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20 Heroes In (Leadership)


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#1 lleimmoen

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 08:26 AM

This is the second part of the series. The first can be found here http://www.fantasyfl...=4&efidt=636576

Aragorn

Estel can give hope to the players of this game. The only requirement for Aragorn to perform two of the three basic actions (quest, attack, defence) is to pay a resource from his pool when committing to the quest; he then can be ready for combat. The somewhat hidden trouble with that is that one has to predict what comes up during the staging because one has but to consider it a waste of a resource when he readies Aragorn only to watch him do nothing for the remainder of the round, even though it is obviously better to be safe than sorry. This dilemma is present in both solo and multiplayer games. In solo, there is a higher chance of not pulling an enemy from the encounter deck. With more players this chance increases and Aragorn’s sentinel ability (he is the only sentinel hero in the game so far) bids him for an obvious defender; however, with more players, more characters will be naturally ready and some may fight just as well (if not better) than Aragorn and thus save his valuable pocket money.

That aside, Strider (as he would more likely be called in that era) is an all-round skilled hero. There is only one attachment that directly cooperates (to its full extent) with a named character, no wonder it is this brave ranger. Celebrian’s Stone is good for any hero who quests repeatedly but it gives Aragorn that something extra: the Spirit icon. This utility had been especially prominent before the Songs appeared as Aragorn had been the only hero with the ability to produce “double-coloured” resources.

Despite the great stats and the potential to both quest and fight, Aragorn is not an obvious choice to take into any Leadership deck. His threat cost of 12 is the shared highest in the game; so it is mostly dependent on what the deck focuses on whether Aragorn shall be the one to lead it or not. Time will tell whether the Dúnedain get enough support to outweigh this decision-making. It is also very probable that Aragorn shall see more of his famous artefacts in the game that will only be playable on him.

Imrahil

This text is not about rivalry between the friendly characters. However, as the players can only take a limited number of them to each game, the decisions have to be made. With the threat level currently gaining on significance, having both Aragorn and Imrahil on your side can be very risky. And the similarities between the two heroes are so eminent that it is the nuances that shall prove decisive.

1 point of threat and 1 hit point lower, Imrahil has otherwise got the same stats. And same as Aragorn, he can also ready once per his ability each round. The means are very different though; with Aragorn, players should be able to use his ability every round (since they earn his resource token – on normal circumstances – in the beginning of each round and should not lose it before the Quest phase), that is if they do not spend the money on something else, including saving plans for future. Imrahil can be readied only when a character leaves play. Thus the deck that he is destined to lead shall be well suited for such happening. Luckily for this strategy, the choice of allies easily leaving play is ever growing. Both Rohan and Eagles have a bunch, some of which can trigger their “leaving-play” effect any time the player chooses, which opens up variety of options. The timing is what really stands on Imrahil’s side in his severe struggle against the Northern usurper of the Gondorian throne (irony, of course). As Aragorn can only ready when committing to the quest, Imrahil can do this any time a character leaves play, so he is able (unlike Aragorn – again, under normal circumstances, without further effects taken in consideration) to perform two Combat actions. As it does not matter who is the controller of the leaving character, to trigger Imrahil’s ability is obviously much easier in a multiplayer game.

For Gondor! will help the Prince defend all the better, Blade Mastery could be almost as fit for him as it is for Boromir, and Horn of Gondor will pay off every time (and more) you use Imrahil’s response, thus nicely strengthening this thematic strategy combo.

Briefly considering the future impact of the secrecy, both Aragorn and Imrahil can be looked upon as good candidates in terms of performing more actions than others. Also, the Leadership has so far been given more attention by the new mechanic than other spheres. The difference between the threat of 11 and 12, when considering the hero line-up, may again not be just marginal, as pairing up Aragorn with Éowyn (for instance) will take you over the all-important 20 but choosing Imrahil instead shall not.

Théodred

Similar to Thalin, Théodred is another hero with whom players must quest in order to make use of his ability. And same as for Thalin, Théodred’s willpower is 1, thus his progress contribution to the quest is often not great. It is simple though, the one extra resource (together with his very low threat) is what makes Théodred such a great companion in any fellowship. Choosing him to a group of questing heroes is a smart move though because players can then decide which type of the resource they want. His natural national compatriots are Spirit and one would be fool (or very desperate, or about to win the game anyways) not to quest with Éowyn; when the two quest together, you can count on an extra resource of either kind every round, that often means a difference between having that one token to play A Test of Will, Hasty Stroke, Sneak Attack, Ever Vigilant or not.

Rohan is among those (together with Dwarves) most heavily developed nationalities (and traits). Astonishing Speed gives every Rohan character additional 2 points of willpower until the end of the phase, suddenly making Théodred a heavy contributor. And so does Faramir whose appearance is all the more probable (or quick) with Théodred on your side.

