Dead Men Walking--A Single-Take Review of Descent: Mists of Bilehall

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There's an apartment complex in my (Firestone) town called Locust Park. That's just a terrible name. Was Boll Weevil Commons taken? Anyway, that's what I thought of when I first cracked Mists of Bilehall, the newest expansion for Descent, from Fantasy Flight Games: If you name a place Bilehall, you're just asking for trouble...

So is Bilehall a fun place to spend your adventuring hours, or will it make you lose your lunch? Let's find out!

Mist of Bilehall is a complete, one-act campaign. As the rulebook mentions, it "provides a complete narrative experience within a single act." But the rulebook also mentions the upcoming (and newly announced) Chains of Rust expansion can be combined with Bilehall to create a two-act campaign. The rules for doing so will be included with Chains, but it looks like the two expansions will be woven together to create one epic story. Sounds fun!

So what do you get with Bilehall? 

The first thing you might notice is that you don't get any new heroes. Instead, you get three new monster groups, instead of the usual two that come in these smaller expansions. 

And the monsters are all FUN. 

The Broodwalkers are big and mean; you don't want to stand next to these guys, because spaces next to them are hazards and Sludge spaces. And they can spend a Surge to Terrify you (I'll explain that in a second).

The Bone Horrors--aside from being one of the coolest sculpts in Descent--work well with the Broodwalkers. First, it can attack a figure up to three spaces away, and it doesn't have to roll for range. Second, friendly figures don't block its line of sight. Finally, with a Surge it can place the hero in any empty space two spaces away. Saaaaay....next to one of those drooling Broodwalkers. 

Finally, there are Reanimates, which are just skeletons, right? Except if they take damage but aren't completely killed, they recover damage. SKELETONS!!!

There are new map tiles, of course, and new terrain as well: Sludge. The game also comes with Old Wall tokens, and accompanying Crumbling Terrain tokens that heroes have to navigate. 

We've also got a new Condition: Terrified. While you're Terrified you can't spend Surges, and you can't get rid of the Condition until there are no enemy figures in your line of sight. 

Are you getting the feeling this expansion is skewed toward the Overlord? Well we ain't done yet. There are new Relics, too. But they're monster Relics, so now you have to worry about Lieutenants and monsters with cool gear. 

A new card, Tainted, represents the effects of the mists on the heroes. Each player is dealt one Tainted card at the beginning of the game, which grants that hero +2 Health. But once the hero is defeated, he flips the card over and there are effects in place for the rest of the game, unless some game mechanism lets you flip the card back over.

 

Mists of Bilehall comes with eight possible Quests, and you'll play through five of them in the course of the campaign. The three Lieutenants are fun, but I don't want to say too much because I want their roles to be a surprise--along with the actual plot of the act.

 

The Verdict

There have been a few complaints that this expansion includes less "stuff" than past small expansions. And it's true this is the first one that doesn't give us a new hero or classes. But it really does even out. The last small expansion (Manor of Ravens), for example, gave us two monsters, two heroes, and one lieutenant. Bilehall gives us three new monsters and three new lieutenants. Plus new terrain, and a new condition. 

In other words, what Bilehall does give you is a bunch of cool stuff for the Overlord. As someone who usually plays the OL, I'm totally okay with this!

Like I said, the monsters are super fun, and the undead theme is one I really like. And the Terrify condition is probably my favorite of all of the conditions in the game. It forces players to either run away or be okay with Surges being worthless. 

But all this is meaningless if the campaign stinks, right? Well I really liked it. Fun choices for both sides, and an interesting story. We played through once and I want to play again to see the Quests we missed. But what I'll probably do is just wait for Chains of Rust and run them both as one campaign. 

Firestone's Final Verdict--Great monsters, fun new toys for the Overlord, and a satisfying and complete campaign. Mists of Bilehall is well worth your gaming dollars. Long live Descent!

 

Theology of Games would like to thank Fantasy Flight Games for providing a review copy of Mists of Bilehall. This in no way affected my opinion of the game. 

Thanks for reading!