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FrogTrigger

FrogTrigger's ongoing quest(ion) thread!

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Hi LOTR community, you may remember me from such threads as why is this game different from Descent? Well I tried the game last night with a friend and I am definitely hooked.It is a well thought out game that is both engaging and fun..if not a little frustrating :D The familiar faces and places definitely add to the enjoyment. I wanted to use this thread as a place I could report the fun I've had on my quests and the mistakes I've made so I can ask questions and learn from this great community.

 

We played through all three scenarios of the core box last night, beating them all, and making a ton of mistakes along the way. We knew there was no way we would play the game 100% accurate our first time through, similar to learning IA, you pick things up that you are doing wrong as you go (especially when things feel to easy).

 

Big mistakes we made were first off not including all three deck types in the first quest, I just had the Tree icon that matched the icon of the scenario card. Check. The other big mistake was drawing encounter cards during the quest phase for each CHARACTER instead of player. Sometimes this meant we drew 3, often 2, but most of the time it meant we drew 1 as Eowyn was our go to girl, so we were one card short a lot which is a huuuggee difference we figured out during scenario 2 :D

 

We still managed to beat the end quest though, with a threat of 48 and 47, so I feel like we are still doing something wrong as from what I have read there is no way we should have beat it on our first time through. I wanted to just run through the process as I see it and maybe you guys could tell me what I am doing wrong or offer suggestions/links to common mistakes people make.

 

We were playing the tactics and spirit decks as they are laid out in the rule book guide for beginners.

 

Phase 1: Resource - We take a resource token for each HERO and put it in their pool. Each player draws 1 card to add to their hand. 

 

Phase 2: Planning - This is your only chance to purchase attachment or ally cards. Make sure you are only buying cards that have a resource match, this wasn't an issue as we were using all tactics or all spirit decks, correct? My understanding is that I can use resources from multiple spirit hero's pools under my control to buy one card. But I can never use my resources to buy a card for the other player.

 

Phase 3: Quest - Here you pick how many players you want to commit to questing, generally we would put Eowyn up solo but once we figured out that it was always going to be 2 cards with 2 players we started committing another hero usually. We then flipped one card per player from the encounter deck into the staging area, we processed any When Revealed traits (if I didn't block them with my one hero to draw a different card instead) then placed the cards down, added up the total threat and subtracted it from our total willpower. The difference was then added to the quest OR the location if we had an active location.

 

Phase 4: Travel - Here we just picked a location to travel to, if we wanted to, and made sure to pay the cost (if any) or trigger any associated effects for travelling there. This now became the active location, removing its threat from the total in the staging area but becoming a buffer for progress tokens to the scenario card. My understanding is that this does not actually require exhausting a character, you just go 'as a group' but the first player makes the actual decision.

 

Phase 5: Encounter - If we flipped any enemies during the quest phase we now have a chance to engage ONE enemy each, meaning we can pick it regardless of threat level or to come engage us (first playing picking first, then rotating). After we pick our enemies any that are left over are automatically assigned to the player who has threat equal to or less than their threat, starting with the first player, then going to the next until all enemies are engaged. Usually in this phase the tactics guy would take more enemies as he was tougher obviously, and the spirit guy generally just would take one if forced to and slowly wittle it down.

 

Phase 6: Combat - Now we do actual combat, first the player picks the enemy, then his defender, exhausts him/her, flips the shadow card and resolves any effect, then subtract your shields from their damage and apply any damage that made it through. Only one character can defend for one enemy is my understanding, meaning you can't spread damage. But you can choose to ignore the defense part and not exhaust a hero, however I found the shadow card effects were VERY steep if you did this. Once you exhaust that character they can't be used for combat. However in combat you CAN pool multiple characters attacks to one target, however you can't say split 2 damage from ONE character to TWO enemies, they have to pick an enemy and apply all of their damage. When your character takes damage equal to their health they are discarded, when you defeat an enemy they are discarded.

 

Phase 7: Refresh - Refresh all exhausted cards/abilities (unless told not to for whatever reason by a card), increase threat by 1 and pass the first player token.

 

One question I had was about event cards, my understanding is that you can play them during combat at the start or end of any of the sub phases within that phase. So before you pick a defender, or after, before you pick an attacker, or after.

