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I know that FFG's Descent and Doom board games use roughly the same mechanics, but my understanding is that there are numerous small differences that lead people to prefer Descent over Doom.

Beyond the differences in theme, what are the mechanical differences between these two games?

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One significant difference that leads me to prefer Descent over DOOM is Ammo. In DOOM, Ammo is "full of fail". Ammo scarcity is a thematic element that happens to be implemented in an abstract way that is often flat out not fun.

The breadth of characters and skill and item combinations make Descent really come to life compared to the relatively lackluster variety in DOOM.

The surge mechanism in Descent is really novel and can give you a lot of interesting tactical options in battles. DOOM has no analogue.

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    There are several other rules differences of note: (1) Melee attacks matter more; ranged attacks are split into ranged and magical. Most characters specialise in one of these three types, which have different skill decks. (2) Armour is less effective, subtracting from damage instead of dividing it as Doom does. (3) Balance is more in favour of the heroes; Descent is much more even out of the box than Doom. (4) With the expansions, the Overlord has more tactical options to choose from. (5) Heroes can more easily retreat to heal/regroup. – Tynam Jan 20 '11 at 21:30
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I think this BGG forum topic is a great comparison of those two games.

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    As mentioned in this meta thread meta.boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/53/… simply linking to another site does not make a very good answer. Could you expand on your answer by at least including a quote from the linked to discussion, or by providing a summary of what it says? – Brian Campbell Oct 21 '10 at 15:20
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    Do you think that copy/pasting content from BGG or another site is better then providing a link to original site? The link I've provided is the direct answer to the question asked. – RaYell Oct 21 '10 at 17:22
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    I prefer the answers here, as that protects this site from link rot. It also allows us to freely edit the answer if needed later on. Obviously we want to respect whatever rights the original text is protected with as well. – Pat Ludwig Oct 26 '10 at 3:25
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Games of Descent take MUCH longer! This may be because of the added complexity of a 'role-playing' style game I guess.

Base mechanics of both games are mostly the same, so if you need to pick one, go with the one which has the theme that suits you best (fantasy dungeon-crawling or sci-fi/horror shooting).

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Descent actually has more character progression. You gain more equipment than just guns as you advance.

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