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An Open Letter to Caleb Grace - More Secrecy Please!


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#21 Titanium

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:12 PM

Raven1015 said:

I support there being more secrecy, if for no other reason than it bugs me to have a mechanic in the game that is essentially unfinished.

I agree.  I also think an adventure pack focused primarily on secrecy would be thoroughly enjoyable. Sam's rescue of Frodo in the tower of Cirith Ungol as desribed in the Return of the King comes to mind immediately.



#22 Glaurung

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 04:46 PM

Titanium said:

Raven1015 said:

 

I support there being more secrecy, if for no other reason than it bugs me to have a mechanic in the game that is essentially unfinished.

 

 

I agree.  I also think an adventure pack focused primarily on secrecy would be thoroughly enjoyable. Sam's rescue of Frodo in the tower of Cirith Ungol as desribed in the Return of the King comes to mind immediately.

I think we need special secrece heroes. Then secrecy will start to shine. We have Lore Aragorn and Spirit Glorifindel they suppose to be a good boost for secrecy. But in the end of the day players use them in 3 heroes decks. So why they designers didn make those 2 heroes with text:

Forced: If you can spot another 2 heroes under you control discard Glorifindel, Aragorn from play.

Then the players will doomed to make some secrecy decks cose those heroes a very powerful and players love to play with them.

Secrecy looks like a good idea from the begin but then suddenly was forgoten and ababndon by designers……


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#23 leptokurt

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:47 PM

Glaurung said:

Titanium said:

 

Raven1015 said:

 

I support there being more secrecy, if for no other reason than it bugs me to have a mechanic in the game that is essentially unfinished.

 

 

I agree.  I also think an adventure pack focused primarily on secrecy would be thoroughly enjoyable. Sam's rescue of Frodo in the tower of Cirith Ungol as desribed in the Return of the King comes to mind immediately.

 

 

I think we need special secrece heroes. Then secrecy will start to shine. We have Lore Aragorn and Spirit Glorifindel they suppose to be a good boost for secrecy. But in the end of the day players use them in 3 heroes decks. So why they designers didn make those 2 heroes with text:

Forced: If you can spot another 2 heroes under you control discard Glorifindel, Aragorn from play.

Then the players will doomed to make some secrecy decks cose those heroes a very powerful and players love to play with them.

Secrecy looks like a good idea from the begin but then suddenly was forgoten and ababndon by designers……

Glorfindel and LoV is a good example how to boost the secrecy sphere. I'm not so sure if everyone would be happy about a hero that is designed for the purpose of running a secrecy deck. Many players dislike Brand, for example.

Btw, HoN has a good card for secrecy - Damrod. He can be exremely useful on a secrecy deck, but he is just too expensive. The lack of the secrecy keyword on him is a missed opportunity.



#24 Titanium

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 07:49 AM

leptokurt said:

Btw, HoN has a good card for secrecy - Damrod. He can be exremely useful on a secrecy deck, but he is just too expensive. The lack of the secrecy keyword on him is a missed opportunity.

 

 

I agree completely.  I don't think there should be any restriction on Deluxe or Saga Expansions including secrecy cards.



#25 GrandSpleen

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 08:42 AM

HoN already has some good Secrecy cards in it.  They just don't have "Secrecy" printed on them.  Wealth of Gondor?  Free resources for the impoverished 2-hero Secrecy deck!  Master of Lore?!  He's like a permanent "Secrecy" discount.  Instead of restricting cards into decks designed around the Secrecy mechanic (like that silly Dunedain Wanderer), the developers are putting out more flexible cards that can find a home in non-Secrecy decks as well.  That sort of robust design is a big step up from the one-trick-pony cards that we saw in the Core set, currently gathering dust in your game box.

leptokurt said:

 

Btw, HoN has a good card for secrecy - Damrod. He can be exremely useful on a secrecy deck, but he is just too expensive. The lack of the secrecy keyword on him is a missed opportunity.

 

 

I agree that Damrod is perfect for a Secrey deck.  And that is why I think there should NOT be a Secrecy discount on him.  His effect is potentially very powerful, and 4 resources is a reasonable price even for a Secrecy deck, especially considering that he can pull his weight as a well-rounded ally until you need to trigger his effect.

