When comparing Descent: Journeys in the Dark vs Agricola, the Slant community recommends Descent: Journeys in the Dark for most people. In the question“What are the best board games?” Descent: Journeys in the Dark is ranked 23rd while Agricola is ranked 42nd. The most important reason people chose Descent: Journeys in the Dark is:
While the actual rule book may not be the most organized manual in the world, the gameplay systems themselves are very simple to grasp, even for new players. Thanks to being both intuitive and easy to follow, anyone can join in on the fun. Descent uses basic dice rolls for most actions, and how many actions you can take per turn are clearly defined based on your hero class. Movement along the board is handled in a grid like fashion with each tile denoting a certain distance. There is never any second guessing of whether or not you're in range to help a friend or attack an enemy. If you can roll dice, follow a tile based board, and understand a few simple rules, you can easily play this game.
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Pro Accessible and easy to learn game systems
While the actual rule book may not be the most organized manual in the world, the gameplay systems themselves are very simple to grasp, even for new players. Thanks to being both intuitive and easy to follow, anyone can join in on the fun.
Descent uses basic dice rolls for most actions, and how many actions you can take per turn are clearly defined based on your hero class. Movement along the board is handled in a grid like fashion with each tile denoting a certain distance. There is never any second guessing of whether or not you're in range to help a friend or attack an enemy. If you can roll dice, follow a tile based board, and understand a few simple rules, you can easily play this game.
Pro Blends competitive and co-operative game play in one game
The premise is pretty unique in that one player takes on the role of an overlord while all other players act as the heroes who attempt to clear the dungeon. The overlord and the heroes play against each other in a turn-based setup.
The overlord is the one responsible for controlling the monsters and other pitfalls that the heroes will face. The overlord also has access to many powerful spell cards which can be played during their turn. The heroes work together to clear the dungeon of monsters and work towards the victory condition for their quest.
Since the main evil force is player controlled, it creates some really interesting situations not often seen in other boardgames such as monsters being able to play strategically and dealing with spell effects that aren't random.
Pro Engaging and replayable full campaign mode
Each 60 to 90 minute game consists of a single quest, however there is a campaign mode where heroes can take on a series of story quests while also learning new skills along the way. This is a great mode for that true epic adventure feeling. If you find a hero you enjoy, you can grow and develop this character over time similar to a standard RPG game. Additionally, no two campaigns will ever be the same. There are 8 different classes to select from, and you can pick and choose the quests you do, which adds a lot of replayability.
Pro Appealing, clean presentation
Everything is laid out cleanly on the board so it's easy to keep track of the action. Each player has their own cards with all usable actions and skills neatly presented. All heroes and monsters have game pieces that can be moved around the board, so it's easy to be aware of your surroundings and plan your next attack. The health system uses special token pieces that are used to keep track of your health. Being able to see your health physically raise and lower to keep track of your damage taken is a nice touch.
Pro Can play solo with the mobile app
There's a mobile app called "Road to Legend" that lets you play this game solo. The app works by taking over the overlord role. It even has multiple difficulty settings so you can get as much of a challenge as you crave. It's a great way to play when you have no friends available for a gaming session.
Pro Bitesized quests for quick fun
Each short gaming session consists of one quest with its own victory condition and two encounters. They are quick to play when you're looking for something fun to do for an hour or so.
Pro Lots of expansion packs to keep the fun going
The makers of this board game have added over ten expansion packs which feature new monsters, quests, campaigns, heroes, and re-balanced mechanics. Even after you've extensively played the vanilla game, there's plenty of ways to extend the fun and keep playing a game you enjoy.
Pro Easy to explain, but very difficult to master
The basic premise in Agricola is simple: players take one of their two starting people and, in turn order, use it to select an action. Once an action is selected, it can not be chosen by other players. After everyone has placed their first worker players place their second, again in turn order, followed by 3rd, 4th, and 5th, if applicable. However, the difficulty in Agricola comes from the relatively limited number of action slots available and the sheer number of things players are trying to accomplish over the 14 rounds of the game.
Pro Has expansions that can add more depth and variety to the game
Players can purchase the expansion, Farmers on the Moor, to add more gameplay options and strategic depth or they can purchase additional card packs to add variety to the minor improvement and occupation decks. This helps keep the game from getting stale and encourages multiple plays to try and experience everything this game has to offer.
Pro High player interaction for this type of game
The very limited number of actions available to take each round, combined with most resources only being available at 1 or 2 spots means that players are regularly interfering with eachother's plans and constantly being forced to reevaluate their strategy after an opponent blocks them. This leads to high amounts of player interaction and keep you very engaged in the game instead of focusing solely on your player board.
Con One player will always have to be the "bad guy"
Unless using the mobile app, which may very well ruin immersion for some, there is an evil overlord role that needs to be filled by a player. This is the player that makes decisions and takes actions for all the monsters. As such, this can be the source of many arguments. It can get especially bad when someone feels like they are being constantly targeted or singled out by the overlord.
Con Physical quality isn't the best
The game cards and board are flimsy and wear down rather easily. After only a few games, the wear and tear will be noticeable.
Con Rules can be confusing
While the game systems themselves are rather easy to pick up and learn, some phrasing on the cards and within the rulebook is a bit cryptic, which may result in confusion when first starting out.
Con Disorganized rulebook
It's usually easier to find the information you need with an internet search since the rulebook itself is tough to navigate. It's arranged alphabetically by rule rather than organized in a manner that would align with the game flow.
Con Can be a very punishing game for new players
Even players who love Agricola regularly joke that its name should be Misery Farm. This is because everything that you fail to do will cost you points, yet it is very difficult to do some of everything. This means that new players have a very low chance of beating someone experienced since they won't fully now what to expect as the game goes on and how to plan for it.