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Rethinking 2-handed solo (vs 1-handed solo)

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I've always played the game solo.  For the past year or so I've been playing 2-handed (via OCTGN).  I think the Dol Guldur quest inspired/forced me to make that switch.

 

Overall, I think 2-handed playing has made quests a little easier for me, I think it also makes them take longer.  Twice as long?  I don't know.  I certainly have to keep more stuff in my head at any given moment, which might slow me down in my decision making.  But the bottom line is that I feel like I need at least 2 hours to finish a quest, instead of 1.  (yep, I'm that slow!)

 

I would like to play more often.  One possible way to do that would be to switch back to 1-handed play.  However, I am worried that if I do that, I will "miss out" on some of the game mechanics which only work when two "players" are present.  Also, I am worried that I will run up against a scenario that is really hard to do solo, like Dol Guldur, and get frustrated at my inability to pass it.

 

For example, right now I'm making my way through the Dwarrowdelf cycle.  I'm playing 2-handed, with tons of dwarven heroes and allies.  Dain is a godsend.  I feel like if I were only playing 1 hand, Dain would be less cool, since he needs to stay ready, and I would only have 2 heroes who can actually quest and fight (effectively), unless I find ways to ready Dain.  I might therefore never have been tempted to try playing with Dain, and would miss out on the whole dwarven army gameplay.  And that would be a bad thing, since I am enjoying it so far.

 

I know, I've read that some people think dwarves are "boring", but remember, I'm a couple years behind you guys!  I haven't yet "opened" enough cards to try other army types.  (I've bought all the cards available so far, and can of course use any cards I like via OCTGN, but I prefer to only use the cards available at the time a quest was released).

 

So my questions are these:

 

1) Are there other mechanics coming up which require 2-handed play to be effective (or even feasible); will I "miss out" on a significant amount of cool game play if I switch back to 1-handed play?

 

2) Are there quests coming up which are extremely hard to win solo (like Gol Duldur was)?

 

3) For those of you who have played both 2-handed and 1-handed, do you find 1-handed play significantly faster?  Easier?  More fun?

 

4) In order to play all 4 spheres, do you play each scenario multiple times, once with 2 spheres and then again with the other 2 spheres?  I used to do that, in order to experience all 4 spheres.  However, note that it increases the amount of time it takes to "finish" a scenario (since you have to do it twice).

 

5) What other things have you noticed about 2-handed vs 1-handed play, and how often do you play each way now?

 

Thanks!

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I played solo when I first started out, then 2 handed solo, and then went back to pure solo. I think a lot of mechanics in this game (except Ranged and Sentinel) can be applied to both the solo and multideck playing formats, just maybe in different ways. I would also say there's no quest as brutal as Dol Guldur for pure solo. There may be quests that favor multideck, but on the flip side, there's some that favor solo. I think they got quite a bit better as time went on at being able to avoid quests like Dol Guldur or Return to Mirkwood where they were really difficult to make your way through solo. Some scenarios are easier in solo because you don't see as many cards, so it's less likely the really bad ones come up, but you're also dealing with everything yourself. 1 handed is easier for me to play because I have limited space which I can play, and limited time to sit and piece together decks. It also allows you to try different decks, since you're only building one. Multideck does have the advantage of being able to have your decks specialize in something though. I don't pay much attention to what spheres I've beat a scenario with though. Just what decks I suppose. All in all, having played both, I prefer pure solo. I have the room for it, it does help to speed up the game, and I think most scenarios scale really well for it. 

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1) The new Dunedain deck type from Lost Realm, Bard the Bowman & Brand son of Bain;  not really (unless you enjoy ranged/sentinel antics a lot).

 

2) Return to Mirkwood.  Most quests these days are actually easier pure solo though (Deadmen's Dike, for example).

 

3) Yes, yes, and resounding yes.

