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DurinIII

Sudden Pitfall is really annoying

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I set up the game. I quest on turn one with only Glorifindel who has a LOV on and he dies to Sudden Pitfall. I quit. No matter which heroes I quesed with one of them would be dead. That's the worst card to draw on turn 1 if you haven't played and quested with an ally. This ever happened to you guys?

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Yeah I've copped this before. Very nasty card, I do the same and just concede and record my loss and start again. Most times however it comes out mid game and just kills a questing ally. I hate the shadow effect even more....... probably one of the only cards in the entire game that once before I've just been like... um no I'm not just discarding my 7 defense, full health, able to block 3 to 4 attacks a turn for either player (Sentinel) defending hero because of this single shadow effect that just instantly kills him regardless of what enemy is attacking, his defense or remaining health.... nonsense... and I just pulled the next encounter card as a shadow card instead. I've only ever done this the once though and regret it as it is cheating but I just couldn't deal with that effect right then and there  :P 
Definitely an awful treachery card but I think the shadow effect is much much worse.

Edited by PsychoRocka

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Khaz is the set that gave this game a bit of a bad rep among many gamers (present company excluded) as a game that has extremely frustrating cards, which you can not really play around as it only comes down to luck.

 

There are ways to mitigate the problems sure, but the truth is even if you have Strokes, Brands, Watchers blah blah blah it is just luck if you have them when the card comes out. I am certain this card is why Balin exists. He is a hard counter to this shadow effect and others like it in the Darowdelf Cycle.

 

As I always say, this game isn't hard it IS frustrating though to some players, as players can feel that it is just random luck doing them in. That no deck building or deck piloting counts.. if you draw the wrong card at the wrong time your dead. The problem is that with the player decks getting so powerful the designers need to speak to the future of the game, and there is not really a lot of alternatives to these massive setback cards. Anyway, this set is the set that really cemented that idea in many players and made many quit. Then HoN came out and drove off even more!

 

Still I think it is clear the developers have learn from Khaz and HoN and through the Shadow Cycle I felt that they have done a pretty good job of keeping the difficulty interesting with out having to resort to these bull flip a card die crap. While there are some nasty cards, none of them ruin your entire board in a single card flip.. so as player decks increase in power, these quests will get easier.. but never have a flip card die arisen.

 

This ever happened to you guys?

 

Of course and there are other cards that do this kind of thing. Turn 1, 10 Threat Location in Nightmare Mirkwood is reboot for solo players for example.

 

 

Definitely an awful treachery card but I think the shadow effect is much much worse.

 

Compleatly agree. The Shadow Effect is beyond stupid. What where they thinking.

Edited by booored

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Well I agree the card is poorly designed and frustrating.

The way to play against it is to never quest without an ally also questing. (And don't defend with heroes that can't ignore a shadow effect).

That is quite interesting (in the sense that it makes you play differently from other quests).

The problem is that the entirety of that change of play is driven by a single card - so practically every time you think about the decision you think, it probably won't happen, and then when it does it ruins the game. Really you should play as if it will always come up until you've seen it.

That's why from a design perspective it would be better to have a much weaker effect (damage 1 questing hero on the when revealed effect; deal 2 damage to defending hero on the shadow effect) but make it a card that occurs 4 times in the deck.

Then on any given turn you can take the risk if you want and get chip damage rather than lost board state - but each time you made the decision you would be expecting the damage. 

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It's the nature of this game, really... Having victory in your grasp and, all of the sudden, a SINGLE effect and everything collapses. It's all too common in LotR. At least, it forces players never to lose focus and work to have possible answers to... pitfalls at any given time, plus it indensifies the joy of finally completing a tough quest.

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Please, not remember it to me. Ough, how many times my eyes became O.O when it was revealed...

 

 

If i dont forget the quests where it is in deck, if i am first player i try to quest a chump ally.... ^^. And fixed problem.

Edited by Mndela

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Admittedly not the best designed card from a gameplay perspective. Thematically, I suppose it does represent the dangers of a pit suddenly opening up at your feet pretty well.

 

"Legolas, what do your Elf eyes see?

 

I see a group of oaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh...."

Edited by Raven1015

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Raven, perfect imagination there! I love it. Rapier, I agree and like your alternate card suggestion! @ everyone else, your comments are great to read. Thanks all for understanding.

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The other problem I have with this card is that when it does not show up I fell my quest was just lucky and a win does not feel truly earned. So on one hand I am happy to sneak past the pitfall but then again it is such a staple that the quest feels somewhat incomplete without it (easy mode, sort of).

