have been placed on the card—giving you the perfect way to pivot your strategy and ensure your hero is ready to dive into combat once more.
Finally, the fight action lets you directly attack an enemy—something you’ll do quite often as you cut your way through the foes that stand between you and your objective. Combat in Descent: Legends of the Dark has significant depth as you orchestrate your hero abilities, skill cards, weapon abilities, and tactical positioning to deal lethal attacks against the monsters that stand in your way. The core of resolving combat in Legends of the Dark, however, is relatively straightforward.
When you take an attack action, you’ll target an enemy within range of your faceup weapon and use the app to select which monster your hero is going to attack and which weapon you’re using. Then, you’ll roll the attack die shown on your hero sheet. While different weapons offer their own range, base damage, or abilities, your hero always rolls the same type of die for every attack.
There are three types of symbol that appear on every die—success, advantage, and surge. Successes directly translate into damage dealt to the enemy, whereas the advantage symbol can be converted into success, provided you’re willing to take a fatigue for each conversion. And finally, surges can be spent to trigger powerful hero abilities.
Once you’ve tallied your successes and converted any advantages, you’ll input your number of successes into the app, which automatically deals damage to your target after calculating any adjustments! For example, enemies have weaknesses to specific damage types, such as slashing, piercing, or a certain element, which cues the app to deal extra damage in those situations. In addition, the app will calculate your target’s defense, as your enemy may have a chance to absorb some incoming damage. Balancing skills, weapons, abilities, damage types, and positioning are crucial to cutting down your foes efficiently and achieving success in Legends of the Dark!
The Call of Darkness
Evil is stirring in Terrinoth once more, and countless dangers arise throughout the game’s sprawling sixteen-quest campaign. The gameplay foundation of Descent: Legends of the Dark is built on a fully integrated companion app, which governs everything from activating enemies, to building an unfolding scenario, to opening the door for activities like crafting and shopping between quests.
At the beginning of a quest, you’ll start with perhaps only a single map tile in play—but as you move deeper into the map and explore your surroundings the Legends of the Dark app will direct you to place more and more tiles and terrain. The combination of double-sided map tiles and underlays gives unparalleled depth to the number of scenarios you can create—and that depth is elevated with the addition of vertical levels and 3D terrain that give Legends of the Dark an unrivaled presence on your tabletop.
Your levels will be filled with staircases up to other rooms, sturdy bookshelves, towering trees, treasure chests, barricades, doors, and statues. And all this 3D terrain isn’t just decorative: you can interact with all of it through the app, plucking valuable tomes off a moldering shelf, cracking open a booby-trapped chest, or climbing a tree to scout out the terrain ahead.
Your objectives will change from quest to quest as you follow the overarching story of the campaign, but you’ll face constant opposition from enemies. From bandits waylaying you on the road, to Uthuk Y’llan berserkers howling for blood, to deadly fae, monstrous golems, ravenous wolves, undead wights, and even more terrifying foes, every enemy is fully brought to life with stunning miniatures.
Thanks to the Legends of the Dark companion app, each of these enemies boast their own cunning ploys and adapt to the unfolding battle, whether that means laying their plans for a devastating future attack, inspiring other enemies in combat, or even more devious tactics. We’ll take a much closer look at combat in a future preview, since the strategic interplay between your hero abilities, weapons, and skills is a key part of every quest in Legends of the Dark!
Crafting Your Weapon
The Legends of the Dark app isn’t limited to your quests—in fact, it opens the door for even more opportunities between scenarios, such as crafting and weapon upgrades. Over the course of the adventure, as you slay enemies, open chests, or explore dusty chambers, you’ll uncover valuable crafting materials and gold, all tracked by the app. Once you’ve found the recipe for an item, you can craft and upgrade that item at the crafthall in your home city of Frostgate. Perhaps you’ll create new Seer’s Blades for Galaden, or a Gilded Warbell for Vaerix! No matter what you craft, all weapons can be upgraded, so long as you have the resources to pay for it, unlocking an even more powerful version of the weapon.
Weapons can be modified even further in the Frostgate armory. In Descent: Legends of the Dark, weapons have three parts. The first part dictates the weapon card that you use, but the other two parts grant your weapon secondary abilities with a percent chance of triggering each time your hero attacks. These bonuses are fully managed by the app, and in the armory, you can optimize for your next quest, or customize your weapons to fit your style of play.
As your hero grows and gains experience over the course of the campaign, you’ll have even more chances to customize your hero. Every hero has unique feats, tracked by the app, that you can complete to progress your hero’s personal growth. Completing feats can grant you powerful rewards, like new skills or exclusive recipes, so you’ll want to be sure you keep your feats in mind as you play.
Start Your Own Legend
Gather your team of heroes and begin your quest with Descent: Legends of the Dark, the definitive dungeon-crawling board game!
Gen Con 2021 Codeword: INDRIS
Is this the third edition of Descent: Journeys in the Dark?
2 – 3 hours
1 – 4 players
Watch this space for support items related to Descent: Legends of the Dark, including the rules!
© and ™ Fantasy Flight Games.