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tripecac

Official LotR LCG News and Documentation - Organising and normalising

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I enjoy reading the official news articles (e.g., "The Road Ahead"), but would really love to see them all organised chronologically, and by category.  Right now I've only been able to find them listed in reverse chronological order, all jumbled together.

1) For example, is there an easy way to view all "Second Breakfast" articles, in order of publication? 

2) And is there a way to see all announcements and articles about specific cycles (e.g., Khazad Dum/Dwarrowdelf) grouped together?  It would be awesome to be able to see *all* of the official news and documentation about a specific cycle (or even adventure pack), so that newer players can read it before tackling that cycle.  Those FFG articles provide some great flavour and meta-information which is otherwise lost to newcomers unwilling to dig back through the archives.

3) Also, why are the older articles in a tiny font, with a dark background?  Those are really hard to read compared to recent ones.  Has anyone made an attempt to "normalise" those older articles, giving them the same readability as the newer ones?
 

Has anyone already done this, creating a site or PDF which combines the official articles, making them easier to read for newcomers (or old-timers who want to immerse themselves in a particular cycle again)?

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Just admit, the Second Breakfast articles had completely passed me by! They look like something I'd enjoy reading, though, so I've compiled all the ones I could find here. Doesn't look like they've done any for about two years, unless they stopped calling them 'Second Breakfast' (I simply went back through the news pages and searched for the term on every page).

 

1. Second Breakfast (19th March 2013)

2. Second Breakfast: Second Helpings (12th April 2013)

3. Second Breakfast: With the Men of Gondor (7th May 2013)

4. Second Breakfast: A More Leisurely Breakfast (3rd June 2013)

5. Second Breakfast: A Quick Bite Before the Darkness Gathers (12th June 2013)

6. Second Breakfast: At the Stone of Erech (27th August 2013)

7. Second Breakfast: Forth into the Vale of Isen (14th February 2014)

8. Second Breakfast: Cirion's Promise (20th March 2014)

9. Second Breakfast: All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter (8th April 2014)

10. Second Breakfast: The Woodland Realms Unite - Part One (11th December 2014)

11. Second Breakfast: The Woodland Realms Unite - Part Two (17th December 2014)

12. Second Breakfast: At the Edge of Angmar (24th June 2015)

13. Second Breakfast: Prison Food (21st July 2015)

14. Second Breakfast: In the Ettenmoors (12th August 2015)

15. Second Breakfast: Gone Bad (16th September 2015)

16. Second Breakfast: In the Heart of Angmar (19th October 2015)

17. Second Breakfast: Dinner in the Dungeon (24th November 2015)

18. Second Breakfast: Denethor and Sons (20th June 2016)

Edited by willbrooks1989

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That's awesome!  Thanks for doing that!

Now if we could just have all the news (and perhaps rulesets) arranged by cycle, but that is a much bigger task, and it would be hard to display all that information comfortably on the forum.  

I could create a site which arranges all this information for us. 

For an initial version, it could simply provide an organised set of links to the FFG articles (and PDFs).  However, that doesn't fix the formatting issues of the older articles, and it wouldn't provide a nice back/next navigation through those articles.

I could put the articles in an iframe, with the navigation outside of the iframe.  The navigation would change the top-level URL (rather than using JavaScript), so that each top-level URL will have one article's content within its iframe.  This makes it easier to keep track of your progress through the documentation when you close the browser.

Of course, the most user-friendly approach would be to create a [PHP-based] "wrapper" site which reformats each FFG article on the fly, fixing the formatting problems, forcing links to open in new tabs, and adding "prev" and "next" links which progress you through the particular cycle (e.g., Khazad Dum) or category (e.g., Second Breakfast) you are viewing.

It would not be hard to write such a site; it would just take time.  However, I wouldn't want to even start on it if there is a likelihood that FFG will get mad at the scraping/reformatting of their content.

Thoughts?

Edited by tripecac

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Basically, there would be 3 parts: an article scanner, an article lister, and an article viewer.

1) ARTICLE SCANNER

This would run periodically (or on-demand whenever the main page is loaded) and would read the list of LotR articles from the latest news page:

https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/tag/the-lord-of-the-rings-the-card-game/

It would then progress through the older pages:

https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/tag/the-lord-of-the-rings-the-card-game/?page=2
https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/tag/the-lord-of-the-rings-the-card-game/?page=3

and so on, until it finds an article that is already in the database, at which point it stops.

