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Mndela

Why few people plays it?

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It's great to see/hear that statement from the CEO. Anecdotally, I know that the APs see decent turnover at at least one local store. Last week they had the entire Against the Shadow cycle, and this week it was mostly picked over (and I was so ready to play Assault on Osgiliath :( ).

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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.

At my FLGS it is the #2 seller, right behind Netrunner and well ahead of SW and the other LCGs.

 

And we have a great core group of 7-8 players showing up regularly, and I'm always teaching new people the game, see people buying the Core Set, etc.

Edited by Dain Ironfoot

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Also keep in mind that how the game does at a specific store is not necessarily indicative of the bigger picture, some places have strong communities for certain games, and less so for others.

 

I think the large amount of nightmare packs coming out indicates that they sell well, which shows that there is quite a big veteran audience for the game. At this point in the life cycle, that is definitely a good sign.

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It seems there is a consensus that the major disadvantage of the game becoming (even more) popular is the co-op aspect, and also the consequential lack of a competitive scene/organised events. But I have always assumed that cooperativeness is also the major selling point of this LCG.

 

I, for one, am following LotR explicitly because it is viable as a single player game. It is unique and I see no good alternative (Pathfinder perhaps, but it gets very mixed reviews). I would love to see other co-op LCGs. Or not even co-op, just single player possible. Judging from the positive sales boasted by FFG's CEO, there seems to be a substantial market for co-op/1p LCGs. But I guess it is hard to judge whether this game would fare well at all if it was not using Tolkien IP.

 

Do you guys ever see another co-op/1p LCG being published by FFG? 

Edited by Mich the One

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Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the star wars LCG was intended to be co-op, and was changed to competitive in the end.

 

If that's the case I wonder if the change was because more players gravitate towards the PvP model of LCG's, and a co-op Star Wars theme could be competition for the one and only completely unique LotR LCG.

 

I'd be surprised if FFG did another co-op LCG, while LotR is still going strong, but they certainly don't worry about with their PvP LCGs so I could be wrong.

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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.

 

I think you have hit a major point on the head.

 

The two main reasons I think people play this game is:

 

a) They like LOTR

b) They want to play solo/co-op (solo >> co-op)

 

This also speaks the player base more: When you are 18-25 years old hanging out at your local FLGS playing games where you challange and beat other people is probably pretty entertaining.

 

When you are a bit older (dare I say that this game likely attracts an older demographic) then you have a wife and kids and going to a FLGS to lay the smakdown on someone isnt as appealing as playing a quick game by yourself.

 

It has a unqiue niche appeal, which is what I was trying to say earlier. I think it appeals to an older crowd, that is familiar with LOTR (don't have to be the biggest fan) who can't get out and be bothered to find play buddies every week bc their lives are too busy. This is where I fit in.

 

The other part of this game is that, unliek star wars, the deisgners have a double difficult task. In addition to player cards, they also have to deisgn new game mechanics and scenariosm which I argue are even more important. Everyone loves the three trials bc the scenario is good, not neccesarily bc of the powerful cards. Its hard to keep challenging players and in that regard they have done a great job.

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Do you guys ever see another co-op/1p LCG being published by FFG? 

 

There's a wealth of gaming out there. To try and come up with another sort of co-op game like LOTR is difficult. The other problem is it needs a wealth of backstory... True evil and... Epic heroes.

 

Here's reach that'll be intriguing: What about a Harry Potter LCG? You've got numerous schools, obvious evil elements at all times. Numerous types of activities (The Gryffindor Quidditch deck with the Slitherin Defense of the Dark Arts) along with plenty of problems to make into scenarios. The content is a lot like LOTR, but I could see it working.

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I think it's the difficulty. In order to progress you need to spend more time working on the perfect deck than you do actually playing the game; and this is what is causing my weekly group to start looking at other games, even though we are less than half way through the stuff we have bought.

 

Co-op is great for a lot of people, because it builds the element of working as a team; though it doesn't feed the "must be better than others" aspect a lot of gamers seem to have.

 

The story is amazing. However, we constantly are trying to sort out how to "nerf" the quests to make them more enjoyable with what we have.

 

"We Must Away, Ere Break of Day", the FIRST quest in the Hobbit Saga, is just plain rude. There are lots of little tricks you need to get exactly right, and if you get bad draws, either from your deck or from the encounter deck; you pretty much can lose on turn two. Even when it goes well, a single bad draw near the end can end it instantly. This is either phenomenally bad design, or just designed to be way too hard.

