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Guarded, Surge, and Unwinnable Games

29 posts in this topic

richsabre said:

it would be interesting to hear from someone who had bought and played the core set recently without any input from players here or on other forums

it seems that many players find the game impossible but then easier after some tips…ive often gave a deck list to someone new who has went on to win, or tweaked their own decks with my advice and it has helped them, and thinking back over the last year and a half i think this just common now, but it makes me think… this what a game should be like? where you have to rely on guidance….perhaps some find this a fun aspect, but many i guess are put off by the difficulty early on.

i am no glaurung (sorry glaurung i mean no offense by that- but you are the perfect example for those who want harder quests)….i think i am in the middle/hard level ground here….i would prefer harder than, lets say hunt for gollum, quests, but certainly nowhere near lake town, or even the riddle quest. but thats not to say i want them all middling either, but that is obvious.

what ffg really need to do is introduce those cards that were rumoured a while back- the ones where you can add in to make the quests more difficult….then experienced players like myself and others can boost the 'standard' quests up, but they are still accessible to newer players.



New to the forums- but wanted make a short response to this (I could go on for a long time!) If you want to read- you can skip the first 3 paragraphs that really discuss my "noobness" to the game.

I just picked up this game two months ago and I have really been enjoying it.  I'm in college, so the amount of time I can put into it is sometimes minimal.  But I really enjoy this game for when I need to take a break from work- but still want to keep my brain going.  I also LOVE playing for that sense of accomplishment when you finally do win, thus, I do enjoy the difficulty at times.  I love those games that go so well, where it seems that every card drawn is somehow crucial to winning.  BUT, I cannot say that this is always my overall experience.  Before I get into that- I would like to talk about me as a newbie to the game first and put my overall experience out there.

When I first started playing I bought only the core set.  Opened it up, beat the first quest on the first try with a Tactics only deck.  Thought hey, this is pretty cool and super easy.  But then, I realized I was not playing the game correctly even after basically STUDYING the booklet (I would have been that kid who goes into a test thinking he's going to ace it, but receives an F instead).  I then sat down on my computer and watched about 20-30 minutes of someone playing and explaining the game.  When watching this, the game REALLY clicked instantly.  The video creator discussed strategy, but rather minimally.  If anything- he basically just gave a context as to how to think about the game/cards (and I disagreed with some his views right off the bat).  Essentially, though, the video really just helped me understand the fundamentals of the game.  I better understood the mechanics, and I could begin questing properly.  BUT, I must admit that I CONSTANTLY had to look up definitions to cards/examples while playing.  I got used to this pretty quickly, and as I figured out some cards I could begin to better understand others.  When I buy the expansion packs, I tend to try to play with the cards- and then look them up online afterwards to see what other people have to say (sometimes I find what I need, sometimes-ehh).  For instance- the songs cards immediately REALLY threw me off, and I don't really use them anymore (I think only instance is at carrock sometimes to get some leadership in there)

After the video, I jumped back into the game and beat the first quest with Tactics ionosphere deck again on first try, but correctly.  I repeated this with Leadership, but decided not to monosphere with spirit or lore.  I then moved on to Anduin, and booooy did it get tough quick!  But I enjoyed this, because it instantly made me to start deck building- and I adhered to the 50 card limit.  With limited options, it's quite easy to start deck building at the beginning- the game really just gets you to explore how the spheres mix.  I REALLY think the core does a good job at presenting the spheres in the core.  I then, after a few tries, did beat Anduin with a Leadership+Spirit deck, and since then I have also beat it with Tactics/Lore, and a trisphere deck (excluding tactics).  Yet, I have also had many, many losses. Some decks have worked better than others, but I always struggle to have one single deck really get me through the game.    

There's essentially a good and a bad that I have figured from this game.  BTW, I now own entire Mirkwood cycle- I play one at a time and am currently at EM.

1) The game is, varyingly randomized= leads to many different experiences.  I like games like Carrock/Rhos, that seem to set up the map and the expectations right off the map. Anduin does this too.  But, I am not always a fan of having to randomly draw more than one card on the first try (as in, draw card to begin 1A, then again in first quest phase-- this just leads to too much randomness).   I really enjoy how some of the early packs seem to set up scenarios more- often the more setup through out, the more I like it.  I love in Golum's first pack how you get to kind of choose the experience.  Etc. etc.    