Glóin

Théodred can produce one extra resource per round, now Glóin can do more. He can make a lot (one per damage taken actually) but just as with his son, it is a bit risky but certainly achievable. Glóin is a natural “quester,” all the more with Dáin in play. Besides the staging where his vulnerability is obvious in some of the quest, he can easily be damaged by letting an attack undefended. It requires the right sort of enemy engaged, usually one with rather lower attack strength – one or two feels about right. A back-up is always nice to have, something to cancel shadow effects. There are already two cards in the Leadership sphere; Dawn Take You All is one of those and also one of the few Leadership cards that are much more potent with more players in. Still, probably the best cancelling of shadow lies with Spirit and Hasty Stroke in case of Glóin’s perseverance. But there are more combos to support Glóin, Landroval is good when things go wrong and so is Frodo.

But making sure Glóin does not die whilst being hurt is not enough for this strategy to fulfil its potential; one needs a way to remove those damage tokens in order to repeat the production of the resource ones. Here the choice is again plentiful but all restrained to the sphere of Lore. Daughter of Nimrodel or Self Preservation can both heal two points of damage from Glóin per round (and neither is unique), one just needs to choose the one more suitable for his deck or playing style.

Alternatively, one can just make sure Glóin has enough hit points so he needs not heal before making a lot of money. So the boosts that apply to his son Gimli are again possible for the father: 2 copies of Citadel Plate and 1 of Boots from Erebor will increase the number of hit points from 4 to 13; with more such cards surely coming up.

Dáin

Leadership could hardly get more appropriate hero than the King under the Mountain. The significance of his role is already apparent from his mentioning with other Dwarven heroes. His attack boost and (especially) willpower boost is fit to any deck basing its strategy on Dwarven characters. As if it were not enough, Dáin is also a wonderful defender. Tied with Denethor for the highest defence (3) in the game, Dáin has two more hit points to absorb the attack. The hind side of this is that once he defends, he becomes exhausted, and thus unable to give the boost for the consequent attack. There are ways to redeem this however, and one needs not necessarily search into the Spirit sphere for Unexpected Courage (although it is very useful for Dáin, as it is for almost every other hero); for five Leadership tokens, a player can ready all characters in the game by playing Grim Resolve; and newly, for only three tokens, there is Lure of Moria to get ready all Dwarves.

Designer’s hope surely must be that no character in the game is perfect, and thus inevitably better than others. It is certainly not easy to find flaws with Dáin but one can safely claim that he is costly; and his high threat limits the options for other heroes, especially in solo play where the choice of spheres for the one and only deck becomes a more prominent aspect of deck-building. The whole “keep Dáin ready” strategy can also come to an abrupt end in a round when an effect exhausting characters applies; King Spider comes immediately to mind. And the occurrence of such nasty hindrances may become more frequent in the future just to discourage the notion of choosing Dáin for every quest in which the Dwarves participate.



#2 richsabre

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:58 AM

hey

i am just about to start reading but i think its worth saying that to edit an old thread all you have to do is post on that thread then immediatly go back to the first post you did and edit will be there


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#3 lleimmoen

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 10:29 AM

Thanks a lot Richard, I have edited both now, so all is as originally inteded. Cheers.



#4 booored

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 10:42 AM

you should post these at cardgameDB or boardgamegeeks.. i vote CardGameDB... as you have put effort into this and they will be lost and never seen again in a few weeks if you just leave them here.


"People should be less concerned about whether they are being insulted and more concerned if it is the truth"

#5 lleimmoen

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:28 AM

Ok thanks, I keep the script, so I may. I am not a great fan of bgg - in terms of posting - but I will see about the other one. I do not want to make something bigger out of this than it is though, I am very glad when a few people here reads it. I enjoy writing about things I like but the sharing (and especially some feedback) makes it a bit special.



#6 richsabre

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:31 AM

you could put a link in your signature like i do....not sure if i get any hits using that method- but its an idea


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#7 booored

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 03:48 PM

only helps if you post all the time.


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#8 Robert McMutton

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:26 PM

Great work again, lleimmoen. I wasn't aware that so much could be pointed out from these heros. Quite interesting all that you say here. Personally, the three heros from the core set are well played, and Dáin is lately a star in my dwarves deck. But I have Prince Imrahil a little left, for no special reason, and I think I should try him a little.

After your first post, I made a deck for Boromir, pairing with Spitit (Eowyn and Dúnhere), and behaved quite well.

Keep going, because this is a great work, both old and new players I think.

 

PS: Rich, yes, the signature helps. I saw in your signature the link to one of your Tolkienology chapters that I have lost between posts.



#9 lleimmoen

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 09:21 PM

Thanks Robert. And thanks for the tips, all of you.

ps: Out of interest, what was your strategy, basic deck, for the Boromir line-up? And did you play that one in coop, I suspect?



