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  1. Back in 2019 I made a point of playing LotR LCG at least once a week. I made it through Mirkwood, Dwarrowdelf, and the Hobbit saga. I then started Heirs of Numenor. And that's where I got stuck. Over and over I tried to beat "Peril in Pelargir" but never got close. I dutifully smashed my head against that scenario each weekend, but those sessions lost any semblance of "fun". The frustration was most likely due to the fact that I refused to abandon my Dwarf decks. I just didn't want to deck build. I kept hoping I would get a lucky card draw, but it never happened. Then, for my 2020 New Year's resolution, I decided to finally start Gloomhaven (which I'd bought more than a year ago). Once I got Gloomhaven unpacked and the rules read, I realised that Gloomhaven is not just a table hog, but a time hog... and that I really didn't have enough time (or mental energy) to play both Gloomhaven and LotR LCG on a weekly basis. So, I decided for 2020 to focus on Gloomhaven and put LotR LCG on hold (or "hiatus"). Although I haven't played LotR LCG since 2019, I still keep reading about it, listening to podcasts, and collecting the new packs and play mats. It's a terrific game, and I am still passionate about it... even though I don't play it. But this brings me back to the top of canonical decks. Over and over as I listen to podcasts (particularly Card Talk), I think about how nice it would be to deck choosing rather than deck building. I would much rather decide between one of a handful of pre-constructed themed decks... and not worry about making card choices myself. Gloomhaven has a little bit of deck building, but for level 1 characters your card choices are very limited... For example, for the Brute I think you need to pick 10 of 13 cards. So you are basically just choosing 3 cards NOT to use. This choice is very easy and fast compared to LotR LCG, where you have to select 50 cards from a set of many, many hundreds of cards. When I am starting a scenario in LotR LCG, I would like to pick a deck, try it a couple times, and if that doesn't work, pick a different deck. Nice and easy. I don't want to have to choose cards. At least, not until I have A LOT more experience with different deck types. Right now I just know Dwarves (Dwarrowdelf and Hobbit saga), since I don't really count those sloppy hodge podge decks I played back during the Mirkwood cycle. Dwarves were the first "real" decks I played, and so far remain the only "real" decks I've played. I've never tried decks based on Hobbits, Elves, Eagles, Outlands, or any of the other themes. Just Dwarves. And that's because I do not enjoy building decks from scratch. At all! So... Have there been any efforts recently in getting together some "canonical decks"? For example, I'd love something that would help me tackle Heirs of Numenor... as long as it's progression-style (at least at the cycle level, if not the pack level) and relatively thematic. I'm guessing it would be Outlands, since that's the archetype introduced in this cycle. I don't mind using cards from later in the cycle, so is there a "canonical" Outlands deck which is designed to get through this cycle?
  2. I've tried Perils in Pelargir many times, with different types of decks. and haven't gotten anywhere close. I'm 99% sure the problem is my deck building habits. Whenever I try to build a different style deck, I end up slipping in "just a few" favorites, and half an hour later, I end up with either huge decks (100+ cards) or the same old dwarf swarm decks I'm trying to get away from. I just can't seem to let go of my favorite cards. So I'd like to try someone else's decks for a change, with zero editing on my part. I play 2-handed, each covering 2 spheres, so I prefer to stick with that (so that I can experience all 4 spheres). I also play progression style based on what I've finished so far, so I can use cards from: 1) core set (I'm playing in OCTGN so can have 3 of each card) 2) Shadows of Mirkwood cycle 3) Khazad Dum 4) Dwarrowdelf cycle 5) Hobbit Saga (I've finished both parts) 6) Heirs of Numenor If the "Against the Shadow cycle" has some killer cards in it, then I wouldn't mind "cheating" by accessing those cards, but I don't want to go any further into the future than that. Given those requirements, is there a specific pair of decks you're recommend, for tackling Heirs of Numenor? If you don't know of specific deck recommendations, then is there a recommended way for me to *find* decks that meet those requirements, perhaps via ringsdb? Thanks!
