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A cry for more universal cards


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#1 Marginal0

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 06:47 AM

Doesn't it seem to you guys that the deckbuilding in this game revolves mostly around the tribal theme? There's the dwarf deck, a hobbit build, the gondor or silvan deck,... I own most of the cards (2 hobbit exp, 2 regular exp. and 8 ch.p's), and often there's just not that many options. Apart from a couple of interchangables depending on location or enemy faced, there's just "the deck". Maybe I missed some cards I initially dismissed as "totally crappy". Of course you can still experiment with colour combinations, that much is true. But I'm often at a loss to freshen my decks up. So some hints are welcome, as always.

 

Imo there should be more universal cards, like the classic card manipulation: "draw 2, discard 1", "look at top 4 and take 1", damage on critters, mana manipulation, etc etc. The tribal theme kinda excludes it from a lot of decks.


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#2 karagh

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 08:17 AM

Cards created around traits makes deckbuilding much more lore oriented. And that is a VERY important aspect of this game.

 

Maybe your problem is your card pool, probably you have around 50 different cards for each sphere. If you are limiting yourself to monosphere decks, there's nothing much you can do to solve the lack of options.
Anyway, for Tactics, you can build Dwarves, Eagles or direct damage decks. You should be able to build another 2 or 3 different archetypes for the other spheres too. That's a guess, don't know exactly what you have.

 

This game expands it's player card pool very slowly because of the distribution format (around third the rate of A Game of Thrones LCG, maybe a sixth of Magic The Gathering).


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#3 joezim007

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 08:38 AM

That's not really true. Probably the best pair of decks I ever built had no theme at all. Just used strong heroes and strong cards. Other than Dwarves and Outlands, you can actually tend to build stronger decks by staying away from theme. The decks still need a cohesive strategy though. By going with themed synergy decks, you have to limit your options somewhat because you lose these synergy when you include strong cards that don't fit into the theme.

#4 mr.thomasschmidt

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 09:28 AM

Also, you still miss 10 AP's. That's at least 90 different cards which, depending on which you miss, could be kind of essential.

#5 Bullroarer Took

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 09:40 AM

To the OP: I don't agree at all. Decks get better in this game when you disregard theme. This is because the card pool is still relatively shallow. On the other hand, I'm all for different traits ("tribal" is such an MtG term) developing so that they can stand on their own so that more and more theme decks can be powerful.

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#6 faith_star83

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 01:52 AM

I think for this game it is of outmost importance to have a strong focus on traits, because this is what allows to re-imagine adventures in middle-earth. I think a lot of players are about as much into this game because of the thematic aspect as because of the gameplay. Therefore I think the developers do a good choice to focus on traits, in my opinion they could even do so a bit more.

 

I understand how this can see limiting at first when you start building decks, because there are some obvious choices that almost force themselves upon you because there some strong synergies withing the same traits. But as has been said there is much room for creativeness outside of traits and some very strong decks can be built ignoring the traits completely. Some even argue that the Gondor trait e.g. is to disperse, not having a clear characteristic...

 

In a way the setting of middle-earth with all the different races, nations and factions really offers itself to trait-based cards, too. :P I am sure that with the growing card-pool we will get even more options.to build decks, with this game we just have to enjoy the diversity of the quests as much as the new player cards in every AP.



#7 Marginal0

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 12:04 PM

Look, here's a pack I purchased a while ago: http://www.cardgamed...y-to-rhosgobel/

 

What I mean is that the game needs more cards like Ancient Mathom & Haldir. They might not have a lot of text, but they are universal, theme-less, and just generate value (what the cards are supposed to do). Those cards I use in the decks I create. The others I didn't even touch. I guess there's some use for Infighting in the right deck, but the rest... You need some time to concoct decks for those cards. For the others I need 'creatures' and 'eagles' and other cards I don't own or only own one copy of, making it useless cards.

 

But I guess karagh is right. The game just expands very slowly, with only a handful of player cards each expansion.



#8 karagh

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 01:45 PM

I agree that the game should have provided some more "universal" cards in the begining. At least avoid cards dependant on undeveloped traits.

 

Specially painfull were Eagles are Coming and Mustering the Rohirrim, released in the first adventure pack along with the first Eagle and Rohan Allies in the game. After looking the cards I was like "well, I might use these in 3 or 4 months". Note that Guardian Eagle is an excellent card on his own, and in those days, made worthy including Eagles are coming to search for it.

 

Edit:

I just had a look to the cards, and found this number of cards dependant on a trait. There are round 66 cards per sphere wthout heroes:

  • Tactics: 21 (+1 heroes)
  • Spirit: 16 (+3 heroes)
  • Leadership: 17 (+4 heroes)
  • Lore: 12 (+3 heroes)
  • Neutral: 8

Only cards that require a trait (Elrond's Counsel), work for a trait (Eagles are Coming or Hirluin) or lose a lot of use without a trait (Erebor Battlemaster or Merry) are counted. Cards that can be used without a trait (Dwarven Axe or Eagles of the Misty Mountains) aren't counted.

