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Huge Update Inbound for LOTR LCG on Steam!

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4 hours ago, BigKahuna said:

I assumed he meant 2.0 of the online version.  The online version improves absolutely nothing in any way shape the paper version.  It's  hallowed out,  empty shell of a game right now. 

You assume wrong. The framework of the digital game is far better than the tabletop one, it just lacks content. Compared to the original core set it's an incredible improvement.  

Even as a F2P product it was light on stuff to do, as a pay-only experience it needs at least 5x the quests, twice as many heroes and a much bigger card library to even resemble a basic budget digital product. 

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2 hours ago, Edheliad said:

You assume wrong. The framework of the digital game is far better than the tabletop one, it just lacks content. Compared to the original core set it's an incredible improvement.   

I...  huh.  If you prefer your games stripped down, dumbed down, and playable in 10 minutes while you're waiting for the bus then sure, I guess I can see where you're coming from.  To each their own.  But maybe let's see where the digital is 7 years from now...

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5 hours ago, Buhallin said:

I...  huh.  If you prefer your games stripped down, dumbed down, and playable in 10 minutes while you're waiting for the bus then sure, I guess I can see where you're coming from.  To each their own.  But maybe let's see where the digital is 7 years from now...

The attack/defence/health system is better, limiting number of characters each side is better, two card draw is better etc. There are lots of ground-level improvements to the design.

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38 minutes ago, Edheliad said:

The attack/defence/health system is better, limiting number of characters each side is better, two card draw is better etc. There are lots of ground-level improvements to the design.

These are not design, though they are elements of it.  These are actually good examples of what makes it worse - the game is dramatically simplified, with far fewer interesting decision points and moving parts.  That may be more to your liking, but they're most certainly not improvements.

 

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Yeah, there is no universe where the digital version of this game is better than the physical. It is an entirely different beast that shares the same namesake and art, nothing more.

That's not to say it's a bad game, I am enjoying it as I find more time to get into it. I like the mechanics and the game is an interesting challenge. However let's not try to say it is something it is not; I could play "Passage Through Mirkwood" with just the core set 50 times and enjoy it each time. I go through the first quest in the digital with each new deck I make but I do not enjoy it as much. It's more of a "well as long as the app doesn't screw me over this should work" feeling.

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On 10/26/2018 at 1:16 AM, Edheliad said:

The attack/defence/health system is better, limiting number of characters each side is better, two card draw is better etc. There are lots of ground-level improvements to the design.

We will have to agree to disagree.  To me the game mechanically has absolutely no depth, no thematic flavor, tactically and strategically it's practically barren and it lacks the core feature of Lord of the Rings The Card game which is that it's supposed to be a multiplayer cooperative card game.  

I also take offense to the idea that a publisher takes a beloved card game franchise, markets it as "the digital version of the game" to get you excited and then changes every single thing about it to make the development of the game easier and cheaper for them which coincidently if you are wondering why they didn't just make an honest version of the paper version of the game, that is why.  Simply put, they don't have the development budget or chops to pull it off.   What's worse is that from a design perspective, there is nothing original in this game, so even standing on its own as a game its totally uninspiring and content won't fix that, the problem is at the design level of the game.

Remove the Lord of the Rings theme and make it a generic fantasy game and none of us would even be having this conversation because no one would touch this game with a ten foot pole, it would be known as a Hearthstone clone and might even be getting sued by Blizzard for so blatantly ripping off their game.  The only reason it's even in anyone's radar is because of its use of the Lord of the Rings Living Card Game IP.  The worse part about it is that the digital game has already failed right out of the gate (its why they are scrambling to fix it somehow) and the result will be that not only do they lose their asses on digital product, but it will have a negative impact on the paper game because people who try the digital version of the game will realize it sucks and assume the paper version must then also suck.

Nothing positive will come out of this digital release, most likely it will be the final nail in the coffin of the paper version which is sad really.  Had they made an honest digital version of the paper game, it would have most likely given the paper version a second life.

Edited by BigKahuna

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I, unfortunately, don't see any positive outcomes of the current situation.