 

If they want this game to last, they need to ramp down the difficulty about 50%, and then have ways of increasing it; rather than have the difficulty it is now and then have some pretty lame ways of lowering it. I love this game, I love the flow, I love the theme, I love the complexity and I love how I never know what is coming. I hate having to spend more time refining decks than I do playing the game, and have to almost start from scratch for each and every quest. They got Mirkwood right, and they got Dwarrowdelf mostly right. They completely lost the plot with the Hobbit Saga, and that's just from one quest.

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I think it's the difficulty. In order to progress you need to spend more time working on the perfect deck than you do actually playing the game; and this is what is causing my weekly group to start looking at other games, even though we are less than half way through the stuff we have bought.

 

Co-op is great for a lot of people, because it builds the element of working as a team; though it doesn't feed the "must be better than others" aspect a lot of gamers seem to have.

 

The story is amazing. However, we constantly are trying to sort out how to "nerf" the quests to make them more enjoyable with what we have.

 

"We Must Away, Ere Break of Day", the FIRST quest in the Hobbit Saga, is just plain rude. There are lots of little tricks you need to get exactly right, and if you get bad draws, either from your deck or from the encounter deck; you pretty much can lose on turn two. Even when it goes well, a single bad draw near the end can end it instantly. This is either phenomenally bad design, or just designed to be way too hard.

 

If they want this game to last, they need to ramp down the difficulty about 50%, and then have ways of increasing it; rather than have the difficulty it is now and then have some pretty lame ways of lowering it. I love this game, I love the flow, I love the theme, I love the complexity and I love how I never know what is coming. I hate having to spend more time refining decks than I do playing the game, and have to almost start from scratch for each and every quest. They got Mirkwood right, and they got Dwarrowdelf mostly right. They completely lost the plot with the Hobbit Saga, and that's just from one quest.

While I definitely agree re the hobbit saga quests, (they suck hard.... terrible design, too hard compared to other quests and just way too punishing mechanics; the dragon attacking you 200 goddamn times in a row isn't cool just stupid as hell, random guesses against gollum again is just stupid) I play two handed and definitely disagree about this whole have to make decks from scratch every time I play a different quest idea you seem to have.

I play with two decks, both have a sideboard of 3 to 6 cards at the moment (so for quests where certain cards are useless they can be swapped out for other more useful cards) and I have a pretty decent win ratio against almost all quests (except maybe 2 or 3) with these two decks.

If you really had to rebuild your decks for every quest and there weren't certain deck types or builds (like mine) that can stand against most quests with little to no reconstruction I most definitely would not play this game at all as unlike others deck building is not at all the main or best part of this game for me.

Couldn't agree more about the flow, theme, complexity and surprise factor. Also playing a quest and it unfolding in a completely new and different way from any other play through you've had on it can be very very satisfying. Its a great game and I'm super obsessed but I definitely don't agree about the difficulty. Without changing my decks (other than maybe 2 or 3 cards) I've recently beaten Dunland Trap (second attempt), Thee Trials (second attempt), Nightmare Over the Misty Mountains Grim (first attempt) and Nightmare Into the Pit (second attempt) and Nightmare Seventh Level (first attempt). Are you playing with thematic decks? Cause if not there are definitely a handful of decks that can be used for all/most quests with little editing.

But yeah both Hobbit Saga boxes are pretty terrible (I hate every quest except Over the Misty Mountains Grim and Battle of Five Armies, that last quest is goddamn awesome) minus the player cards, and the trolls are probably the nastiest of the lot which is just plain stupid considering its the first quest of the saga.... I find Conflict at the Carrock more fun, less difficult and more rewarding to be honest!

Edited by PsychoRocka

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Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the star wars LCG was intended to be co-op, and was changed to competitive in the end.

 

If that's the case I wonder if the change was because more players gravitate towards the PvP model of LCG's, and a co-op Star Wars theme could be competition for the one and only completely unique LotR LCG.

 

I'd be surprised if FFG did another co-op LCG, while LotR is still going strong, but they certainly don't worry about with their PvP LCGs so I could be wrong.

ppl complained so much, bc they wanted to play the empire, i suspect that's what changed it.

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I think it's the difficulty. In order to progress you need to spend more time working on the perfect deck than you do actually playing the game; and this is what is causing my weekly group to start looking at other games, even though we are less than half way through the stuff we have bought.

this is what CCGs are all about. spending more time building decks than actually playing. tabletop RPGs are very similar - you spend more time thinking about character creation, leveling up, etc, than actually playing.

