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Lets not forget Decipher's LOTR CCG and ICE Middle Earth Wizards TCG


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#1 The Thing In The Attic

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 07:39 AM

Hello

There are two reasons why I will be buying FFG's new Lord Of The Rings card game. Ok! There are actually four or five reasons; but there are two main reasons why I'll be spending my hard earned cash on this game and why my kids will go hungry for the next year. Those two reasons make up the title of this topic.

It's only fair to look at what's gone before to be able to see whats in store for this game. both of the previous Lord Of The Rings card game offerings have been award winning, market leading creations in their time but have now been cast into the firey pits of Mount Doom.

This topic is open in fellowship all to voice their opinion of those two games and speculate on how their rise and fall may have forged this new offering by FFG; surely the Lord Of The Rings card game to rule them all!

I myself have collected and played both of the other two.

The Decipher version I still own and play, very occasionally. I have every card of all 20 sets. It's a beautiful game and has some wonderful game mechanics and themes, and some pretty ugly ones too i hasten to add. The game designers struggled due to limited footage and a limited number of characters, and so orc, goblin and troll images are repeated throughout sets. Countless versions of the heros appear through the sets, I count something like 14 versions of Legolas for example. The game play was inspired through its first 3 years from the Fellowship Block to Return of the King Block, although I was never happy with the site and race to the end mechanics which never really worked well between sets. The game began to get stale once they'd explored the three films and opened up the roaming anywhere through Middle Earth sets. They didn't really follow the source material very well and gave the impression that the franchise or Licience was being somewhat milked. For example you could start at Mount Doom with Gimli as the Ring bearer then move to Bag End and have a fight between Knights of Minas Tirith and Sauron himself or with Shelob.

ICE Middle Earth the Wizards came at a rteally bad time for me, I'd just stopped playing Star Trek the card game and found ICE's Middle Earth game which i began to devour like a Hobbit at a birthday party banquet. I loved it, however know one else i knew wanted to commit to it. So i almost had the base set and then BAM out comes Star Wars card game by Decipher and I collected every set of that, and My ICE set was traded away to nothing as i couldn't afford to collect both games.

the ICE game had a lot of strengths, it wasn't tide to any one book or film but to the whole mythology and they even had some home brew dragons in too which they surmised had been hidden away since the First Age, presumably like Smaug. The game wasn't  about battle or Vs players but was about quests and exploration, sure you could still beat your opponent but you visited locations faught monsters and plundered the treasure. each player took on the role of a Wizard or Istari. the game was more customizable than most as you could alter types of quests and gameplay through a special scenario book they released. i didn't really explore anything beyond the first set but each expansion added new cool was to play.

For me though the art ranged from excellent to poor, some images just didn't invoke the feel of the subject the card represented. Many images were taken from sources already in existance such as the roleplaying game and various calenders. I suppose the cost or commissioning artists to produce new cards was too expensive.

So whats the point of all this. well the Decipher game had many elements of the ICE game and the decipher game was more successful, so will the FFG game have in it the best elements of both of its predecessors? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      



#2 Karazax

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 08:00 AM

 I loved Decipher's version in particular for fellowship block as it really felt like you were playing your way thru the movie.  The mechanics were strong, and there was a reasonable amount of competitive deck builds.

 The game was still fun thru Two Towers and return of the king, but the site race mechanic did not have the same feel of playing thru the movie any more.  I never played the ICE version.  I imagine this new version will also be fun, but being co-op I don't think it will be comparable to the previous versions.  Whether it will be better or not remains to be seen.



#3 Dam

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 08:05 AM

The Thing In The Attic said:

the ICE game had a lot of strengths, it wasn't tide to any one book or film but to the whole mythology and they even had some home brew dragons in too which they surmised had been hidden away since the First Age, presumably like Smaug.

Not sure how Tolkien estate would view home-brewed dragons . And at least names of the Meccg dragons were all mentioned the Middle-Earth Roleplaying game (also by ICE).


"A dirty mind is its own reward."


#4 Frog

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 09:16 AM

Decipher's game was pure garbage.  Especially the movie stills and insane number of expansions for such a small pool of material.

I.C.E.'s game was awesome and is still awesome to this day.  You can play it solo as well.

