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Legolas of Darkwood said:

Easy mode is nice, but no, I don't think the "old story" is solved unless the standard game manages to provide a better balance between challenge, fun and success for the average casual people. At the moment LotR is (very much to my sadness) frustrating and scaring away old players and having a hard job attracting new ones.

This has been my observation. Fine if it works for you.

Legolas of Darkwood said:

Easy mode is nice, but no, I don't think the "old story" is solved unless the standard game manages to provide a better balance between challenge, fun and success for the average casual people. At the moment LotR is (very much to my sadness) frustrating and scaring away old players and having a hard job attracting new ones.

This has been my observation. Fine if it works for you.

 Game is grow and more and more players play it now. And with easy mode casual players will be more happy. I tell you people who really spend money is not casual players. I have discuss with many players ans most of the plyers who complain about the game difficulty have only 1 set and couple of packs they dont have much time ot play game and they stop to play game anyway very shortly. Anyway i think we will not come to any points here with you so i better keep silence. Im here anyway for 2 yers already from the begin and im still here and i do love this game, create community in my city to play this game make a some videos you can see on youtube and im pretty sure the game way now is right way. SInce they create a easy mode diffcult not go down generaly. And if you spend more time with this game your level will go up and you will be also ok.

Yesterday me and my friend play 2 games. first game Dol-Guldor nightmare we lost. Second one Dol-Gudlor NIghtmare we win. OK. so we move to the last quest in HON Cair-Adros. We lost all 3 games. So wi won only 1 game with a good very powerful good decks. So should i right emal to FFG to complain about difficulty?  We have a great fun to try to win. All games was cool was a lot of dangerous decisions and encounter deck give us hell. OS now we get motivation to build up even better decks… this how is works. Struggle is always good. this make you better or you can give up. But all Tolkien book is about it. So how the way to Mordor can be easy? We cannot touch main stream of the game. Easy mode is a good solution.

If i insult you somehow sorry.

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Ellareth said:

Legolas of Darkwood said:

 

unless the standard game manages to provide a better balance between challenge, fun and success for the average casual people.

 

 

I think standard games are already there.
Barring Print on Demands (which is clearly not meant for casual play), Last adventure pack of cycle (which should be above average challenge because it is finale), and Delux Expansions (which I think have higher difficulty on purpose so people would want/need to have player cards from relative cycle), the game isn't really that difficult.

The Saga expansions are especially well designed that I see many people saying they have gotten Core Set + Saga Expansions and are having good time.

I definitely don't want every scenario to be as difficult as Laketown or Dol Guldur, but I would hate to see every quest being as easy as Passage through Mirkwood. If a new expansion is 'fun and sucess' for player who builds thematic decks from limited card pool, what would it be like for people who are into deck-building and has all the card pool?

Now that there are Easy Mode (that doesn't need anything extra) for casual players and Nightmare Mode soon to be available for those people who are willing to spend few extra dollars for added dificulty, I think Standard Mode should keep the trend it has; initially difficult Delux Expansion (so people can have fun losing while waiting for Cycle to properly launch), relatively easier first 5 AP with gradual increase in difficulty (so we can go through them once a month) then relatively difficult final chapter (so we can have fun losing while waiting for next Delux expansion) while increasing difficulty between Cycles to keep up with the powercreep of Player cards.

 

100% agreed.

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Rapier said:

 

Honestly I don't see the point.

What I mean is - this isn't FFG adding anything, all they're saying is take out the hardest cards and start with a resource. This isn't exactly an amazing inovation.

We already had an easy mode where they suggested playing without shadow cards.

 

If I had suggested starting with bonus resources (as a fan suggestion) people would have been saying it was cheating… I don't get why people are fooled into thinking this is any different.

(MInd you, I never objected to peopple taking out cards they didn't enjoy anyway - which is essentially what this change suggests). 

 

 

You're superficially correct, but I think there is a material difference between voluntarily adding/removing encounter cards to adjust difficulty and doing so according to officially sanctioned guidlines published by FFG. You're right that it's not an "amazing innovation," but it is important. Prior to this announcment, altering the encounter deck of one's own accord resided in the same psychologically uncomfortable zone as the classic "let's just ignore that encounter card and reveal another one" play. It was formally cheating. Some players were certainly fine with that, but I know many others didn't want to "cheat" in order to enjoy the game. 

Now that Easy Mode exists, that self-imposed stigma no longer needs to apply. Players can adjust the difficulty to suit their tastes without feeling as if they are circumventing the official rules. Additionally, the Easy Mode document provides a level of standardization that was previously absent. All of this results in a less challenging game experience but one that retains an important degree of legitimacy. It's one thing to make up your own rules; it's another thing entirely for the publisher to say, "Here's another way to play our game. You can play this way and it's totally fine. You aren't cheating." That means a lot to many players.