 

4) I don't really have a mental "requirement" to do each scenario with all 4 spheres, so I usually just play each scenario about 2-3 times with each of my favorite decks at the time.  I usually do tri-sphere deckbuilding anyways.

 

5) 2-handed play requires lots of table space.  I also hate having to have a different hand of cards for each deck, since I either have to pick them up one at a time or display them out (which takes up even MORE deck space!).  I also tend to forget loads more rules when keeping track of 2 decks.  2-handed on OCTGN is a pain as opposed to 1-handed.  I rarely play 2-handed, almost always pure solo or with my weekly buddy. 

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I've always played the game solo.  For the past year or so I've been playing 2-handed (via OCTGN).  I think the Dol Guldur quest inspired/forced me to make that switch.

 

Overall, I think 2-handed playing has made quests a little easier for me, I think it also makes them take longer.  Twice as long?  I don't know.  I certainly have to keep more stuff in my head at any given moment, which might slow me down in my decision making.  But the bottom line is that I feel like I need at least 2 hours to finish a quest, instead of 1.  (yep, I'm that slow!)

 

I would like to play more often.  One possible way to do that would be to switch back to 1-handed play.  However, I am worried that if I do that, I will "miss out" on some of the game mechanics which only work when two "players" are present.  Also, I am worried that I will run up against a scenario that is really hard to do solo, like Dol Guldur, and get frustrated at my inability to pass it.

 

For example, right now I'm making my way through the Dwarrowdelf cycle.  I'm playing 2-handed, with tons of dwarven heroes and allies.  Dain is a godsend.  I feel like if I were only playing 1 hand, Dain would be less cool, since he needs to stay ready, and I would only have 2 heroes who can actually quest and fight (effectively), unless I find ways to ready Dain.  I might therefore never have been tempted to try playing with Dain, and would miss out on the whole dwarven army gameplay.  And that would be a bad thing, since I am enjoying it so far.

 

I know, I've read that some people think dwarves are "boring", but remember, I'm a couple years behind you guys!  I haven't yet "opened" enough cards to try other army types.  (I've bought all the cards available so far, and can of course use any cards I like via OCTGN, but I prefer to only use the cards available at the time a quest was released).

 

So my questions are these:

 

1) Are there other mechanics coming up which require 2-handed play to be effective (or even feasible); will I "miss out" on a significant amount of cool game play if I switch back to 1-handed play?

 

2) Are there quests coming up which are extremely hard to win solo (like Gol Duldur was)?

 

3) For those of you who have played both 2-handed and 1-handed, do you find 1-handed play significantly faster?  Easier?  More fun?

 

4) In order to play all 4 spheres, do you play each scenario multiple times, once with 2 spheres and then again with the other 2 spheres?  I used to do that, in order to experience all 4 spheres.  However, note that it increases the amount of time it takes to "finish" a scenario (since you have to do it twice).

 

5) What other things have you noticed about 2-handed vs 1-handed play, and how often do you play each way now?

 

Thanks!

I played pure solo for a while when I first got the core set and then moved on to try out two handed play and have never looked back. It does take longer to setup, longer to player and is more complex requiring you to remember a lot more cards in hand and how and when to use various cards but to me is worth it.

I have cut down the time it takes me to play a game drastically since first starting two handed play but it can still be a very time consuming activity.

So to answer your questions from my viewpoint:

1) I don't think that there will be too many new mechanics that require at least two players/decks to be present to take effect but at the same time the game is essentially designed for 2-4 players so some quests will have effects that without extra players will not be as cool/significant especially I suspect in the saga quests (like breaking of the fellowship for example).

2) Not sure to be honest but I imagine Nightmare is pretty hard solo (certain ones at least) and Nightmare decks are being pumped out at the moment.

