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Descent Act 2 arrives this fall with a foot-tall miniature and more vertical terrain


Descent: Legends of the Dark, the high-concept campaign-in-a-box from Fantasy Flight Games, received critical acclaim in 2021. The app-supported board game featured more than three dozen miniatures and nearly 50 pieces of cardboard terrain — a huge assortment of pieces that created tabletop landscapes like no other. Now the publisher is ready to unveil its first planned expansion, Descent Act 2: The Betrayer’s War. From Polygon’s exclusive early preview, it’s clear that what’s in the box looks even more ambitious than what came before.

Image: Fantasy Flight Games

“No idea was too crazy,” chief designer Philip D. Henry said in a recent interview with Polygon. “One of our constant refrains is, ‘Nothing is quite a joke with Origin.’ When you pitch something like that, Hey, what if we did this? there is a chance (that) yes, we could do that.

Descent is a cooperative board game in which players take on the role of heroes seeking to defend the world of Terrinoth. In this sequel, all six heroes from the original game return with new and expanded abilities. The action picks up where the original game left off and the app detects the endgame state where players finished the previous game. This way, groups can keep their successes and failures from the last time they played, and the in-app narrative system can steer the storyline in the right direction. Meanwhile, those who have lost their save file will be prompted with a Mass effect 2style survey that allows them to navigate to more or less the same endgame position.

A square version of the rendering of the game components for Descent Act 2: The Betrayer's War.

Image: Fantasy Flight Games

Henry was also quick to emphasize how many twists and turns are expected this time around.

“One of the things the app lets us do is we can have all these types of threads behind the scenes,” said Henry, adding that The traitor’s war contains a manuscript that is over 140,000 words long. “The players don’t have to worry about tracking (what happened when they finished) with Quest 9 in Act 1. We can check that at any time (…) and we can use that to inform the story or the mechanics, or just how the story develops.

While we don’t know exactly what’s in the box just yet, Henry did tell us a few important details. First, players will need a copy of the original game to play this sequel, which technically means it’s an expansion. That’s because designers used all the miniatures and terrain from the first game to make the environments of the second game even bigger. But don’t expect to have to take out a loan for a larger dining table.

Tiles and a player card, plus some custom dice, for Descent Act 2: The Betrayer's War.

Image: Fantasy Flight Games

“All of our quests fit the established footprint,” Henry said. “(This time) we’re going longer, not wider.”

Fans should expect the play area to reach at least a full foot off the table, Henry said. Those cardboard buildings will be needed to balance the scale of The traitor’s war‘s big boss – a foot-high pre-assembled miniature that serves as the centerpiece of the whole experience.

Renders of various miniatures, including an imposing armored knight, a skeleton with an axe, and a large winged demonic creature with bells on its robes.

Image: Fantasy Flight Games

“This was our chance to continue the story we started there and see where that took us,” said Henry, adding that a third act is also in the works.

Descent Act 2: The Betrayer’s War retails for $159.99 and will be available in stores and online this fall. Fans should see an app update well before then, one that includes numerous quality of life improvements to the original game and its expansion.

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