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TOPIC: Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG

Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG 03 Jul 2014 11:03 #181543

I find myself gaming solo more and more often, and I'm looking for something a little more tailored to solo or two player co-oping rather than just taking a bigger coop like pandemic and scaling it down or playing a solo war game.

And so I'm looking at the LOTR CCG.

I really enjoy the Pathfinder Card Game but after reading the forums on TOS I've learned that The Two Games Are Very Different and you are not to compare the two lest you really offend either of the games partisans, despite the fact that both involve cards, fantasy, playing against an AI deck and some amount of deck creation.

How much progression is in the game, it seems like it's something that was added as the line went on? Are you able to do any sort of leveling of your decks, or is building powerful decks simply dependent on getting more cards?

I know the big expansions are tied to a line of small expansions, but can you jump in with any of the big boxes and then go down that line, or do you need to start from the beginning to have any hope of having enough cards to survive?

How much deckbuilding is actually involved. Since it's a solo game it's not like there's a meta to adjust and prepair for, If you play a mission and fail, can you go at it again with a fully tweaked deck tailored for that mission and then just crush it, or is that not allowed by the rules?

If you cant just build a deck for a mission and destroy it, how does the game maintain challenge? Are you going to get smoked by bad card draws/mixes frequently, or are games more or less fair?
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Re: Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG 03 Jul 2014 11:15 #181544

Stonecutter wrote:
Are you going to get smoked by bad card draws/mixes frequently,
Yes, at least maybe until you get good at the game and deckbuilding for it.
Stonecutter wrote:
or are games more or less fair?
No. You always play with the same set of scenario cards, but the order in which the come out can have a major effect on the scenario.


That was the big turn-off for us with LoTR LCG. We played the base game and the first cycle quite a bit without doing much deckbuilding. Most of the scenarios killed us. Most of the times when we did win it was because the scenario cards came out at just the right time and it wasn't a particularly fulfilling victory.

My opinion is skewed because we didn't get very heavy into the deckbuilding aspect. If you like the deckbuilding for the scenarios more than playing the scenarios then LoTR LCG is probably pretty solid. We went into it hoping for good scenarios where signifcant deckbuilding would be optional, but what we got was significant deckbuilding where good scenarios were optional.

Another thing that bothered me, which obviously is mitigated if you get into the expansion boxes and/or cycles, is that the core set only came with 3 scenarios. Since I wasn't heavy into the deckbuilding aspect the lack of scenarios was a let down. There's no progression whatsoever in the core set and the first cycle packs; I don't know if they added that later.
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Re: Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG 03 Jul 2014 11:15 #181545

I haven't played PACG, but I'm familiar with it, and they are sort of different. The main difference is in Pathfinder you carry your character through the campain, where in LotR you will be rebuilding your deck constantly. You'll probably have to change it up between every adventure and probably several times after the adventure crushes you. Also LotR had a deterministic combat (think mtg), where Pathfinder has dice and such.

LotR is more more a CCG than an adventure game.
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Re: Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG 03 Jul 2014 11:25 #181546

I've played it solo a lot and I enjoy it. I started at the beginning refusing to use anything other than what was in the starter decks. I finally beat all the scenarios then I moved onto the newer packs one by one. In this way, I got used to what was needed to defeat what type of bastard. I enjoy it even though there isn't progression like you said.

Eventually I used some free web based program to play solo because cards were too fiddly to handle and decks too fiddly to build. Maybe, the software route is the way to go. You can integrate different packs in when you are ready. I haven't used it for a while though and reformatted the pc so I don't actually have the link. It was a good package though, easy to use with a fairly straight forward interface.
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Re: Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG 03 Jul 2014 11:29 #181547

Stonecutter wrote:
I find myself gaming solo more and more often, and I'm looking for something a little more tailored to solo or two player co-oping rather than just taking a bigger coop like pandemic and scaling it down or playing a solo war game.

And so I'm looking at the LOTR CCG.

I really enjoy the Pathfinder Card Game but after reading the forums on TOS I've learned that The Two Games Are Very Different and you are not to compare the two lest you really offend either of the games partisans, despite the fact that both involve cards, fantasy, playing against an AI deck and some amount of deck creation.

How much progression is in the game, it seems like it's something that was added as the line went on? Are you able to do any sort of leveling of your decks, or is building powerful decks simply dependent on getting more cards?

I know the big expansions are tied to a line of small expansions, but can you jump in with any of the big boxes and then go down that line, or do you need to start from the beginning to have any hope of having enough cards to survive?