  3. So, I finished the Hobbit saga, and finally managed to beat Lake-Town. I'm now tackling the first quest in Heirs of Numenor: Peril in Pelargir. Twice I tried it, and twice I got completely crushed within the first 3 or 4 turns. My decks (I play 2-handed) are not even close to making headway. Starting with 2 enemies in the staging area, and then drawing up to 2 more at the beginning of the quest phase, and then up to 2 more during staging... Both times I ended up having to fight 4 or 5 enemies on turn 1. So I couldn't really quest, and either ended up threating out or getting too many heroes killed to make it worth continuing. Peril in Pelargir feels so imbalanced (and "unfair") that, to be honest, it's very tempting to "take a break" for a few weeks/months/years and focus on other games. I can now see why so many people said that the Heirs of Numenor quests are painful and discouraging. Lake-town was hard. The Hobbit quests were confusing. But Peril at Pelargir is just plain depressing. Is this how you felt when you first tried it? Did it throw your momentum off for a while? And, if you persevered, what helped you get through? Did you overhaul your deck(s)? Shift to/from 1-handed? Play Easy Mode? Cheat? Or did you give up on the idea of beating each quest, allowing yourself to "fail forward" after X attempts, with no real consequences other than a bruised/battered ego (and perhaps some bent cards)?
  4. I tried Lake-Town again last weekend, and made it a little further (stage 2) but still got slaughtered. I definitely need to adjust my decks. Cards like Forest Snare are a waste, as is Thalin. I'd still like to stick with Dwarves, if possible, because that's the only archetype I know, and Dain's ability seems pretty awesome. Is Lake-Town relatively beatable with a Dwarf swarm? Or am I making things hard for myself?
  5. I'm trying The Battle of Lake-Town for the first time. Question 1: During setup, I drew Town-Baiting, which says Smaug makes an attack. However, Smaug is not in play. So, should I just ignore that card? Question 2: The active location is South Pier, which says "When faced with the option to travel, players cannot travel to other locations." Meanwhile, Fisherman's Dock says "Travel: If there is 1 active location, exhaust a hero to travel here". So, am I able to exhaust a hero to travel to Fisherman's Dock or not? Or does South Pier prevent me from doing that? Question 3: Can I travel to 2 Fisherman's Docks in one turn? Or can I only perform one "Travel" per turn, in which case I need to wait until a later turn to travel to the 2nd Fisherman's Dock? Question 4: Can I use 2 Travel Actions per turn? Example: Merchant's District has a Travel Action which lets me remove it to the victory display. Can I remove 2 Merchant's Districts per turn, or do I have to wait until the next turn? Question 5: Can I do a Travel Action in the same travel phase that I perform a normal Travel? For example, can I remove a Merchant's District and travel to a Fisherman's Dock in the same travel phase? Or does a Travel Action "consume" the entire travel phase? Question 6: When the locations in the staging area get too numerous, we just don't have a chance, because staging threat increases, burn damage increases, and we're too busy "fighting fires" to defend effectively against Smaug, let alone hurt him. I'm guessing this is a normal experience for first-time players. Is this one of those scenarios designed to force you to build a deck to beat it? In other words, is it a "puzzle" scenario? And are most of the standalone scenarios "puzzles"?
  6. I see what you guys are saying. And I definitely don't want this topic to turn into a 20 page leviathan. In terms of Caleb's rulings, this sentence seems to be key: I can understand why Caleb, as a designer, would not want players to be able to skip Stage 4B (which resembles a frantic action sequence in a movie). It's part of the "plot" of the quest. However, I think the word "immediately" (which both Caleb and I used) is open for interpretation. I am looking at page 21 of the Rules Reference Guide. In section III Quest Phase I can see the following "Framework Steps" listed: In my example, the quest stage changed before I had reached the end of 3.3 Staging. So, I hadn't yet reached 3.4 Quest Resolution (where you compute progress) yet. I still had more encounter cards to draw. 1) During Staging, an encounter card was drawn which forced the switch from Stage 2B to 4A (and then 4B). 2) After that, I resumed Staging (drawing and resolving encounter cards). 3) After that, I had an Action Window, in which I could use cards or effects to boost Willpower, tweak staging area threat, etc. 4) After that, I started Quest Resolution (comparing willpower vs threat to compute how much progress/threat would result from questing). 5) After that, I placed progress on active location until it was fully explored, and then resolved any effects of exploring that location. 