 

So how close am I? How far off? What are key things I am missing? Any and all information is appreciated here!

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I think this game is very different from Descent and designed better. The party interaction is way different not talking about what you have in your hand. In Descent there is a lot of back and forth about what your best move is which always results in Alpha gaming, in this game you actually feel like you are controlling your group and while there is still a great deal of interaction and debate, ultimately you hold the cards in your hand! The difficulty is also way higher in LOTR versus Descent. In Descent you just get punished for taking to long basically, in this game you do get punished for that... but you can also be severely handicapped right off the first encounter flip if you make the wrong decision or commit the wrong players. Recovering in this game is wayyyy harder than Descent, thus the deck building to be able to react to these situations. 

 

One thing Descent has going for it over this game is I actually prefer the dice combat, maybe that is just me and my IA roots but I love the thrill of rolling the different dice with the different effects. But the combat in this game for a card game is very well designed and requires an actual thought process behind whats going to randomly happen with my red and blue die! So to each their own.

 

At their root both of the games are co-op adventure games that weave through a story line fighting monsters and over coming obstacles and they both require each person playing to do their part to further the team.. but if I had to pick which is one is better, I would go with LOTR. The replay ability alone is what makes it unique.

 

Now I need to go pick up a few of the cycle packs and try these quests again :D

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Beating Dol Guldur first try with those decks sounds unlikely...did you follow the setup instructions and capture a hero? Did you resolve the Guarded keywords on the objectives?

In your phase notes, you mention resolving "when revealed" effects, but not surge or doomed?

If I recall, there is an effect on the nazgul that puts it into play, rather than a quest effect, did you remember to check that?

You mention not exhausting a character to defend - you realise you have to assign damage from an undefended attack to a hero, ignoring their defence?

Also, just checking, with the travel phase, you weren't travelling to a new location until your explored the active one?

That's all the ambiguities from your notes that spring to mind...

Edited by CaffeineAddict

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Beating Dol Guldur first try with those decks sounds unlikely...did you follow the setup instructions and capture a hero? Did you resolve the Guarded keywords on the objectives?

In your phase notes, you mention resolving "when revealed" effects, but not surge or doomed?

If I recall, there is an effect on the nazgul that puts it into play, rather than a quest effect, did you remember to check that?

You mention not exhausting a character to defend - you realise you have to assign damage from an undefended attack to a hero, ignoring their defence?

Also, just checking, with the travel phase, you weren't travelling to a new location until your explored the active one?

That's all the ambiguities from your notes that spring to mind...

 

Yes we learned about the Surge and Doom effects and processed them right, and we were taking the penalties on the objective cards. When we didn't exhaust a character to defend (which was rare) we really got punished by the shadow effect, and yes all damage had to go one person.. so we quickly learned that was a very poor option. And yes we made sure to always explore the active travel phase first, those added up in the last mission I think we had 3 in the staging area collecting threat and one active buffering the scenario. I think where we might have went wrong was with the Nazgul, it says to remove a character each time that a shadow effect is triggered with his attacks, we didn't do that.. but If I remember correctly I don't think he did actually trigger a shadow effect though, just luck of the draw.

 

I will have to look this FAQ up, there really is no way for a new player who just bought the box to know there is a FAQ.

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Ok so I tried Journey down the Anduin again with the spirit and leadership decks, it was tougher than the first time through but I made it through the Hill Troll and things were looking up, until I flipped another Hill Troll in the next encounter. I threated out two rounds later on the leadership deck and then the hill troll + hydra thingie + wolves crushed my weak spirit deck. Now to figure out how to beat that **** hill troll! lol

 

So when you do start deck building with expansions, what is the average deck size? Do you just follow the tournament rules of 50 cards and no more than 3 of each? How often do you mix and match spheres?

