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dalestephenson

Any interest in a solo league?

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Cross-posting from my post at BGG: 

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/29784119#29784119

I've really enjoyed the various solo Legendary leagues and have been thinking on how to do the same sort of thing for LOTR. Here's my thinking:

1) Monthly league, play three quests from the same cycle/saga.

Rationale -- this is based on the legendary mini-leagues, which do three schemes from the same expansion. This allows participation for a broader set of people, and plenty of time to complete the quests, while concluding the league in a timely fashion.

2) Players construct (or copy) a 50-card deck, and play the same deck against all three quests.

Rationale -- a fixed deck reduces setup time, since you only have to construct the deck once and then can play the entire league with it.

3) At least one of the heroes must be in the packs/boxes containing the three quests.

Rationale -- I think it's more fun for participants to pick their own heroes and construct their own decks, but having *something* in common will make decks more comparable and also prevent the same deck from being played every month.

4) For scoring, instead of straight win/loss or the official scoring rules, use part of Seastan's "Favor of the Valar" variant to replay each quest until you win. The sum of your Favor of the Valar for three quests represents your "score" for the league, with lower being better.

Here's the variant in a nutshell, ignoring the campaign component -- you start each quest with no tokens. If you lose, you get an additional token, two tokens if you lose in the first five turns. (Actually, since the tokens are used for score, take as many as you want after each loss...) For each token you have at the beginning of the quest, you choose to draw a card or give one of your heroes a resource. Eventually you'll overpower *any* quest this way, no matter how bad your deck is. (OK, unless you're running Erestor against The Road to Isengard -- don't do that). So everyone's a winner, it's just a question of how much help the Valar had to give you....

Rationale -- I don't like the official scoring system at all, and win/loss is too coarsely grained to be much use for assigning a winner. Plus, I like to play a quest until I beat it, and the steadily increasing resource/cards should accomplish that in a reasonable amount of tries.

5) In the (likely case) that there is a tie, the first tiebreaker will be the percentage of cards in the deck *not* from the cycle and a single copy of the core set. So you can use the whole card pool if you want (and if you can), but the closer you get to minimum purchase the better you'll look on the tiebreaker. Second tiebreaker is heroes from the selected saga/cycle. Third tiebreaker is heroes from the boxes containing the actual quests. Fourth tiebreaker is in favor of whoever did worse in the previous month.

6) Rewards for winning:

Immortal glory and fame forever. Aside from that:

1st place -- picks the cycle to be used for a future league.
2nd place -- picks a quest from that cycle to be used.
3rd place -- picks a quest from that cycle *not* to be used.

7) Required information

Because of the tiebreakers, participants need to provide their hero lineup, and the number of cards in their deck from the cycle or a single core. It's not required that participants publish their deck (or at least give a link to their private deck) but it'd be fine if they did. Beyond that, only the Favor of Valar score for each quest is necessary.

So does this sound appealing to anyone, and are there any changes you'd like that would make it more fun and/or interesting? If there's enough interest, I'd like to start in September with three quests randomly selected from Core/Mirkwood.

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7 minutes ago, dalestephenson said:

Cross-posting from my post at BGG: 

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/29784119#29784119

I've really enjoyed the various solo Legendary leagues and have been thinking on how to do the same sort of thing for LOTR. Here's my thinking:

1) Monthly league, play three quests from the same cycle/saga.

Rationale -- this is based on the legendary mini-leagues, which do three schemes from the same expansion. This allows participation for a broader set of people, and plenty of time to complete the quests, while concluding the league in a timely fashion.

2) Players construct (or copy) a 50-card deck, and play the same deck against all three quests.

Rationale -- a fixed deck reduces setup time, since you only have to construct the deck once and then can play the entire league with it.

3) At least one of the heroes must be in the packs/boxes containing the three quests.

Rationale -- I think it's more fun for participants to pick their own heroes and construct their own decks, but having *something* in common will make decks more comparable and also prevent the same deck from being played every month.

4) For scoring, instead of straight win/loss or the official scoring rules, use part of Seastan's "Favor of the Valar" variant to replay each quest until you win. The sum of your Favor of the Valar for three quests represents your "score" for the league, with lower being better.

