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tripecac

Nightmare Packs - Collecting vs Playing

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I love collecting.  Games.  CDs.  Books.  Expansion Packs.  Deluxe Editions.  I'm a sucker for that stuff!  With LotR LCG I've bought all the cards except Rhovanion and the Nightmare Packs.  I'll of course get Rhovanion with my next bulk purchase, but what I'm wondering about are the Nightmare Packs.

I'm still pretty much a "newbie" to gameplay (haven't finished Khazad Dum yet) and have managed to ignore the Nightmare Packs for the past few years (due to their alleged difficulty), but recently I read a blog post which said that some of the Nightmare Decks add a significant amount of "theme", and others make quests more "fun".

So I am wondering: does anyone collect Nightmare Packs just to have them before they go out of print (like MECCG did), and perhaps to look at the cards, and maybe even play a couple of the easier ones (e.g., Journey Down the Anduin)? 

Or are the Nightmare Packs primarily for playing (specifically, making older quests harder to compensate for the expanding player card pool) rather than collection, perhaps due to the low number of cards included, the small size of the box, and the lack of "displayable" player cards?

 

 

Edited by tripecac

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I certainly buy them well in advance of actually playing them and will buy them for a quest I already think is hard enough or is not a quest I enjoy just for completions sake. I have all nightmare packs except the most recent three but I have only played up to I think Nightmare Lost Realm if I am remembering correctly. I definitely do play them on occasion though and like to do reviews of them for my blog as well.

I would be somewhat hesitant to buy them purely for collections sake but so long as you plan to EVENTUALLY give them a go I don't see the harm in picking some up in advance (unless you can't afford to do so in which case obviously don't!). Also the art on the majority of Nightmare Cards is simply amazing, often better than the art on the original encounter cards. 

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The idea of collecting a large body cards with no intent to play them is a bit strange to me; they're certainly designed to be played with and not merely to be displayed. That being said, a lot of my favorite encounter card art is found on Nightmare cards, so if that's the sort of thing you're into, you might still find them valuable.

I, for one, really enjoy playing Nightmare mode. In many cases (though certainly not all) I feel like the name "Nightmare" is a bit misleading--these quests are certainly harder than the originals, but many of them end up on a similar difficulty level to the print-on-demand GenCon quests. (There are, of course, several incredibly tough Nightmare quests as well as a handful that are significantly more "normal" in difficulty, but we're talking generalities here). I usually play Nightmare mode when it's available to me, since I find the extra time the designers spent on the quest often make it better than the original along some axis.

But I'm not sure I would necessarily jump straight to Nightmare if you're still working your way through the Dwarrowdelf cycle. There's so much more game for you to explore yet, and if you get bored before reaching the end (by some strange twist of fate!) then your investment in Nightmare may never pay off.

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Since Nightmare is Print on Demand I'm not really worried about them going out of print.  I also haven't felt any strong desire to make LOTR harder!  However, in a few cases the nightmare quests make structural improvements as well as raising the difficulty, so I can't rule out picking them up at some point.  And there are ways to make it easier, I think.

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What is the most economical way to collect all of the Nightmare Packs released so far?

(Note: I live in New Zealand, so would rather avoid having packs shipped to be individually)

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I tend to do more collecting than playing for any game, even for this game which I've played the most and has been my favorite for years. I'm one of those weird ones who owns every nightmare pack to date, I get them the moment they're available, but I have yet to play any of them (I like to have a complete collection). I'm still playing Easy mode because I'm a scrub. :P I do intend to use them at some point, someday... :PNightmare decks do have some of the best art in the game, so there's that haha

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59 minutes ago, tripecac said:

Okay, it sounds like I am not the only compulsive collector! :)

Out of curiosity, how far have you gotten in the game?  And are you going progression style?

I don't do progressive style, I like to have all options available. ;) I bought all these cards so might as well use them. ;) I don't play as much as I would like, but it's random of what I will play. Currently the only cycles I've completed are Mirkwood and Khazad. The rest I've dabbled in, mainly the first few quests. I haven't even touched Dream-chaser deluxe/AP or the Sagas beyond the first box. Only played the first quest of Harad and so on and so forth. So I've got a lot left to tackle haha. but... I. Must. Collect. Them. All!