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Remember this :

''Surge, Doomed, and Guarded keywords should be

resolved any time the card on which they occur is
revealed from the encounter deck, including during
setup'' (from the latest FAQ)

This means that when an encounter card added instead of being revealed, you don't trigger those keywords.  ;)

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Ok so I tried Journey down the Anduin again with the spirit and leadership decks, it was tougher than the first time through but I made it through the Hill Troll and things were looking up, until I flipped another Hill Troll in the next encounter. I threated out two rounds later on the leadership deck and then the hill troll + hydra thingie + wolves crushed my weak spirit deck. Now to figure out how to beat that **** hill troll! lol

 

So when you do start deck building with expansions, what is the average deck size? Do you just follow the tournament rules of 50 cards and no more than 3 of each? How often do you mix and match spheres?

 

On the hill troll: https://talesfromthecards.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/how-to-kill-a-hill-troll/

 

With deck building, people mostly stick to 50 cards max.

But when should you start mixing spheres & expansion cards etc? That's up to you. When you feel ready, go for it.

 

 

 

And was Frog your favorite character from chrono trigger?

Edited by Noccus

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I wouldn't bother trying to build 50 card decks with just the Core set. There aren't quite enough good cards to build competitive decks with just the Core set. I'd stick to more like 40 at the beginning.

 

It won't take many expansions, though, before you start wanting more than 50 cards; and that's when you know your card pool is big enough for "tournament legal" decks.

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Alright so 4 solo play throughs for Anduin puts me at 2-2. It went loss, win, loss win, first attempt was Leadership/Spirit and from there on it was Tactics/Spirit, this seems to be the best combo in the core?

 

The two wins I got multiple attachments off the back including the dagger that gives Legolas extra damage/travel token, the axe for Gimli (and then later the armor) and the willpower buff for Eowyn.  When I lose it seems to happen when I have trouble finding the attachments, does that make sense?

 

I also got lucky on my last win and grabbed my card to lower threat by 6 when I was sitting at 49 and would have went to 50 at the end of the round (or sooner with an unlucky card draw!)

 

I used the tip from that link about waiting the hill troll out and not engaging right away, I mulliganed my spirit starting 6 to get the threat debuff and used it on my tactics deck to drop his threat and buy us a few more rounds to build the troops up. I was able to take a round of troll attack with Gimli, hurt the troll, then use Feint to avoid getting hit the second time around and then finish it off. The travel tokens from Legolas really add up fast, especially with that dagger. And I can use multiple of the same attachments on one hero? I ran into some trouble with multiple locations in the staging around (4 I think total at one point) adding up to like 8 or 9 threat before I even flipped one of the three mandatory encounter cards, so that crippled me for a bit, but I was able to just stall out in phase 2 and let Legolas pick them up.

 

The scouts in the spirit deck will help to get the locations done, but what is the case with the girl who puts travel tokens on the locations in the staging area? Do they disappear even in the staging area once you reach the token amount or does that just mean when I choose to travel there they will disappear right away as I've already met the requirement?

 

My understanding of how the expansions work is that each deluxe expansion is basically a cores worth of cards with 3 new linked scenarios but without all the cardboard tokens/threat counters (so 12 heroes, multiple encounter decks and more cards for each sphere?). Then the cycles expand the cards of each core/deluxe expansion with a new hero, a new scenario, some new player cards and a new encounter deck.

 

The saga expansions are centered more around re creating the events of the movie, but they still offer unique cards you can't get anywhere else. I am guessing each saga expansion focuses on a part of the game that the deluxe expansions don't? For instance, Hobbits in the Black Riders deluxe expansion?

 

I think my best bet is to play through the Mirkwood cycle to expand my deck and give me a good feeling for the game.. then I can pick if I want to go Saga Route and follow the story line or a specific Deluxe expansion to expand an area I like (right now I am really liking the dwarves).

Edited by FrogTrigger

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@ FrogTrigger:


 


Alright so 4 solo play throughs for Anduin puts me at 2-2. It went loss, win, loss win, first attempt was Leadership/Spirit and from there on it was Tactics/Spirit, this seems to be the best combo in the core?


 


There is no "real best" combo. Although the concensus is that the Spirit deck is indeed the strongest, and the tactics deck by (itself) the weakest.


You might want to give combining the decks a try. Leadership/Spirit (Aragorn/Theodred/Eowyn & Lore/Tactics (Denethor/Beravor/Legolas)


 


The two wins I got multiple attachments off the back including the dagger that gives Legolas extra damage/travel token, the axe for Gimli (and then later the armor) and the willpower buff for Eowyn.  When I lose it seems to happen when I have trouble finding the attachments, does that make sense?