How much deckbuilding is actually involved. Since it's a solo game it's not like there's a meta to adjust and prepair for, If you play a mission and fail, can you go at it again with a fully tweaked deck tailored for that mission and then just crush it, or is that not allowed by the rules?

If you cant just build a deck for a mission and destroy it, how does the game maintain challenge? Are you going to get smoked by bad card draws/mixes frequently, or are games more or less fair?

1)Yes, superficially Pathfinder and LotR have some similarities but that's about it. They are very different games with an entirely different feel.

2)How much progression is in the game?

Well there isn't "character advancement" as such as you find in Pathfinder. As you open chapter packs you get a few cards to add to your pool from which you build your decks. Some are very important and without them some of the later missions would be much more difficult. I'm specifically thinking of the "song" cards which allow a Hero's resources to be spent on "out of faction" card play during the game. Some cards, though, aren't more powerful than what you start with but have subtle differences that allow for a wider variety of strategy.

3) Can you just jump in with a big box expansion?

Sure technically you could though I think the missions would be much harder. Starting with the base set is the way to go. With that you get enough cards to fulfill the 3 missions included with it. The first one is sort of training but the other two I found very very difficult to beat. So there is enough challenge there. Also, you'll see how you feel about the game before dropping more money than you should. Go for the big box expansions after if you find you like the game enough.

4) How important is deck building?

Absolutely crucial. The thing is there is no "Man for All Seasons" deck. Meaning that you can't just put together one uber deck that is going to handle everything. Each mission has different requirements and the deck needs to be adjusted to meet the need of this mission (which will be different from next mission). Bring a deck that is heavy on succeeding in the quest stage when the mission is more focused on combat and you will be put down like a pound puppy in short order.

I'm saying "deck" and I should clarify. When playing solo I always use two decks each containing cards of two factions so that all four factions are present.

The thing is the missions themselves vary greatly in difficulty so you'll play one mission and it'll seem like a breeze because you have the right style of deck and maybe the mission wasn't the hardest. You'll move on to the next mission and get a beat down time and time again until you make a slight but crucial adjustment to the deck and then be able to squeak by.

In practice, I usually assume the first attempt at a mission will result in a loss for me but lets me see where the focus should be. Then through determination and a little luck I'll pull off a win in 2 to 500 attempts later.
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Re: Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG 03 Jul 2014 11:33 #181548

Now that I've tried Pathfinder, the comparisons and contrasts between the two games have come into sharper focus for me. Neither game appeals to me. LotR LCG relies too heavily on deck construction as entertainment value, and deckbuilding was always my least favorite aspect of playing CCGs. The only fun part of Pathfinder is leveling up. Everything else is a drab exercise in deterministic combat.
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Re: Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG 03 Jul 2014 11:34 #181549

Thinking in my mind about how you tune your deck to win scenarios, this would be a really good system for a racing game
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Re: Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG 03 Jul 2014 12:04 #181551

repoman wrote:

3) Can you just jump in with a big box expansion?

Sure technically you could though I think the missions would be much harder. Starting with the base set is the way to go. With that you get enough cards to fulfill the 3 missions included with it. The first one is sort of training but the other two I found very very difficult to beat. So there is enough challenge there. Also, you'll see how you feel about the game before dropping more money than you should. Go for the big box expansions after if you find you like the game enough.

I didn't mean that I'd be skipping the base set, I more meant, past the base set, can I skip an entire cycle, or play the cycles out of order without disrupting the balance? Seems from the rest of your responses that I can, but I find with every LCG that the further along FFG gets the wider the design scope gets and the more fun the game becomes. It looks like they're on the 4th cycle right now with another 4 big box expansions that follow the flims. I was thinking I might skip straight to cycle 2 or 3 after the base set if I were to get that far.
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Re: Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG 03 Jul 2014 13:52 #181560

Stonecutter wrote:
repoman wrote:

3) Can you just jump in with a big box expansion?

Sure technically you could though I think the missions would be much harder. Starting with the base set is the way to go. With that you get enough cards to fulfill the 3 missions included with it. The first one is sort of training but the other two I found very very difficult to beat. So there is enough challenge there. Also, you'll see how you feel about the game before dropping more money than you should. Go for the big box expansions after if you find you like the game enough.

I didn't mean that I'd be skipping the base set, I more meant, past the base set, can I skip an entire cycle, or play the cycles out of order without disrupting the balance? Seems from the rest of your responses that I can, but I find with every LCG that the further along FFG gets the wider the design scope gets and the more fun the game becomes. It looks like they're on the 4th cycle right now with another 4 big box expansions that follow the flims. I was thinking I might skip straight to cycle 2 or 3 after the base set if I were to get that far.