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I know that feeling.

I still have lots of unopened MECCG decks (only played that game once but kept on collecting until ICE lost the license), MERP modules (collected tons of them, but never played it), Middle Earth Quest game books, calendars, History of Middle Earth series (only read about 3 of them) , and TONS of making-of books for the movies, some of which are still shrinkwrapped.   It's impossible to keep with it all! 

And now Shadow of War is clamouring for me to start playing it, but I'm gonna tell it to wait until it it gets its mid-July update which (I presume) nerfs the later part of the campaign.  And then there's LOTRO constantly wailing for attention in the corner.  So much content I haven't even seen yet!!!

It certainly is an exciting, expensive, and exhausting time to be a Tolkien fan!

 

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So far i have managed to see the nightmare packs as extras - i have not bought every cycle pack yet which may be why i can, but i still have a lot of boxes. I have 9 nightmare packs, the trigger is a combination of really really liking the quest or finding it easier than average and so want to experience it with some tweaks. I play solo one deck and most quests are hard anyway - i do not try to build a perfect deck either.  Some nightmare quest are really useful to toughen things up though such as Mirkwood, Redhorn Gate, Mount Gram, Seventh level, Temple of the Deceived.

If i had a bigger budget and Kickstarter did not offer alternative games to tempt me, then i may have invested more. I do have a long term goal of owning all the non nightmare content, but even that is also some way off yet. I have now got all the deluxe boxes, but the Numenor cycle packs are missing, the last 2 cycle packs from Lost Realms, 4 from Grey Havens and 4 from Sands. I am still playing catch up really.

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I used to buy the nightmare packs; so far, i got the core set's and the first cycle's.

My plan was to play every scenario in release order until i win ( usually took me between 1 to 3 tries ) and then, restart the scenario to nightmare difficulty until i win again. Rinse and repeat for next scenario. I had a lot of fun playing nightmare, especially the "The Dead Marshes" scenario which was amazingly challenging, tested my wits and i won by a thread. I felt like i've accomplished something great, tracking Gollum in the treacherous wilds. I felt like a great LotR LCG player.

That remained true until i took in perspective the amount of unwrapped content i still have to play for that game, which was everything from Khazad-Dum to up until now. With all the other games i have to play, i'll never make it through all this content at this pace, especially since i could restart a nightmare scenario 3, 4 or 5 times before pulling a win.

As mostly a gamer than a collector (though i enjoy collecting up to a certain point), i decided to stop buying nightmare packs (at least for now) and focus on main content and stand alone scenarios. There is plenty of gaming there to keep you busy for a looooong time. Don't forget saga expansions too who makes you relive the books. You can play it "campaign mode".

The game is still fun without nightmare packs. To put it simply, they're mostly nerfing all the possible strategies allowing you to pull and easy to medium effort win. You have to go through some serious deck building to be able to shout victory in the end, learn the synergies between certain cards. I've suffered several frustrating loses which made me feel mentally drained (of playing and deck tuning), lose confidence in my ability to play properly, so i had to browse my pool of existing cards and figure out the key element that was missing in my decks. Since i'm not much of a deck builder myself, i'd rather make minor modifications, play and enjoy the game. So the aspect of heavy deck rebuilding was less appealing to me and torpedoed my enjoyment of the game. If this is your cup of tea, you might enjoy this more than me!

That said, i'd recommend buying the core set nightmare packs first, try your luck and see if you feel up to the task. I found some of them to be beyond masochistic. This was a tough journey to Rhosgobel, let me tell ya.

I have to admit though, nightmare cards are nice to collect. The art is dark (less for kids), some effects are nasty which can foil and excellent turn, but with experience turns you into an excellent player. Still, those treacheries - a few were beyond maddening. I found it unfair, almost like the game was cheating. Eleanor, you saved me more times than i care to count.