 

And thematically it is of course sound to have a pitfall in a dungeon, but then again playing around it is a thematic turn-off... well, it does not really feel very noble to muster an ally exclusively for the purpose of making them the pitfall bait. It is something Sauron might do.

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The other problem I have with this card is that when it does not show up I fell my quest was just lucky and a win does not feel truly earned. So on one hand I am happy to sneak past the pitfall but then again it is such a staple that the quest feels somewhat incomplete without it (easy mode, sort of).

 

And thematically it is of course sound to have a pitfall in a dungeon, but then again playing around it is a thematic turn-off... well, it does not really feel very noble to muster an ally exclusively for the purpose of making them the pitfall bait. It is something Sauron might do.

 

I'm certain the easy mode versions would leave this card out.

 

Also on theme - it is thematic to have a pitfall in a dungeon, but to be honest, a one shot like that isn't really thematic for Lord of the Rings (which is more like epic sagas where the heroes slowly fall). If it only targeted allies that would be more in keeping with the theme.

Edited by Rapier

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I'm certain the easy mode versions would leave this card out.

 

 

This card is removed from Easy mode - as is also (from the same set): 2 x Crumbling Ruin, Dreadful Gap, and 1 x Dark and Dreadful.

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 a one shot like that isn't really thematic for Lord of the Rings (which is more like epic sagas where the heroes slowly fall

 

 

Is it? Ma-an, we got a problem then... All those over9000 attack enemies...

 

 

which you can work around by all the feints, spear thickets and other similar. There is abundance of cards and tricks to prevent or minimise attack damage.

 

Also, I say it is much more Tolkienesque to "defend your captain" with your life (chumblock) then to throw someone down the pit.

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There is cases when you can't. And I think there is more of then than one sudden pitfall.

 

yeah, sure there are. It is a card game after all and luck is a huge factor to determine the experience.

 

It all comes down to personal taste. I might be more theme-oriented than most, which makes me dislike the pitfall more. For me, pulling say a Mumak from the encounter deck is harder to deal with than pulling the pitfall. But the Mumak is within the climate of LotR. I do not cringe when my chump falls to an attacker. But I sort of do when I let the chump go first in the tunnel so he can eat all the traps instead of my main hero. It just does not seem elegant and feels to be outside the realm of the universe. 

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Sudden Pitfall annoying? Wait till you read this:

 

The Hunt For Gollum:  Easy quest, especially for decks strong in the questing aspect (mine it is). There were years probably since I last played it, so I gave it a try once more...

 

First game: No surprises, all went smooth, final scoring 117 (a high one, but I took my time).

 

From then on, the "fun" begins...

 

Second game: All under control, dominating board presence and then Pursued by the Shadow + Massing at Night + the second Pursued by the Shadow for an instant 16 raise to threat. No Test of Will at hand, game over. I laughed hard.

 

Third game: As above, all under control, dominating board presence with Gladden Fields and the Hunters at the staging area and no clues in play. I reveal the Crows. Surge. Signs of Gollum. Signs of Gollum. Signs of Gollum. Hunters from Mordor. The Eaves of Mirkwood. The West Bank. Before revealing the Crows, the threat was 5. It instantly became 25. Never before do I remember a threat so high in the staging area. All enemies engaged. "No matter", I thought, "I'll kill the first Hunters now and the second ones in the next round. What's important is to keep them away from the staging area". Shadow effect on one of the Hunters: return them to the staging area after their attack resolves. No Hasty Stroke at hand. Game over next turn due to high threat.

 

An important detail: in the first case I had a Hasty Stroke in hand, but not a Test of Will. In the second case exactly the opposite.

 

:angry:

 

Go tell me about Sudden Pitfall...

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I played Into the Pit last weekend.  Dain was my superstar, laden with resources and attachments, including Unexpected Courage, and leading a whole host of Dwarves.  I was kicking butt, and almost to the last quest stage.

I had to defend against an orc.  I could've used a weakened ally to defend, but the orc would've killed him.  So I defended with Dain, since he could easily handle an attack, and didn't have anything else to do.

So you can guess what happened.  The shadow card was Sudden Pitfall.  And I didn't have any counter to it.

Yikes.   I'd only gotten to Khazad Dum once before, a few years ago, so I had forgotten about Sudden Pitfall...  Grrr...