 


Yes, always put your attachments on your heroes asap.  Don't take too big risks to slap one on a hero tho. Like saving a spirit token when you have test of will in your hand, and not giving Eowyn +1wp.


 


I also got lucky on my last win and grabbed my card to lower threat by 6 when I was sitting at 49 and would have went to 50 at the end of the round (or sooner with an unlucky card draw!)


 


I used the tip from that link about waiting the hill troll out and not engaging right away, I mulliganed my spirit starting 6 to get the threat debuff and used it on my tactics deck to drop his threat and buy us a few more rounds to build the troops up. I was able to take a round of troll attack with Gimli, hurt the troll, then use Feint to avoid getting hit the second time around and then finish it off. The travel tokens from Legolas really add up fast, especially with that dagger. And I can use multiple of the same attachments on one hero? I ran into some trouble with multiple locations in the staging around (4 I think total at one point) adding up to like 8 or 9 threat before I even flipped one of the three mandatory encounter cards, so that crippled me for a bit, but I was able to just stall out in phase 2 and let Legolas pick them up.


 


Well done.


Yes, you can place multiple attachments on the same character. They only can have 2 restricted ones tho. And yes, they can be the same ones, like 2 Gondolin blades.


 


The scouts in the spirit deck will help to get the locations done, but what is the case with the girl who puts travel tokens on the locations in the staging area? Do they disappear even in the staging area once you reach the token amount or does that just mean when I choose to travel there they will disappear right away as I've already met the requirement?


 


Whenever a location gets the required progress tokens on it, it is explored and you can discard it. Those Northern Trackers rock frogs.


 


My understanding of how the expansions work is that each deluxe expansion is basically a cores worth of cards with 3 new linked scenarios but without all the cardboard tokens/threat counters (so 12 heroes, multiple encounter decks and more cards for each sphere?). Then the cycles expand the cards of each core/deluxe expansion with a new hero, a new scenario, some new player cards and a new encounter deck.


 


Eh not quite. At least player cardwise. You do get 3 quests every delexe expansion.


Check this site and click on cards up above.


You can see the player cards you get per set : http://ringsdb.com/


 


The saga expansions are centered more around re creating the events of the movie, but they still offer unique cards you can't get anywhere else. I am guessing each saga expansion focuses on a part of the game that the deluxe expansions don't? For instance, Hobbits in the Black Riders deluxe expansion?


 


The saga's follow the books, not the movies. And the FFG cycles timeline we play our quests in is also inspired by the books, but happen between the hobbit & lotr books.


So the Hobbit expansions follow the hobbit book, and LotR those books. (and yes, there are hobbits in the lotr books :blink:)


 


I think my best bet is to play through the Mirkwood cycle to expand my deck and give me a good feeling for the game.. then I can pick if I want to go Saga Route and follow the story line or a specific Deluxe expansion to expand an area I like (right now I am really liking the dwarves).


 


If you already own the mirkwood cycle then that is indeed the way to go first.


Maybe you can add & remove player cards per new pack, to get to know the new ones.


Edited by Noccus

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Awesome response, thank you so much. For some reason that ringsdb site crashes my desktop at home, but here at work it loads fine... interesting.

 

I get blue screened at home. But an amazing resource.

 

So for deck building it has me confused, is it better to build a hybrid deck and play solo? Or play solo with two different decks (players)? Or two different hybrid decks (players)? lol

 

And if I am playing with a friend, is it better to have someone full support like lore/spirit and leadership/tactics or mix and match?

Edited by FrogTrigger

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Awesome response, thank you so much. For some reason that ringsdb site crashes my desktop at home, but here at work it loads fine... interesting.

 

I get blue screened at home. But an amazing resource.

 

So for deck building it has me confused, is it better to build a hybrid deck and play solo? Or play solo with two different decks (players)? Or two different hybrid decks (players)? lol

 

And if I am playing with a friend, is it better to have someone full support like lore/spirit and leadership/tactics or mix and match?

