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Mndela

Why few people plays it?

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My wife and I tried it, but we found that trying to understand the rulebook was very frustrating. Plus, there's no one in our area who plays it. So I never bothered to buy any of the adventure packs. We have better games that we play instead.

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I thing there are many reasons. I'll try to name a few dividing them in 2 categories.

 

For non experienced players: The lvl of complexity and lvl of difficulty are very high.

 

For non "mature" players: Not a competitive game. You can't play the bad guys.

 

In other words you have to be a "casual" experienced player who likes middle earth to love this game. And this sounds like a really limited target group to me ;)

Edited by iznax

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perhaps this is better placed in the main forum for more replies :)

 

and i agree with Iznax, its difficult to win, LOTR doesnt have the younger fan base star wars and co. does, its co op, and it has been running for a while, so the size of the card pool may daunt some new comers

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Agree, it's got a steep learning curve for the younger audience.  The older audience still very much expects card games to be competitive, having been raised on Magic and so forth.  But I think this expectation is slowly changing.  There are more and more co-operative card games and board games available these days, but they are still an 'exception' to the general rule that card/board games are competitive.

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Sigh. Why do you think that so few people play it? Because Booored said "it is a fact" without offering facts?

I don't think it's doing that poorly at all. When I picked up Trials at my FLGS I asked them how it was doing. The lady said it was only being out sold by Netrunner and was tied with Thrones. It was doing better than Star Wars or Cthulhu. Granted that's only one store.

I think the game appeals to solitaire players and maybe not as many of them post actively. I don't pay attention to other LCGs though, so that's a guess, not a fact. It IS a complex game though and we still have fairly limited deck building options. There really aren't that many tier one decks available so I sometimes feel like I'm being forced to play a certain way if I want to be successful. Maybe others do to. It's not as bad as when we only had core though.

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Granted it's all just impression, but if there were a Netrunner event I think the local game stores around here would be all over it, or at least 'in the know.'  When I went to ask about the upcoming Fellowship event at my friendly local game store, I spoke with the events coordinator and his response was basically "the what event, now?"  But like you say, maybe there's less interest in a multiplayer event for a game that appeals to a lot of solo players.  Next time I'm out there I'll have to ask how they are selling.  

 

I used to have to bug them just to get the new APs at release date, but now they have them right on time... maybe that is because of my monthly phone calls, but I assumed it used to lag because nobody else cared :)

 

edit: Also a big part of my impression comes from my gaming groups.  Used to live in Indiana, had a group there and nobody owned any LotR LCG but me.  Now I live in Seattle, WA area and still in my group nobody owns any LotR LCG but me.

Edited by GrandSpleen

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I think the core players are going string. Sales in my store are drastically down, while netrunner is going through the roof. I can not get them in stock fast enough. This is the same as Call of Cthulhu and A Game of Thrones, as in they all sell, no issue.. just demand is lower and the important part, steady. So in my experience there is not a lot of new players, sure there are some, but not many.

As for the complexity, I am not sure I agree with it. The game is no more complex, well less in fact, than the majority of other LCGs. The thing is that as LoTRlcg is co-op it is in fact appealing to a slightly different type of gamer. It is really a "boardgame that uses cards".. more than a "card game" if you know what I mean and while the card synergies and complex timing issues are par the course for card gamers, boardgamers are used to streamlining and simplification. The complexity of card games is traditionally linked directly to the idea of "descovering" ways to connect the complex rulings to make interesting decks to beat the other. This is a fundamentally different type of gaming to boardgamers.

Also the speed that the player pool expands is a bad thing for new players. It is ok for us when a new quest comes out like HoN. We have the card pool to play it. Imagine a new player getting 1 core and then grabbing the latest expansion. They would have zero chance of really doing anything. Then when they go to exp0and the game they realize that at 8 cards per pack they have 100s of bucks of packs to buy to build a pool that is capable of playing the quests with a decent win ratio. That is assuming the packs are in print at the time they want to buy, which is a problem that gets larger as time gos buy.

I think that FFG made a mistake with the format for this game. While if it was different there would be a very different crowd on this form that there is now (as we obviously like the LCG format) but I think that if the game was sold as complete player decks, focused on theme and Tolkien's stories combined with very thematic quests like we see in the Saga Boxes. So a new player can just buy some decks he likes and some quests, maybe some deck building rules if you own enough of the themed deck.. Then this game would have hit a wider audience.

@Wh0isTh3D0ct0r I think you should keep at it. The game is defiantly worth it and fosters are very loyal fan base. Apart from a few people (arguably myself included) the forum is a very encouraging place. If you have any issues just post, you will get a ton of replies. While yes the game is a little fiddly, it is logical (to a point, there are always exceptions) and this logic will soon become second nature. If you like the theme and the art I would suggest playing solo for a while. Play in Lackey or OCTGN and get used to the game with out the outlay in a solo environment, before running a game with your wife.

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I understand that younger audiences wouldn't be as interested, but why? I mean, for people who don't read the books they have the movies. And even if they aren't as accurate as they could have been, they provide the main elements of the story. If I were a kid and saw this game, I'd be all over it.

