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house rules to reduce complexity?


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#1 konokono

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 10:38 PM

I've really enjoyed this game so far up to the Black Riders expansion, and play mostly one or two-handed solo.

 

However, I've been noticing a sort of complexity creep going on.  Encounter cards and scenarios have more and more triggers to remember, and there seem to be more and more surge cards too.  It's not uncommon to get 2 or 3 surge cards in a row, thereby having to resolve 4+ encounter cards, and THEN having to resolve questing after all that.  When this happens, it feels real burdensome to keep track of everything I have to do.

 

Not to mention, setup times are going up too, especially with the campaign rules.  It's not a great feeling to take 5-10 minutes setting up only to die in the first few turns.

 

So my question to the community is: does anyone use or know of any special rules to reduce complexity in the game?  For example, a way to eliminate surge without unbalancing the game?

 

I'd also be interested in hearing about 1-handed solo variants that allow for a greater range of deckbuilding options (i.e. a variant that makes mono-tactics solo viable)

 

Thanks


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#2 Catastrophic09

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 10:52 PM

I agree with you and definitely see what you're saying, it does get old when setup time takes forever and you have to remember oh yeah take a time counter off or oh wait that enemy has a passive ability that I forgot about. Then all those surges, they are getting way too common and overused. Quests that have extra set up time or too many things to keep track of are usually my least favorite and I won't replay them often.

As for your main question, I still follow all the rules however if I die at the beginning of a quest, I usually won't fully reset things because its not worth it. And at times after I play a quest I realize I forgot things and played incorrectly but I don't get too caught up on that because we're supposed to be having fun. :)

In general I don't think you can reduce complexity because those are the key mechanics of a quest so the best you cam do is avoid those quests and stick to more simple ones.

#3 MyNeighbourTrololo

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 12:28 AM

I, for one, think that surge keyword is a cancer, being slapped over everything it fits or does not fits, and should be somehow restricted... Like "limit 2 surges per player".


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#4 Noccus

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 02:21 AM

While i'm fine with most mechanics, surge is indeed getting far too common.
I hate surge. Not every quest needs surge cards, and when they have them, please limit them to 1 or 2 maybe.
Now that NM mode exists, the designers can let loose with surges all the want there.
You hear me FFG???

Back to the OP: my best advice is to only play when you have enough time.
Take your time and don't rush. Read things over, double check if you didn't forget something etc.
It will improve your gaming experience.
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#5 Raven1015

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 09:31 AM

I hate surge the most in 3 or 4 player games, simply from the perspective of having to keep track of how many total cards to reveal, which is a nightmare when you get 2 or 3 surge chains during a single staging step. 


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#6 Bullroarer Took

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 09:41 AM

Any time I draw a card which says "surge" I take another card from the encounter deck and place it face down.  Then resolve the card which caused the surge followed by the surge card.


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#7 konokono

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 10:20 AM

Thanks for all the replies.  Glad to see I am not the only one who is annoyed by all the surge going on.  

 

Thanks for the suggestion, Bullroarer.  I think I might try that, as a system to help with my memory of how many cards to reveal.

 

Anyone have suggestions of how to remember to do passive effects and check for forced triggers?  Besides surge, that's another area I struggle to keep track of.  Next time I play I might try to figure something out in this regard.  Maybe creating some sort of "effect stack", which will then resolve one at a time... I dunno...



#8 Bullroarer Took

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 10:27 AM

My "other" suggestion is not to get too worked up if you get something wrong.  I often play in the evenings with a pint near my elbow and I make as many mistakes as the next guy.  I'll mutter a mild epithet and move on.  It's just a game of solitaire after all.


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#9 MyNeighbourTrololo

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 10:42 AM

If you have trouble remembering some triggered effects, mark cards in question with something bright and noticeable, that will poke your eye constantly.



#10 danpoage

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 10:44 AM

My one piece of advice for making less mistakes is just to play slower. As this game gets more complex, it is basically impossible not to miss something. I find that when I take my time, and double check for things at the end of the each phase and the end of the round, I tend to do a better job of triggering the important scenario/object/encounter effects. That's not to say that I get everything right. It's very easy to miss a forced response on an enemy or location in play, but playing more deliberately makes it easier to keep track of the game state.