 

if you complain about the deck building aspect of a game based on cards, then IMHO, a CCG is not the right type of game for you.

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I think it's the difficulty. In order to progress you need to spend more time working on the perfect deck than you do actually playing the game; and this is what is causing my weekly group to start looking at other games, even though we are less than half way through the stuff we have bought.

this is what CCGs are all about. spending more time building decks than actually playing. tabletop RPGs are very similar - you spend more time thinking about character creation, leveling up, etc, than actually playing.

 

if you complain about the deck building aspect of a game based on cards, then IMHO, a CCG is not the right type of game for you.

 

Whilst I agree it depends what you define as a deck building aspect. I love deck building but by this I mean the refining/constant scrutiny of the two decks I play with and that I'm always trying to upgrade/improve them with new cards that are released or even older cards I've finally decided to use.

This takes a lot less time and energy than building a new deck for every quest that's released or building new decks every time you play and is also very different.

Also I spend far far far more time playing the game than building decks considering I use the same two decks always and only sometimes will make changes to them.

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I think it's the difficulty. In order to progress you need to spend more time working on the perfect deck than you do actually playing the game; and this is what is causing my weekly group to start looking at other games, even though we are less than half way through the stuff we have bought.

this is what CCGs are all about. spending more time building decks than actually playing. tabletop RPGs are very similar - you spend more time thinking about character creation, leveling up, etc, than actually playing.

 

if you complain about the deck building aspect of a game based on cards, then IMHO, a CCG is not the right type of game for you.

Whilst I agree it depends what you define as a deck building aspect. I love deck building but by this I mean the refining/constant scrutiny of the two decks I play with and that I'm always trying to upgrade/improve them with new cards that are released or even older cards I've finally decided to use.

This takes a lot less time and energy than building a new deck for every quest that's released or building new decks every time you play and is also very different.

Also I spend far far far more time playing the game than building decks considering I use the same two decks always and only sometimes will make changes to them.

Personally I would find it incredibly boring to play the same decks all the time. The deck building is a major plus for me as I love playing a scenario blind and getting stomped, trying to think about what I need and hanging the deck to make it a little farther before getting stomped again and repeating until I can beat it.

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There's a wealth of gaming out there. To try and come up with another sort of co-op game like LOTR is difficult. The other problem is it needs a wealth of backstory... True evil and... Epic heroes.

Touhou!

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[snip]

 

But yeah both Hobbit Saga boxes are pretty terrible (I hate every quest except Over the Misty Mountains Grim and Battle of Five Armies, that last quest is goddamn awesome) minus the player cards, and the trolls are probably the nastiest of the lot which is just plain stupid considering its the first quest of the saga.... I find Conflict at the Carrock more fun, less difficult and more rewarding to be honest!

 

 

This actually makes me feel better. A lot better. For the last few sessions we were basically finishing Dwarrowdelf, and then decided to move onto the Hobbit stuff.

 

So we had trouble with The Watcher in the Water, then did The Long Dark and Foundation of Stone okay, then hit a wall with Shadow and Flame. Then we moved onto The Hobbit, so it's possible we are feeling it based purely on the pain of Shadow and Flame (which was great, just took time), and then moving onto this stupid sack business.

 

Looking through our play record, we have been doing okay mostly. One or two attempts on most quests until Shadow and Flame, and then nearly a dozen on We Must Away...

 

Time to move onto The Heirs of Gondor I think. Either that, or develop nerfs to the Hobbit Saga to make it more reasonable.

 

On that, our current ideas are.

* Start with 1 extra resource on each hero.

* Have Bilbo need to exhaust, but not spend a Baggins resource to use the location that allows you to remove a sack.

* Allow cards that remove conditions to remove sacks.

* If this isn't enough to make it fun, change the text on the Trolls to "The first time the trolls engage a player" with regards to sacks.

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Honestly, I don't know how you guys have so much trouble with the Hobbit quests.  I find they get easier as you add more players.  The number of trolls doesn't increase, but the number of heroes does... But I think 2-player for is the sweet spot for challenge level in a number of quests, especially the Hobbit saga. 

 

I wasn't aware these had a reputation of being "difficult" quests until I started reading this thread and seeing so many people talk about how hard they are.  

