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Stenun

Into Ithilien: the first broken scenario?

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After a lot of tries with various strategies, the Three Hunters come through!

Strider/Gimli/Legolas with ranger spikes, peeking at the encounter deck, and pleanty of eagles won the day.

I was trying to get a secrecy strategy to work with Glorfindel(S),Legolas and Thalin but just couldn't quite make it. Mostly due to lack of healing.

I'm still convinced that a secrecy approach could work well with this scenario but you have to have Hands Upon the Bow to make it work.

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I really like this discussion about difficulty, and balancing it for experienced vs. new players. I feel like it is something that has come up many times. I feel like it wouldn't be too difficult to include with each quest, or at least with the big expansions some type of "easy mode", even if it's something like "remove the following cards from the encounter deck". On the other hand, for those who are reluctant to buy HoN because of difficulty, I'll be honest, the quests are definitely difficult, but I agree with those who are saying that it is possible to beat them without having the entire card pool available. A lot of times we may find ourselves crediting our victories to having more powerful cards, but its also the case that the more you play this game and talk about it and read about it, the better you become (which is why I disagree with those who say that the game is mostly luck). So while that may be a double strike against new players, if they are willing to give the game a chance and invest some time into it, the difficulty will ease with practice. I think it would be an interesting challenge to construct a deck with an older pool of cards and see if it can beat the HoN quests. 

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Raven1015 said:

I really like this discussion about difficulty, and balancing it for experienced vs. new players. I feel like it is something that has come up many times. I feel like it wouldn't be too difficult to include with each quest, or at least with the big expansions some type of "easy mode",

ironic that ffg are doing the exact opposite- making add on cards to make quests harder…..though i agree with you. ive seen alot of players give up and go because of the difficulty (in the early game)

rich

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Raven1015 said:

I really like this discussion about difficulty, and balancing it for experienced vs. new players. I feel like it is something that has come up many times. I feel like it wouldn't be too difficult to include with each quest, or at least with the big expansions some type of "easy mode", even if it's something like "remove the following cards from the encounter deck". On the other hand, for those who are reluctant to buy HoN because of difficulty, I'll be honest, the quests are definitely difficult, but I agree with those who are saying that it is possible to beat them without having the entire card pool available. A lot of times we may find ourselves crediting our victories to having more powerful cards, but its also the case that the more you play this game and talk about it and read about it, the better you become (which is why I disagree with those who say that the game is mostly luck). So while that may be a double strike against new players, if they are willing to give the game a chance and invest some time into it, the difficulty will ease with practice. I think it would be an interesting challenge to construct a deck with an older pool of cards and see if it can beat the HoN quests. 

Yes i always was for the system when players can change difficult by themself. I play this game long time and my friend also so for us most of the quest is boring to play cose we win all the time! I like to play for example Hunt for Gollum but problem is to easy for 2 or 3 players so we never play this quest anymore. Hope we will get some nightmare pack for SOM cycle so we can play old quests again with challenge.

We love HON!!! This level of difficulty we really waiting for long time.

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To make it harder, just add 1 more card during staging.

Still to easy? Add 1 more card, and so on till you reach desired difficulty.

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kennoastic said:

To make it harder, just add 1 more card during staging.

Still to easy? Add 1 more card, and so on till you reach desired difficulty.

The problem is reveal extra cards is doesn work.  We play this game long time already and you think we didn try this very first solution what can come in your mind?

Balance of the game is really fragile and 1 more card is easy destroy you special in begin.

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Glaurung said:

kennoastic said:

 

To make it harder, just add 1 more card during staging.

Still to easy? Add 1 more card, and so on till you reach desired difficulty.

 

 

The problem is reveal extra cards is doesn work.  We play this game long time already and you think we didn try this very first solution what can come in your mind?

