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TheWiseGuy

LOTR Living card game on Steam, is it worth a try?

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1 hour ago, Mazarbul said:

They have my axe. And money. As long as they keep up their hard work.

/Maz

I hope that your optimism is rewarded, and that my initial assessment is proven wrong once the final version is released.

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1 hour ago, Mazarbul said:

I did by the Mithril Pack as well and find it well worth the money, not having the time for grinding. 

The digital game is not a 1 to 1 conversion of the card game and having followed the streams from the very beginning that was very clear from the start.

Shallow? Yes, it's Early Access. The game is still being developed. And I remember a certain card game feeling quite shallow as well way back when the Core Set was the only thing we had for a long time. Back then you had to add cards you really didn't want in your deck, just to get to that 50. I don't feel that way about this game. So I got my hopes up for his one. Especially the way the developers interact with the community. They really listen and are extremely eager to help solve all weird stuff that are bound to happen during EA.

They have my axe. And money. As long as they keep up their hard work.

/Maz

Yah they just have one campaign. It's early access haha, what do people expect? I for one bought in for the cheapest price, unlocked everything very easily, and really enjoyed the first campaign. Worth it from my end. Then again a lot of the upset comes from the difference between physical and digital. I can't really comment on that but I get the upset.

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4 hours ago, TheWiseGuy said:

Then again a lot of the upset comes from the difference between physical and digital.

Yeah, I just don't understand people's unhappiness with that. They already knew it was not the same game, and should know it would be impossible for it to be. Oh well, haters gonna hate. The negativity on Steam is at least fading.

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For me, the lack of tension in the digital version is welcome.  I find the real version can be very stressful at time, to the point where I have to be in a certain mood ("gimme a challenge") in order to want to play it.  The digital version is more relaxing.  I don't know if that's because it's a different game, or because all the rules and accounting are handled by the computer.

What would be ideal, of course, is if the real game were ported to the computer.  That could helps us identify what parts of the real game are stressful: is it the need to keep all the rules straight, the threat of having to reset the game state manually if we lose, or something else?

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18 hours ago, tripecac said:

For me, the lack of tension in the digital version is welcome.  I find the real version can be very stressful at time, to the point where I have to be in a certain mood ("gimme a challenge") in order to want to play it.  The digital version is more relaxing.  I don't know if that's because it's a different game, or because all the rules and accounting are handled by the computer.

What would be ideal, of course, is if the real game were ported to the computer.  That could helps us identify what parts of the real game are stressful: is it the need to keep all the rules straight, the threat of having to reset the game state manually if we lose, or something else?

You can always play easy mode with the physical cards. ?

I should also have mentionned that I always play nightmare mode 100 % solo, so the digital version felt like a Fisher Priced version of the game... ?

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On 9/6/2018 at 5:56 PM, Wandalf the Gizzard said:

Yeah, I just don't understand people's unhappiness with that. They already knew it was not the same game, and should know it would be impossible for it to be. Oh well, haters gonna hate. The negativity on Steam is at least fading.

I think it largely has to do with the name. It's too similar and that is causing a lot of confusion. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the disappointed players' first look at the game was when the game went into EA and weren't following the game prior to that. To their surprise, it's not the same game. But yeah, a little bit of research goes a long way.

 

As for my thoughts on the game, it's alright. My main gripes is the microtransactions, the name, and the grind. But it's a decent spin-off and has a surprising amount of polish. Plays well. But I can't for the life of me play digital card games. It just feels too 'hollow' (I feel the same with OCTGN). I don't know, it's hard to describe. I just need that tactile feel. :) And besides, I got my fix of cards disguised as egg shaped tokens bashing each other in the face from Hearthstone, so I doubt I'll see myself playing too much more of this.

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5 hours ago, soullos said:

It just feels too 'hollow' (I feel the same with OCTGN). I don't know, it's hard to describe. I just need that tactile feel.

I know what you mean. ;) I for one will play it as a video game, not as a replacement for the physical game.

5 hours ago, soullos said:

I got my fix of cards disguised as egg shaped tokens bashing each other in the face from Hearthstone

Yeah . . . I have to agree on this one. They could have made the cards look a lot better.

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It's coming to Nintendo Switch in April 2019!  This may get me to play it in addition to the physical card game.

EDIT: Haven't found an article link yet but it was covered in the Nintendo Direct happening now.

Edited by mewmartigan

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I would hope there aren't big changes because the game is mechanically way better than the tabletop as it stands. 