Then, for each "new" article that it found on the FFG news page(s0, it would create a database entry for that article, with the most important information being the URL of the article. 

It would then parse the article title and date from the article's page.  It could also try to pick a category by by looking for keywords (e.g., "Second Breakfast") but since that might be error-prone we could skip that initially. 
 

2) ARTICLE LISTER

This would display all the articles in a category (or in a cycle).  Obviously, for this to work, we'd need to record in the database each article's category and cycle.  To get something like this up and running quickly, the category and cycle assignments could be manual , with all recently scanned articles classified as "uncategorised".

The lister is the "designy" part.  It would need to group articles consistently, cleanly, and attractively.  It would be great if each cycle's list of articles could have as a background some art from the cycle itself.

 

3) ARTICLE VIEWER

When you click on an article within the LISTER, you'd be taken to a page which provides a special view of the page.  Basically, it would read in the article's URL from the FFG site and then "fix" it by doing the following:

- remove the FFG site's header/footer
- change any relative links to absolute links
- open some or all links in new tabs
- remove FFG's prev/next navigation
- add prev/next navigation based on the order of articles in the LISTER

To the end user, it would look like they are viewing a neatly organised copy of the FFG articles.  In reality, it would not be a copy, since all FFG articles would be processed in real time.

If speed is a big issue, then maybe the site could cache the processed (fixed) HTML, but FFG might frown on that bit the most, since it means the actual article content would exist in this site's database, so that's probably not a good idea, at least initially.

 

What do you think?

 

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2 hours ago, tripecac said:

Thanks!  That page is a bit ugly (since it's limited to the BGG format) but it is a nice starting point.

Is there any interest in a nicely formatted article index?  Or am I the only one?

I am, for sure :D

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I think it will be a fun project.  I just need a block of time to work on it. 

For the navigation (the index of articles), which structure do you think would work better:

a) show the article list in left (or right) nav on each article page -- like on a blog

b) have a separate article list page, and then minimal navigation on each article page (e.g., back/prev/next/up) -- like on a forum

 

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FYI, I've spent a couple hours working on a site.  Mostly it's been proof of concepts (e.g., scraping html from HTTPS, extracting the article portion of a page, etc.)

The hardest part is deciding how to organise the navigation.  This is because there are multiple hierarchies to consider.

The first is By Release, which is more or less chronological.  So, Core Set first, then Mirkwood Cycle, etc.  This works fine until we get to the Saga Expansions, because then we have two branches: one for Sagas and one for non-Saga material.  If someone is trying to follow a strictly "progression style" fashion (for both opening packs and reading documentation), then it's unclear what the correct "progression" order is once the Sagas got started. 

The second dimension is By Article Type.  I haven't read all the articles yet (or else there would be little motivation for this project), so I can only assume that the types of articles are along the lines of: announcements, spoilers (which act as trailers), strategies, dev diaries, roadmaps, etc.  It seems like it would be useful to group those articles as well, independently of the By Release ordering.  Or maybe not.  I just don't know!

Any suggestions?

How would you like to see the articles organised?

 

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For chronological sorting, this is how I would do it:

Core, Shadows of Mirkwood, Massing at Osgiliath

Khazad-dum, Dwarrowdelf, Hobbit sagas, Battle of Lake-Town

Heirs of Numenor, Against the Shadow, Stone of Erech, Black Riders

Voice of Isengard, Ringmaker,

Barrow-downs/Old Forest, Road Darkens, Treason of Saruman

Lost Realm, Amgmar Awakened, Prancing Pony/Ruins of Belegost, Land of Shadow

Grey Havens, Dreamchaser, Siege of Annuminas, Flame of the West

Sands of Harad, Haradrim, Attack on Dol Guldur, Mountain of Fire

Wilds of Rhovanion, Ered Mithrin, Wizards's Quest/Woodland Realm.

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So you would split up the LotR saga, interleaving it with the other expansions based on date of release?

Is that mostly to stick with a more truly chronological ordering?  Or do you think certain scenarios in the LotR saga be either too easy or too hard (or lack certain thematic cards) when playing "progression style", considering the player cards made available by the other packs released concurrently with the saga?

For example, would the following orderings be unbalanced (or lack thematic cards) when playing progression style:

OPTION A:  (too hard?)

