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Brian_66

Can You Consistently Play Thematically?

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I am relatively new to the game and really have enjoyed playing (mostly solo) through the core set and the Mirkwood adventure packs. But what I have noticed is that I am tending to use key cards that don't really fit in well with the particular story or theme.

 

So my question is: Can you enjoy this game (i.e. win 50% of the time) consistently playing thematic decks? I don't want to keep buying expanisions and adventrue packs if the only way to win scenarios is by always falling back on the same key cards that don't really fit in with the theme of the quest.

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I play thematic decks in solo all the time, and I have a higher then average win rate. I sometimes have to conceed a card or two from the theme (ie: Steward of Gondor or Warden of Healing) however the rest of the deck stays thematic.

I will note that it is much harder to play a theme deck in Nightmare Mode and I generally have to build decks specifically for the senerio to win.

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You have a couple options:

 

1) Play Easy Mode
Some players call this by an alternative title "Thematic Mode". Playing like this allows you to build second (or even third) tier decks and still do well against the quests

 

2) Make a few thematic compromises

Or rather, justify the thematic implications in alternative ways. It's not that Sam Gamgee IS the Steward of Gondor, but rather he has the support of the steward. Gimli is not wearing Citadel Plate from Gondor, we is wearing dwarf sized plate mail from Erebor, etc

 

3) Focus your next few purchases on specific themes

If you purchase the first five packs on the Ring Maker cycle, you will have unlocked all the cards you need for a very powerful Silvan deck archetype. Purchase The Black Riders to have a powerful Hobbit deck.

 

If you listen to the CotR podcast where they interview Caleb Grace, he talks about the intent of this game being about creating your own custom fellowship.

 

In a way, the most thematic way to play this game is to bring together three completely unsuspecting heroes and do great things with them (that's what happened in LotR after all). You mentioned using cards that do not match the theme: since when does bringing a gardener on a quest to destroy a ring make any sense? 

Edited by Thanatopsis

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Much easier to construct viable and versatile theme decks if you have access to a large card pool. If you are buying the APs and expansions in order, Dwarves will be the first viable theme decks you can construct and win with consistently. 

Edited by TwiceBornh

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I agree with the sentiment of creating your own story with this game. The books were rife with odd friendships, events, and happenstances. Legolas and Gimli were not only close friends but a force to be reckoned with by the end of the series. No-one in that world would have seen that coming at the start of the fellowship.

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50% might not be feasible with purely thematic decks (such as "no Stewart of Gondor on Dain", "no Asfaloth in Moria" etc.). Still, thematic play is absolutely viable. And by "thematic" I mean coherent with Tolkien-lore, not necessarily "I only put Gondor cards in my deck".

 

I almost exclusively play thematic decks, though I grant myself some room for an odd clutch card here and there. For the vast majority of scenarios I have a win rate that is satisfying to me. It of course depends where your frustration limit lies. But if you do not mind few restarts before you succeed then I expect you will be fine with your thematic play.

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Thanks for the great replies! Maybe I have set my sights too high with a 50% win expectation and should just be happy with an occaisional win (i.e. lower than 30%). It makes you appreciate the huge odds against the Fellowiship in the first place and also begins to hint a greater power for good (luck, fate, divine intervention?) that helped the quest succeed.

 

As for future gaming, I just don't want to get in a rut using the same key cards (Steward of Gondor, Unexpected Courage, Sneak Attack, ect) as the only way to ever come close to winning a game. A non-thematic deck to me would be like an all dwarven deck that included a Steward of Gondor.

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We recently started going back and playing themes for each of the sets. Dwarrodelf with dwarves and so on. It was a very rewarding experience since we knew each other was playing dwarves we knew what attachements and weapons we could bring to benefit everyone. We were very worried about facing off against the balrog. I had a deck that used Nori, so my main objective was to keep my threat at zero while I helped the other players defend their attacks or drop their threat when I could afford it. We failed the first time. The second time, I always had Dori or Dwalin on hand to take the attacks and we beat the Balrog in only a few turns. I would not have expected that in normal play since I don't normally carry 3 copies of both Dori and Dwalin. We are currently going through the Against the Shadow cycle with Gondor/Rohan. We have not found the same success as we did with the dwarves, but I think it's more that we are learning to deal with siege and battle.

 

I've really enjoyed thematic building and it gave us a way to focus on the game instead of starting each night with "Which scenario do you want to play? I dunno, not the one from last week." 

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Thanks for sharing that crx3800.

 

I think I'll need to go through all the expansions and adventure packs released to date for me to get familiar enough with all the card options and then, when I replay everything starting with the core set, I should be able to build some really cool thematic decks. I'm only half-way through Khazad-Dum expansion ... so that will be a long time from now. The replay value of this game seems really good to me.

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I am playing two-player games with my brother and so far we don't possess a good amount of cards that can allow a thematic gameplay. For the moment we buy specific packs for good decks. We are going to play more thematically when we'll get into the saga expansions where I think it's going to be most fitting!

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I plan to build decks that are mostly thematic except for a few staple cards. However, I do not like the thought of including 3x Gandalf and 3x Sneak Attack in every deck, even if this is a try-and-true strategy. I think I'll feel really bored if my decks have become carbon copy of one another. In my Dwarven deck, I'm going to try to have as many Dwarven cards as possible, and see if it can help me win the scenarios. Same with my future Silvan, Hobbit, and other thematic decks.

Edited by Star Lord

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I only ever play thematic decks, and have had reasonable success with them for a long while now. I have Rohan, Elf and Dwarf decks where the "staples" like Gandalf and Steward of Gondor don't get a look in. I think the amount of dwarf and elf cards released now (particularly dwarf) has led to some really great possibilities for decks that mean you don't have to fall back on the old favourites. I recently decided to make up a "Fellowship" deck that was more of a mix, and it felt strange to actually use those cards once more, in fact. 

 

Though as goldensun05 says, Nightmare Mode generally requires a more tailored approach!

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