Changing hard mode to one card per turn is already a disappointing backward step. Next they'll be crippling tri-sphere decks to match old players' expectations of how LotR "should feel".

Just throw up half a dozen more heroes for us to (spend money to) test. Easy money, and it would keep people like me playing instead of deleting and probably forgetting about it until long after release.

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3 hours ago, Edheliad said:

I would hope there aren't big changes because the game is mechanically way better than the tabletop as it stands. 

Changing hard mode to one card per turn is already a disappointing backward step. Next they'll be crippling tri-sphere decks to match old players' expectations of how LotR "should feel".

Just throw up half a dozen more heroes for us to (spend money to) test. Easy money, and it would keep people like me playing instead of deleting and probably forgetting about it until long after release.

That first line is quite the claim.  The last line too. If they simply through more heroes and didn't improve/diversify the gameplay and released it, I would immediately drop the game. As it is the only reason I still pay attention to it is because it's in early access and I see potential but it's clearly not there yet (and not just due to lack of content).

I love the change to hard mode and rather hope that they move it to all modes. It's not because 'LotR' should feel some way, it's because as a card game I feel like the game was far too generous with cards (especially given the max deck size) to the point where without putting a single card draw card in my deck, I'd draw my entire deck (or only not draw my entire deck because the game doesn't let you draw if your hand is full and I have no reason to play cards). I'd say that under the old system, you'd actively be making your deck worse by putting card draw cards in (unless you were running a -really- low curve) it because those cards do nothing by themselves, they decease the total amount of strength in your deck (which is relevant when you draw your whole deck) and you were pretty much never in need of more cards anyway. My only concern with the change is that at the moment your card draw options are Gandalf or Lore and Lore already was one of the most essential spheres but I'd much rather they try to solve the content problem of balancing out lore than the economy problem that drawing two cards per turn was causing.

I would also strongly be in favor of making more of each spheres essential/best cards not available with one hero of a sphere (which would probably be what you consider crippling tri-sphere decks) but again, this is not because as LotR game 'should' be some way but because it would be an immense waste of a system if they don't change it. Right now, forgoing having at least one hero in any of the four spheres (let alone more than one) denies you access to many of the best cards in the game and doubling up on heros of a sphere rarely gives you access to anything interesting. If they don't change this, then the whole ability to double up on heroes of a sphere  to get access to new cards will be as wasted as if in Magic rather than having mana of different colors, you instead just had mana and could choose 2 colors at the start of the game and you could only play cards that were those two colors. It would work, it could still be a decent game, but it misses a great deal of the potential depth and variety that could be leant to it by the system it has now.

Edited by Velensk

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1 hour ago, Velensk said:

I feel like the game was far too generous with cards (especially given the max deck size) to the point where without putting a single card draw card in my deck, I'd draw my entire deck (or only not draw my entire deck because the game doesn't let you draw if your hand is full and I have no reason to play cards).

I completely fail to see why this is an actual problem. Everyone build their decks to get through their decks asap in the first place, cutting out the middleman of playing cards to draw cards is simply good design work.

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1 hour ago, Velensk said:

I would also strongly be in favor of making more of each spheres essential/best cards not available with one hero of a sphere (which would probably be what you consider crippling tri-sphere decks) but again, this is not because as LotR game 'should' be some way but because it would be an immense waste of a system if they don't change it. Right now, forgoing having at least one hero in any of the four spheres (let alone more than one) denies you access to many of the best cards in the game and doubling up on heros of a sphere rarely gives you access to anything interesting. If they don't change this, then the whole ability to double up on heroes of a sphere  to get access to new cards will be as wasted as if in Magic rather than having mana of different colors, you instead just had mana and could choose 2 colors at the start of the game and you could only play cards that were those two colors. It would work, it could still be a decent game, but it misses a great deal of the potential depth and variety that could be leant to it by the system it has now.

I'm sure they'll add more cards that need two heroes as the game grows. That catalogue is pitifully small at the moment.

There's still plenty of depth and decision-making to the game as-is, though. Making a Three Hunters deck for example represents a challenge, as using two heroes of the same sphere is now a handicap as opposed to the advantage it was on the tabletop - we can only choose cards from two spheres rather than three, and will likely have a less rounded deck. It's not "missing a great deal of potential depth" it's approaching the idea of spheres from the other direction.

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On 8/30/2018 at 9:47 PM, Wandalf the Gizzard said:

Desktop for now. They may port it to mobile later.

I’ve been saying for quite some time now that the non-competitive LCGs should all be done as mobile apps. 