 

Also note that there are many cards requiring a specific Sphere (Burning Brand) or monosphere decks. Those could be counted in too.

 

Edit 2:

Counted Sphere dependant cards:

  • Tactics: 6 (+1Hero)
  • Spirit: 6 (+1Hero)
  • Leadership: 6
  • Lore: 6(+1Hero)
  • Neutral: 1

Edited by karagh, 23 January 2014 - 02:26 PM.

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#9 Marginal0

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 04:47 AM

Thanks for that analysis. It seems about 30% of the cards are trait-based (btw: does that include location/enemy traits?). Though that might prove beneficial in the long run, it's just annoying to build with at the moment, unless you purchase every available pack. I wanted to make a mono-coloured deck, but dismissed the idea because I didn't want my deck to be a crapsalad. :P

 

I'll try again in the future, perhaps just proxy the couple of cards I miss. Or just use it for specific scenarios.


Edited by Marginal0, 24 January 2014 - 04:50 AM.


#10 Bullroarer Took

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 11:22 AM

Marginal it seems to me that you are really looking for "cards that are strong enough for the solo player to use". The two cards you cite are very powerful cards indeed, but I would hardly say they are without theme. Certainly there were a lot of cards in the last cycle that tried to flesh out the multi-player experience and make mono-sphere decks more viable, but in general, as any card pool gets deeper the ratio of "great cards" is going to drop. It's the nature of the beast in card games. Otherwise the power creep gets completely out of hand.

Have I misinterpreted you?
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#11 booored

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 01:53 PM

@Marginal - The tribal decks are a problem in this game and a symptom of the fact that the theme is so weak. FFG introduced "easy mode" so people could play thematic decks (as in bad decks) to try and inject some theme. They also made the tribes very strong so when you build a deck it is cohesive.. this means all the cards are grouped and the deck feels more thematic.

The problem with tribal decks, not in this game but in all games, is that you are basically getting restricted to the decks provided for us form FFG, the tribes with such a small pool are practically pre-constructed decks. LoTR has a tiny card pool as it is, and each pack adds nearly 1/2 the cards that other LCGs get so it grows very slow. Meaning we have few deck choices as it is. Every deck posted has been made by other players, there is no originality in this game. Part of that, imo, is the heavy reliance on tribes as a artificial way to generate theme.

Edited by booored, 03 February 2014 - 02:40 AM.

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#12 Marginal0

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 02:29 AM


Have I misinterpreted you?

 

Maybe a little. Even when solo-playing, I generally play two decks because a single feels limited. I actually meant exactly what booored says: cards are often trait-based and thus are useless in a trait-less deck. I get that you can't just have a deck using "the best cards", but now you're just using the deck they want you to use if you want to retain maximum value of a certain card. If you choose not to, they turn into vanilla cards that are not fun to play with.

 

I don't care whether the game loses its 'thematic' effect. I mean: the whole frickin' point of LotR - and half of all fantasy tales - is to let the races work together to defeat the evil (hence the Fellowship). But no, in this game they only want to team with their own kind. A forced 'multicultural' approach to deckbuilding brings death and decay (and boredom). Is this the message you are willing to bring, FFG? :P

 

How about some anti-racial-cards? Cards that get better when there are more different races/traits into play? Haven't seen those. Ironically, cards like that would also kinda be 'thematic' and limited, so calling for those cards would be sinning against my own request.


Edited by Marginal0, 03 February 2014 - 02:30 AM.


#13 booored

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 02:42 AM

I must have been drunk when I replied.. I am amazed you could decode me.. but you did! I did a quick edit to make it make sense :)

But yeah.. I completely agree with you on this one Margina.
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#14 Marginal0

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 05:02 AM

Here's the list of cards for The Morgul Vale. Let's take this as an example and examine whether the cards are broadly playable in theory. Of course we'll make abstraction from the faction/color restrictions.

 

- Hidden Cache (Needs support obviously, but is free from trait binding. Really like this card btw)

- Lay of Nimrodel

- Ered Nimrais Prospector

- Pelargir Ship Captain

- Scroll of Isildur

 

These are all still somewhat thematic, yet are universally playable. Scroll of Isildur has a beneficial effect for dedicated Lore decks, but seems playable enough for 2/3c instead of 1c.

 

Forth Eorlingas! (Maybe one high-attack Rohan hero is enough?)

Spear of the Mark (Condition is to have a decent number of Rohans - probably 4 for every spear)

Steed of the Mark (Rohan or Gondor makes for a broad enough use I guess)

Visionary Leadership (Gondor Leadership Hero, which I'm guessing aren't available by the hundreds. In the movies they were lacking leadership anyway :P)

 

These are exclusive to trait decks. Including these cards in packs is fine of course, but let's have future expansions contain at least 4 or something cards like the ones listed before. This expansion, for one, seems fine. But I've seen some that contain cards that are just crap outside their narrow playing frame. 5/3 is may be a better ratio though.

