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RogueSeventeen

Number of staged cards decreasing with eliminated players

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I never understood why the number of staged cards drops when a player leaves.  The easiest way to beat every non-campaign quests is to pool everything into one player and have the other ones drop.

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It's a coop game, its not so relevant. I can play that way of you enjoy it

 I just Hope you Paly alone two handed and not with someone else eliminated every turn 1....

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There are certainly some suicide decks that are designed just for this purpose, and with the emergence of the grey wanderer deck and a free 1 cost attachment, it becomes more and more appealing. However, a lot of quests start with locations, enemies, or card flips that scale with the number of players, and so you might be finding one suped up player already behind the 8 ball with 3 locations in staging and one to flip on turn 0. On quests that don't have a scaled setup, sure, this a way to cheat through. But otherwise, the juice may not be worth the squeeze.

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Certainly our strongest fellowship features a turn-1 suicide deck (with Doom Hangs Still in Valour so you don't even have to worry about one turn of questing with the sacrifice deck). But this is a very specific set up. I tend to find 2 decks are more reliable than 1, so if your plan with deck 2 is just to play 2-3 random attachments and then die, I don't think this is clearly stronger than just having 2 decks that work well together for the whole game.

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7 hours ago, NathanH said:

Certainly our strongest fellowship features a turn-1 suicide deck (with Doom Hangs Still in Valour so you don't even have to worry about one turn of questing with the sacrifice deck). But this is a very specific set up. I tend to find 2 decks are more reliable than 1, so if your plan with deck 2 is just to play 2-3 random attachments and then die, I don't think this is clearly stronger than just having 2 decks that work well together for the whole game.


We tried something similar once with a "Suicide Gift Deck" that did the same thing via Doom Hangs, and we quickly had to stop using it.  Using a single "Suicide Gift Deck" allowed the other decks used to be able to start with +2-3 heroes, 5-7 resources worth of attachments, 2-4 extra resources, and 1-5 extra cards drawn (all of the above provided by the Suicide Gift Deck). It absolutely trivialized the game into a no contest, even on classically "hard" quests like Into Ithilien that start with staged cards for each player.  Having one deck use an accelerated first-turn production to pass out a huge amount of free stuff, skip questing, and then leave the game more than made up for whatever extra stuff got put into the staging area at set-up.  Heck, I'm pretty sure that even if you had to stage an extra card for that "gift deck" the entire game (even after it had left play), it'd have been a viable strategy for most quests--that's how much stuff it can pass out on that accelerated Turn 1 of production.  Even without abusing Doom Hangs Still, a deck with something like Ceorl (MotK), Folco, Caldara, or Boromir (Tactics) could suicide before the first Questing Phase to avoid adding an extra revealed card in the first Quest Phase after having passed out as much free stuff as it can muster.  And this is all form just using one Gift Deck, one could design a Grey Wanderer deck paired with 3 Suicide Gift Decks and easily and reliably have the Grey Wanderer Deck skip questing Turn 1 and then start Round 2 with 3-4 Heroes under it's control, a huge pile of allies (have all three gifters Message From Elrond Timely Aid), and a lot of resources/attachments to taste.  At that point, you're basically playing 1-Handed Solo with a deck that has 3-4 Heroes, a bonus Steward/Unexpected Courage (Grey Wanderer Contract), and 40-70 resources worth of allies/attachments in play for free.  It's a neat mental exercise "breaking the game" with such builds, but the ensuing "game" itself is no fun.

Summary of Suicide Gift Decks: as someone who's tried it, suicide gift decks absolutely make the game trivial and pointlessly easy.


But there's also an issue generally where, on more than one occasion, my group has noticed that the best strategy is to have one player eliminate themselves (usually by just taking attacks undefended to remove their heroes), because staging fewer cards is better given the context of the quest.



In both instances--Intentional Suicide Gift Decks and Strategic Intentional Elimination--it feels wrong that the best strategy should be to have individual decks lose and get eliminated on purpose.  The best solution to both of these problems, in my opinion, would be to have the amount of cards that get staged each round determined at Set-Up and depend upon the number of decks that start the game.  This might even still keep particularly strong suicide gift deck strategies viable, but at least there'd be more consideration to weighing the benefits and costs versus the current situation where it is (almost) always strictly better to just fill every empty seat the table with a suicide gift deck and the only reason not to do so is because it's cheesy and auto-wins.

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As a cooperative game, "best strategy" is not necessarily the highest-percentage-of-winning strategies.  The best strategy is the one you enjoy the most; if you don't enjoy playing suicide gift decks or playing with suicide gift decks, you'll stop doing it.  Changing the rules to discourage something you don't intend to do anyways seems a bad plan, especially if there are still people who enjoy doing it.  (Disclaimer -- I've never played with a suicide gift deck and have no intentions to do so.)

Aside from intentional suicide and strategic voluntary elimination, there's a third class of departing decks/players--those who weren't *intending* to be eliminated by the game, but were eliminated anyway.  I don't mind the game getting a bit easier in this case, especially since the departing deck often leaves some formerly-engaged enemies behind to bedevil the survivors.  Since that's the only case I actually experience, I would not be thrilled by a rule change punishing me in that situation just to discourage *voluntary* strategies that I have neither tried nor intended to try.

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