When I sit in front of my computer there’s plenty of other things I’d rather play, but on my phone? I’d lose a lot of time if they made this and their Lovecraft LCG mobile apps

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4 hours ago, Edheliad said:

I completely fail to see why this is an actual problem. Everyone build their decks to get through their decks asap in the first place, cutting out the middleman of playing cards to draw cards is simply good design work.

There are two problems.

The first is that there is a difference between a player doing something and the game doing something. In that sense, your argument is similar to saying that since everyoned plays Diablo to slay Diablo, everyone should start right in front of Diablo with a character that can slay Diablo so that they can slay diablo without needing to go through a middleman.

The second, is that stategically, it's not always true. There are very few card games in this style I know of where the only viable approach to playing revolves entirely around drawing cards. Granted, in many of these style of games, longer term strategies will tend to mandate a card advantage engine of sorts going but even then there's a distinction between having ways to get more cards and 'building your deck to get through your deck asap' which would generally be the venue of extreme cases or combo decks reliant on digging through their deck for a specific set of cards. In any case, the amount and type of card draw a deck chooses to add is a strategic choice and will vary depending on the game plan of the deck.

As it currently stands on normal mode. Card draw of any kind is a weak or even counterproductive choice because the game will simply give you more cards than you need (again, unless your deck is running a very low curve). Like the current state of the sphere system, this is a waste of potential depth as there's a lot of potentially interesting options that simply aren't appealing enough to warrant consideration.

3 hours ago, Edheliad said:

I'm sure they'll add more cards that need two heroes as the game grows. That catalogue is pitifully small at the moment.

There's still plenty of depth and decision-making to the game as-is, though. Making a Three Hunters deck for example represents a challenge, as using two heroes of the same sphere is now a handicap as opposed to the advantage it was on the tabletop - we can only choose cards from two spheres rather than three, and will likely have a less rounded deck. It's not "missing a great deal of potential depth" it's approaching the idea of spheres from the other direction.

Since I'm talking about depth, I might as well define exactly what I mean as this will also factor into the sphere discussion.

When I speak of the depth of a game, I am referring to the amount the play of that game can be digged into and developed. The play of a strategy game is by and large about the choices you make with regard to how to achieve an objective in a system that has uncertainty but which follows predictable patterns that can be discerned and planned around. This being the case, the depth of a strategy games comes from why one might make one choice over another and the difficulty of selecting an optimum choice (relative to the goal) given the uncertainty. I'm going to note that 'depth' defined this way doesn't actually require there be many options (that would be breadth) merely that there be a lot that goes into making the decisions.
--It's also important to note, that a discussion of depth somewhat requires a set defined objective as the considerations of the decision are relative to the objective it is made towards. Games conveniently tend to have set win conditions which can make things easier, but if one person is talking about the game with just the idea that they want to make it to the end of a scenario and another is talking about their personal quest to get a high score with a 'three hunters' deck, some things won't translate over when we talk about depth (among other things, a discussion on why you'd choose one hero over another). 
--Players can put themselves under any number of challenges which might make the game harder, most of these actually simplify the game rather than give it more depth (as normally the challenges are limitations). The challenges that actually improve the depth of the game are usually ones where there is an known strongest course of action in the game and the given limitation makes that option not a viable one while leaving several other viable options of unknown relative strength on the table.
--For this discussion, I'll be assuming that the goal is simply to 'win', though I expect for most players it's to maximize score (which contributes to lore and spirit feeling somewhat indispensable right now but we'll leave that issue).

One thing the tabletop game does extremely well, is always making it so that there are a wide variety of very strong decks that are all strong in different situations but all very much punishable by scenarios designed for it. This keeps the decision of how to build your deck interesting and the answer constantly changing. Granted, over time a few extra strong decks that can handle almost anything have appeared but that's really hard to prevent given the age of the game and the 'all cards legal' format. Even with them existing though, its still rather fun to find new ways to do things because the complexity of the game allows for such a variety of viable approaches. This is what I would describe as depth and the DCG currently does not have it. I do not think that given the direction it is going, that it will get it just because more content is added.

I am in no way worried that they won't add more cards/scenarios, I'm worried that as they add them they'll be building on a faulty foundation where either it won't matter, or they'll have to completely throw out their current standards of balance in an extreme way to make it work. This is an concern with the current content (as opposed to the system) and I am aware that it's easy to change the content but if they don't change it I foresee problems (and I can't tell you how many times I've seen designs in FF card games that look like a bit of testing should uncover that there was an issue but obviously it wasn't changed before it went into production and now a part of the games foundation to the point where it's not practical to errata).