  [...]
  Celebrimbor's Secret [MEC30]
  Antlered Crown [MEC31]
  Black Riders [MEC32]                 <-- saga packs start when first one was released
  Road Darkens [MEC34]
  Treason of Saruman [MEC45]
  Land of Shadow [MEC46]
  Flame of the West [MEC54]
  Mountain of Fire [MEC62]

  Stone of Erech [MEC33]                <-- non-saga packs resume here
  Battle for Lake Town [MEC35]           
  [...]


OPTION B:  (too easy?)

  [...]
  Celebrimbor's Secret [MEC30]
  Antlered Crown [MEC31]
  Stone of Erech [MEC33]                        
  [...non-saga-packs here...]
  Crossings of Poros [MEC61]
  Black Riders [MEC32]                    <-- saga packs start when last one was released
  Road Darkens [MEC34]
  Treason of Saruman [MEC45]
  Land of Shadow [MEC46]
  Flame of the West [MEC54]
  Mountain of Fire [MEC62]

  Ruins of Belegost [MEC63]              <-- non-saga packs resume here
  Prancing Poncy [MEC64]
  [...]

(NOTE: I'm assuming that the MEC## codes indicate order of release.)

I guess another question would be how to group the Standalone packs.  They, like the sagas, are somewhat independent of the main timeline.

Do you think the Standalone packs also become too easy or hard if they are played out of sequence with the main scenario progression?

For example, would Massing at Osgiliath [MEC15] be too easy if playing with all cards released through today? 

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I'm going through and playing progression style, and that's the way I'm going to do it. I just didn't want to have to stop midway through a cycle to play a wayward saga expansion. It's as close to exact chronological order while still maintaining cycle continuity. You could make the argument that saga continuity is more important, though.

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When it comes to documentation, would you prefer all the saga articles in a separate section, or would you prefer them to be interleaved with the other packs in order of release (perhaps with cycles kept contiguous)?

Also, I am curious: how far along are you in the progression series?  And do you think as you add more player cards to your pool, the earlier scenarios get easier and easier?  Or are the newer cards more beneficial to newer scenarios than to older ones?

(Despite owning all the cards, I've only actually played through the Mirkwood cycle and a couple quests in Khazad Dum, so I feel like I am very far behind everyone else and am very appreciative of more experienced perspective!)

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I don't have a particular preference.

I'm just up to Foundations of Stone, so we're in the same boat! The Hobbit sagas are on my desk waiting until after Shadow and Flame restocks. I'm trying to get caught up with the community. The previous scenarios definitely become easier with cards from later expansions.

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The best will obviously to have a dynamic list: being able to select what option you want (every article? Only a category? Only saga? No Saga? nightmare or not?), but this mean you will have to make a Data Base and make more complicated query on your pages.

If you can't the best things to me is to keep the chronological order. To me putting Saga or POD on the end or the beginning don't make any sense. I have made a list with only postponing after a cycle what come in the middle and it look like this (in french, but you will see and understand it anyway):


Boite de base:

Cycle 1: Les Ombres de la Forêt Noire:
Scénario 1: A la poursuite de Gollum
Scénario 2: Conflit au Carrock
Scénario 3: Voyage à Rhosghobel
Scénario 4: Les collines d'Emyn Mull
Scénario 5: Le marais des morts
Scénario 6: Retour à la forêt Noire

GenCon 2011: Rassemblement à Osgiliath

Extension Deluxe Khazad-Dûm:

Cycle 2: Royaume de Cavenain:
Scénario 1: La porte de Rubicorne
Scénario 2: La route vers Fondcombe
Scénario 3: Le guetteur de l'eau
Scénario 4: La longue obscurité
Scénario 5: Fondations de Pierre
Scénario 6: l'Ombre et la flamme

Extension de Saga le Hobbit - Par Monts et par Souterrains

Extension Deluxe Héritiers de Numénor:

GenCon 2012: La bataille de lacville

Extension de Saga le Hobbit - Au Seuil de la Porte

Cycle 3: Face à l'Ombre:
Scénario 1: Les craintes de l'Intendant
Scénario 2: La Forêt de Drúadan
Scénario 3: Rencontre à Amon Dîn
Scénario 4: Assaut sur Osgiliath
Scénario 5: Le Sang du Gondor
Scénario 6: La Vallée de Morgul