If we discount every card with a potential Secrecy use, eventually we will end up with a card pool capable of making decks that completely neutralize the resource disadvantage of having only 2 heroes.

If you slap "Secrecy 2" on Damrod, he becomes a no-brainer, must-include card that can potentially reduce your threat by 10 -- or more! -- for a paltry cost of 2 resources--- way too powerful!  His effect would work great as an event, but you get him as an ally too… super bonus!  Even Secrecy 1 would be too high.

You don't have to print "Secrecy" on a card in order to make it good for a Secrecy deck.  Damrod is a good example of a card that makes you think/plan/sacrifice in order to gain his full benefit.  I'm fully convinced that the developers have NOT forgotten Secrecy, and they are approaching it with the long-term in mind.  We didn't see the Secrecy keyword at all in HoN, but HoN gave us some fantastic cards for a Secrecy deck.



#26 Titanium

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:26 PM

GrandSpleen said:

 

You don't have to print "Secrecy" on a card in order to make it good for a Secrecy deck. 

 

 

I agree a card doesn’t need the keyword in order to be useful in secrecy decks.

But overall, do you think the current inventory of cards (both with and without the secrecy keyword) lends itself to truly viable secrecy decks?

I’d posit the answer is no, for the most part, and that is the main problem I am addressing.

I think FFG could introduce some interesting strategies with more options to evade or stealthily execute enemies, rather than confront them openly.  I suspect and hope we'll see more of this as they further develop the hobbit trait.  This fits perfectly from a thematic standpoint.

Here are some rough ideas:

-An elven cloak attachment that allows you to ignore an enemy’s threat when questing (the attachment equivalent of Radagast’s Cunning).

-An event card that allows you to evade an enemy and move it from the staging area back into the encounter deck (either shuffled in or placed at the bottom.)  This would be the staging area equivalent of O Elbereth! Gilthonial!

-An option to place progress tokens on an enemy in the staging area instead of, or in addition to, the active location when questing successfully.  Each progress token would reduce the enemy’s threat by one. This "evade" option for questing could be fleshed out with various ways of adding and removing progress tokens on enemies and triggering effects.



#27 GrandSpleen

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:45 PM

Yeah, it's not a fully expanded mechanic by any means.  I just think the tendrils are actively growing (whereas a theme in this thread suggests rather that the mechanic has stagnated).  

I like some of your ideas.  Moving an enemy back to the bottom of the encounter deck made me think of Short Cut (for locations) more than anything else.  Actually, just the other day I wondered if such a card already existed, and was kind of surprised when I realized it didn't.

I mentioned in an earlier post that Secrecy should get some kind of Doomed insurance.  Maybe an ally (we'll call it "Hobbity McHobbit") with the text: "If your threat is less than 20, Hobbity McHobbit gains: Response: When a card with the Doomed keyword is revealed from the encounter deck, discard Hobbity McHobbit to cancel the Doomed effect."



#28 Titanium

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 03:47 AM

GrandSpleen said:

I mentioned in an earlier post that Secrecy should get some kind of Doomed insurance. 

That's a great idea.  The "Doomed" effect can't be canceled with "A Test of Will" and rapidly obliterates all aspirations of sub-20 threat.



#29 Pacificus

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:59 AM

I concur, particularly with notion of expanding secrecy into other spheres.  It is an idea with a lot of promise given how much of the LOTR story involves evading detection, whether by goblins, Nazgul, Shelob, or above all, the Lidless Eye.  



#30 Hannibal_pjv

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:56 AM

Well I wold be nice to see some more secresy cards! But they have to be thinked carefully! It is very easy to brake the balance by making secrecy too good! In Desipher Lord of the rings card game there were somewhat similar system that reduced the twilight that was brodused by the fellowship and they were forced to errata or ban many of those cards… So more secresy cards would be nice to they have to be playtested carefully so that the game balance does not run havok!

Maybe some really cheap heroes with bad or even dangerous features? A warrior with depression. Every time one character get wounded you have to wound the warrior (self cutting…) A hobbit with cleptomanic. Every time someone gets an item the Hobbit try to steal it and hide it somewhere (discard)… A Elf that is tired of Middle Earth. Every round there is a chance (or tricker) that forces that elf to go to the sea (discard).