The obvious downside to this approach is that I often only have time for one, or maybe two games. To offset this, I tend to spend some free time thinking about which decks will be well-suited to a particular scenario. That way I am coming to a game prepared and there is a good chance that I will be successful, or at least put up a good fight. I agree that it can be very frustrating to spend the time setting up a scenario only to get crushed in the first few rounds. This is precisely why I prefer to design my deck with the scenario in mind. For Nightmare of more difficult scenarios I will even go a step further and tailor a deck specifically for that scenario.


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#11 Dain Ironfoot

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 02:02 PM

i'll be the contrary one and say surge doesn't bother me much (as far as nasty effects not bothering me goes).

 

if the players can play 2+ cards per turn, why can't the encounter deck? plus, surge tends to be on wimpier cards. i'm all for the encounter deck trying to even the odds - and surge is one element of surprise that is cool. having 1 beefier enemy is easier to deal with (in most cases) compared to two mediocre enemies - one of which was a surprise due to surge.


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#12 MyNeighbourTrololo

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 02:41 PM

Surge is too bold and straightforward to be balanced. In theory it does what you've just said. On practice it usually spams so many **** you can't wrap your head around. There was a fine example of surge keyword leading to bloated staging area on setup(or during the first questing phase) against one player.


Edited by MyNeighbourTrololo, 06 June 2014 - 02:41 PM.


#13 spalanzani

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:00 AM

i'll be the contrary one and say surge doesn't bother me much (as far as nasty effects not bothering me goes).

 

if the players can play 2+ cards per turn, why can't the encounter deck? plus, surge tends to be on wimpier cards. i'm all for the encounter deck trying to even the odds - and surge is one element of surprise that is cool. having 1 beefier enemy is easier to deal with (in most cases) compared to two mediocre enemies - one of which was a surprise due to surge.

 

I have to agree with this! While I'm not exactly "a fan" of the keyword, from a gaming perspective I think it's an excellent device. There are rounds, admittedly later in the game, where I can suddenly play a lot of cards and find myself suddenly with an army to go against the encounter deck, so why can't the encounter deck do the same thing? 

 

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any cards that I would say it is unsuitable on - most of the cards that leap to mind have very specific effects that, were it not for the Surge keyword, would mean essentially a free pass. 

 

But I'm the sort of player who loves NM mode because it's such a challenge. I'm definitely not in the Glaurung-league, but I feel so happy when I see an encounter deck that really works against me, I can't help but have a big, stupid grin on my face as my fellowship is cut down in swathes. I'm not about to go calling for "more surge!" but I wouldn't say it is a problem for me.

 

As to the other points raised by the OP, I think the only thing you can do is just keep playing the game. It took me quite a while to remember everything that's going on, but there was a magic moment when suddenly I got better at this game, and now it seems to be the exception rather than the rule that things are missed. Just keep playing!


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#14 Cunir

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 05:00 PM

We probably forget a load of good things too, which helps to even it out. When you've got a load of allies and attachments out, the chances are that you will forget to do something good. I am always planning to do something later on in the round, and then a phase or two later i completely forget to do it. That is when i usually succumb to cheating, and just think "oh well, i did mean to do that, so i will just pretend that i did"

#15 PsychoRocka

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 08:32 PM

 

i'll be the contrary one and say surge doesn't bother me much (as far as nasty effects not bothering me goes).

 

if the players can play 2+ cards per turn, why can't the encounter deck? plus, surge tends to be on wimpier cards. i'm all for the encounter deck trying to even the odds - and surge is one element of surprise that is cool. having 1 beefier enemy is easier to deal with (in most cases) compared to two mediocre enemies - one of which was a surprise due to surge.

 

I have to agree with this! While I'm not exactly "a fan" of the keyword, from a gaming perspective I think it's an excellent device. There are rounds, admittedly later in the game, where I can suddenly play a lot of cards and find myself suddenly with an army to go against the encounter deck, so why can't the encounter deck do the same thing? 

 

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any cards that I would say it is unsuitable on - most of the cards that leap to mind have very specific effects that, were it not for the Surge keyword, would mean essentially a free pass. 