 

Dungeons Deeps is too hard single player because it wreaks havoc with your deck, but I always enjoyed the drama of guessing at riddles and revealing them.  I have not played it 4-player, but I think the provision of extra card reveals in the quest phase (meant to allow you to make progress on Bilbo's quest and the dwarves') would get out of hand with 4 players.  But for a nice 2-player game, sure you have to deck build for Dungeons Deep if you want to have a decent chance of winning, but I can say the same thing about Dunland Trap/Fords of Isen, To Catch an Orc, any number of recent quests.  But it's a very do-able quest.

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Well for me its mainly because of the sacks, they are crazy overpowered if you aren't playing with the whole get as many allies out as possible mindset and instead are focusing on several powerful characters and fewer allies but more attachments/events. The sacks just shut you down completely and even if you can remove one or two the fact the third troll has sack 2 is just stupid.

Also wind whipped rain is THE STUPIDEST GODDAMN CARD ever made.. like oh yeah sorry attachment deck you're totally screwed if that card appears and you more or less instantly lose. The fact that card is in an encounter set that is used for not just the trolls but also the first half of Over Misty Mountains Grim is even more stupid. I honestly hate this card more than Sleeping Sentry.

So attachment decks just get raped against the trolls, same with high starting threat decks, you utterly MUST have low starting threat and not engage the trolls till you can take them or again the sacks just ruin your day and you lose. So essentially you have to run a **** ton of allies and have boring weak ass low starting threat heroes or you stand very little to no chance of success. I haven't found any other quest that does this to this sort of level. Conflict at the Carrock handles a troll battle phenomenally better in my opinion and that was such an early quest...

Over Misty Mountains (minus wind whipped rain) is a great quest, very thematic and not insanely difficult for most types of decks.
Dungeons deep I'm not even going to discuss because in my opinion the riddles are pretty much the worst thing ever so this quest is utterly irredeemable.
Flies and Spiders is great until the end when you get split up as any type of combat deck with low questing power just gets utterly utterly stomped into the ground by threat when it is on its own on the wrong stage which means you can't run the typical one questing/support/healing and one combat deck combo for two player/two handed and have to have 2 decks that can both solidly handle questing on their own. I don't think I've EVER EVER lost that quest in any other way than the wrong deck (combat deck) being stuck at the wrong stage (more questing intensive of the two) and just threating out and losing purely due to this.
Lets not even talk about the whole Smaug issue on The Lonely Mountain.... he should not be able to attack 20000000000 times in a row.... I think the least attacks I've ever had him make in one combat phase on stage 3 was like 4 or 5 attacks...... whats with that? Totally broken quest that relies entirely on you getting lucky and getting a card that has no burgle effect as one of his shadow cards BEFORE he eats every single goddamn character on the board in one go.
Then we get The Battle of Five Armies which is just such an amazing, thematically perfect and very fun quest. Easily one of my favorite quests that has been released to date.

 

I honestly avoid the hobbit quests like the plague minus Battle of Five Armies and its not like I consistently have trouble with most quests or especially difficult ones or anything, I mean I have something like 6 or 7 wins on Assault on Osgiliath and not a single loss against it ever. I've beaten every quest to date minus Lake Town (can't be bothered making decks just for it) including all nightmare decks minus a few of the most recent (trolls and dungeons deep from the hobbit cause i hate those quests and havent worked up the courage to play them and flight from moria cause im not the biggest fan of that quest either and it is pretty **** hard and luck based) so it isn't really even difficulty per say its just how very very specific your deck needs to be against most of the hobbit quests.

The attachment hate is crazy, the combat deck hate is crazy and the starting threat hate is crazy. Smaug is broken, the riddles are just stupid and completely luck based (same with Smaug really) and flies and spiders can have many moving parts with all the poison and whatnot and combat decks just get raped if they get stuck at the wrong quest stage at the end.

 

Edit: Sorry just to clarify I don't agree with the whole difficulty thing I really like how hard this game is and play the harder quests and nightmare quests much more often I just really dislike quests that expect you to run a very specific type of deck to stand any chance or ones that only punish certain deck types. Also I play two handed so am right in that difficulty sweet spot

Edited by PsychoRocka

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Dungeons Deeps is too hard single player because it wreaks havoc with your deck, but I always enjoyed the drama of guessing at riddles and revealing them.  I have not played it 4-player, but I think the provision of extra card reveals in the quest phase (meant to allow you to make progress on Bilbo's quest and the dwarves') would get out of hand with 4 players.  But for a nice 2-player game, sure you have to deck build for Dungeons Deep if you want to have a decent chance of winning, but I can say the same thing about Dunland Trap/Fords of Isen, To Catch an Orc, any number of recent quests.  But it's a very do-able quest.