But they have to be really well playtested!

 



#31 Raven1015

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:25 AM

Titanium said:

-An option to place progress tokens on an enemy in the staging area instead of, or in addition to, the active location when questing successfully.  Each progress token would reduce the enemy’s threat by one. This "evade" option for questing could be fleshed out with various ways of adding and removing progress tokens on enemies and triggering effects.

 

This is a great idea for a new mechanic and is just what secrecy needs. Details could be hammered out in a variety of ways, but in my mind the biggest obstacle to making Secrecy not just viable, but potent, is that enemies and their threat start building up in the staging area. We need more ways to neutralize that threat, other than engaging enemies, if Secrecy is to function well, and I think your idea (as well as the other ideas you mentioned) are a good way to do that. 


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#32 Titanium

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:12 AM

Raven1015 said:

This is a great idea for a new mechanic and is just what secrecy needs.

Thanks!  The nice thing is this mechanic wouldn't use any additional tokens, etc., and it would represent a natural extension of the existing questing process.  Appropriately, it usually wouldn't be a good option for non-secrecy decks, because progress tokens on enemies wouldn't change their engagement cost.  For a secrecy player, though, it would open up some interesting decisions about speed versus stealth--do I try to blow through this location, or slowly sneak past the Great Cave Troll?  Seems to fit thematically.  The only problem is that it might become a little confusing to tally threat to determine whether you have quested successfully.  There are probably some workarounds, though, to make it easier.



#33 ianhancock1985

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:03 PM

Titanium said:

As to the extreme difficulty of the scenarios, I have to agree.  It can be very discouraging to get completely trounced when trying to introduce new players to the game!   I think the best solution would be scalable difficulty levels for each scenario, which could be achieved through encounter card substitutions.

 

I agree.

My other complaint (similar to these lines-you'll see where I'm going in a sec) is that often the encounter decks are too small for four player games. I've often said that the game seems balanced and tested well for two players, either side of that and you have some serious deviations from the standard encounter experience- either too easy or too hard.

My solution when introducing new players is twofold. Chuck in a couple of the "easy" encounter sets from the core sets or first adventure cycle. This makes the deck larger meaning I dont have to shuffle the damn thing every second round and makes the game a tad easier for the newbies. It's not in many adventures that you wouldn't expect to see a "generic" orc or spider or something, so it doesn't take away from the theme. The other one is, that since you basically have to run Elanor, that we errata her that the treachery that she counters DOESN'T get replaced. Done- easy quests, no muss, no fuss, only one person has ever said to me, "You are supposed to draw a replacement" so it it doesn't take away from the theme too much. The thing that irks me is that you pretty much have to run Elanor in a four player game, but thats another story.

For the other extreme, my understanding is that they ARE in fact publishing nightmare modes with encounter card substitutions.



#34 Titanium

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:41 AM

Very good ideas, Ian.

In my opinion, the variant recommended in the rule book for new players, eliminating the use of Shadow Cards in combat, eliminates a major part of the gameplay and theme.  It just seems too watered down to be an appropriate introduction to such a great game.



#35 Titanium

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:06 PM

NotAZombie said:

I have actually made a reasonably successful solo secrecy deck, (not amazing, but it holds its own). Single hero is elrond…

NotAZombie, that is an interesting deck concept.  Seems it might be rough going initially if you don't pull Vilya in your opening hand or mulligan, since you're only getting one resource per turn to start off.  Does it tend to be hit or miss?



#36 NotAZombie

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:20 PM

Yeah, it can be hit or miss for sure. As long as you get either Vilya or Resourcefulness in your starting hand though, it works out pretty well since Elrond can pay for any sphere's allies. Card draw is also critical (gleowine ftw!)



#37 Titanium

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 03:42 AM

NotAZombie said:

Yeah, it can be hit or miss for sure. As long as you get either Vilya or Resourcefulness in your starting hand though, it works out pretty well since Elrond can pay for any sphere's allies. Card draw is also critical (gleowine ftw!)

Seems you would need a mix of cheap allies for the austere start and expensive ones for when the Vilya machine is chugging along.






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