The first expansion for fantasy adventure board game Descent: Legends of the Dark will release this autumn and cost almost as much as the original game - which you’ll also need to play.
Released in late 2021 after almost a decade in the works, Descent: Legends of the Dark is an ambitious app-powered reboot of popular dungeon-crawler Descent: Journeys in the Dark. In addition to the mandatory companion app required to play through its 35-hour-plus campaign, the game included a mound of 3D cardboard terrain and miniatures, encased in a cube-shaped box the size of a footstool. The enormous Kallax-filling box also came with a not-insignificant price tag of $175/£175.
"At its best, it feels like board gaming’s answer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe - a big, flashy crowdpleaser that knows exactly how big, flashy and crowdpleasing it is," I wrote in our Legends of the Dark review. "It may be refinement over revolution of one of the hobby’s most tried-and-tested formulas - fantasy adventurers crawling through a dungeon - but the refinement here is almost second to none."
Legends of the Dark's upcoming expansion-slash-sequel Descent Act II: The Betrayer’s War will continue where the self-christened Act I left off, bringing along new miniatures and abilities (on new physical hero cards) for its six playable heroes, as well as introducing new enemies, quests and gameplay elements across a new campaign.
"This new instalment is a natural evolution, introducing new mechanics and levelling up heroes for the next threat," said lead designer Philip D. Henry. "Descent Act II builds on the core mechanics of the original so players can easily transition from one to the other.”
Like Legends of the Dark, The Betrayer’s War with be playable with up to four people or in a solo mode, with the game’s companion app on PC or mobile controlling enemies, tracking story progression, handling aspects such as item crafting, and throwing up events both during scenarios and in-between missions.
Publisher Fantasy Flight Games teased details of the game’s campaign by revealing that the players’ party of characters would form an unlikely alliance with former undead-commanding villain Waiqar the Betrayer as they face the dragon armies of Dragonlord Levirax and the demonic forces of the Uthuk Y'llan across the series’ fantasy world of Terrinoth. The studio didn’t confirm how many missions the new campaign will span or how long it expects players to take to complete the sequel in comparison to Act I. (Dicebreaker has contacted Fantasy Flight for more information.)
Rather than being a standalone game, The Betrayer’s War will require a copy of Legends of the Dark to play. From the first images of the expansion, it will also come with its own sizeable box comparable to the base game - containing new miniatures and terrain - and a price tag only $15 under the MSRP of the original: $159.99.
“This isn’t a game line that resets for each product,” co-designer Brandon Perdue previously told Dicebreaker. “People have noted that the game box says ‘Act I’ on it, and that’s not just us trying to find a cute alternative to saying ‘core set’. I kind of think of the Act I campaign as the first ‘book’ in a series; the campaign has a plot that resolves and our heroes have their own arcs that see resolution, but the story isn’t over when the credits roll.”
Fantasy Flight previously announced Ghosts of Greyhaven, a smaller ‘side story’ expansion for Legends of the Dark set outside of the main campaign’s plot. Revealed in late 2021, the expansion was delayed last summer to release after Act II’s release, making The Betrayer’s War the first expansion to follow the core game.
Descent Act II: The Betrayer’s War will be released for $159.99 this autumn, with a release date and price for Ghosts of Greyhaven yet to be confirmed.