Cauchemar de la Boite de base

Cauchemar du Cycle 1: Les Ombres de la Forêt Noire:
Scénario 1: A la poursuite de Gollum | Cauchemar
Scénario 2: Conflit au Carrock | Cauchemar
Scénario 3: Voyage à Rhosghobel | Cauchemar
Scénario 4: Les collines d'Emyn Mull | Cauchemar
Scénario 5: Le marais des morts | Cauchemar
Scénario 6: Retour à la forêt Noire | Cauchemar


GenCon 2013: La pierre d'Erech

Extension Deluxe L'appel d'Isengard :

Extension de Saga le Seigneur des Anneaux - Les Cavaliers Noirs

cauchemar Extension de Saga le Hobbit - Par Monts et par Souterrains

Cycle 4: Le Créateur d'Anneaux:
Scénario 1: Piégé au pays de Dun
Scénario 2: Les trois épreuves
Scénario 3: Panique à Tharbard
Scénario 4: Les nin-in-eilph
Scénario 5: Le secret de Celimbribor
Scénario 6: La couronne d'andouiller

cauchemar Extension de Saga le Hobbit - Au Seuil de la Porte

Extension de Saga le Seigneur des Anneaux - La route s'assombrit:

Événement mondial "Fellowship of the Rings" 2014 : brouillard sur les hauts de galgals

Cauchemar Extension Deluxe Khazad-Dûm:

Cauchemar Cycle 2: Royaume de Cavenain:
Scénario 1: La porte de Rubicorne | Cauchemar
Scénario 2: La route vers Fondcombe | Cauchemar
Scénario 3: Le guetteur de l'eau | Cauchemar
Scénario 4: La longue obscurité | Cauchemar
Scénario 5: Fondations de Pierre | Cauchemar
Scénario 6: l'Ombre et la flamme | Cauchemar


GenCon 2014: La vieille forêt

Extension Deluxe Le Royaume Perdu :

Extension de Saga le Seigneur des Anneaux - La Trahison de Saroumane:

Cycle 5: Le réveil d'Angmar:
Scénario 1 : Les Désolations d'Eriador
Scénario 2 : Fuite du Mont Gram
Scénario 3: La Traversée des Landes d’Etten
Scénario 4: La Perfidie du Rhudaur
Scénario 5: La Bataille de Carn Dûm
Scénario 6: Le Royaume de l'Effroi

cauchemar Extension de Saga le Seigneur des Anneaux - Les Cavaliers Noirs

GenCon 2015: Les ruines de Belegost

Cauchemar Extension deluxe les héritiers de numenor

Cauchemar Cycle 3: Face à l'Ombre:
Scénario 1: Les craintes de l'Intendant | Cauchemar
Scénario 2: La Forêt de Drúadan | Cauchemar
Scénario 3: Rencontre à Amon Dîn | Cauchemar
Scénario 4: Assaut sur Osgiliath | Cauchemar
Scénario 5: Le Sang du Gondor | Cauchemar
Scénario 6: La Vallée de Morgul | Cauchemar


Extension de Saga le Seigneur des Anneaux - La Terre de l’Ombre:

Extension Deluxe Les Havres Gris

Événement mondial "Fellowship of the Rings" 2015: Meurtre au Poney Fringant

Cauchemar Extension de Saga le Seigneur des Anneaux - La route s'assombrit:

Cauchemar Extension Deluxe L'appel d'Isengard :

Cauchemar Cycle 4: Le Créateur d'Anneaux:
Scénario 1: Piégé au pays de Dun | Cauchemar
Scénario 2: Les trois épreuves | Cauchemar
Scénario 3: Panique à Tharbard | Cauchemar
Scénario 4: Les nin-in-eilph | Cauchemar
Scénario 5: Le secret de Celimbribor | Cauchemar
Scénario 6: La couronne d'andouiller | Cauchemar


Cycle 6: Le Chasse-rêve:
Scénario 1: La Fuite de La Tourmente |
Scénario 2: La Chose des Profondeurs |
Scénario 3: Temple des Dupes |
Scénario 4: Les Ruines Immergées |
Scénario 5: Tempéte sur le Havre de Cobas |
Scénario 6: La Cité des Corsaires |

GenCon & Fellowship 2016: Le siège d'Annuminas

Cauchemar Extension Deluxe Le Royaume Perdu

Cauchemar Cycle 5: Le réveil d'Angmar:
Scénario 1 : Les Désolations d'Eriador | Cauchemar
Scénario 2 : Fuite du Mont Gram | cauchemar
Scénario 3: La Traversée des Landes d’Etten | Cauchemar
Scénario 4: La Perfidie du Rhudaur | cauchemar
Scénario 5: La Bataille de Carn Dûm | cauchemar
Scénario 6: Le Royaume de l'Effroi | cauchemar