I do like how different quests get you to build new decks- out ruling the 'one deck to rule them all' idea (while I'm sure it's pretty possible, I often use a certain deck of my own).  Also as the packs go along, new decks become apparent.  I enjoy experimenting with the new decks, and I love how a new deck can really create a whole new experience to a quest.  I really enjoy trying out new heroes, and often I can be surprised by the results.  

I have recently spent 15+ games of Rhos., and I have tried many different decks… this will lead me to the neg.

2) The varying randomization= bull sometimes.  I'm not talking about, oh no bad draw right away.  Not just one here or there- but the reoccurring, aggh there's nothing to do with all these draws.  I agree fully that you should try to build decks around scenarios (ie. the thread recently made on sleeping scentry). I do realize this randomness is one of the core elements of the game, and sometimes I think it can only be fixed by changing the mechanics.  

I have only played Rhos. solo (I play with one deck, and don't like to control two- makes me feel like I have a multi. personality disorder or something).  I have won sometimes, lost others.  But every single time, I feel like there was a strong element of luck.  I usually play with a combination of Tactics w/ one other sphere (even trisphere sometimes).  Yet, no matter what the experience- I feel like it often comes down to not being able to deal with the treachery cards.  Sometimes I just don't get through the deck fast enough.  Other times, I'm lucky and I get the objectives right away and just breeze through.  IDK, but I feel like this is all sloppy game mechanics.  I can build multiple decks- great- but if different decks yield really similar results, then I start to get a bit annoyed.  I don't know how Rhos. fairs for others solo- but I just think it is kind of broken.  Perhaps others have decks that win it all the time- but for me, even if a game is going REALLY well- a treachery card or bad scenario can just screw me over.


So essentially, this is my experience so far.  I love the game, I really do.  But sometimes, I just need to walk away.  I really want to be able to "conquer" each quest until I move on, but I have realized that this is not the way to play the game.  Sometimes you just have to move on.  I'm realizing, and I'm sure this will strengthen, that some games just are not meant for solo-players.  The only way I can see this game really gearing in differences versus amount of players is drying to minimize randomness, and create more set-up scenarios (even so far, I can already start to notice this).

I would also like to have more cards to deal with treacheries.  They can just be BS.  I don't always want to play spirit in my deck as a solo-player, but sometimes I'm forced to.  If not, then I have to cross my fingers too often sometimes.  I'm sure this goes better in two player… but even then, I wish that all spheres could somehow deal with treacheries better.  I also am hoping that the packs overall card pool seem more linked- I get drifts in the Mirkwood cycle, but sometimes there just seems to be bad cards/overly redundant… idk, entirely different conversation.

I have played the game two player some (with my girlfriend over a break).  And I must admit, I REALLY enjoyed the game more.  I really look forward to sitting down during winter break and playing it.  I like deck building solo- there's a lot of strategy- but it is often limited by some restrictions (they all have to serve some sort of basic function, etc.).  I think with two people that there is a lot more chance of variety.  


Anyways so yeah, I just really wanted to write a good deal and thought this was a nice post to reply to.  

This game has a bit of a learning curve.  You reach a happy place.  You accept that the randomization can be bull- and that's a big part of the fun, but it sometimes does seem almost broken.  I think a little more set-up would be fine.  But I do enjoy the idea that this game is NOT meant to be won all the time.  The idea of LOTR isn't sure victory- hence why I like how Rohan is a sacrificial deck.  LOTR is about surpassing great odds (something I think the board game also really shows well).  


Themewise, this game is just great! Couldn't be happier with it and I'm excited for future games.


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thanks alot for taking the time to post that

what you say seems very much like what i was feeling when the game first came out- i loved it, but it was frustrating at time

i think its worth saying that, in general, the bad sides you say do get better with the later packs……some are worse, but in general ffg seems to address problems that are picked up during play

i think that hiers of numenor will especially change this and add new elements to the game

quests like rhosgobel are nice in theme, but as a solo player i agree they are poorly designed, but this is something that most people will agree with. also quests like emyn muil are the opposite- far to linear and easily winnable.

i think ffg are finding the sweet spot between the two.


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mr.thomasschmidt said:


 Glad it wasn't a long answer ;) hehe nicely put though



haha- i once wrote something of that length a while back- i went to post it and the **** forum did that thing where it doesnt load and then goes to a blank page….argh…..

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