I say this as a very experienced LotR player who will probably never use the Easy Mode variant: it is a fantastic and necessary addition to the game. It will only help bring jilted players back into the fold by providing them with a new way to play--and, hopefully, succeed--without feeling as though they are breaking the rules. The official blessing from FFG is significant in and of itself.

 

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Glaurung said:

Yesterday me and my friend play 2 games. first game Dol-Guldor nightmare we lost. Second one Dol-Gudlor NIghtmare we win. OK. so we move to the last quest in HON Cair-Adros. We lost all 3 games. So wi won only 1 game with a good very powerful good decks. So should i right emal to FFG to complain about difficulty?  We have a great fun to try to win. All games was cool was a lot of dangerous decisions and encounter deck give us hell. OS now we get motivation to build up even better decks… this how is works. Struggle is always good. this make you better or you can give up. But all Tolkien book is about it. So how the way to Mordor can be easy? We cannot touch main stream of the game. Easy mode is a good solution.

This is allso my view of things. This game can become really borong if it is too easy. You like to play nightmare version and it suit nicely to you. I normally play normal version and I am guite happy with them. I know that I could have even better succes with a little bit more Boromir like deck building, but there is a little pard of Pippin and Bilbo player in me, so normal difficulty seems to be the best for me. And now easy mode make the life of any casual and Pippin / Bilbo players much easier. Like someone above said the extra resource in the beginning is very powerfull ability. It does not brake the game and the story reamains relatively same. If it feels too easy, maybe take only that starting resource and give it a try. In anyway I am guite happy to see an "official" solution to different difficulties (levels) to this game. It is a guite common way of solwing problems in coop games. Pandemia has diffuculty levels, Sinking Island have them, The Nazgul board game has them. Nice to see them in this game too!

 

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Started playing this game a month 1/2 ago. I only owned 1 core set till this week when my store received my order for The Hunt for Gollum, Conflick at the Carrock & The Hills of Emyn Muil. Will get A Journey to Rhosgobel tomorrow. I only played solo so far and you can say I'm a bad deck builder. I had already beaten Passage Through Mirkwood.

I tried the game on easy mode and had no difficulties beating Passage again. Couldn't beat Journey along the Anduin with my leadership/spirit deck so switched to tactics/spirit and got it in my first try. Then tried Escape from Dol Guldur………! is it possible to defeat that stage in solo??? the 3 objectives had a total of 6 menace before my first turn…

So far I like easy mode and quest that I managed to defeat in easy mode I will try later in normal mode.

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Zalrus9 said:

One of the faults I find of this game is that the difficulty comes from a lot of "screw you" cards (I'm looking at you, Sleeping Sentry!). With those out of the way, I'm excited to see how the quests turn out. Will they become more fun, or more boring?

Exactly! I actually didn't mind the difficulty of scenarios per se, but rather how they achieve to amp up the difficulty. Basically adding cards saying 'You are f***ed. You lose the game.' simply isn't fun.

With easy mode this part of the problem is addressed. But I cannot shake the feeling it's 'too little, too late'. Everyone I know who had been playing the game has already stopped and sold their collection. The vocal-minority Glaurung faction has already taken over.

Myself, I was tempted to stop buying more cards after 'The Shadow & Flame' but was able to win after building two decks specifically to beat it. But I'm simply not interested in building decks specifically suited for a single scenario. The deck-building part of the game is simply not the fun part of the game for me, particularly since building such a deck takes longer than playing the actual scenario.

Then I hit the next brick wall with the 'Ithilien' scenario from the Numenor box. I never even got past the first stage, deck-building or no. Today, I replayed it on 'Easy'-mode and managed to get to the 4th stage in my second game. I still didn't win but after reading this thread I noticed that I forgot about the double starting resources… But now, for the first time, the scenario seems managable.

Still, I'm wondering if the game shouldn't best be viewed as a failed experiment. Is an LCG really the best format for this kind of game? I'm more and more inclined to think that a 'standard' game game with fixed player cards and scenarios that are play-tested to offer a moderate challenge for these standard decks would have been better.

I'm still on the fence if I really want to invest more money in this game.

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jhaelen said:

Zalrus9 said:

 

One of the faults I find of this game is that the difficulty comes from a lot of "screw you" cards (I'm looking at you, Sleeping Sentry!). With those out of the way, I'm excited to see how the quests turn out. Will they become more fun, or more boring?