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When a new player get's the core success is hard to come by. Many other co-op games are easier, and people like to win, especially if they are only playing once and awhile. Lotr takes a pretty big investment in time to learn and then even more time to start achieving some victories. I think this type of game appeals to a solo player, or a game group that is pretty tight and are willing to work on defeating scenarios together, which may take repeated efforts.

Unfortunately, it's not the type of game where a player can buy a few packs and then show up at a game night and jump into playing. Players usually need to work out some synergies between their decks and avoid playing duplicate unique heroes and other cards they have in their decks.

I think it's target audience is quite small and recruitment of new players is slow too. Every so often a player will probably get bit by the lotr bug and then invest in the entire game. But with the gap from core to latest expansion widening that's becoming an expensive proposition.

Hopefully, The Black Riders saga expansion was a entry point for new players into the game, giving these players a fresh start and a chance to cherry pick player cards from older scenarios. I'd really like to know if there was a spike in sales after the release of TBR. That should be an indication of how the game is doing. There could he a number of new players just waiting for the next saga to come out that are less invested in the old and current cycle, other than grabbing a a pack or two for some key cards.

Edited by Tracker1

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In general it is a very complex game especially if someone isn't used to card/board games like this. So this person would see the game and have some interest but after trying to play it, it's so complex and difficult that they just give up and sell it.  

 

Other people are used to instant entertainment such as video games and tv that to sit down, talk with people, use your imagination and strategy to play this game- that's just a foreign concept to them.

 

This means for someone to get into this game they need to either: be a huge LOTR fan, have a history of playing similar card games, or have friends who introduce the game/play the game with them.

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Where I live in, nobody plays it because it's cooperative, and actually I understand completely. People here are used to Magic and, if they are ME fans, MECCG. And those games are a totally different experiences. People tell me they don't like this game because they prefer killing the opponent's heroes with Nazgul and such. Plus, there's no tournament scene for this game and the little official organized events there are are a joke IMO. So I actually understand why people don't play this game. It's unbalanced, extremely hard for newcomers and as for a complex Middle Earth experience, veteran players prefer MECCG because it did it much better anyway. It's a pretty niche game IMO for people who like LOTR and puzzle solving, which is fine, at least for me (I will buy anything LOTR and card related, especially if free of movie influence, though that's not entirely true), but you shouldn't expect people to stop playing Magic or AGoT or whatever in favor of this.

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veteran players prefer MECCG because it did it much better anyway.

 

MECCG is not only a better game it is one of THE BEST card games ever made.. and that has nothing to do with it being LoTR. I'm not a Tolkien fanboy, but man that game is GOOD!

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A few reasons (some of which have already been outlined by others): 

 

[a] lack of competitive game - co-op games tend to appeal to a more mature audience

 

difficulty in playing together - if you wanted to play Star Wars LCG with others you bring two decks (LS/DS) and a side board and you are good to go. For games like Netrunner, AGOT, Magic you only need to really bring your deck to play.With LOTR LCG, the problem is that you can't just mix 3-4 random decks and play. You can't duplicate heroes or uniques so essentially you have to know what your fellow questers are playing to some degree to make sure you don't duplicate, have all the bases covered (ie - 4 tactic decks,etc). If requires much more effort and a much larger sideboard to do this, hence it is much more complicated.

 

[c] need to buy previous expansions - you can't just grab the three trials, VOI and the core set and play. Well you could try but it would suck. You really need access to the past card pool so getting into the game requires a good investment. The game is simply to hard to win new scenarios without a good chunk of the released card pool unless you just wanna go outlands which everyone seems to hate on anyway.

 

[d] clean cut game - this is the John Cena of card games. You are always playing team Hustle, Loyalty and Respect (ie - you are always the good guys who do no wrong). While people like Cena, they boo him too. Sure they try to mix it up with Saurman and Grima but in truth 99% of the cards are truly good guys. Most card games now like more Attitude - you get to play as the dark side, or even in the new Marvel game as the villians, etc. Here, you just fight against the unseen evil eye and his minions. As is evident by the success of things like the new Batman triology, Breaking Bad, Dexter, etc we all like shades of grey and not just being the white knights.

 

[e] poorly designed organized play - FFG has done about as bad a job as you can in terms of organizing play. Quick - does anyone even know where the Fellowship Events are, bc in a city as big as Toronto on one on here seems to! Its too **** hard to find events, and on top of that the organized play are centered around Nightmare Quests - what a great way to introduce new players to the game!! Honestly this is 100% stupidity - they should have a way to find organized play easily available to players and the quests should be fun thematic ones (with perhaps a cool new unique hero included or something) instead of getting people together to play that STUPID nightmare troll quest where you get a card first turn and moves onto round 2, ends the game bc you cant beat the trolls first turn ,and then expects to recruit new players somehow through this process

 

[f] structure - while I personally like the spheres, the problem is that if you want to introduce a new player you can't simply play as a faction that easily. In Star Wars, you can grab a quick Jedi or Smuggler deck and away you go. Here, lets say you are a big Rohan guy, you need to buy a bunch of APs and throw together a sub-standard deck which you need to  build yourself. This takes a lot of time and money. New players dont like spheres, they will come to the game bc they like a part of LOTR (ie - Rohan) and want to play as those characters. This is so hard to do its off putting.