#10 Robert McMutton

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:34 AM

lleimmoen said:

Thanks Robert. And thanks for the tips, all of you.

ps: Out of interest, what was your strategy, basic deck, for the Boromir line-up? And did you play that one in coop, I suspect?

You're welcome.

I only play solo. Tactics is the sphere I have played least, but since the appearance of the twins Elladan and Elrohir, and this Dual-sphere deck Spirit-Tactics with Boromir, I am giving it some time.

I love the threat control that Spirit gives, so I usually use it in my decks, mono, dual or tri-sphere. In this case, after reading your review, I noticed that I was lefting apart Boromir despite pairing quite well with Spirit, so, I made the deck, and threw it against Road to Rivendell. Eowyn quested always of course, Boromir volunteered both for defense and attack. Dúnhere helped with all those enemies returning to the staging area in this quest. The Tactics cards gave a boost to the Spirit core of the deck. I tried to use eagles, but there are too much eagle cards for one only tactics hero, so, I left them apart.

So, here is the deck I used. My pool is 3 cores, and all APs till RtR. As you see, I like variety, and also I have troubles adjusting to only 50 cards: 

Heros: Eowyn (Spirit - 9), Dúnhere (Spirit -8), Boromir (Tactics - 11) = total initial threat: 28

Allies (18)

Spirit: Lorien Guide (x1), Northern Tracker (x3), Wandering Took (x2), Eomund (x1), Ridemark's Finest (x1), Elfhelm (x1), Escort from Edoras (x1), West-road Traveller (x1), Westfold Horse-breaker (x1)

Tactics: Veteran Axehand (x2), Gondorian Spearman (x1)

Neutral: Gandalf (x3)

Events (26)

Spirit: The Galadhrim's Greeting (x3), Strenght of Will (x2), Hasty Stroke (x3), Will of the West (x2), A Test of Will (x3), Dwarven Tomb (x3)

Tactics: Hail of Stones (x2), Unseen Strike (x2), Swift Strike (x2), Quick Strike (x2), Feint (x2)

Attachments (12)

Spirit: Unexpected Courage (x3)

Tactics: Citadel Plate (x3), Dwarven Axe (x3)

Neutral: Song of Battle (x3)

 

Hope that helps. Greetings.



#11 The_Fallen_Arises

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:49 AM

 Great post ! I love this series, and especially the time given to each hero and sphere.

Now, my two cents :

- I mostly agree about Aragorn, but I still believe he is among the best heroes in the game, period. True, I have seen instances when Aragorn was readied in vain at the cost of one ressource, but I would rather err on the side of caution than get overwhelmed by monsters. That, and his Sentinel Keyword means that even if you as a player don't have any enemies engaged with you, you can still help out, and in some quests, it has been a HUGE advantage. Not to mention that with Common Cause in your deck, having an extra ready hero on your side is never a bad thing for your partners. His synergy with Celebrian stone also makes him a natural fit with spirit. Overall, one ressource to ready a hero is always cheap, especially since we're talking about a leadership hero (most leadership cards aren't all that expensive). Steward of Gondor, and all your woes are gone ! 

-Prince Imrahil...I dunno I could never really get into him as a hero...I have seen him ready many times thanks to allies getting out of play, but I never really like an ability over which I have limited control. There might be times when killing off an ally is too high a price to pay to ready him. Sometimes, the timing is just wrong. Considering he has one less hit point than Aragorn, I would still go for Aragorn in a heartbeat.

-Theodred...Yes, one ressource but unless he has some sort of willpower boost I think a leadership player can do better.

That's my opinion, for all it's worth :-) Great job again on this awesome thread series !



#12 lleimmoen

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:58 AM

Thanks. For the input, too. What I find great about the game is - and I tried to point it out - that there are few (if any) definitive options. The game seems nicely balanced in that there are many ways about it. Different heroes fit different decks, quests, and even style of play. I would love to restrain from any general judgement, I try to be objective in specific instances, even though it shall always be biased - then others have different ideas, different experiences; that all just makes the game very rich.

Overall, these are just a few opinions out of many - and all can be aplicable at some point.

Cheers.



#13 Cotillion37

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:29 PM

Awesome work yet again! In my solo games so far I've been sticking to Spirit/Tactics decks and haven't had a chance to use Leadership or Lore all that much yet. I've dabbled a bit with Leadership in co-op games with my girlfriend, but haven't really gotten the feel of that sphere just yet so it's nice to read what you have to say about the Leadership heroes. Keep up the awesome work!



#14 lleimmoen

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 07:07 PM

Thank you. Hope you shall enjoy Leadership. There are some very powerful combos that do not require other spheres: like the super-well-known Sneaky Gandalf (well, he is Neutral) or the less-known-but-often-yet-more-powerful Faramir on Ever Vigilant. I hope to get Spirit up soon although it seems everyone wants to read about the Hobbit expansion now. 8)






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