 

Exactly! I actually didn't mind the difficulty of scenarios per se, but rather how they achieve to amp up the difficulty. Basically adding cards saying 'You are f***ed. You lose the game.' simply isn't fun.

 

With easy mode this part of the problem is addressed. But I cannot shake the feeling it's 'too little, too late'. Everyone I know who had been playing the game has already stopped and sold their collection. The vocal-minority Glaurung faction has already taken over.

Myself, I was tempted to stop buying more cards after 'The Shadow & Flame' but was able to win after building two decks specifically to beat it. But I'm simply not interested in building decks specifically suited for a single scenario. The deck-building part of the game is simply not the fun part of the game for me, particularly since building such a deck takes longer than playing the actual scenario.

Then I hit the next brick wall with the 'Ithilien' scenario from the Numenor box. I never even got past the first stage, deck-building or no. Today, I replayed it on 'Easy'-mode and managed to get to the 4th stage in my second game. I still didn't win but after reading this thread I noticed that I forgot about the double starting resources… But now, for the first time, the scenario seems managable.

Still, I'm wondering if the game shouldn't best be viewed as a failed experiment. Is an LCG really the best format for this kind of game? I'm more and more inclined to think that a 'standard' game game with fixed player cards and scenarios that are play-tested to offer a moderate challenge for these standard decks would have been better.

I'm still on the fence if I really want to invest more money in this game.

I don't think this LCG is a failed expereiment. I really like how this game can expand, yet still allow for deckbuilding, and the easy mode makes some more Pippin-like decks succeed for the harder scenarios. I also really don't like making a deck just to beat a scenario, because I really like to build a deck based on theme and synergy, not playing the metagame. 

I still have faith in this format, but you are of course right in your opnion! I do understand that there are some in this community that will make you feel bad, but they really have no right to belittle people's views. Shame on those people! I'm sure things will be all right in the end, though.

(however, if a fixed deck thing is more your wheelhouse and you like superheroes, then Sentinels of the Multiverse is a good co-op)

 

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I agree with much of what jhaelen said. The game isn't "hard".. but it relies on random game over card effects. Effects that have nothing to do with skill or deck building… it is just the luck of the draw. I have only recently come back as the nightmare packs really interest me… but I stopped playing because I found it frustrating that my time and effort in deck building was meaningless. .. well in some cases. So for me it is not about difficultly.. as the game isn't "difficult" it is just that at any turn you can die instantly.

There is just NO way that a analogue AI like a dummy draw deck can deal with a human deck builder.. there is just no way.. (though Kingdom Death's AI cards are giving it a real try!) So once the pool gets larger and people start making powerful decks and get used to the quest, there is really NO WAY you can loose. The only way around this is to put in a mechanism called "setback".. it is used in many games that require dummy decks. Random draws that are pure luck and can greatly effect the player position. Sure there are cards that can help if you have them in hand, but even that was not enough and now there are many cards with effects that can not be canceled, you draw it you die. Put simply it is a bad game design period.

Now the game is a fun game, and some people do not mind the randomness off it. I enjoy it a lot, and play it now and then but I like to feel that I can make strategic decisions about my deck and the way I play it.. in this game it is simply not like that. You make a good deck and it snowballs into unstoppable power, or you hit the setbacks and limp over the line or more recently loose. There is no deck, or skill that can get past this… this game is more like Black Jack than a CCG.

Can it be fun? Sure.. winning is not the point of a game, as Glaurung's Dol Gol Dur story shows, it can still be fun, a lot of fun. I have fun playing it. This fact though dose not remove the point that there is a fundamentally bad game design at the very core of this game that will always cause threads about difficulty, house rule fixes, rage threads.. etc etc. It has been like that form day 1.. and it will never change.. and you know why? Because the game itself is flawed.

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It seems that most complainers miss some important characteristics of this game:

  1. Cards are dealt randomly. Which means games are unpredictable. Which means players must evaluate their decisions' risks to succes. Luck is a part of this game and sometimes it will favour the players, and sometimes the Encounter deck. But that's only a part of the game, skilled players adapt to those risks to minimize their impact. Only less skilled "players" see this game like a lotery.
  2. It's hard because it has to be. There's no human oponent to adapt to the player. There's no interest in effortless wining: there's no replay value because you'll beat the game again. No effort = no fun.
  3. It's a game, not a story. Should it be based on Dungeons and Dragons or some other similar franchise, people wouldn't complain on the "narrative aspects".

Those people should try videogames, where stuff is less random and much more casual-friendly. Or those books that develop depending on reader decissions going from page to page. I don't understand why they wan't to break this game. They should have learned how this game works (yes, invest time on it) right when they bought the Core Set and think how they liked it, instead of investing their money on more expansions just because it's based on a theme they like.