 

I think I beat it once with a vaguely thematic dwarf deck, and then went back and made a mono Spirit deck filled with 2 cost allies. That was a lot easier - I chose to answer pretty much every riddle that came off the encounter deck. :)

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Not meaning to necessarily revive this thread or anything but just ran across this on the subreddit for lotr lcg and pretty much feel identical to this guy in relations to the lonely mountain:
 

 

"That was a quest that I remember having a love-hate relationship with. I love the quest thematically, taking treasures underneath the Lonely Mountain which in turn raises the threat of getting caught was really well done. I liked the sense of urgency in trying to not raise your awareness with Smaug otherwise he would become even more dangerous (in his Magnificent form.) My main negativity came from the erratic behavior of the forced effect on Smaug the Magnificent. In about half the games I played I had at least one, rather unlucky, situation where he would be attacking me 5+ times in a round decimating the engaged player's heroes. If he had a limit, even of something like only being able to attack 3 times per phase, it would have been more manageable to plan for (i.e. have the means to acquire the chump blockers necessary).

I remember my usual strategy was to start by breaking even in questing (so I don't do a burgle attempt) and then to power quest with my dwarves once it's built up so that if I happened to reveal a treachery or such that sends us to the Smaug the Magnificent stage I would immediately quest through it and return to the previous stage. Pretty sure I usually opted to go to the final stage after only burgling once or twice because I wanted to keep the mountains threat level down so I could power quest through in one push the following round and minimize the number of times Smaug would attack."

 

Other than not using Dwarf decks like them I use more or less the exact same strategy to beat this quest (try to break even at the start and proceed after only one or two burgle attempts and then quest hard to the end) and also love the theme and mechanics they tried to implement here but hate how the quest actually plays out, mainly due to the exact same mechanic that this person refers to (Smaug making a billion attacks in a row). Just thought I'd share this as I think its pretty **** spot on and sums up the failures of this quest and how great it could have been considering it had all the right pieces to be great.

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Also wind whipped rain is THE STUPIDEST GODDAMN CARD ever made.. like oh yeah sorry attachment deck you're totally screwed if that card appears and you more or less instantly lose. The fact that card is in an encounter set that is used for not just the trolls but also the first half of Over Misty Mountains Grim is even more stupid. I honestly hate this card more than Sleeping Sentry.

So attachment decks just get raped against the trolls, same with high starting threat decks, you utterly MUST have low starting threat and not engage the trolls till you can take them or again the sacks just ruin your day and you lose. 

 

LOL... I think there may have been tears in my eyes or at least a quivering lip, the first I encountered this card... and have continued to 'enjoy' the quest as much as you have... Hobbit sagas the dwarven booster packs have a number of my least favorite quests - from attachment hate to boringly easy to riddles...

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I saw mark "hot" on the Core Set on my local web store where I usually buy board game stuff. I asked the representative if that really true, and he confirmed. Yet, he refused to hook me up with any of them. He also refused the fellowship event when I offered.

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I play LOTR now solo, but I used to play in a four player group.  What ended up driving my three friends away was for one the amount of money you have to invest to stay current in the game, Another friend had the traditional ccg attitude that you build one deck and play with that one deck through every quest.  He soon started losing quite frequently to the various quests (and we got into a heated discussion about having to build your deck tailored to the specific quest, which he did not agree with). What killed the game for my last friend was that when we played four player games there would come a point in our game where we would get completely screwed over by one encounter card that made us lose the game.  He called this "Shoddy" game design and quit. So now it is just me.  I don't even bother mentioning the game to my friends anymore because they have such a negative attitude towards it and they will spend hours just ragging on how bad the game is.

Edited by Tyberius_Deangelo

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I can see your friends point of view, but don't agree with it on the whole.

 

1.  There have been some "you lose" cards in the past, and will probably be more in the future, but in general it seems Caleb & Matt put a lot more thought into the encounter deck and look for interactions that hurt the players rather than a single bad effect.

 

2.  Because this is a game where the encounter deck cannot react to what the players are doing per se, the designers must meta-game the encounter deck to beat the players.  If they didn't the game would grow stale quickly.  Of course this does have the effect of making the players change their decks (and buy more cards), but the overall business model is still very favorable to the player compared to the CCG model.  (Who wants to play the same deck through the entire standard season anyway?)

 

I'm glad you're still playing!

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