Here's the variant in a nutshell, ignoring the campaign component -- you start each quest with no tokens. If you lose, you get an additional token, two tokens if you lose in the first five turns. (Actually, since the tokens are used for score, take as many as you want after each loss...) For each token you have at the beginning of the quest, you choose to draw a card or give one of your heroes a resource. Eventually you'll overpower *any* quest this way, no matter how bad your deck is. (OK, unless you're running Erestor against The Road to Isengard -- don't do that). So everyone's a winner, it's just a question of how much help the Valar had to give you....

Rationale -- I don't like the official scoring system at all, and win/loss is too coarsely grained to be much use for assigning a winner. Plus, I like to play a quest until I beat it, and the steadily increasing resource/cards should accomplish that in a reasonable amount of tries.

5) In the (likely case) that there is a tie, the first tiebreaker will be the percentage of cards in the deck *not* from the cycle and a single copy of the core set. So you can use the whole card pool if you want (and if you can), but the closer you get to minimum purchase the better you'll look on the tiebreaker. Second tiebreaker is heroes from the selected saga/cycle. Third tiebreaker is heroes from the boxes containing the actual quests. Fourth tiebreaker is in favor of whoever did worse in the previous month.

6) Rewards for winning:

Immortal glory and fame forever. Aside from that:

1st place -- picks the cycle to be used for a future league.
2nd place -- picks a quest from that cycle to be used.
3rd place -- picks a quest from that cycle *not* to be used.

7) Required information

Because of the tiebreakers, participants need to provide their hero lineup, and the number of cards in their deck from the cycle or a single core. It's not required that participants publish their deck (or at least give a link to their private deck) but it'd be fine if they did. Beyond that, only the Favor of Valar score for each quest is necessary.

So does this sound appealing to anyone, and are there any changes you'd like that would make it more fun and/or interesting? If there's enough interest, I'd like to start in September with three quests randomly selected from Core/Mirkwood.

I'm in! I'd love to have an excuse to force me to get LOTR on the table more often than I do.

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ooh! I'd like this give this a go as well. I'm always looking for an excuse to play more. :) I'm assuming normal mode for the quests (I normally play easy mode, if so I'll have to dig up those gold bordered encounter cards)?

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I probably will play it too. And I will give it a try in nightmare since there is still few deckbuilding restrictions (only one hero from one of the quest). I wait for you to tell wich quests are selected :).

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14 hours ago, dalestephenson said:

Players construct (or copy) a 50-card deck, and play the same deck against all three quests.

 

14 hours ago, dalestephenson said:

At least one of the heroes must be in the packs/boxes containing the three quests.

Rationale -- I think it's more fun for participants to pick their own heroes and construct their own decks, but having *something* in common will make decks more comparable and also prevent the same deck from being played every month.

So, you must use the same standard fifty card deck, and one hero from the cycle/box we choose; but I can choose my other two heroes?

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I need to be more clear in my descriptions.  I meant that each player constructs or copies their own 50-card deck, and plays the same deck/heroes that they chose against all three quests -- no sideboard, no changing the deck for each quest.  However, I don't want to require every player to play the same deck as each other player.

I also didn't want to designate a fixed hero, so all sphere combinations would be possible.  But at least one hero from one of the boxes would be required.  So for example, suppose the quests were from KD/Dwarrowdelf cycle, and the quests were Into the Pit, Road to Rivendell, and Shadow and Flame.  At least one of Bifur, Dwalin, Elladan or Elrond must be used.  If you used a Elrond/Bifur/Dwalin deck, you'd have the highest possible value for the second/third tiebreaker [Heroes used from cycle, Heroes used from the quests own boxes].

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This is a great idea!  I hesitate to immediately commit, I was planning on starting my long awaited campaign next week...

 

Seems well thought out and a cool idea

 

PS I actually use the official scoring system.  I like it, I use it just as a reference to see how well a particular play stacks up against my other plays and kind of pushes me to pick up the pace some as an incentive for a better score

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 The concern about the official scoring is that it usually doesn't show if a deck is good or not, or if a quest was win easily or not. It even push you to take some risk (having most chance to loose the game) in order to win points. That is why many people totally abandon it.