I really doubt the FFG game will be better.  But I am certain it will be more popular, a good game, and survive longer than the the ICE game.

I like how the FFG game...

-is an LCG
-has original artwork(like MECCG)
-has solo play (like MECCG)
-has co-op(very awesome)
 



#5 David Spangler

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 10:42 AM

I have to agree with Frog.   Never felt that Decipher's game came up to the creative level of ICE's Middle Earth, though obviously that's a personal opinion. I just preferred the fact that with MIddle Earth, you could create your own mythology and you played as a wizard gathering a fellowship.  Lovely.  Not being tied to the trilogy but playing in the same universe is a huge plus for me. It's why Middle Earth Quest is a favorite board game for me.  FFG's new LCG seems to offer the same capacity, plus it can be played solo, another huge plus.  Count me in for it big time, assuming the gameplay is halfway decent.  And from FFG, I expect it will be.



#6 Slipstream

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 01:14 PM

I played Decipher's as well. In fact it was because of their game I listened to their weekly podcast which discussed it and the RPG. That was back in 2004 when 'podcast' had not been coined as a word.

I felt the game went waaaay too long, and I only played against one other friend. I loved the design of the cards, but detested the terrible quality of many of the photos used.

So looking forward to this and what Cubicle7 will do with The One Ring RPG.



#7 Martin_fr

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 08:41 PM

To me, MECCG is unmatched in its deckbuliding requirement. This game had the fewest "luck of the draw" factor that I ever seen in a card game.

BTW, it had a malor drawback : way too many "small" rules (like the various modifiers to influence away opponent's cards). The game was rewarding for your efforts, but you had first to commit a lot to learn those rules.

Awesome card arts and deck varieties. Plus theme decks were largely competitive (my favorite being "King under the Mountain", were the Dwarves kills a Dragon to rebuild a part of their lost kingdom).

And last, but not least, this is the only I know (with Stargate TCG to a lesser extent)  in which you win by fulfilling win conditions, not by making your opponent loses the game. So you had to build up a true strategy, not just to deny your opponent's one.



#8 Baenre

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 04:57 PM

Really depends on your definition of Successful?  The ICE version has a very robust commmunity that supports the game a decade after it is out fo print and they still have a fairly large tournament circuit.  The decipher game on the other hand became nothing more than a footnote in CCG history mostly due to it being easily broken.

If you want to look at it from a sales point sure Deciphers version sold more but it also had the complexity level of Candyland.  That kind of ease of play will suck in the masses without a doubt.

It probably should also be pointed out that ICE's version plays a hell of a lot more like a BG than it does a CCG.  In fact those of us that still actively play it using a homemade board.

What they have done here is take an older game and adapt it to their LCG format. 



#9 rings

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 10:51 AM

Decipher was (is?) one of the best companies in the world for new, streamlined, exciting rules.  Their Star Wars rules were sublime (no counters!  your life was your deck!), and LoTR was close behind (playing both bad and good, the 'trail' of locations).  Truly, both were easy to learn, and hard to master - very much like most of FFG's games (aGoT, CoC, Warhammer). 

I never played Middle Earth, but I have heard nothing but raves from anyone who did.  Unluckily, the learning curve is VERY high, even for an experience gamer like me.  Every year, I think I am going to try it, and every year I don't.  As people have said, I am sure I would be rewarded for my patience...just too many good games out there (dead or alive)!  :)


Oh, King eh? Very nice...

#10 rings

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 10:53 AM

I meant to add in that Decipher was HORRIBLE about designing new sets and playtesting them.  Just awful.  Both Star Wars and LoTR should still be going today (IMHO) with a smaller but ardent fan base (if aGoT is alive, how are those two HUGE properties not?), but Decipher was just bad at designing after the first set or two.  Plus, they over-promised, and under-delivered (on many things), refused to rotate, never a good things to survive. 


Oh, King eh? Very nice...

#11 The Eponymous P

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 07:45 AM

I Played MEccg all the way through to the last expansion, The White Hand (OK, there was The Balrog fixed set too). It is an outstanding game, but it is very hard to learn. The rules are very thorough, which allows for very detailed game-play, but they are overwhelming for newcomers. A few months ago I tried to introduce the game to my play group, and they threw the towel pretty quickly.

Let's hope this new game provides a simpler (but rich) play experience.



