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Flies and Spiders

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This quest was the last straw for the Saga Expansions for me. They are really poorly designed.

 

Yes, you remove all resources from the first player, not everybody (at least that is how I read it).

 

However, this quest is often over before you can really start. It takes two more Resources Phases before Bilbo can restore another character, but he can be unconscious in the first turn, and is generally unconscious in the second, well before another character is woken up. Which is an instant lose.

 

 

The Saga Expansions, which I looked forward to a lot, have been the worst part of this game; and I am very close to not buying any more of this game because of how many combinations of instant lose there are in them.

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You've got Bilbo's Magic Ring, so after the next Resource Phase you can use Bilbo's ring.  Bilbo now has 2 resources and you can immediately ready an unconscious character -- a defender if you need it, but preferably whoever can make the most money.  But yhey won't have resources that round unless you have some acceleration attached already.  That is why you delay passing stage 1 of the quest until you've got Steward of Gondor, or some other resource acceleration, ready to go, as well as the ring itself of course.  Keep allies in hand rather than putting them on the table, as they'll just become unconscious.  On the next Resource phase after that, use Bilbo's ring again and you've got another ready character, possibly 3 resources (or 4 if it's Thorin with 5 dwarves in play and Steward of Gondor attached) from the originally readied character and are able to put another ally in play.  

 

Anyway, just saying it's a quest with a pretty doable "solution."

 

I found all of the Hobbit quests to be fairly moderate in difficulty for 2-players, and they remain some of my favorites.  But a lot of people on here have been pretty vocal about their difficulty level, so you're certainly not alone in finding them harder than average.  Battle of the Five Armies was the hardest for us, especially with a Dain-less thematic dwarf deck, but we managed it.

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It should not be possible to lose Bilbo in the first round, but it's very easy for this to happen.

 

We tried the delay tactic to try to ensure we had the right cards, but after 8 rounds the threat from having to try to guess how much quest we could get away with in order to overcome what came from the encounter deck without progressing stage 1 was the problem.

 

The problem with a lot of the Hobbit Saga is it's all down to the three shuffles. If any of the decks (either player or the encounter) get a bad shuffle, you are doomed before you start. 

 

It's a common thread though a lot of game design practice that "if something could happen 1 in 100 that will make the game impossible and therefore not fun, then it will happen to enough people to negatively impact your game". These aren't 1 in 100, they are 2 in 3. This isn't difficulty, it's not trying to play for a good strategy, it's not even pre-planning. It's bad design.

 

Let me put it this way. Make a good couple of decks, then use Flies and Spiders (or We Must Away, Ere Break of Day) and introduce the concept of LCG/CCG to a new player with them. You won't get a convert. The person I have played through all of this game with from the start occasionally brings over his sister so she can watch and get some time out of the house... She has enjoyed watching us play, right up to The Hobbit Saga, where she basically says we should look for a new game. She isn't wrong.

 

Both Descent and LotR LCG are suffering a lot from a rapid release cycle with insufficient playtesting. Both of these games used to get a lot of play time at gaming groups and on game nights, now the only people still playing them out of the dozens that were are Mat and I, and we are so fed up with the crap that The Hobbit designers put in that we are close to giving up. Going to go back to Heirs of Numenor for a few weeks, but it's likely that will be the end of it.

 

Rushed expansions to meet a fan base who wanted the books in the game. Poorly designed. Too many instant lose situations. Stopping players from being interested.

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I agree that some quests aren't well designed and its quite possible to lose first round or at least have such a bad first round that you might as well restart on many quests, not just files and spiders. Most of my friends aren't in to Lord of rings due to the difficulty/complexity/ random nature of quest ending treacheries etc... oh well - its a great solo game too. 

 

Personally the hobbit saga boxes are among least favorite in terms of quests to play... however the Black Riders Saga box is among my favorites... not every quest, adventure pack or saga is going to be universally loved by all... and hey they have a different designers.

 

I think the risk of instant lose combined with the difficulty level of the game is one of the attractions of the game. Certainly was for me. Makes it very satisfying to finally win (hard quests). Not that enjoy losing but I do enjoy a good challenge or problem to solve... which is how I view many of the quests... and I simply don't play the quests that don't enjoy... looking at you Hobbit Sagas (at least you had a heap of good player cards)

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On 10/6/2014 at 2:19 PM, Bremic said:

It should not be possible to lose Bilbo in the first round, but it's very easy for this to happen.