My problem with the current content, is that currently the incentives are so lopsided, that it's not an interesting decision assuming you are optimizing to win and that doesn't look like it's going to change without taking an extreme turn on the content design. Right now, a trisphere decks can not just have access but be really strong in the things each of it's spheres provides  and effectively have no weaknesses (other than perhaps a slight weakness in whatever the fourth sphere would provide it, and since leadership and tactics provide similar things at the moment, there's not really any reason to be lacking anything)
--Let me put it this way, Spirit is a great sphere, it has some great cards. It's got a near monopoly on threat reduction (and should by design always have the best threat reduction), renewable action advantage, and plenty of questing power. However, spirit is lacking more than a little in combat power which is an somewhat essential element to any deck (at least until we get a scenario with very limited combat). Now with even one tactics hero, you have access to all kinds of great combat allies and attachments that can more than cover up your lack of combat weakness without hindering your ability to use good spirit cards (though if you want, with just one tactics hero you could make your deck entirely out of tactics cards and you'd still get to use the spirit heroes). Given the option to splash one tactics hero and cover up this glaring weakness in your deck (let alone whatever weaknesses come from lacking lore and leadership), what kinds of level 3 spirit cards would have to exist that would make it a compelling option to go with mono-spirit as opposed to splashing even just one tactics hero? I'd say that given the cards currently in the game, spirit has some of the best level 2 cards and it's still not enough to make me want to run two spirit heros as I can already get everything I want from spirit with just a single hero, the same way I can already get everything I want from tactics with just one tactics hero or from any other sphere. What might that level 3 spirit card provide me that would be distinctly spirit, that I cannot already get with lower level spirit cards, and would make up for not having any other sphere?

My assertion is, that in order to make it so that tri-color decks are not always significantly stronger than all other options they need to make sure one of two things is true. The first one is simple but the second will take some discussion.

The first approach is that higher level cards need to generally be more desirable than lower level cards of the same sphere. Not that every higher level card needs to be more generally desirable but they need to actively be incentives to be worth sacrificing for (and the better the level 1 cards of each sphere are, the more of a sacrifice it will be to lose access to any sphere). Right now, all the best cards in the game are level 1, so either the future level 2+3 cards will need to better than all the cards that currently exist (better than round shield, self preservation, unexpected courage, and all the great allies in the game) or the stuff currently available at level 1 needs to get worse/be made higher level
 
Alternatively, the game needs to be more designed in such a way, that being sufficiently good at one thing will make it so that you do not need to be as good at other things. This is largely the approach that the tabletop game takes. If you're sufficiently good at questing and can keep your threat low, you might not have to fight as much. If you're sufficiently good at fighting, you can take the tough enemies in the staging area sooner and might not have to quest as hard. If you're really good at getting resources/cards you might not need any of those individual resources/cards to do as well at fighting or questing.
--At the moment, this is to some extent true for the digital game as well, however there is a caveat that this is only really true if you're just trying to win. If you're trying to score well, you need to be good at keeping your health high, your threat low, clearing hazards, loading up on fate, while still having strong enough combat to clear the mission. Specializing in any two or three of those at the expense of the others will compromise your score.
--Even then though, the game is designed in such a way that it's still more necessary to be good at everything. The tactics and spirit spheres in particular are cripplingly overspecialized. With all the tactics cards in the game right now, you could not get a character with 2 willpower and being unable to reuse characters or place progress in any way, could only hope to chip down on any kind of hazard objective (and forget any hope of saving up for expensive fate events). Spirit is a touch more flexible given that some fate events do help with combat and Eowyn has 2 attack (and be given attachments that'll let her act twice) but with the amount of combat in all existing scenarios it'd still be a rough time.

--------------

After all that complaining, I'll still acknowledge the possibility that they'll come up with some amazing content design that will lend some depth of the game and make it worthwhile to try a variety of strategies but I don't feel like that's the direction they are headed. After they unlocked all the scenarios, I flattened them all on hard using the exact same deck (and that deck wasn't that different than that of the very first deck I built with just the starter cards, I'd just swapped a few of the valor cards I'd unlocked in). Honestly, it was kind of repetitive. Since then, I've tried other approaches but none of them have worked as well and it was still repetitive. I don't care to make up arbitrary challenges to make the game harder and I don't see any other approach becoming more effective without a serious shakeup.