Balance of the game is really fragile and 1 more card is easy destroy you special in begin.

sure it works. the solution is easy because it's good.
sometimes it seems to me that people want really hard quests but they never want to lose. a hard quest should feel like a real victory when you finally beat it after losing some times :)

i agree adding cards for 1 player the balance can be too hard to maintain. but for more players, especially 4, adding 1 card in staging is just 25% more cards in a 4-player game as opposed to 100% more when playing solo.

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kennoastic said:

Glaurung said:

 

kennoastic said:

 

To make it harder, just add 1 more card during staging.

Still to easy? Add 1 more card, and so on till you reach desired difficulty.

 

 

The problem is reveal extra cards is doesn work.  We play this game long time already and you think we didn try this very first solution what can come in your mind?

Balance of the game is really fragile and 1 more card is easy destroy you special in begin.

 

 

sure it works. the solution is easy because it's good.
sometimes it seems to me that people want really hard quests but they never want to lose. a hard quest should feel like a real victory when you finally beat it after losing some times :)

i agree adding cards for 1 player the balance can be too hard to maintain. but for more players, especially 4, adding 1 card in staging is just 25% more cards in a 4-player game as opposed to 100% more when playing solo.

 

But that is like giving AI extra money or units in games like Civilization or Total War, or cranking up your experience requirement to next level in MMORPG.

By tougher challenge gamers meant improved AI or better quest/content, not stacks after stacks of units or hours after hours of grinding.

 

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Well in multiplayer we have in every deck spirit hero and in every deck there is maximum number of changeling cards…

So Lore/spirit, Tacktic/spirit, Leadership/spirit Spirit/something is normal way of buiding decks against heavy treachery decks… This reguires guite many core sets, but is very viable way of making good multiplayer decks :-)

 

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Ouch… my first experience with this quest tonight was painful.  I was reminded of Journey Down the Anduin -- instead of a troll, you get a couple of Southron Companies in the first turn.  But there's no sneaking around those Companies, so the standard strategy for JDtA (low starting threat and build allies) isn't going to work here.  Oh, and here, have some threat in the staging area.  Maybe we'll see a hero in this cycle who can swap out the active location under certain conditions -- game changer for the early part of this quest.

 

 

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At least Into Ithilien make me consider cards I've never considered is viable.

At this moment I am thinking of Thicket of Spears with Hama, Out of the Wild, Shadow of the Past and a whole lot of other cards allowing encounter deck manipulation.

The player cards are becoming very strong that makes nearly all of previous scenarios too easily, at least this is a challenge instead of beating the scenario ten minutes after it come out and wait for next one.

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revolution.hk said:

At least Into Ithilien make me consider cards I've never considered is viable.

At this moment I am thinking of Thicket of Spears with Hama, Out of the Wild, Shadow of the Past and a whole lot of other cards allowing encounter deck manipulation.

The player cards are becoming very strong that makes nearly all of previous scenarios too easily, at least this is a challenge instead of beating the scenario ten minutes after it come out and wait for next one.

Agree with you 100%!!!

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The problem that I think many are missing, though, is that Into Ithilien is too reliant on luck.

Not just hard cards like the Mumak (which I have no problems with but question its inclusion in an apparently "Difficulty 4" scenarion) but broken cards like Blocking Wards.  If Blocking Wargs is the last card in the scenario deck, it's game over.  Not "it suddenly gets a lot harder", the game enters an infinite loop.  Even the idea of Blocking Wargs is ridiculous - wound every questing character and there are four copies of the card in the deck.  How many characters can take all four without dying or healing?

This is a different play experience from the difficulty of the Mumak - it's not difficult, it's just cheesey.  There's no skill involved, no tactics, just luck.  I would happily take out all four copies of Blocking Wargs out of the deck in exchange for 2 more Mumaks.

 

I have no problem with genuine difficulty but Into Ithilien is not it.

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I don't think this scenario is "unfair" or purely luck based. If you're having trouble with really difficult treachery cards, remember that we have ways of dealing with bad treachery cards.

I just had a great game with Imrahil/Eleanor/Boromir(New) where I scored 86 and it would have been ruined by Blocking Wargs if I didn't have Eleanor and Test of Will.