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karagh said:

 

It seems that most complainers miss some important characteristics of this game:

  1. Cards are dealt randomly. Which means games are unpredictable. Which means players must evaluate their decisions' risks to succes. Luck is a part of this game and sometimes it will favour the players, and sometimes the Encounter deck. But that's only a part of the game, skilled players adapt to those risks to minimize their impact. Only less skilled "players" see this game like a lotery.
  2. It's hard because it has to be. There's no human oponent to adapt to the player. There's no interest in effortless wining: there's no replay value because you'll beat the game again. No effort = no fun.
  3. It's a game, not a story. Should it be based on Dungeons and Dragons or some other similar franchise, people wouldn't complain on the "narrative aspects".

Those people should try videogames, where stuff is less random and much more casual-friendly. Or those books that develop depending on reader decissions going from page to page. I don't understand why they wan't to break this game. They should have learned how this game works (yes, invest time on it) right when they bought the Core Set and think how they liked it, instead of investing their money on more expansions just because it's based on a theme they like.

 

 

Nice post, Karagh; you've articulated what I've been thinking a lot about lately - that this game has a very divergent fan base.

Everyone I know who plays this game likes LOTR but would also think of themselves as a somewhat serious gamer (or, at least, not casual). I don't know anyone at my local game store who simply plays the game for the "theme," has no interest in deck building, tweaking decks for each quest, etc. We all come from a background of playing other LCGs/CCGs, so it's sort of a natural evolution to this game.

On the Forums, however, there seem to be a large contingent of "casual" players with less interest in deck building, outside of theme decks, and want to play for the story.

But, I think you are right - if narrative is what you are after, there are perhaps better venues (RPGs, video games, board games, etc) as opposed to a card game - which never seem to tell a story all too well (though, certianly, some succeed better than others). Additionally, theme decks in many games are never nearly as powerful as carefully constructed decks are. That's not to say they never work, but LOTR:LCG is so young in it's life cylce (we don't really get all that many new player cards per year, for example) that there hasn't been time to develop the themes for many major races in Middle Earth.

Given that this is a living game, and we keep getting better and better player cards, I don't think the quests should be getting "easier;" rather, they do need to keep pace with the power of the player cards (power creep is laregely unavoidable in any LCG/CCG). It really isn't all that fun to play a game that you know before you ever sit down that you are going to win. The fun of games is the chance of losing.

Even still, Easy/Narrative Mode is a good fix for those looking for something different out of this game and I welcome it whole-heartedly, even if I'll probably never use it, as I seek out the challenge. Some are just a glutton for punishment, I guess. ;)

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Dain Ironfoot said:

karagh said:

 

It seems that most complainers miss some important characteristics of this game:

  1. Cards are dealt randomly. Which means games are unpredictable. Which means players must evaluate their decisions' risks to succes. Luck is a part of this game and sometimes it will favour the players, and sometimes the Encounter deck. But that's only a part of the game, skilled players adapt to those risks to minimize their impact. Only less skilled "players" see this game like a lotery.
  2. It's hard because it has to be. There's no human oponent to adapt to the player. There's no interest in effortless wining: there's no replay value because you'll beat the game again. No effort = no fun.
  3. It's a game, not a story. Should it be based on Dungeons and Dragons or some other similar franchise, people wouldn't complain on the "narrative aspects".

Those people should try videogames, where stuff is less random and much more casual-friendly. Or those books that develop depending on reader decissions going from page to page. I don't understand why they wan't to break this game. They should have learned how this game works (yes, invest time on it) right when they bought the Core Set and think how they liked it, instead of investing their money on more expansions just because it's based on a theme they like.

 

 

Nice post, Karagh; you've articulated what I've been thinking a lot about lately - that this game has a very divergent fan base.

Everyone I know who plays this game likes LOTR but would also think of themselves as a somewhat serious gamer (or, at least, not casual). I don't know anyone at my local game store who simply plays the game for the "theme" and has no interest in deck building, tweaking decks for each quest, etc. We all come from a background of playing other LCGs/CCGs, so it's sort of a natural evolution to this game.

On the Forum's, however, there seem to be a large contingent of "casual" players with less interest in deck building, outside of theme decks, and want to play for the story.

But, I think you are right - if narrative is what you are after, there are perhaps better venues (RPGs, video games, board games, etc) as opposed to a card game - which never seem to tell a story all too well (though, certianly, some succeed better than others). Additionally, theme decks in many games are never nearly as powerful as carefully constructed decks are. That's not to say they never work, but LOTR:LCG is so young in it's life cylce (we don't really get all that many new player cards per year, for example) that there hasn't been time to develop the themes for many major races in Middle Earth.