 

EDITED one of the examples to be simpler.

Edited by Velensk
clarity of example

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So, ummm.. Wow... Am I the only one who thinks this game is really, really hard?  To the point where I feel like there's a definite pay wall to finish the first scenario?  I'm definitely no spring chicken when it comes to these games.  I have the real LotR LCG and have battled through it's tough scenarios.  But this seems much harder.  I bought the Shire pack to start and then I bought the Prince of Mirkwood and Steadfast companion packs in game with valor points.  I've played with the slightly better cards in those packs and tried several strategies.  Just seems overly difficult and I don't feel like buying the full gambit to find out if it gets more fun.  Anyone else having the same experience? 

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One of the things I don't much care for is the focus on scoring. Getting through a quest by the skin of my teeth should feel like an accomplishment, not a disappointment because my rewards will be low, and my grinding for points will be slower.

Unavoidable videogamey-ness, I guess.

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3 hours ago, me1034 said:

So, ummm.. Wow... Am I the only one who thinks this game is really, really hard?  To the point where I feel like there's a definite pay wall to finish the first scenario?  I'm definitely no spring chicken when it comes to these games.  I have the real LotR LCG and have battled through it's tough scenarios.  But this seems much harder.  I bought the Shire pack to start and then I bought the Prince of Mirkwood and Steadfast companion packs in game with valor points.  I've played with the slightly better cards in those packs and tried several strategies.  Just seems overly difficult and I don't feel like buying the full gambit to find out if it gets more fun.  Anyone else having the same experience? 

Not at all. However, the tutorial doesn't teach you a few critical things and the starter deck is bad. But I basically crushed nearly all the scenarios with just the starter cards on normal and once I'd unlocked a few cards I could basically use the exact same strategy on hard with just a slightly tweaked deck and crush it on hard (though hard has gotten harder recently).

There are guides if you're struggling but really most of the challenge is mitigated once you realize just how powerful the block option is.

Edited by Velensk

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13 hours ago, Flavorabledeez said:

I’ve been saying for quite some time now that the non-competitive LCGs should all be done as mobile apps. 

When I sit in front of my computer there’s plenty of other things I’d rather play, but on my phone? I’d lose a lot of time if they made this and their Lovecraft LCG mobile apps

https://www.ign.com/articles/2018/09/13/pandemic-catan-carcassonne-and-more-board-games-coming-to-switch

Not a phone, but more portable than a PC.

 

Edited by mewmartigan

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5 hours ago, Edheliad said:

One of the things I don't much care for is the focus on scoring. Getting through a quest by the skin of my teeth should feel like an accomplishment, not a disappointment because my rewards will be low, and my grinding for points will be slower.

Unavoidable videogamey-ness, I guess.

So much this. But I think in a recent stream it was said the would revamp the scoring system. I am fine with penalties for dead and damaged heroes and high threat (the original game did the same) but why on earth do I have to clear hazards and spent fate points. This should be a tactical decsion! Plus in one game Sauron ever only played one hazard...

Did anyone get the in game notfication that some sort of error occured and you should send the log to the devs? I seems to get it sooner or later making me unable to do anything and therefore unable to finish the game. It EA and it's ok (even though annoying), but I don't know where this "log" is located? Anyone got an idea?

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On 9/15/2018 at 3:33 PM, Velensk said:

Not at all. However, the tutorial doesn't teach you a few critical things and the starter deck is bad. But I basically crushed nearly all the scenarios with just the starter cards on normal and once I'd unlocked a few cards I could basically use the exact same strategy on hard with just a slightly tweaked deck and crush it on hard (though hard has gotten harder recently).

There are guides if you're struggling but really most of the challenge is mitigated once you realize just how powerful the block option is.

Yep. The tutorial really lack useful information...

I also agree with Velenks that the card pool is too good for one hero per sphere characters and too bad for multiple heroes of one sphere. And so there is almost none reason to teak deck based on scenario. Three sphere deck is always the best choice...

Maybe there will be some card erratas. For example stelward definite should be two hero version as well as that green enhancement that allows to heal at the end of phase... and so on. So there would be real reasons to build two or one color decks also. 

Most likely the card pool is so low at this moment that there is not enough cards to put in the higher level pool. But some card that already are in level 1 pool seems to be too good to include in there... Well maybe we will see level 2 healing enhansement that heals 2 points and level 3 that heals 3... 

Really interested to see how those high level card are handled. Level 3 sword like Glamring that does 4 damage and reduce threat if you kill enemy? Who knows

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