#12 rings

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 04:02 AM

The Eponymous P said:

I Played MEccg all the way through to the last expansion, The White Hand (OK, there was The Balrog fixed set too). It is an outstanding game, but it is very hard to learn. The rules are very thorough, which allows for very detailed game-play, but they are overwhelming for newcomers. A few months ago I tried to introduce the game to my play group, and they threw the towel pretty quickly.

Let's hope this new game provides a simpler (but rich) play experience.

You might try easing them in by just using cards from the first sets and then moving along.  Lots of games are hard (Star Wars comes to mind) if you chew it all off at once, but if you start like the game started it can be better.  More work, but getting people to play your favorite games is worth it :)


Oh, King eh? Very nice...

#13 vermillian

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 06:09 AM

 Having played the game at Gencon, it is both simple, and has potential for some depth. (obviously atm we only saw some demo decks...)



#14 Hidatom

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 05:18 AM

 As a playtester for Deciphers early LoTR sets I can tell you there biggest problem was they didn't listen. My wife BROKE the game with a goblin / dwarf deck that could vomit its entire shadow side around site 7-9. Our head playtester refined it even more so that he could win every game by site six. Decipher didn't listen and we had to actually play the deck in a big tourney(in front of the designers) to make them change some rules (yes the 'rule of 3' was our "fault").

then they started trying to change the game with the second movie and it got worse. Not my worst playtesting experience (that would be spycraft) but it was something.



#15 rings

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 09:26 AM

Hidatom said:

 As a playtester for Deciphers early LoTR sets I can tell you there biggest problem was they didn't listen. My wife BROKE the game with a goblin / dwarf deck that could vomit its entire shadow side around site 7-9. Our head playtester refined it even more so that he could win every game by site six. Decipher didn't listen and we had to actually play the deck in a big tourney(in front of the designers) to make them change some rules (yes the 'rule of 3' was our "fault").

then they started trying to change the game with the second movie and it got worse. Not my worst playtesting experience (that would be spycraft) but it was something.

Agreed all around.  I playtested a bit of LoTR, but more of L5R and Spycraft (just the first couple of sets) and a ton of a different FFG LCG.  I agree that when the company either doesn't listen or throws a major mechanic in after playtesting it can be frustrating.  Decipher was certainly king of that! 


Oh, King eh? Very nice...

#16 simpatikool

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 02:29 AM

I loved ICE's card game. Back in the day, I sort of played magic a little. When I tired of magic, I picked up ICE's game and was at it for some time. I have high hopes for FFG LCG version of this genre now. I love the Warhammer invasion game, my first LCG, and I expect the LOTRO version to be enjoyable for awhile.

 

 

 



#17 spirit

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 02:14 AM

I loved Deciphers LOTR ccg when it first came out but only played the fellowship expansions. After that it started getting bogged down. I've tried the Ice me ccg but found it too heavy going though I can see the potential it had if I was to take the time to play properly. The problem with both games and the main reason for their downfall and this is something the Star wars CCG also suffered from is that they simply got bogged down in there rules. Each new set would add new rules so by the time you have 6 or 7 sets 'never mind 20' the rules are starting to get cumbersome.

                  Also I found that each new set would be that little bit more powerful with it's cards than the previous set making previous cards less effective. A good example here is the hunter mechanic of deciphers game brought in I think with return of the king set. Each character with hunter gets +4 against non hunter characters. Immediately any old set is obsolete and completely overpowered. 

                 For me these are the two main reasons the two games are no longer on shelves. Bogged down under the rules. And 'certainly in deciphers case' new sets just over powered older sets meaning that it was pointless trying to integrate all the sets into usable decks.



#18 Hates_End

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 09:48 AM

Spirit, I agree with you that additional rule sets are very cumbersome (wasn't the SWTCG rule book for the reset like 100 pages? uggh) but the power curve for each set is going to increase (hopefully slowly) and you'll replace some old characters.



#19 spirit

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 10:51 AM

Oh I agree with you completely Hates but I do think that it's one of the things that brought down the decipher game. I know a lot of players that it put off. 



#20 Hates_End

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 01:20 AM

Ahhh - never played Decipher's LotR past the first 2 sets.  Loved the art but had issues with Decipher.






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