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Wandalf the Gizzard

Thoughts on the Limited Edition Starter

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Just a place for ramblings about the new pre-order. If you don't have yours yet, be warned: here be spoilers. ;)

First, the rule book was done extremely well, unmuddling the mess that was the original. The components are of course standard FFG fare (premium quality). There were some questionable inclusions in the two player decks, but they are still a vast improvement on the four from the core set. The playmat is pretty much the same as the one from last year's Fellowship event.

And know a question or two to you:

What do you plan to do with the two-player starter decks? Keep them together as an introductory game for new players? Just use them to upgrade your collection with alt-art and boost it with more staples?

And more importantly: The beautiful black box the set comes in has a carry handle. Does that mean it's meant to fit an organizer and be used as a carry case? I don't know . . . maybe like this? :  https://www.thebrokentoken.com/standard-sized-card-organizer-for-wooden-artist-case/

That organizer seems a little long, though. What do you guys think would work? There's got to be a reason for that handle!

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...and you might just get here before my preorder does.

It's the 28th here in NZ, but Steam doesn't list the game as available yet.  Maybe tomorrow? 

Is there any way to access the digital version while waiting for the box to arrive?

And once it does finally arrive, how does the code activation work?

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6 hours ago, tripecac said:

...and you might just get here before my preorder does.

It's the 28th here in NZ, but Steam doesn't list the game as available yet.  Maybe tomorrow? 

Is there any way to access the digital version while waiting for the box to arrive?

And once it does finally arrive, how does the code activation work?

It's available at 10:00 this morning (28), EDT

No. You can add it to your steam library with the codes, but you can't play it yet.

You'll get a little sheet, like the art prints, with coherent instructions.

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I noticed while playing the first quest that (I believe) it is possible to be locked out of winning.  If the top two cards of the encounter deck are The Goblin Trail, and you decide to travel to them first they are then removed from the game.  This prevents you from being able to succeed at stage 2.  I think I have that right.

 

(Obviously, don’t do that.)

Edited by Bullroarer Took

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You get a sheet with your codes in the Limited Edition Collector Set, so whenever you get that. You can also pay for it with by buying a Founder's Pack or wait for free-to-play full release.

By the Way, do we have a good abbreviation for that ^ monster? Would that be TwoPlayerCollector'sLimitedEdition? :huh:

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11 hours ago, Devaresh said:

I did a short write up on my blog about the LES. In short I like it.

 Here’s the post if you want to see my thoughts on the different components: https://reflectioninhennethannun.wordpress.com/2018/08/28/limited-edition-starter-first-impressions/

I disagree about Gildor. He shores up two Leadership's weaknesses by using one of its strengths. In a lot of decks that need a splashable leadership hero, he may very well replace Sam. His ability is just so good. On a different note, here's hoping Leadership (and Tactics) Noldor rise in popularity.

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5 minutes ago, Wandalf the Gizzard said:

You get a sheet with your codes in the Limited Edition Collector Set, so whenever you get that. You can also pay for it with by buying a Founder's Pack or wait for free-to-play full release.

By the Way, do we have a good abbreviation for that ^ monster? Would that be TwoPlayerCollector'sLimitedEdition? :huh:

That is sad, because I'm sill waiting for my box :( It left US, but where is it? Traking doesn't know...

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2 hours ago, Wandalf the Gizzard said:

I disagree about Gildor. He shores up two Leadership's weaknesses by using one of its strengths. In a lot of decks that need a splashable leadership hero, he may very well replace Sam. His ability is just so good. On a different note, here's hoping Leadership (and Tactics) Noldor rise in popularity.

Yeah that’s true, I think ultimately it’s just not my play style. He’s good though! If you are splashing leadership I feel like I take Denethor every time but that’s just because I typically want the resources not willpower.

I’d rather splash other spheres to cover the weaknesses. My mono sphere experience is pretty much limited to lore and tactics though.

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29 minutes ago, Devaresh said:

I’d rather splash other spheres to cover the weaknesses. My mono sphere experience is pretty much limited to lore and tactics though.

Oooh you should check out Leadership monosphere decks! Lots of low cost allies (particularly for Gondor decks) which you can then boost using For Gondor, Leadership Boromir Hero,  ally Faramir, Visionary Leadership, Gandalf plus Sneak attack, Steward of Gondor etc. 