6) Finally, I placed remaining progress on the current quest stage, which was 4B. Between the start of Stage 4B and the placing of progress on it, there was still quite a bit of activity (encounter cards, player actions, etc.). So, the defeat of Stage 4B was not "immediate" in terms of game timing (as page 21 of the rules reference clearly shows), even though I used that term casually in my previous post. When Caleb and I used the word "immediately", we did so casually, and, to be honest, a bit sloppily. In my case, I used it incorrectly. In Caleb's case, my guess is that he was trying to say that the overall intent was to get players to "feel the pain" of Stage 4B... but intent is fuzzy, and we're after crystal-clear game rules which we can apply again and again without having to repeatedly post questions like these on the forum. Once we understand the game rules, it is then our job as players to battle against them, using whatever tactics, tricks, and luck we can find! So if the designers leave a "weakness" in the rules (like a bare patch in Smaug's armour), then we, as players, should be permitted, and even expected, to take advantage of that bare patch... just like Bard did. So when Caleb said "immediately", did he mean: a) "within the same Framework Step" b) "within the same Phase" c) "within the same Round" or d) something else ? We don't know. We can only guess. And post questions about it. So what do the rules say? Page 12 of the FAQ clearly indicates that players can make progress against 2 different quest stages within the same Phase; they use Legolas in the Combat Phase as an example. Since the FAQ was updated long after The Lonely Mountain was released, I don't think we can brush off the FAQ's ruling as "out-dated" relative to the mechanics of The Lonely Mountain. So, if we can make progress against multiple quest stages in the Combat Phase, then why not the Quest Phase? Where is it written that the Quest Phase is "different" in that respect? In fact, you could argue that Legolas's multi-stage progress is happening during a smaller "time interval" (within Player Attack Resolution somewhere between 6.8.3 Determine Combat Damage and the following Action Window) compared to what's happening in The Lonely Mountain (3.3 Staging -> Action Window -> 3.4 Quest Resolution). So if Legolas can do it, why can't we? Is Legolas really *that* awesome??? After all, we're not talking about the movies now, are we? :) So why can't we change stages multiple times in the Quest Phase? So far the rules seem to be saying we can. In fact, the previous scenario had us doing just that!!! In Flies and Spiders, when we defeat Stage 1B, we go to Stage 2A/2B... and then within that same Quest Phase (and even the same Framework Step), a "When Revealed" effect forces the stage to change again, to Stage 3A/3B! The jump from Stage 1 to 2 to 3 all happens in the same Quest Phase. That very concept of multiple stage changes per Phase is still fresh in our minds when we start playing the next scenario, which is The Lonely Mountain. So at that point, it is only natural for the player to think that multi-stage progress is now just another part of the game. We were, after all, just shown that it could be done! And that FAQ ruling quite clearly supports the idea. Look, I understand that the designers of The Lonely Mountain may have "intended" for us to spend at least a round or two in Stage 4B. (And in I fact already did, having spent several rounds in 4B before returning to 2B for a second go at the treasure.) However, their rules are just not thorough enough to ensure that their intent is experienced by every player, every time through the game. They win some, they lose some... just like us. I don't know how the rest of you guys feel, but to me, the quests and cards in the Hobbit saga are the most confusing, frustrating, and "buggy" so far. I like the general idea of the quests. I like having Bilbo floating around, and the powerful Treasures. And I like the extreme focus of the encounter sets (which makes it easier to anticipate which sort of threats are coming at you)... But man, there are so many moments in the Hobbit saga where I feel like they needed to test this stuff more, and spend more time clarifying and smoothing out the rules. The Hobbit saga is a rough, awkward ride... like that Rhosgobel Rabbit sled. It's entertaining on the surface but ultimately becomes a little cringe-inducing. It feels rushed and clunky, like the movies. I'm glad The Hobbit saga exists, and I've enjoyed many moments while playing it, but it really could use a heavy revision. Of course, that would mean a 2.0, and none of us want that... because they wouldn't stop at The Hobbit. They'd go back and "2.0" everything. And soon we'd be broke again. With zero time left for anything else. And you can bet they'd neuter Steward of Gondor if they get a chance. And that's my Easy Mode. So I'll keep mumbling and grumbling my way through the Hobbit saga. Almost done with it now. Just 1 more quest to go. And after that will be... let's see... The Battle of Lake Town and The Heirs of Numenor. Sounds good to me. After these glitchy Hobbit quests, those should be a piece of cake, right?