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My biggest complaint about the official scoring system is that it is driven primarily by the number of rounds.  I don't think winning quicker is *necessarily* better than winning slower, and I also dislike having to count the number of rounds played.  I think the true measure of a deck's quality against a given quest is its win/loss record, though in practice it's unlikely a particular deck will be used often enough against a particular quest to determine whether a deck is statistically more likely to win or lose the quest, let alone establish the true winning percentage.

I'll grant that using cumulative Favor of the Valar doesn't establish true winning percentage either -- but it does attempt to answer a question that the official scoring method doesn't even attempt.  Instead of trying to evaluate how well/badly you have done when you win, it's a quick and dirty way to see how much help your deck needs in order to win at all.  But it's quite possible the league will have plenty of decks that beat each quest on the first try and it will come down to tiebreakers.

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I would be up for it (as for other people, it would be a good nudge to get the game on the table) - but it would require someone to gift me most of the cards. I only have a single core and Mirkwood.

And being an honest chap, I won't play on OCTGN/TTS with cards I don't have.

I will be interested to see the results, tho'. I may even play along with early quests if I get the chance.

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Can I propose an alternate tiebreaker? If you lose, you don't have to take a Grace of the Valar token. Maybe your deck is good enough to beat the quest but you just had some bad luck. So the scoring is the number of tokens you ended up actually taking but the tiebreaker is the number of actual attempts it took.

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6 hours ago, Network57 said:

Can I propose an alternate tiebreaker? If you lose, you don't have to take a Grace of the Valar token. Maybe your deck is good enough to beat the quest but you just had some bad luck. So the scoring is the number of tokens you ended up actually taking but the tiebreaker is the number of actual attempts it took.

It sounds like a nice idea, but I suspect that would actually have the effect of making the Grace of the Valar tokens irrelevant.

Under these proposed rules, whenever you lose a quest, you have to make a choice: Do I take the token, or not? If you think there's any chance that your deck can beat the quest as-is, you should always forego the token--because if you can get to the end with zero tokens (no matter how many tries it took!) you'll always beat out someone who took any tokens at all.

At worst, this could advantage someone with a mediocre deck but more time on their hands over someone with a fairly consistent deck but less free time to wait for a perfect score. In practice, I think it just reduces the tournament down to "number of retries" and effectively removes the Grace of the Valar stuff from the game altogether.

Slightly more interesting might be to allow you to forego spending your GotV tokens, and use "number of tokens spent" as the tiebreaker. You'd have to track two separate numbers, but at least it creates an interesting decision around "do I think spending this token now will be the difference between me winning versus losing this game"?

But honestly I prefer the simplicity of the rules-as-written. It reduces the amount of time investment required to participate and keeps the focus on the individual games of LotR rather than the meta-game that surrounds them.

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I haven't thought of that. I imagine it as a tiebreaker who come after the "number of game you lose", even if valor grace was supposed to represent that. Could be to complicated for a small gain.

No matter the tiebreaker I will play. And I think it will be better not to wait too long before starting. Now people are set up to the league, later you will have to raise some motivation again ;).

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Reducing the time investment is important to more casual participants, as is a simple rule structure.  Honestly, I'm worried that even with the Grace of the Valar enough retries will be needed to make the time requirement difficult -- in the Legendary Leagues it's one play and you're done.  I thought of a possible optimization -- start at whatever Grace of the Valar count you want, if you lose keep increasing by any amount until you win, if you win keep decreasing by any amount until you lose.  But that may be a little confusing, and the question of what level to start at wouldn't be obvious, especially for casual players.

The first month is supposed to be September, but as long as the deadlines are in September there's likely no issue with getting started earlier.  But first I'd like to iron out the best way to report results.  Should I post a thread here and also at BGG, and results should be posted to either thread, or create a google doc for people to enter their information?  Or is there some other option that would be more useful and practical?

What I'd love to do, but don't have the time/expertise/domain to do, is to create something like the excellent legendaryleagues.com created by Jason Walker.  This wouldn't just automate the reporting process for a monthly league, it would allow others to start leagues or post challenges.  In a perfect world it would also link to ringsdb and could report any result for any quest with any deck, turning it into a community resource instead of just helping run a casual league.

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