They're mega!

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Just got my copy yesterday! Going to share my very honest thoughts about the Collectors Edition and everything contained within. I hate to say anything negative about it or this game in general as I absolutely love LOTR LCG but I just want to be honest and realistic and the majority of what I have to say is positive anyway.

So first of all the DCG. Played it for hours last night and have played the first four quests, there are certainly aspects I am not that enthused or excited by but it was definitely fun and looking better than I thought it would. It is a very different game but with the same overall concept and framework as the physical card game. To me personally the DCG will never come even close to the physical card game but it was certainly a lot cooler than I expected and the way you need to plan out your turns and what order you will do everything in results in quite a bit of strategic play. Some of the voice work and artwork (the vast majority of which is from the physical card game (perhaps it all is and I am just not recognising certain pieces)) that has gone into this is really impressive and certainly makes you feel like you are in middle earth! Happily surprised by the DCG thus far and will probably play it from time to time depending on how it progresses but it will never dethrone the original. There are certainly not many player cards at the moment and as we can only play solo thus far you cannot really build a more combat oriented deck without any healing and hope to have much luck, all understandable as this is only early access at the moment and I am sure they will continue to improve the game until official release. The current scoring system is just weird and certain hero combinations or deck styles seemingly lock you out of ever being able to get a perfect score which is rather silly. I get there has to be a scoring or points system to unlock further cards etc but it is all quite odd especially considering the official scoring system for the physical card game has more or less been ignored and denounced by the majority of the community. 

Next up are those four hero art pieces. I was never really that excited by these and only Arwen is an art piece that I genuinely really like - not a big fan of the core Aragorn or Gimli art. Much prefer Tactigorn or Strider (lore) and Sands of Harad or alt art Gimli. Had these been prints of lets say Galadriel, Elrond, Spirit Glorfindel and Arwen instead I would be losing it for them and they would be amongst the most exciting items in the box! I get that they chose who they did though as they are the core set heroes in the new DCG, they just happen to be art pieces I don't care much about. These are still really nice though and are a nice addition to the overall product. No idea what I am going to do with them though! 

Next we have the One Ring replica. I already have a much nicer version of the one ring that is pretty identical to how it looks in the movies with the full script all the way around the inside and outside and the deep gold colouring and I use this as my first player token so this new Ring is not as useful or special to me as it will be to many others. That being said I think it is another really cool addition and it is honestly much nicer than I thought it would be. Considering the overall cost of the CE and the various inclusions this could never be something too nice or fancy so I think it is really good quality and impressive for something that is merely an inclusion in the box and not the core focus. Not really sure what I am going to do with this either but I will probably just put it on display in my Tolkien section of my bookshelves.

Next we have the Two Player Starter Box. This is easily the main reason I bought the Collectors Edition and what I wanted to get my hands on most. The player decks are pretty decent and a wide variety of cards are included. As I am one of those weirdos who plays with the same decks all the time and I do not change my decks regularly like most players of this game; my thoughts on what actual cards are included and the decks themselves is going to be pretty useless information for others so I will skip this. I am essentially using a ton of the special art player cards in my two decks that use a ton of the same cards and I have already swapped these in and taken the normal art versions out. I specifically did not do this with several of the allies however such as Haldir, Orophin and Faramir. I actually don't really like the zoomed in art on these particular cards as you don't get the wonderful inclusion of the forest background and some of the closeups of their faces just aren't anywhere near as aesthetically pleasing as the original art piece in my opinion. Other close ups of faces like Gandalf and Naith Guide are really nice though and made the cut going into my decks. Pretty much all of the attachment and event cards look really nice with the zoomed in special art and it is only certain allies that I feel it doesn't work very well with. This is all going to come down to personal opinion in the end but overall I really love the new art style and am excited to now have a bunch of them in my decks. Even some of the x3 cards in my decks that now have special art cards have been changed to x2 special copies and x1 normal copies. This reminds me of MTG where you can have 4 copies of a card in your deck but can include say 2 copies from a particular cycle and 2 copies from another cycle giving you two different art pieces for the same card in the one deck!