Cauchemar Extension de Saga le Seigneur des Anneaux - La Trahison de Saroumane:

Extension de Saga le Seigneur des Anneaux - La Flamme de l’Ouest:

Extension Deluxe Les sables D'Harad :

Cycle 7: Les Haradrim
Scénario 1: Les Mûmakil
Scénario 2: Course en Harad
Scénario 3: Sous les Sables
Scénario 4: Le Serpent Noir
Scénario 5: Les Cachots de Cirith Gurat
Scénario 6: Les Gués du Poros

Juin 2017: Cauchemar Extension Deluxe Les havres gris

Juillet 2017: GenCon & Fellowship 2016: Attaque sur Dol Guldur

Octobre 2017: Extension de Saga La montagne de feu

Septembre 2017 à 2017: Cauchemar Cycle 6: Le Chasse-rêve:
Scénario 1: La Fuite de La Tourmente | Cauchemar
Scénario 2: La Chose des Profondeurs | Cauchemar
Scénario 3: Temple des Dupes | Cauchemar
Scénario 4: Les Ruines Immergées | Cauchemar
Scénario 5: Tempête sur le Havre de Cobas | Cauchemar
Scénario 6: La Cité des Corsaires | Cauchemar

 

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I was intending on doing a database anyway.  What helps is knowing the sort of categorisation that would work most naturally.

It sounds like we have a couple "easy" orderings:

1) by release date (which I assume is consistent in the MEC number)
2) alphabetical

There's also a "timeline" ordering which means chronological within the game world.  Certainly the Hobbit saga would come before the LotR saga, but aside from that I really don't know how the ordering would work.  I'd have to get really familiar with each scenario.  For example, does Murder at the Prancing Pony happen before or after the Lord of the Rings?  And what about the missions in areas not even covered in the book?  

Aside from ordering, there's also categories, which could be accomplished by tags.  A "Standalone" tag is pretty easy to conceptualise.  As is "Second Breakfast". And then there's "Deluxe Expansion", "Cycle", "Dev Diary", etc.   Obviously, each article could have more than 1 tag.

Then we have cycle-based grouping.  For example, it would be nice to give articles about The Long Dark a "Dwarrowdelf" tag.  But then what about Khazad Dum articles?  Should they also get a "Dwarrowdelf" tag, even though they are not really part of that cycle?

And even if we find a clean way to assign cycle tags to articles, we'd need to find a way to display the cycle tags themselves in a specific order.  So , there's a bit to think about there. 
 

Thanks for the list of articles. 

I am curious: do articles tend to be about one expansion at a time?  Or do they sometimes talk about multiple releases at once?

 

(I think perhaps my next task is to actually read a bunch of articles so that I can more familiar with the scope and taggability of each article).

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WTF?! Guys?!? What are you doing here??

I am curious and looking for the outcome!!! Could be a bit of an overkill, but definitely great effort and sounds good. :)

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7 hours ago, tripecac said:

which I assume is consistent in the MEC number

Some standalone scenarios are off.

There was a thread a while back discussing timeline, but it's fairly outdated. It shouldn't be too hard to plunk in the newer cycles to the timeline.

Sometimes they announce the cycle, the Gen Con/Fellowship quest at the same time, and once or twice they announced the saga expansions line before previewing the first one.

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There was a giant campaign along all the scenario several years ago. You can found the timeline of each adventure inside. This will be easy to add the newest cycle since we are the same group that continue their journey since cycle 5 (at least). The POD usually represent a documented part of the history of the middle earth so it is easy to find the date. For the most recent we have Siege of Annuminas who was way before the hobbit, it is the oldest scenario we have, Attack on Dol Guldur that happen only a few days/week after Mount Doom. But I have no idea about Ruins of Belegost.

For the deluxe the most important is to have consistency. Either each Deluxe (and the core set) is part of the following cycle or none is. My advice would be to count them as part of the cycle.

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Okay, so it sounds like we need multiple orderings defined for the scenarios.  That shouldn't be a problem.

What I'm wondering now is this:

Do articles tend to be about one expansion at a time?  Or do they sometimes talk about multiple releases at once?

 

 

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