The most likely one: the game fails. And with it, the possibility of other FFG card game ports, along with the only shot to see a good LotR LCG digital adaptation (which is already come ot pass, due to game not being anything like the tabletop version).

The less likely one: the game succeeds. And with it, the thought that watering down their games is the way to go reinforces. And istead of stuff like Android Netrunner or Call of Cthulhu card games, we'll see empty husks, resembling their tabletop counterparts in the name and the art.

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10 hours ago, BigKahuna said:

Remove the Lord of the Rings theme and make it a generic fantasy game and none of us would even be having this conversation because no one would touch this game with a ten foot pole, it would be known as a Hearthstone clone and might even be getting sued by Blizzard for so blatantly ripping off their game. 

Although I agree that the digital game isn't anywhere near as good as the tabletop game, this I would consider an ignorant and prejudiced claim of someone who never gave it a fair shot (either that or you don't know much about Hearthstone other than how it looks). The similarities to Hearthstone are rather superficial in a way that is pretty obvious if you actually have played both games even if you completely ignore the asymmetry and scenario setup.

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23 hours ago, John Constantine said:

I, unfortunately, don't see any positive outcomes of the current situation.

. And istead of stuff like Android Netrunner or Call of Cthulhu card games, we'll see empty husks, resembling their tabletop counterparts in the name and the art.

Hmmm programmin complex scenario based card games is really hard. Scenario rules can change the game so that it is almost different game than the normal. It is good with Humans... it is bad with computers.

the Pathfinder Adventures is the best example how the scenario based card game is almost carbon copy of the real tabletop game... and ques what. It is full of bugs. The basic idea is tha you find the Villain and corner it and kill down. Those scenarios works really well! But special scenarios where there is something different Are buggy like a ****. For example scenario where you try to save people from the Flood and moster... was a long time very buggy. Or scenarios where there only is one location... that scenario is still very buggy. Because the scenario powers change the game so much that normal game engine does not behave nicely any more. You have to completely rewrite those scenarios. It is like makin whole new game just for some scenario rules... that takes time, and resources and money.

it is no wonder that The digital game is almost completely different than the tabletop version. It is easier, it is more cost effective and it definitely is easier to squash bugs from that code. Simple games like Magic and other games that use same rules in every game Are simpler to make. So Android Netrunner could be possible to make carbon copy or L5R but games like Arkham horror Lcg will definitely be allmost completely different in digital format than tabletop version, unless the company is really crasy and wants to burn money... pity but true.

i think that the digital Pathfinder adventures is a better game than LOTR, but it has a cost of making it uneconomical to the company.

so this game is totally different than the real one, but it is still quite good card game! And it is different because of very good reasons...

Edited by Hannibal_pjv
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I guess you could probably make something that follows the same rules as the physical game but has different cards and quests, so you don't have to struggle with implementing horrible things just because they were in the original game. But I expect people would still call that dumbed down anyway.

I don't get the Hearthstone grumbles at all. The game clearly doesn't play anything like Hearthstone. It's actually quite difficult to make a comparison of the game flow to any other game I've played.

Edited by NathanH

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Game being full of bugs is a result of bad QA, inexperienced team, and questionable development strategy. Game can be complex and still run fine. Looking at LotR LCG Digital right now, I see little to no reason to play it instead of logging into Hearthstone and knocking a few of the PvE thingies for free. And I don't even like Heartstone, and a long time tabletop LotR LCG fan.

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People prefer different things.

But one thing I've noticed people like to do is compare the depth of the current state of the tabletop game to the early-access core set of the digital game. Obviously the game with a 7-year head start on the card pool is going to be deeper.

Thinking back to the core-only days of the tabletop game, bow much content did I actually get for the $40 I paid? Well, Passage through Mirkwood was a really easy quest meant to teach you the game, and I only played it once. And since Escape from Dol Guldur was impossible as a solo player, it left me with only 1 enjoyable quest to play. On the player card side, the deckbuilding was very shallow, as nearly half the cards were overpowered staples (Eowyn, SoG, ToW, Hasty Stroke, Feint) and the other half were overcosted for what they do.