Let's go over the quests included in the Two Player Starter Box. I haven't actually played either quest just yet but I have gone through all the encounter cards (a few times!! that art!!!) so am somewhat familiar with them. First off the special art style is even nicer on the encounter cards than it is on the player cards!!! Locations and Quest Cards especially. I certainly don't wish that all player cards used this art style but I definitely wish that all encounter cards did! The first quest looks like a snooze fest and I have seen people say it is even easier than Passage Through Mirkwood, really not bothered by this fact as it is a somewhat introductory quest (if you were to buy this product instead of the core as an entry point to the game) for new players and this just means we have a new revenge or therapy quest to play after getting stomped into the ground multiple times by a really tough quest ? Also another good entry level quest for all those players trying to get their partners interested in the game as well!! 
The second quest looks pretty decent and reminds me of the Seventh Level for some reason. The Cave Torch coming back is also a nice touch! This quest looks like it will hopefully be one with quite a bit of replayability that we will actually want to come back to from time to time. Now one thing I am quite disappointed with however, and this is where we start to look at what I think are the negative aspects of the collectors edition, is that the vast majority of the encounter cards included in both of these quests are all old recycled encounter cards from previous quests..... not going to lie I think this is pretty dodgy and fairly slack. They are entirely new scenarios in an entirely new product and I cannot understand why they just recycled a ton of old encounter cards instead of making some new ones. I get that they probably had a very limited budget with the CE so just to be clear I am not talking about the art or even really the encounter card titles I am talking about the actual mechanics and stats being identical. I understand why they decided to reuse older art pieces but to not change the cards mechanically and to just leave them exactly as they are is just such a strange decision to me. I am worried that because of this rather than feeling like unique and interesting quests they are just going to seem like weird quests that have essentially taken a bunch of encounter cards from already existing quests and thrown them together. I am possibly being a bit harsh though and maybe when playing these quests the fact that most of the encounter cards are recycled does not factor in much and does not detract from the quest as much as I am currently thinking will be the case. Either way I am certainly very keen to try both new quests out and add them to my collection!

The playmat is the final inclusion in the collectors edition and is certainly the part I am least happy with. The overall design of the playmat is fantastic but I feel like I either have a damaged or badly printed one or that I am not understanding a specific design choice at all. Essentially there are a TON of areas on my playmat that are really badly faded out. The majority of these spots is the actual writing all over the map, half of a locations name will be printed clearly and the other half of the locations name is pixellated and faded out badly. There are also small bits of forest and mountain that are faded out but it is mainly the text that is affected. Pretty much any text on my playmat has at least one letter if not an entire word that has black missing from the letters or is badly faded and not legible. The entire point of a map to me is to have every location and landmark clearly labelled for reference, this playmat certainly does not achieve this as so many of the location names just cannot be read because the text is so faded, pixellated and/or partially missing! Now maybe I just got a copy of the playmat that is damaged or that didn't print properly, anyone who reads my wall of text if you could confirm this and let me know what yours looks like I would greatly appreciate it, but if this is not the case I am quite shocked by the quality of the playmat and will almost certainly not be using it as I cannot help but immediately notice all the glaring defects anytime I look at it. I may actually touch base with FFG and send them some photos and see if I can get a replacement if this is not how the playmat is meant to look. 

Finally I just want to talk about the large box itself. It was extremely wishful thinking but I was hoping the broken token insert for the original core box would maybe fit in the new Collectors Edition box but that certainly does not seem to be the case. The way the box has been made with the flaps on the inside and the handle and whatnot is honestly not that great for storage in my opinion. I will need to investigate further but at this point I honestly see myself simply throwing the box away as it just doesn't seem great for storage and is really not as special or nice as I was hoping either. For reference I have kept every deluxe box as they are just beautiful and such great quality (and texture!) and I do not even use them for storage just for display.
The two player starter box on the other hand is really nice, the Gandalf/Glamdring imagery on the front is great and it has that same rough texture as the deluxe boxes, this is a keeper for sure. 

TL;DR: More or less everything included in the Collectors Edition is really neat and exceeded my expectations (especially the DCG!) except for a few aspects which are slightly disappointing; the majority of encounter cards for the new quests are completely recycled not just art wise but statwise and mechanically as well, and the playmat I received has faded and pixellated text all over and seems like it is either damaged or misprinted. Not sure if this is the quality of all these playmats or if mine is just a dud. 

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