 

My partner and I are in the early cycles, since we're playing progressively and waiting for Khazad-dum to be off the boat.

 

We first played through the Core & Mirkwood cycle with 2-1 decks, two heroes of the same sphere, and 1 of a different. She used Tactics (2) and Lore (1), and I used Spirit (2) and Leadership (1).

 

Since we're waiting for Khazad-dum, we made new decks, this time I'm using Spirit (2) and Lore (1) and she's using Tactics (2) and Leadership (1). We both are using 1 new Hero this time around.

 

I'm more powerful in questing, healing, card draw, and she's more powerful in generating resources and combat. So we split the duties in that fashion, it works out pretty well, because she only has to commit 2 Heroes to quest and has good defending/attacking allies from Tactics and Leadership.

 

I have not played solo, so I can't speak to how to build a tri-sphere deck, or anything like that.

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Thanks for the tips, might not be a bad idea for me to grab Kazad-dum while it is actually available as well..

 

So I tried my first multi sphere deck build, first question, can you put attachments from one sphere on a character of a different sphere? So can I buy a spirit attachment with spirit only resources and attach it to a leadership character? If so, I understand the hype behind multi sphere, if not then I am left a little confused.

 

If so I had an epic round of Anduin where it came into the mid 40's for threat and things were up in the air, Gimli died but I was able to buy Faramir the next round, I got lucky flipping the Hill Troll as one of my two initial flips so I had one less card right off the bat. I did the usual build the team up first and then engage with Gimli as the meat shield. He ended up dying to a shadow effect afterwards, should have healed him when I had the chance but he just hits so **** hard wounded!

 

I used Legolas, Gimli and Theoden... not in love with my Theoden choice really, I honestly feel like I could have just went full tactics instead. But my other deck was Eowyn and Denethor and the elf with 3 willpower/ 3 melee. Lets call him Elf. Elf and Eowyn stacked for 9 willpower each round with their attachments, then I ended up getting the +2 willpower attachment for Eowyn as well in phase 2. So combined they did 11, this allowed me to just blow through the travel tokens. Especially combined with Legolas and one of the daggers that gives him +1 travel token.  I also had it set up so Denethor could take a hit and then the next round I would save Elf to do 3 damage along with some allys and take out whatever needed to be taken out. This freed up my tactics and leadership side to take on the tougher mobs and keep us free of engagements. 

 

Definitely the most fun I've had and I understand now the whole 'deckbuilding' hype... assuming I did it correctly?

Edited by FrogTrigger

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Thanks for the tips, might not be a bad idea for me to grab Kazad-dum while it is actually available as well..

 

So I tried my first multi sphere deck build, first question, can you put attachments from one sphere on a character of a different sphere? So can I buy a spirit attachment with spirit only resources and attach it to a leadership character? If so, I understand the hype behind multi sphere, if not then I am left a little confused.

Unless the attachment itself says that it can only be attached to a particular type of hero or a hero with a particular trait, then you can put it on any qualifying Hero you'd like- even another player's Heroes! Edited by Kakita Shiro

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Now THAT is cool, now I really understand the importance of deck building and making sure you and your partner compliment each other. So I can even buff up say my partners Gimli with the healing attachment.

 

So if a character has two restricted attachments they can still have additional non-restricted attachments? Say a total of 3, 2 restricted 1 that isn't?

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Ok so we had another full playthrough tonight and failed on Anduin 3 times. We took a break to play Hunt for Gollum, had a lot of fun on that mission and we beat it by the skin of our teeth basically blitskrieging the last stage with 2 Gandalfs (1 per player) to get just enough.  But ya, this game is hard. I was pretty disappointed with the upgrades in HFG to.. kind of makes me not want to bother with the cycles and just buy the big boxes. 2 cycles = 1 big box in price.

 

I can't figure out if its better to just stick to one sphere with the core deck, or go multi sphere with a full support and full attack deck, or mix and match or what, nothing seemed to work tonight.

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I was pretty disappointed with the upgrades in HFG to.. kind of makes me not want to bother with the cycles and just buy the big boxes. 2 cycles = 1 big box in price.

The player cards in the early cycles were quite mixed...overall, player cards in the last couple of cycles have been a much higher quality.

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