Meanwhile, the $8 buy-in to the digital game gets you 5 playable quests, with future one-off encounters being free once they get released. You get more total player cards, and way more playable player cards because they use the gameplay data to buff the underplayed cards until they become useful.

Having been around for the core-only days for both games (well, the core for the digital game isn't even done yet), there's no comparison. The digital core set provides much deeper content for a fraction of the cost of the tabletop core set.

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59 minutes ago, Seastan said:

But one thing I've noticed people like to do is compare the depth of the current state of the tabletop game to the early-access core set of the digital game. Obviously the game with a 7-year head start on the card pool is going to be deeper.

I won't necessarily speak for anyone else, but my comments on depth have to do with the rules, not the content - and I think that's what most people are referring to.  LOTR requires you to allocate resources across at least 3 different tasks; the digital game simply lacks this, in the name of simplifying the experience.  There are any number of other places where the game has been simplified.  Whether you call it "streamlining" or "dumbing-down", the result is the same.

1 hour ago, Seastan said:

Meanwhile, the $8 buy-in to the digital game gets you 5 playable quests, with future one-off encounters being free once they get released. You get more total player cards, and way more playable player cards because they use the gameplay data to buff the underplayed cards until they become useful.

This isn't necessarily surprising, but it's also worth considering what it will be two (or, again, seven) years down the road.  Software engines tend to have very smooth difficulty curves right up until they hit a cliff.  Over time you're likely to see a lot of very same-y scenarios, because expanding the engine for new ideas is going to be rather hard.  Maybe they'll surprise me, but I doubt it - when a game is behind schedule like this it usually indicates a lot of technical debt which will make that sort of thing even harder than it would be otherwise.

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8 hours ago, Buhallin said:

I won't necessarily speak for anyone else, but my comments on depth have to do with the rules, not the content - and I think that's what most people are referring to.  LOTR requires you to allocate resources across at least 3 different tasks; the digital game simply lacks this, in the name of simplifying the experience.  There are any number of other places where the game has been simplified.  Whether you call it "streamlining" or "dumbing-down", the result is the same.

I mean, if you list all the things you have to think carefully about in the physical game and say "these are the necessary components and if you don't have them your game is bad" then yeah, the digital game is bad. But I can do it the opposite way round and you'd be forced to conclude that the physical game is bad.

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I think some aspects of the digital game are great; 'attacking' side-quests, fate and threat events. I'd really like to see a 'Return to ...' series that incorporates some of those ideas, along with a campaign aspect.

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15 hours ago, NathanH said:

I mean, if you list all the things you have to think carefully about in the physical game and say "these are the necessary components and if you don't have them your game is bad" then yeah, the digital game is bad. But I can do it the opposite way round and you'd be forced to conclude that the physical game is bad.

I don't believe I actually said it's bad.  What I have said is that it lacks the depth that the physical game has.  This is pretty much indisputable - it's a far, far simpler game, with far fewer decisions and far more forgiving allocation of resources (generically, not just resources resources).

That doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad game, per se - simple has its own elegance, if it's good.  But saying the digital game is an improved 2.0 of the physical is like saying Elder Sign is an improved edition of Arkham Horror.  Sure, the basic outlines are the same, and they reuse the art, but the games pretty much have nothing at all to do with each other otherwise.

I'm reserving judgement on whether or not the game actually turns out to be good.  I'm skeptical.  Everyone's been focusing on the business model change, but the original business model has heavily informed the design of the game.  It's not easy to shift gears from "Give them minimal content that we expect to replay dozens of times to grind for Valor" to "Give them enough content in a box to justify the price tag".  Maybe it all works out and turns out to be a good game, but so far it doesn't look promising.

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8 hours ago, Buhallin said:

I don't believe I actually said it's bad.  What I have said is that it lacks the depth that the physical game has.  This is pretty much indisputable - it's a far, far simpler game, with far fewer decisions and far more forgiving allocation of resources (generically, not just resources resources).

That doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad game, per se - simple has its own elegance, if it's good.  But saying the digital game is an improved 2.0 of the physical is like saying Elder Sign is an improved edition of Arkham Horror.  Sure, the basic outlines are the same, and they reuse the art, but the games pretty much have nothing at all to do with each other otherwise.

I'm reserving judgement on whether or not the game actually turns out to be good.  I'm skeptical.  Everyone's been focusing on the business model change, but the original business model has heavily informed the design of the game.  It's not easy to shift gears from "Give them minimal content that we expect to replay dozens of times to grind for Valor" to "Give them enough content in a box to justify the price tag".  Maybe it all works out and turns out to be a good game, but so far it doesn't look promising.

I would say the reason the business model is important is because it is the qualifier for trying the game.  As people have pointed out, many (myself included) are judging the game before trying it and while that may seem unfair, with twitter, youtube and endless content providers I don't need to buy and try the game to know if it works for me or not.  That perhaps was true 10 years ago but today you can know everything about a game from watching the lets play videos, tutorials etc.  Im not going to discover anything about the game I don't already know about before I try it.

Setting aside for a second the games mechanics, as a business model is the primary reason I haven't bought into it.  To me it seemed pointless to buy a game to which I saw all of the content available for it in a 1 hour video.  It simply didn't have enough value and there was nothing for me to explore.  It was setup as a grindfest to get cards, one that was made difficult to try to get you to buy into microtransactions and simply put the answer on that is a flat, NO, there is just too much of that sort of thing out there already and simply put, the game is not good enough to invest in microtransactions (very few games are).  At least with this new business model there is a chance I might give it a try but they still need to make the game more interesting.. closer to the paper version.  Until that happens, the answer is still no.

Edited by BigKahuna

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I'll say it again. They should have made a 1:1 adaptation that allows you to import your physical cards via the proof of purchase codes. It would boost the physical game's sales too. This game would have the biggest appeal to the original fanbase anyway. What was the point to change the rules/mechanics completely. If it wasn't for the IP and the same assets no one would spend more than a minute on this game. 

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On 10/29/2018 at 12:18 PM, Gandalf_ said:

I'll say it again. They should have made a 1:1 adaptation that allows you to import your physical cards via the proof of purchase codes. It would boost the physical game's sales too. This game would have the biggest appeal to the original fanbase anyway. What was the point to change the rules/mechanics completely. If it wasn't for the IP and the same assets no one would spend more than a minute on this game. 

No. Just no. If tabletop cardgame was just released alognside it, then it might've been an interesting business strategy. But considering circumstances, by allowing players import their physical collection they would be setting themselves up for an investment with no return, and no sane person does that. Releasing newer packs with codes that give you goods in digital game might've work in current circumstances, since it would entice physical card game players to try out the digital version, and provoke digital players to buy physical stuff. But just giving everything away immediately on release would just spell financial disaster.

Edited by John Constantine

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On 10/28/2018 at 3:58 PM, Buhallin said:

What I have said is that it lacks the depth that the physical game has.  This is pretty much indisputable - it's a far, far simpler game, with far fewer decisions and far more forgiving allocation of resources (generically, not just resources resources).

Well actually, I do dispute parts of this. In the digital game, there are actually more decisions to make than in the tabletop game. I do see your view expressed frequently though, so I'll expand on what I mean:

In the digital game, Sauron gets a chance to act after every card you play or action you make. This means in addition to deciding *what* to do, there's a whole parallel set of decisions you need to make, namely the priority of your actions. And this will shift over the course of a round as new information becomes available.

Imagine the planning phase of the tabletop game where it mattered what order you played your allies and attachments. Imagine the quest phase where the order in which you commit your characters to the quest mattered. Imagine that the order you defended and killed enemies mattered all the time, not just every once and a while. It adds an incredible number of decisions to the game.

Some math:

Let's assume I have 6 characters on the table. Each round, a character will quest, attack, or defend, and you get to decide what they do.

In the tabletop game, the order you perform these actions either normally doesn't matter, or is determined for you (questing always comes before combat, defending always before attacking, etc.). This means that there are 6 characters * 3 actions = 18 possible ways this turn could go. So I'm essentially deciding on one path out of 18.