Edited by Shirys

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Time is definitely a factor for me as well.  And playing with Nightmare Packs would definitely slow down my already glacial pace through the game. So I don't think I would actually play them for a LONG time. 

When you were buying the Nightmare packs, were they fun to collect?  Did the fun factor of collecting decrease once you got familiar with what the Nightmare Packs did to the game (and your progress through the series)?

Where are you in the quests now?  And do you play with the cards or OCTGN?

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26 minutes ago, tripecac said:

When you were buying the Nightmare packs, were they fun to collect?  Did the fun factor of collecting decrease once you got familiar with what the Nightmare Packs did to the game (and your progress through the series)?

To be honest, i really enjoyed buying the nightmare packs since they're completely new cards (not more difficult versions of already existing ones) and i felt like i was really serious into one of my favourite games. Also, i'm a sucker for LotR artwork. I felt excited when i bought a full cycle of nightmare packs, telling myself i knew what i would do the evening after i receive it in the mail. I browsed through the cards, studied them, enjoyed the art and said out loud: "oh this card is nasty" and tried to figure out in advance ways to counter it.

The fun factor remained even after i played a nightmare mode scenario several times. Mine decreased mostly because it slowed down my progress through the series to a crawl and caused me to doubt my ability to play the game efficiently.

In the past, i was at Heirs of Numenor and got utterly crushed by most scenarios. I found that the difficulty ramps up a bit once you get there. My main mistake though was that i played with half random decks with no real synergy, i got frustrated and took a break of the game. I came back to it some time later when i learned about the Grey Havens and Lost Realm expansions, learned how to build better decks and i rediscovered the game, now enjoying it a lot more. So far, i'm at the Dwarrowdelf cycle, currently playing "The Redhorn Gate".  It's like a completely new pack even if i played it some time before!

Perhaps what i would do is if i find a scenario particularly fun or too easy, i might get the nightmare pack and try my luck, but only once or twice and not block myself from moving forward if i can't make it through.

Edited by Shirys

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26 minutes ago, tripecac said:

And do you play with the cards or OCTGN?

I play with the real cards.

Tried OCTGN some time ago but the feeling wasn't the same for me. I felt like playing a video game.

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On 6/19/2018 at 11:23 PM, Authraw said:

The idea of collecting a large body cards with no intent to play them is a bit strange to me; they're certainly designed to be played with and not merely to be displayed.

"... looks at shelf full of unwrapped LotR boxes, dies a little bit inside... "

Edited by Shirys

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On 6/20/2018 at 2:04 PM, dalestephenson said:

Since Nightmare is Print on Demand I'm not really worried about them going out of print.

Print on demand unfortunately doesn't mean that 1 customer has demand and they print it. Print-on-demand means that if there's enough demand, they are gonna print it (printer needs to be calibrated, the color palette set, the cards cut and so on). Something bad happened here with the Call of Cthulhu LCG: on the death of the game, they announced that all the packs will be made avaialbe as PoD so that people could keep on playing the game / collecting what they were missing, and at the moment we've got ZERO packs released as PoD, and people asking about them got non-positive answers.

So, I won't be so sure PoD packs will be available once the game's gone.

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The first quests' Nightmare Packs were released individually (Passage through Mirkwood, Journey Down the Anduin, etc.).  However, after the first cycle, FFG started grouping all of the quests in each Deluxe Expansion together (e.g., Khazad Dum Nightmare Pack).  The adventure packs in each cycle still get individual Nightmare Parks.

Have there been any rumours of FFG planning to re-release Nightmare Packs in larger collections?  For example, a single Nightmare Pack for Khazad Dum + Dwarrowdelf? It certainly would be easier to collect that way, and much more affordable in terms of international shipping!

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I don't see any reason they will do that. It won't be more affordable since you can already order all of them in the website to save shipping. If some are unavailable that only because FFG don't print enough, not because of how they are packed. Since you don't need the deluxe nightmare to play the following AP nightmare you can order what is available and come back later to get the rest. Less convenient to you but more convenient for FFG who only print what they sell.

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