 

** - This game is designed as a niche game. It's like an indy Oscar flick - not designed for main stream consumption, heavy and hard to get fully into, but rewarding if you do. It will never market to everyone bc of the design choices, but if you like the game and play it, then you will keep coming back for more. its like a craft beer vs a coors light. the more exclusive it remains the better it will taste for years to come

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@7theye: I personally disagree with D. While it's true that the trend nowadays is to have morally grey characters (which are of course far more interesting from a psychological standpoint), IMO Lotr doesn't need to adjust to these canons. Tolkien created an amazing world and an amazing story in it's own right, drawing from classical and Norse mythology mixed with Christian beliefs. It's purpose is not really to examine the human psyche and it's many levels of morality (even though he did it to some extent with Boromir and Grima and such), but rather to show the destruction and suffering created by war as well as the power of friendship and loyalty. That IMO is enough to justify this creation, and I actually think it was a pretty ballsy decision to make the players only use the good guys. It creates this sense of urgency against this common enemy we must unite against. Also, "you are always the good guys who do no wrong"? Have you played The Druadan Forest?

 

I must say though that I agree completely and wholeheartedly with F. Although I like how they tried something different by structuring player cards according to talents and personality traits, since it helps bind different races and traits together, from a practical standpoint it feels awkward when building decks and it doesnt' help the fact that the player card pool is so small and grows so slowly.

 

Also, this should be moved to General.

Edited by Gizlivadi

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@7theye: I personally disagree with D. While it's true that the trend nowadays is to have morally grey characters (which are of course far more interesting from a psychological standpoint), IMO Lotr doesn't need to adjust to these canons. Tolkien created an amazing world and an amazing story in it's own right, drawing from classical and Norse mythology mixed with Christian beliefs. It's purpose is not really to examine the human psyche and it's many levels of morality (even though he did it to some extent with Boromir and Grima and such), but rather to show the destruction and suffering created by war as well as the power of friendship and loyalty. That IMO is enough to justify this creation, and I actually think it was a pretty ballsy decision to make the players only use the good guys. It creates this sense of urgency against this common enemy we must unite against. Also, "you are always the good guys who do no wrong"? Have you played The Druadan Forest?

A fair point I will concede. I certainly like Tolkein mythology and world and so do a lot of people based on its popularity and such. I think though that to ignore that we are in the age of the antihero is short sighted. So many games nowadays give people the option of playing as a villain (marvel built a whole expansion on it). It's just more choice for thr players. There would be an undeniable cool factor to playing to Nazguls trying to catch Frodo I think. I'm not saying it's needed but I think if it were there (ie some way to play as a bad guy) it would draw a few more people in that like that narrative.

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Well, I think the whole idea that few people play the game is a false premise. I think it's really the lack of organized play that gives the impression that the game is somehow less popular than others. The game store types who frequent their FLGS often to play games gravitate towards the competitive model. The main player base of LOTR on the other hand, seems to consist of solo players, those who play online with others, and those who play at home with their significant others, children, or friends.

 

Anyway, I don't think any panic is needed and I don't really understand the drive on the part of some players to make every game competitive, be able to play as the bad guys, etc. I would argue that the unique appeal of this game as a solo/cooperative game is what has made it so successful. 

 

Sure, there have been a few missteps in the game's life, mostly a few bad choices around the Core Set and FFG not really knowing how to implement organized play for a cooperative LCG. But I think the negativity around the game overall is generally overblown. We are getting more content than ever before for this game: Sagas, Nightmare packs, new Fellowship events, story-based cycles, etc, and if that doesn't reflect FFG's commitment, I don't know what does. And overall, FFG has done an amazing job to create probably my favorite game of all time  (and I played MECCG), one that has inspired obsession in so many players and an involved community.

Edited by Raven1015

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I liked reading booored's little commentary.  While all of us are speculating and in general just saying what we believe in our hearts, he seemed to have some of the only solid data on here, namely sales in his store.  My train of thought then went:

 

1- booored works in (or owns) a game store?

2- what the hell is someone as grumpy as booored doing in a customer service position?

3- I wonder if non-grumpy human beings on this forums have some more real data?

 

No offense to grumpy people, of course.

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I liked reading booored's little commentary.  While all of us are speculating and in general just saying what we believe in our hearts, he seemed to have some of the only solid data on here, namely sales in his store.  My train of thought then went:

 

1- booored works in (or owns) a game store?

2- what the hell is someone as grumpy as booored doing in a customer service position?

3- I wonder if non-grumpy human beings on this forums have some more real data?

 

No offense to grumpy people, of course.

 

Well, it's hard to argue with the words of FFG's own CEO

 

For those who don't want to watch the video, he says, "Lord of the Rings. This game is doing soo well. It is perhaps one of the most unsung heroes of our whole line-up. It is phenomenally successful. We have a huge amount of people playing this game."

Edited by Raven1015

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