 

But I'm the sort of player who loves NM mode because it's such a challenge. I'm definitely not in the Glaurung-league, but I feel so happy when I see an encounter deck that really works against me, I can't help but have a big, stupid grin on my face as my fellowship is cut down in swathes. I'm not about to go calling for "more surge!" but I wouldn't say it is a problem for me.

 

As to the other points raised by the OP, I think the only thing you can do is just keep playing the game. It took me quite a while to remember everything that's going on, but there was a magic moment when suddenly I got better at this game, and now it seems to be the exception rather than the rule that things are missed. Just keep playing!

 

I agree with Spalanzani. Once you really get into the swing of the game you'll find you rarely ever make mistakes and will sort of settle into your own way of checking everything/starting each round.

I use to make mistakes galore when I first started but now like Spalanzani said, rarely if ever make them and when I do they are usually only small ones.
I remember one particularly terrible mistake quite early on when I first got into the game. I had finally beaten the Balrog for the first time in the quest Shadow and Flame using the Dark Pit. However I had gone through the entire encounter deck and reshuffled and had accidentally reshuffled the out of play Dark Pit in without thinking and it came out as a location during staging when it should not have come out until stage 3 of the quest (I was stuck on stage 1 still, I had terrible decks back then focused almost entirely on combat so would often just get stuck on scenarios till I threated out.....)
Needless to say I was incredibly frustrated with myself when I realised what I had done and I had not beaten the quest at all and had to keep going with my attempts. 

 

Just get into the habit of having a quick look at all enemies still engaged, all cards still in staging and all player cards in play at the start of each turn to avoid missing anything that should be happening or triggering. For quests with Time Counters perhaps use a third threat tracker or something special for time counters so you don't ever forgot to remove one. For quests that involve cards you must put aside out of play have a specific spot in your play area that you always place them in so you don't forget where they are or accidentally add them to staging, discard or back into the encounter deck.

I started using Treebeard recently and I find myself on occasion forgetting to put a resource token on him on some turns which frustrates me greatly. It can be a tricky game and can have many cards triggering/affecting other cards every turn. So long as you really concentrate while you play though and have gotten used to the game you really should be fine. I find that once you play a scenario (or player card) a handful of times you get used to how it and its unique rules function.

I actually personally like scenarios with proper setups and specific cards that are put aside and come out at different quest stages etc but do agree sometimes it is just too much, some of the Black Rider quests are a bit like that and have too much setup/set aside cards involved. To Catch an Orc can be a pain to setup, especially if you lose an attempt early on and have to redo the search decks etc...

Probably the only quests with too much setup that lead to me playing them less than others are To Catch an Orc (love this quest though minus the setup) and all the Saga quests.
So many set aside cards and extra mechanics etc in most Saga quests not to mention having to swap Frodo/Bilbo between players every turn and put their resource counter up by one each turn as well (I play two handed so this is especially annoying).


Edited by PsychoRocka, 22 June 2014 - 08:36 PM.


#16 spalanzani

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 11:17 AM

Just get into the habit of having a quick look at all enemies still engaged, all cards still in staging and all player cards in play at the start of each turn to avoid missing anything that should be happening or triggering. For quests with Time Counters perhaps use a third threat tracker or something special for time counters so you don't ever forgot to remove one. For quests that involve cards you must put aside out of play have a specific spot in your play area that you always place them in so you don't forget where they are or accidentally add them to staging, discard or back into the encounter deck.

 

That is some really good advice, right there! Because I only ever play this game solo, I have never really set it up like the rules specify, but I think I've probably always set it up near-enough exactly the same way. So in the quests where you have to set a card aside, it's really quite obvious that it's a set aside card as normally there's nothing in that spot. 

 

The best advice, I would say, is still to just keep playing the game. The second best advice would be to not get too hung up on missing stuff. At the end of the day, games are meant to be fun, not arduous exercises in bookkeeping. It took me about an hour and a half to play through Passage Through Mirkwood for the very first time, because I didn't know what was going on and kept having to refer to the rules to see what I could/should do next. But you just get to the point where, in short order, you'll remember to do x, y and z pretty easily, but if you did z, x and y, or z and y, who really cares? So long as you had fun doing it, that's the main thing!


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