 

3) 1 handed play is without a doubt faster, more fun or easier? Definitely not in my opinion. Playing two handed allows you to use twice as many heroes with twice as many interesting effects, far more combos than usual (especially between the decks), and can include far more support cards like healing, location management, cancellation etc. You can also run all four spheres or even just two mono sphere decks or even some strange combination like Lore/Spirit and Lore/Leadership or even Tactics/Spirit and Mono Lore. Hero lineup is a little more flexible too because playing Solo you need all three heroes to be perfect for what you use them for, when playing with two decks because each can support or protect the other this is slightly less important. I find it easier, far more fun and more in keeping with the actual intent of the game. With only one card revealed during staging when playing solo the encounter deck cannot combo its cards as well or perform in the same way as when playing with two or more players.

 

4) I personally only play with two decks (that I modify from time to time) and do not deck build for quests like many others do. yes many find this boring and strange and even say that I do not get to experience a large part of this game which is the joy of deckbuilding (which is not true I immensely enjoy the constant scrutiny I have upon my two decks) but I enjoy playing this way. I can't really answer this question because of this though as I essentially play all scenarios with the same two decks and run all four spheres across the two of them. If you deck build for quests I will admit it will be far more time consuming to constantly have to build two complimentary decks for each quest you want to play rather than just one. If you are going to change your decks quite often, as opposed to rarely or not at all this may be a very important factor as it will be very very time consuming to do so and you will be building decks for maybe even an equal amount of time to actually playing the game.

 

5) I will always play two handed. It just feels right to me. I have plenty of respect for Solo play and it is probably a little harder a lot of the time than my style of playing and is definitely far faster. I enjoy the scenario taking a little longer and showing a bit more bit though and also enjoy building up two strong forces that compliment each other and slowly blasting my way through a quest. Honestly I think it is completely up to personal preference. There are pros and cons on both sides, both are legitimate ways to play and can be fulfilling and challenging in their own ways. I say give Solo another try (why not?) and if it feels right after a while stick with it and if it doesn't feel as fun or doesn't meet your needs switch back to two handed. :D

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Thanks for the great feedback!

 

I think for my next game I will try it 1-handed solo.  I'll try it with a couple different decks (so I can try all 4 spheres).  If it feels "samey" the second time around, then I'll try sticking to just trying to beat subsequent quests once.  Eventually I should be able to catch up to everyone else!  I am very curious what the saga expansions feel like, but at my current pace (about 1 quest per month) it will take many, many months before I get even close. 

 

The key is picking up the pace, and I think 1-handed will help.  If I get stuck on a quest, I suppose I can always "call in the cavalry" (the second hand) but I would at least like to experience more quests per year than I am now!

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Thanks for the great feedback!

 

I think for my next game I will try it 1-handed solo.  I'll try it with a couple different decks (so I can try all 4 spheres).  If it feels "samey" the second time around, then I'll try sticking to just trying to beat subsequent quests once.  Eventually I should be able to catch up to everyone else!  I am very curious what the saga expansions feel like, but at my current pace (about 1 quest per month) it will take many, many months before I get even close. 

 

The key is picking up the pace, and I think 1-handed will help.  If I get stuck on a quest, I suppose I can always "call in the cavalry" (the second hand) but I would at least like to experience more quests per year than I am now!

 

No, the cavalry is Dain and Hirluin.

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1) Not sure about the up coming mechanics... however even just core staples like Ranged & Sentinal have very little impact in Solo.

 

2) And vice versa some games much hander with more players.. 

 

3) Much faster yes... but more fun... no... I enjoy two handed solo more than one handed. Normally find two handed allows for better interactions (and more of a challenge) between the player decks AND the Encounter deck. As too many of my solo, one handed games, I could skip through the encounter deck pretty much unscathed... which can get a bit boring. (Note I stopped playing 1 handed solo back in early Heirs days so... I might be entirely wrong about the newer quests)   

 

4) No... I just pick a theme, idea or heroes I want to use and go for it... Other than Black Riders with Sam... then a long break until Celeborn I hadn't included any leadership cards in any of my decks for most of two cycles... and only splashed Tactics until Heirs... if I had more time this would be different.