We also have Denethor, Out of the Wild, Shed Some Light, etc. to help avoid Treachery cards.

I've had the hardest time with 2 players against Into Ithilien. My brother and I played 6 games in a row and lost every one. I simply take this as an awesome challenge, re-tool our decks and get back in there!

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As it the case with most things, the truth is probably on neither end of the spectrum being discussed.  The scenario is not totally broken (with the designer-acknowledged exception of the Blocking Wargs infinite loop, an admitted oversight).  Neither is it aptly-described as simply a challenging scenario which rewards players for thoughtfully constructing their decks.  That description fails to capture the heavily luck-dependent path to victory of any successful attempt at this scenario.  

I think at present, even the perfect deck will fail at this scenario more than 50% of the time.  Can anyone claim better performance?  Or even a 50% win rate?  There are some very smart players on this board (many who are pleased with this scenario, I will add).  However, even with their insights, there has not yet arisen a strategy for tackling this scenario that does not depend on optimal draw from both the player deck and the encounter deck.  Therefore we can only describe Into Ithilien as a challenging scenario which requires both advanced tactics and a lot of luck.  And honestly I think if you sit down and play 7 games in a row, winning only 1 of them, you cannot credit yourself with great tactics or deck construction for the win.  You have to credit beating the odds and pulling just the right cards, which is little testament to the skill of the player.  However, that skill has to -- has to! -- be present for the perfect victory conditions to ever present themselves in the first place.

I like what Valryian Steel said over in this thread: "Every card in this scenario is just brutal and there is absolutely no breathing room."  Very succintly put.

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Yeah i think that the only way to beat this scenario right now is getting the right cards at the right moment and hoping the encounter deck shows a little mercy. I think that if there were 2 blocking wargs instead of 4 it would be more doable because generally you want to cancel blocking wargs but there are other treacheries that can really ruin your day.

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I didn't say so above, but I don't really have any problem with this scenario.  It's super hard, and that caters to people who like super hard scenarios.  Good for FFG!  I'm not really in that crowd, but I will certainly play this scenario until I beat it at least once :) 

I don't think the difficulty rating of "4" is even a valid talking point, really.  Obviously FFG's system for determining difficulty is busted in a big way.  No one in this thread is arguing that it deserves the rating it got.  I would really love to see a "making of" segment from FFG and to hear how they determined this rating -- for this scenario, specifically.  Anyway, I'm happy to consider it a typo.

But yeah… hard scenario.  Stupid elephant!!

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I agree with Narsil0420, we have some tools to deal with real bad treachery cards, and there's bad ones in a lot of quests. I will say, if anything, I wouldn't mind just a couple more cards to deal with treacheries for the other spheres though.

GrandSpleen said:

I think at present, even the perfect deck will fail at this scenario more than 50% of the time.  Can anyone claim better performance?  Or even a 50% win rate?  There are some very smart players on this board (many who are pleased with this scenario, I will add).  However, even with their insights, there has not yet arisen a strategy for tackling this scenario that does not depend on optimal draw from both the player deck and the encounter deck.

You will EASILY beat this quest over 50% of the time with the Erebor Hammersmith loop deck. But I don't think we want to count that. ^_^

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attempted the scenario 3 more times today with 3 players…got steamrolled each time.  Blocking wargs into blocking wargs.  We succesfully cleared ithlian road first turn too each time.  rough stuff

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@Mattr0polis -- no way.  Impossible to set up that 5-card combo in this quest!  And, if it didn't happen in at least 2 separate games, it's an accident of fate! :)  Seriously though, I really doubt you could achieve the Erebor Hammersmith loop in even 50% of Into Ithilien attempts.  

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I haven't posted on here for an age, but I feel like sticking my two oars in on this topic.  I attempted Into Ithlien 6 times in a 2P game and we got beat in every game.  We won on the seventh attempt but I don't think either of us got any satisfaction out of it because this quest simply isn't about tactics or strategy.  We won because we were lucky to avoid all the crap cards.