  7. Page 10 of the latest FAQ says this (when talking about Legolas): I interpret this as meaning that if the quest stage changes for any reason, we do *not* interrupt the questing flow. Instead, it sounds like we do this: 1) replace the current quest stage with the new one 2) follow the setup rules on the quest stage (usually sides A and B) 3) continue drawing 1 encounter card per player (assuming both the old and new quest stage expect you to draw 1 per player - I'm not sure what happens if different stages require different numbers of encounter cards drawn per round and you are mid-way through drawing those cards) 4) compare your willpower vs the staged threat to determine if questing was successful 5) apply consequences of questing (based on rules of new quest stage) 6) if successful, add progress tokens to new quest stage (after adding them to active location, of course) Does that sound correct? If so, then if in my example, I have enough willpower to add 7 progress to Stage 4B, then I immediately jump back to 2B. That would definitely be helpful!
  8. Here's one situation: Croaking Crows in in play. First encounter card is a location. This causes progress to be put on Smaug the Golden. He's now got 6, so we immediately change to Stage 4A, which gets resolved and then flipped to 4B. Now, what happens to the rest of questing? Once we finish drawing encounter cards, do we resolve questing against the newest stage (Stage 4B in our example), which means we could possibly finish that quest stage the same turn? Or is questing aborted for the round, due to the change in quest stage?
  9. To me, playing LotR LCG 2-handed feels more like controlling multiple characters in a computer RPG (Dragon Age, Baldur's Gate, etc.) - It still feels like a solo experience, just with more characters to control. If you play Journeys in Middle Earth, you will be forced to control at least 2 characters, so maybe that would help you get used to multi-character control?
  10. Just a quick update... I have stuck with the once-a-week routine, and it's been working out great! The Hobbit Saga has been a real pain to get through, though. I am finding its quests much more difficult and frustrating than the Dwarrowdelf ones. That said, it's neat having Bilbo floating around on the edges. Despite, or perhaps because of, the frustrating scenarios of the Hobbit Saga, I'm very glad I've been forcing myself to stick with the once-a-week schedule. If I hadn't created that "rule" for myself, I suspect I would have skipped a weekend or two or three or... and wouldn't have made as much progress as I have. So, although "momentum" requires effort, it does have the benefit of ensuring an overall sense of progress through the game, and plus, even the hardest, nastiest quests have their fun moments. I love it when my Dwarf swarm is finally kicking butt... and I love that sense of relief when I finally beat a quest I've lost repeatedly. Those infrequent, "hard-earned" moments are very satisfying, and they wouldn't happen if I didn't "force" myself to maintain momentum. It's a truly great game. A very hard one (for those of us who don't enjoy deck building) but also one that is very thought-provoking and emotionally/intellectually rewarding... when we finally win. TLDR: There is no winning without losing. And there is no losing without playing. So play.
  11. I'm glad you enjoy 2-handed! Out of curiosity, are you playing with real cards, OCTGN, or something else?
  12. Wow, 4 handed solo... That's a lot of OCTGN instances! Can it even be done? I can imagine it would hurt the brain. And not to mention the morale when you draw 4 encounter cards each turn, some of which are surges... sheesh! Some of the scenarios use the encounter deck as a timer (e.g., Hobbit Saga trolls). So playing 4 handed means you have 1/4 as many turns to finish the quest as 1-handed. Interesting idea, though...
  13. If you're into OCTGN, here are tips on playing 2-handed in OCTGN: https://talesfromthecards.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/a-quick-guide-to-octgn-two-handed/ I almost always play with OCTGN rather than physical cards, mostly because in building and resetting virtual decks is a lot faster. But OCTGN lacks the tactile appeal of board/card games, so I can see why many people prefer playing with the real cards.
  14. I definitely prefer 2-handed, and would never go back to 1-handed. If each hand uses 2 spheres, you have access to all 4 spheres, which means you never need to worry about "missing" any cards. Also, playing 2-handed means you have twice as many opportunities to boost not just one hand's cards but *both* hands' cards. (For example, Dain boosts all dwarves in play, not just the dwarves belonging to Dain's hand/"player"). Playing 2-handed might require a little more overhead, but it's not much, and the benefits will likely quickly overshadow the extra work. At least, they did for me.
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