 

We tried the delay tactic to try to ensure we had the right cards, but after 8 rounds the threat from having to try to guess how much quest we could get away with in order to overcome what came from the encounter deck without progressing stage 1 was the problem.

 

The problem with a lot of the Hobbit Saga is it's all down to the three shuffles. If any of the decks (either player or the encounter) get a bad shuffle, you are doomed before you start. 

 

It's a common thread though a lot of game design practice that "if something could happen 1 in 100 that will make the game impossible and therefore not fun, then it will happen to enough people to negatively impact your game". These aren't 1 in 100, they are 2 in 3. This isn't difficulty, it's not trying to play for a good strategy, it's not even pre-planning. It's bad design.

 

Let me put it this way. Make a good couple of decks, then use Flies and Spiders (or We Must Away, Ere Break of Day) and introduce the concept of LCG/CCG to a new player with them. You won't get a convert. The person I have played through all of this game with from the start occasionally brings over his sister so she can watch and get some time out of the house... She has enjoyed watching us play, right up to The Hobbit Saga, where she basically says we should look for a new game. She isn't wrong.

 

Both Descent and LotR LCG are suffering a lot from a rapid release cycle with insufficient playtesting. Both of these games used to get a lot of play time at gaming groups and on game nights, now the only people still playing them out of the dozens that were are Mat and I, and we are so fed up with the crap that The Hobbit designers put in that we are close to giving up. Going to go back to Heirs of Numenor for a few weeks, but it's likely that will be the end of it.

 

Rushed expansions to meet a fan base who wanted the books in the game. Poorly designed. Too many instant lose situations. Stopping players from being interested.

YEP, this quest alone REALLY has me considering selling off my entire series of LOTR LCG.  This Flies and Spiders is DISGUSTING.  I had to send an email to FFG full of curses because of their shi**y unbalanced design.  It's just disgusting.

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Am I missing something? I played this two handed a number of times and enjoyed it, and found it challenging but not too difficult.  It’s the Hobbit sagas that confirmed for me this is my game, and to buy into ? 

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It still has, at best, a mixed reputation at best, possibly skewed toward negative.  Playing progression mode, some of the scenarios are pretty challenging.  With the full card pool, Flies and Spiders is not very challenging.  I love all of the Hobbit saga scenarios, even Dungeons Deep, which is almost universally abhorred :)

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The problem I've always had with the hobbit quests, especially the first box, is the slightly heavy-handed card design. In modern quests it always feels like a choice is left to the play (do x or y bad thing, but something bad will happen) but the older quests had really bad effects that either hit or missed. THe one that sticks in my mind is the treachery from the first box that discarded all attachments; feel like now that would be handled much more slickly. But they're only 6 quests out of a *lot*, and the recent quests in particular (last few cycles) have been really well designed.

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In the past I have certainly been fairly vocal about my dislike for the Hobbit Boxes and most of the quests contained within. Some of the mechanics are overly fiddly or way too chance or luck based and overall it just doesn't compare to the rest of the game in my opinion. That being said I would never write an angry email full of curses to the developers because of this. The game was in its early days and they were still figuring out how it all works and how to create thematic yet mechanically sound quests. The art, player cards and theme in those boxes is incredible and even with their weird mechanics the quests are still great in their own way just nowhere near as good as the rest of the game. Besides we have the REAL Saga Campaign now which is incredible so why even play the hobbit boxes to begin with!! ? (not a serious statement!)

This is just how I feel however as other players really enjoy these quests and don't think they do fall short at all. Also the Battle of Five Armies is actually one of my all time favourite quests as I feel like it is really well designed and very different to the rest of the Hobbit quests.

I certainly don't think it is worthwhile or beneficial in any way to the game or community sending nasty emails to the developers because a quest from over five years ago is not as mechanically sound as it could be. They have certainly learned from some of the less popular earlier products considering how great the game currently is and how well received the last few Cycles, Deluxe boxes and Saga boxes have been.
The developers for this game are far better than most, they are very hands on and in touch with the community and are constantly creating new products based off what the community is actively asking or hoping for.

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It would be great, but as far as I know their license doesn't include the Silmarillion. Might want to amend "constantly creating new products based off what the community is actively asking or hoping for" to "constantly creating new products based off what the community is actively asking or hoping for within their licensing limitations". lol.

 

 

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