Now I'm not one of these who believe this is a game of pure luck.  But thinking back to some of the difficult older scenarios, especially the likes of some in the Khazad-dum pack and following expansions, I remember having a lot of trouble at times but I felt that when I finally beat the scenario, it was because I'd adopted a winning strategy with a well built deck, and thereafter could consistently beat it more often than not.

I didn't get this feeling at all with Into Ithilien, and my partner agreed.  So we were dreading cair andros naturally… but after a few defeats and adjusting our decks and strategy… we won and can now consistently win and that nice fuzzy feeling of satisfaction is back because I know that it was us that beat the scenario and not Lady Luck.

Into Ithilien is simply an ill-designed scenario, and it baffles me how lots of players (mostly the old-timers, 'experienced' players, funnily enough) refuse to accept this.  Is it denial? I dont know, but I do know  FFG can't always get it right which is to be expected.  They've done some brilliant scenarios and some duff ones, and this is the latter.  But if anybody claims to be able to beat this scenario more than 50% of the time in a 2P game, please post me your decks and let me know what I'm doing wrong sonreir  

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GrandSpleen said:

 

@Mattr0polis -- no way.  Impossible to set up that 5-card combo in this quest!  And, if it didn't happen in at least 2 separate games, it's an accident of fate! :)  Seriously though, I really doubt you could achieve the Erebor Hammersmith loop in even 50% of Into Ithilien attempts.  

 

 

Heh, you underestimate those decks. I urge you to try them. We've still yet to have a game where I got the combo out later than turn 3. And Blocking Wargs barely hurts me because usually only Thalin I'll send questing here. There's some brutal enemies that will kill some of my friend's heroes but as long as, in that timeframe, they don't lose all 3 heroes and get fully knocked out of the game we can come all the way back.

That deck is stupid.

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I'm with you on this one, Stenun. The new lead designer has me questioning whether or not I want to continue with LotR. I play multiplayer in a three or four-man group and the quality of the scenarios has taken a noticible turn ever since the designer switch. It's not the difficulty that bothers me. Everybody likes a challenge to break the tedium. The new designs greatly favor one, maybe two players. The mechanics used are simply not fun. Stamping Surge and Doom on more cards certainly adds difficulty but nothing dynamic or interesting. Archery is new but all it does is unavoidable damage. Battle and Siege are interesting changes that we were excited about until we played the last scenario of EoN in which you have enemy cards that can one-shot the best defenders currently available and make questing during a Seige laughably difficult, especially if you have a seven encounter card (even after a cancel) Surge cascade in a three player game.

 

I'm all for difficulty. However, I'm much more for balance and playtesting. I remember remarking to one of the FFG employees at Gencon that the Laketown scenario we were playing was flawed because the Tactics sphere had absolutely no use at all. The employee didn't seem phased and I don't blame him, there are plenty of trolls out there that don't offer much in the way of constructive criticism but I was disappointed that something as major as that slipped right by and into a printed scenario. Going to stick with the game for now but I really don't want to hear, "So, is anybody having fun with this?" asked at the table again. It was very disheartening.

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Hauptmann said:

I'm all for difficulty. However, I'm much more for balance and playtesting. I remember remarking to one of the FFG employees at Gencon that the Laketown scenario we were playing was flawed because the Tactics sphere had absolutely no use at all. The employee didn't seem phased and I don't blame him, there are plenty of trolls out there that don't offer much in the way of constructive criticism but I was disappointed that something as major as that slipped right by and into a printed scenario. Going to stick with the game for now but I really don't want to hear, "So, is anybody having fun with this?" asked at the table again. It was very disheartening.

I know this is off-topic but I couldn't help but comment on this.

I never actually noticed this problem because I treated Tactics like it didin't exist until Heirs of Numenor expansion.
But how ironic is it that the sphere that represent Battle-Strength is absolutely useless in slaying the last firebreathing dragon.

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