In the digital game, action order is critical. I have to decide which of the 6 characters I use first, then which of the remaining 5 I use second, etc. In total there are actually 6!*3 ways the game could go, where 6! = 6*5*4*3*2*1. So when I play a turn of the digital game I'm deciding on one path among over 2,000.

Granted, the board state in the tabletop game tends to have more characters on it, but the way the decision points scale in each game, you only need a small number of digital characters to dwarf the decision points of a huge tabletop game.

The problem is that people see the phase structure of the tabletop game as more complex than the digital game (it is) and therefore conclude that there must be more decision points. But this is in fact the opposite of what happens. By limiting certain actions in the tabletop game to certain phases, you actually end up with fewer player decisions, not more.

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5 hours ago, Seastan said:

In the tabletop game, the order you perform these actions either normally doesn't matter, or is determined for you (questing always comes before combat, defending always before attacking, etc.). This means that there are 6 characters * 3 actions = 18 possible ways this turn could go. So I'm essentially deciding on one path out of 18.

In the digital game, action order is critical. I have to decide which of the 6 characters I use first, then which of the remaining 5 I use second, etc. In total there are actually 6!*3 ways the game could go, where 6! = 6*5*4*3*2*1. So when I play a turn of the digital game I'm deciding on one path among over 2,000.

Your math on the tabletop side is off.  There are 150 possible ways to allocate 6 characters to 3 different tasks.  That also ignores that there's a lot more to allocating those resources than just what they do - the order you defend or attack in matters in the tabletop.  Even just 2 or 3 enemies engaged and the combinations balloon quickly, and that's before you consider shadow effects which can throw it all off, encounter effects which will change engagement, etc.  LOTR isn't just about resource management, it's about risk management.  I believe that you will always have something to do with your characters in the digital game, because questing can effectively be done at any time; how many times have you held someone back from questing in case an enemy showed up, but none did?

The digital game also gives you many more resources to work with.  No resource matching and twice the card draw make it easier to both get and draw cards, and the smaller deck size is going to make everything you do more consistent.  Hence, easier to manage.

Even if your math was right, you can't just count the number of decision points and call it a day.  The impact of those decisions and the thought that has to go into them is, if anything, even more important.

 

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10 minutes ago, Buhallin said:

Your math on the tabletop side is off.  There are 150 possible ways to allocate 6 characters to 3 different tasks.  That also ignores that there's a lot more to allocating those resources than just what they do - the order you defend or attack in matters in the tabletop.  Even just 2 or 3 enemies engaged and the combinations balloon quickly, and that's before you consider shadow effects which can throw it all off, encounter effects which will change engagement, etc.  LOTR isn't just about resource management, it's about risk management.  I believe that you will always have something to do with your characters in the digital game, because questing can effectively be done at any time; how many times have you held someone back from questing in case an enemy showed up, but none did?

The digital game also gives you many more resources to work with.  No resource matching and twice the card draw make it easier to both get and draw cards, and the smaller deck size is going to make everything you do more consistent.  Hence, easier to manage.

Even if your math was right, you can't just count the number of decision points and call it a day.  The impact of those decisions and the thought that has to go into them is, if anything, even more important.

 

Yes you're right my math is off, sorry about that. But both calculations are off by the same factor. Without ordering it's 3^6, with ordering it's 6!*3^6, so the point still stands. There's an extra factor of n! possibilities.

I'm well aware of how interesting combat can be in the tabletop game, especially with the surprises the encounter deck can pull out with its shadow effects. I think it's one of the best things about the tabletop system actually.

As for the resource system and number of cards drawn - I don't see the clear connection between this and game depth. One of deepest experiences I get with the tabletop game is when I play with my favorite hero, Erestor, where I'm drawing 4 cards a turn. Another pet card of mine is A Good Harvest where I can play cards without a resource match. So I think this is highly subjective territory. Maybe it's also worth pointing out that there's an option to only draw 1 card per round in the digital game if one desires that challenge.

 

 

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