So you know what?  Instead of discarding Dain, which would almost certainly cause me to lose the game, I decided to go back in time and block with the chump.

In the end, I "won" the quest, but it felt like a hollow victory, because I effectively cheated by saving Dain from Sudden Pitfall.

But the more I thought about it, the more I felt like it was the game which was cheating, not me.  Sudden Pitfall is a mean "gotcha" card, and the first time you encounter it, there is a good chance that you will end up losing, tweaking your deck to counter that one card, and then restarting the scenario.  Where's the fun in that???  And how is it thematic, exactly?  What are some examples of insta-death in Tolkien's stories, where a perfectly healthy and uncorrupted hero is suddenly killed, with no chance to at least go down fighting (like Boromir)?

Personally, I don't like insta-perma-death puzzles in video games, and I don't enjoy them in card or board games either.  One unlucky move/draw/roll and you are dead, and have to start all over again.  It just seems like a waste of time. 

At least in modern video games, there's checkpointing, so if your hand slips and you fall off a cliff, at least you only have to repeat the last few seconds or so.

But having a single card draw force you to restart an entire quest in which you just spent an hour carefully building up your army... well, that just sucks.

This feeling of "insta-death" is why I've been reluctant to encourage my kids to play this game, and to be honest it dampens my own enthusiasm for the game.

So what is the solution?  Pull out all the really mean (difficult to counter) cards, or allow  one "do-over" per game?

Or should we just obediently "play along" with the puzzle by creating a deck specifically to mitigate the destructive power of that one card?  (So, in the case of Sudden Pitfall, we'd need more cheap allies and fewer attachments).

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1 hour ago, tripecac said:

So what is the solution?  Pull out all the really mean (difficult to counter) cards, or allow  one "do-over" per game?

Or should we just obediently "play along" with the puzzle by creating a deck specifically to mitigate the destructive power of that one card?  (So, in the case of Sudden Pitfall, we'd need more cheap allies and fewer attachments).

Everyone has a different approach to this. Generally, my approach is either to deck build after the gotcha has gotten me—which is in keeping with my general ethos of enjoying the game as a deck construction puzzle—or to just laugh it off. If this game teaches anything, it's to persevere through random loss.

That said, insta-lose cards like Sudden Pitfall got less and less common as the game evolved. Sudden Pitfall, in fact, is amongst the worst offenders in the entire extant game (if not the worst, by some estimations). Difficulty in later quests tends to come more from the totality of the scenario design rather than gotcha cards.

Edited by sappidus

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Yeah, I'd rather see the loss coming.

But I guess that's the point of a Sudden Pitfall; you don't see it coming.

On the other hand, how thematic is a Sudden Pitfall in Middle-Earth?  I can see it happening in the Game of Thrones universe (where sudden character deaths are common), but in Tolkien's stories, deaths were usually foreshadowed, protracted, and/or deserved.

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5 hours ago, sappidus said:

That said, insta-lose cards like Sudden Pitfall got less and less common as the game evolved. Sudden Pitfall, in fact, is amongst the worst offenders in the entire extant game (if not the worst, by some estimations). Difficulty in later quests tends to come more from the totality of the scenario design rather than gotcha cards.

A very close second IMO would be the one-two punch of revealing Sleeping Sentry during staging then getting the second copy as a shadow card the same round. Just one of my many "Are you ******* kidding me!!" moments.

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There are a lot of times I scoop after horrible cards destroy heroes -- but lately I've learned to "play it out." And I mean all the way to the end. There are a couple of cards that literally end the game (Looking at you, Sleeping Sentry), but most put you behind the 8 ball early on. 

The benefit of playing through is two-fold: one, it forces you to build deck with hero losses in mind, and so you get a little more choosy with your cards. Cards you can play with a hero gone become more valuable than ones that can only be played if you control one hero. Trying to determine how versatile a card is helps you understand the game more. It can be a bit surprising how far you can go down a hero, or with your threat a lot higher than expected. And if you happen to be playing two-player/handed, don't underestimate how much your partner can help. I often times am ready to scoop, only to say "let's play it out" (to better understand the encounter deck) and we end up pulling off a long shot win.

The second benefit is you get that feeling of being backed into a corner and are fighting for your life. If you are running with non saga heroes, you can picture a final test of strength as you get swarmed by enemies and try to fight them off as long as you can. In that way, it becomes a game of how long you can survive... which is fun in it's own right. To be able to brag that you knew the game was over but were able to survive another 5 rounds can show what kind of masterful player you are.

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