 

5) I find it much easier to build a solo deck that trying to make two decks partner with each other (and challenges are good!). I like that you tend to experience more chain effects, combos, see/test more player cards and generally get to see more of the game mechanics by using two handed... if I had a local gaming group I might go back to 1 handed solo and just MP with real people... but as I don't two handed solo is where it is at for me.

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I play both two-handed and one-handed solo. I'll play any new quest both ways. I enjoy both experiences for different reasons. One-handed solo is faster, more streamlined, and more focused in some ways. You can really get the sense of you and three heroes against the world. Two-handed solo is a bit fiddlier, but you get to experiment with a broader range of deck types and see more of what each encounter deck has to offer. Playing one-handed you miss out on two things:

 

1) You can't explore as many deck types in solo, because some deck types just aren't viable solo

2) The encounter deck chains together much more effectively two-handed. This gives you a better idea and experience of how a quest tries to one-two punch you.

 

As a very broad over-generalization, I feel like the game was harder solo in the past, but nowadays quests are usually harder as you add more players. Again, this is an over-generalization, as some quests are exceptions (The Three Trials, for example, was most difficult with one player). But in general, this seems to be true. All three quests in The Lost Realm, for example, were much harder two-handed than solo.

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LOTR lcg is a game that can be played from 1 to 4 players, so i think that is natural to be a little "clanky" if you take one of the two extremes.

To elaborate a little more, if you play a 1 or a 4 player game there are many quests that get, to easy, to hard, to random or just to boring, there are also many player deck options and possibilities that goes off in a single player game (and that is one of the main characteristics that makes LOTR stand out from many other card games).

As i had said many times before i believe that LOTR is an excellent 2 player game and i strongly believe that 2 players (hands) is the sweet spot of the game for so many reasons.

 

P.S. sry for my bad english :mellow:

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I guess for some of us with limited time, it comes down to which we prefer:

 

a) fewer games per month, but with the "full" game experience  (2-handed)

b) more games per month, but with "limited" game experience  (1-handed)

 

What I was wondering is how much time is saved playing 1-handed, and how "limited" the experience becomes, as we progress through the various expansion packs and cycles.  Of course, each person might have different answers to those questions.  I'm trying to see if there is a rough consensus.  There still seem to be 2 camps: those who prefer to play 1-handed and those who prefer 2-handed.

 

So maybe a qualifying question would be: how many hours a month do you spend playing LotR LCG? 

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I have enjoyed both. When playing solo one-handed I tend to play modified easy mode where I take the two resources per hero in the opening round but leave all encounter cards in. I have been doing deck building for a while so it does not take long to build a solo, one-handed deck. Using modified easy mode, I have been successful on all quests through the Dwarrowdelf cycle except for Dol Guldor. If not the first time, then the second time through. I am looking at more two-handed solo now though so I can experience the newer deck archetypes that are coming out.

Whatever way works for you - the primary purpose is to have fun! So I encourage you to try different ways!!!

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Two Handed Solo violates table talk is very cumbersome to play. Really not an approved way and much easier than playing true MP when you can see both hands.

 

I play MP with other people when I can.

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Two Handed Solo violates table talk is very cumbersome to play. Really not an approved way and much easier than playing true MP when you can see both hands.

 

I play MP with other people when I can.

 

Let's not open that can of worms again!

 

Discussed pretty exhaustively here: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/104370-table-talk-rule/?hl=%20table%20%20talk

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I mostly play solo because it is tough to get other players but I personally think that 4 player is when the game is the most fun. You mentioned that you might "miss out" on multiplayer aspects if you go solo, but you might miss out on solo aspects if you play 2 hand. Each amount of players is just different. Why not play 4 hand solo? Obviously that would take far too long, but if you don't then you will miss out on some fun aspects of the game. My point is, don't worry about it, just do what is most fun for you and when you get the chance try every different format that you can.

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