I don't see why not. Since there's no levelling up, there are also no prerequisites to enjoy each pack, only if you like to follow the loose narrative.
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Re: Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG 04 Jul 2014 01:52 #181586

The 'saga' expansions follow the Tolkien narrative more than the adventure packs and deluxe expansions. The others feel like fantasy encounters in a Middle Earth setting.
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Re: Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG 04 Jul 2014 16:49 #181621

Stonecutter wrote:
I was thinking I might skip straight to cycle 2 or 3 after the base set if I were to get that far.

I'll be the conservative voice and say stick with the release order. I certainly cannot recommend jumping in at Heirs of Numenor (Wave3) with only a basic set. Generally, I think the difficulty does ramp up as more varied and powerful player cards are introduced. Keep in mind you only get TWO new player cards for each sphere per small expansion pack (along with 1 or 2 neutral cards and a hero card).

In M:TG terms that's:

Howl From Beyond x3
Unholy Strength x3

Unsummon x3
Ancestral Recall x3
etc.

That's it... so growth is slow until you dump money on it. The good/cool/powerful cards are pretty randomly distributed throughout the series. Also note that the "large" expansion boxes do NOT give you many player cards, at the most the equivalent of two standard packs.

Racial synergies are sort of cycle driven (loosely):
C1: Eagles
C2: Dwarves
C3: Gondor/Outlands
C4: Elves/Rohan(?)
Saga: Hobbitses

What heroes interest you may also factor in. If you want Frodo or Bilbo then they are in the first wave along with Boromir(1).
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Re: Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG 04 Jul 2014 16:58 #181623

If you are playing solo, just proxy cards you need that are repeats from the base set. It works fine.
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Re: Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG 05 Jul 2014 02:01 #181629

Stonecutter wrote:
I didn't mean that I'd be skipping the base set, I more meant, past the base set, can I skip an entire cycle, or play the cycles out of order without disrupting the balance? Seems from the rest of your responses that I can, but I find with every LCG that the further along FFG gets the wider the design scope gets and the more fun the game becomes. It looks like they're on the 4th cycle right now with another 4 big box expansions that follow the flims. I was thinking I might skip straight to cycle 2 or 3 after the base set if I were to get that far.

I don't know about skewing the balance too terribly but, in looking at the various scenarios, I do get the sense that there's some assumption baked into later cycles that you have at least some of the cards that cropped up in the preceding packs. I also get the sense that you're on the money with your take about FFG+expanded scope=more fun when it comes to this game. Unfortunately, my experience is too limited to be much more than conjecture.

I've only played it a few times and wanted to get back to it. So, a few months back, I set it upin the well of my gaming table for an extended run when I got hit with the kind of sudden need to store some large items that most home-owners experience at one time or another over the years [in my case, ceiling fan; attic fan; and bits for a couple of cabinets]. Now it's totally trapped awaiting my "[jack of all-]trades guy" to get his big-money jobs done and attend to my kitchen, bathroom, and roof. Both this and GMT's Bloody April are sitting in the well waiting for that seemingly fabled day to come. [He's a good dude, but he cuts me a huge break on price, so I can't exactly begrudge getting bumped by some fool(s) willing to pay $20k+ for what would have been a $6k job if he'd been able to stick to a decision instead of having a crew radically rework a renovation 4 or more times... But damn. I need this roof repaired this summer, damnit.]

But the real reason I'm here is to ride Stonecutter's coattails with a question of my own: if I'm looking at the game as truly a dedicated solo affair--I have almost no shot of playing this with another human being unless my daughter becomes a Tolkien freak 10 years down the road [she's 3 now...]--do I need to buy a 2nd base game? I played the base-game scenarios and was just really starting on the first story cycle when I shelved everything, so I didn't get much of a sense of necessity or desirability on that front. Since I'm going to have to re-learn the game when I get back into it anyway, I figure I'll treat it as if it was a completely "new" purchase. Is 1 base set sufficient or is there a real "must" for multiple base sets down the road? (It's not about cost, so I'll just buy a set if the answer is "you'll need to proxy a few dozen cards if you want any hope of playing some of this stuff...")
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Re: Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG 05 Jul 2014 02:44 #181634

Dogmatix, I've done just fine going through the entire series on one core set. There is no "need" for an extra but there is want for sure. If money was no issue, I would own a second.
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Re: Let's talk about the Lord of the Rings LCG 05 Jul 2014 03:11 #181635

A few extra Gandalf cards would be good and pretty much a necessity for the harder base missions. Don't let me light your completionist psychosis though. Proxy the cards and play with one base set.
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