 

But maybe I'm just a little too critical. In the end, the game is way different than other LCG's in the sense that the focal point of it is the adventures/quests. Your deck should always be optimised for the quest you're actually doing, and not for internal consistency like other cardgames. We know what we're up against. Gameplanning is functional to the quests. This demands some traits-based cards. I tried the approach of just making a balanced consistent deck and running it through all the adventures like a story, but the game forces you to make certain changes. I guess that's why it's a deckbuilding game. :)


Edited by Marginal0, 03 February 2014 - 05:11 AM.


#15 booored

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 05:14 AM

The gondor trait is applied with Steward of Gondor to any hero and Nor am I a stranger can add rohan to any hero as well.
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#16 Marginal0

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:00 AM

From a narrative standpoint, that's cool. Your gameplan would be to make someone a steward so he can use the effects, but from a gaming standpoint it's all just inefficiënt, as it presupposes possession of certain cards.

 

I guess in LotR, it's more about the story. In Magic the Gathering nowadays, you'd have logically retarded situations. I played a deck that had birds wielding swords, creatures hopping in and out of play to make me immortal, etc. It all makes very little sense. Maybe FFG wants to evade such nonsense by requiring traits.


Edited by Marginal0, 03 February 2014 - 06:01 AM.


#17 booored

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:33 AM

While this game and LCGs in general have a preservation of logic not seen in games like MTG there are inconsistencies that apear. A famous one for this game is Eagels flying down tunnels in the mines of moria with spears attached to them and stuff. Or in Star Wars using a hand lazer blaster to shoot down a star destroyer...

Still what needs to be considered is that LoTR is not MTG.. the main difference besides the obvious is the Hero system. The Heroes are the main focus of a deck and in most cases the most powerful and to that end attachments are a huge part of this game. Many top decks have few and some no allies at all. Admittedly Dwalves and Outlands encouraged mass allies but these were recent additions and unusual when they turned up.

So while I agree about cards that require other cards to be inefficient, it is also how this game is designed.. so in THIS game it is not inefficient, as a attachment on a hero allowing you to do something is much more powerful than most other cards you can cast.

On a side note if you are looking for a great game to replace MTG.. take a look at Call of Cthulhu LCG.. best deck construction game ever made!

it presupposes possession of certain cards.


absolutely true and one of the reasons this game has crazy card draw abilities and no maximum hand size, so the "tools" so to speak of the deck can all get into play.
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#18 servant of the secret fire

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:56 AM

 

 

 

I don't care whether the game loses its 'thematic' effect. I mean: the whole frickin' point of LotR - and half of all fantasy tales - is to let the races work together to defeat the evil (hence the Fellowship). But no, in this game they only want to team with their own kind. A forced 'multicultural' approach to deckbuilding brings death and decay (and boredom). Is this the message you are willing to bring, FFG? :P

 

How about some anti-racial-cards? Cards that get better when there are more different races/traits into play? Haven't seen those. Ironically, cards like that would also kinda be 'thematic' and limited, so calling for those cards would be sinning against my own request.

 

Nope sorry this is not the point and the meaning of Lotr and for the love of God Lotr is not just an other fantasy tale.I can write 2 pages about the meanings of Lotr but this is not the right thread.

 

Is this game really true to the lore and themes?No.

 

Aragorn goes on a quest with Gloin and Glorfindel fights side by side with Denethor?

 

Lotr and Middle earth is not like DnD.Tolkien wrote a Mythos with historical events from the creation of Arda until the fall of Sauron.Middle earth is not just a fantasy setting where you can just put random armies and play with them and thats why is very difficult to make a game from Tolkien's world and give the players as freedom as they want.

 

That being said if you are not a big fan of Tolkien and you want freedom lotr games are not the best choice.But if you are a big fan of Tolkien like me those limits and thematic cards and decks is the reason to play a Lotr game and not just a random fantasy card game(or game in general).

 

A Silmarion based game may give to players more freedom but Christofer Tolkien owns those rights and he is not planning to give them.

 

ps:because my English sucks i hope that my post doesn't sounds offensive or like i want to criticize you.It is just my opinion on your comment.


Edited by servant of the secret fire, 03 February 2014 - 07:16 AM.


#19 Marginal0

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 02:19 AM

A Silmarillion game might be nice... to lull me into sleep. J/k, that was uncalled for. :)

 

You're probably right. Perhaps you can direct me to a page that talks about the essense of the LotR narrative? Me, being a pedagogical dude at heart, always saw the multicultural theme in it, along with some spiritual notes. Hence the suggestion of trait-mixed err... traits. I'm very interested it reading something about that.



#20 booored

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 02:55 AM

not sure exactly how having a deep understanding of the methodologies of teaching academia has anything to do with a card game having multicultural themes but w/e. Sure you using that word correctly, mate?

Either way, this forum has a lot of Tolkien nuts on it for obvious reasons, but there are a few of us that come here as it is a solid game with some fun deck building with the co-op and solo uniqueness going for it.. As in some players like me actively hate the tolkien theme and ******* elves and faeries and all that stuff.

I do not think the game having "theme" has anything to do with it being fun to play.
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