Given that this is a living game, and we keep getting better and better player cards, I don't think the quests should be getting "easier;" rather, they do need to keep pace with the power of the player cards (power creep is laregely unavoidable in any LCG/CCG). It really isn't all that fun to play a game that you know before you ever sit down that you are going to win. The fun of games is the chance of losing.

Even still, Easy/Narrative Mode is a good fix for those looking for something different out of this game and I welcome it whole-heartedly, even if I'll probably never use it, as I seek out the challenge. Some are just a glutton for punishment, I guess. ;)

Yes yes agree. 

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I may be wrong here, but I would bet that a lot of the casual players who seek a easier/more thematic game are like myself, solo players. For a game that is pushed as being for 1 to 4 players, solo play is incredibly hard a lot of the time. Rather than come up with an easy mode, though a good idea, would be for FFG to sort out a solo player mode that doesn't involve removing cards. We want a reasonable challenge not a walk over I'm sure.

Pressuring FFG for harder and harder isn't helping the casual player side of the market. I'm sure that a lot of us picked this game up because of the supposed accessibility for solo play.

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The_Big_Show said:

Rather than come up with an easy mode, though a good idea, would be for FFG to sort out a solo player mode that doesn't involve removing cards. We want a reasonable challenge not a walk over I'm sure.

What's funny about this statement is that I tried the "easy" mode for Into Ithilien a couple times after not being to complete it after about 12 attempts.  So, I remove the cards and it almost removed half the deck - literally.  My thinking was that we shouldn't be eliminating cards, we should be "adding" some softer cards to give casual players a breather and reduce the probability of drawing f-you cards constantly.  Anyway, I still did not defeat Into Ithilien on easy, so I just reconstructed my deck, put all the cards back in the deck, and then beat it on my sixth attempt with the new deck.  Regardless, I think adding easy mode cards would be better than eliminating anything.  Probably too late now, but its too bad they could release an easy card pack and we can just include those into decks.

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Gunny_J said:

The_Big_Show said:

 

Rather than come up with an easy mode, though a good idea, would be for FFG to sort out a solo player mode that doesn't involve removing cards. We want a reasonable challenge not a walk over I'm sure.

 

What's funny about this statement is that I tried the "easy" mode for Into Ithilien a couple times after not being to complete it after about 12 attempts.  So, I remove the cards and it almost removed half the deck - literally.  My thinking was that we shouldn't be eliminating cards, we should be "adding" some softer cards to give casual players a breather and reduce the probability of drawing f-you cards constantly.  Anyway, I still did not defeat Into Ithilien on easy, so I just reconstructed my deck, put all the cards back in the deck, and then beat it on my sixth attempt with the new deck.  Regardless, I think adding easy mode cards would be better than eliminating anything.  Probably too late now, but its too bad they could release an easy card pack and we can just include those into decks.

A set of generic "easy" cards that could be put into encounter decks would actually be a nice idea. Still possible as a POD product but would need some serious work to make sure they were worth while.

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I don't get it when people say game isn't hard but just have few random 'you lose' cards.
Making decisions to prepare and overcome those 'you lose' cards is the challenge of the game.

If you have a feint or test of will in hand, you hang on to your resource instead of spending it on an ally or attachments so you can actually play those events whenever needed.
If you know a direct damage to defender shadow cards are out there (like blocking wargs shadow), you don't block with whimpy allies unless your hero can tank unexpected undefended attacks.
When there is direct damaging trechery cards (like swarming insects), save your 1hp healer ally until those trecheries are discarded or when you absolutely need healing.
You don't quest with heroes only when there is a sudden pitfall in encounter deck, you take few threats until you've got an ally out.

It is true that there are few scenarios that does require tailored deck and reasonable luck for consistent victory (looking at you rhosgobel), but some scenarios are more about how you play than luck or deck building (especially true for osgiliath or ithilien where every decision does matter).
Obviously lucky draws mean better score, but good tactics could change lost cause into a victory.

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karagh said:

They should have learned how this game works (yes, invest time on it) right when they bought the Core Set and think how they liked it, instead of investing their money on more expansions just because it's based on a theme they like.

The thing is: I've played exactly 199 games so far and up until 'Shadow and Flame' I was able to beat every scenario without having to deckbuild. That is, I basically created four mono-sphere decks by including a copy of (almost) every card for a sphere, doubling some of the allies cards until I had about 30 allies in the deck. I then picked three heroes for each deck and tried to beat a scenario with different combinations of decks. Sometimes I won 5 of 6 games, sometimes only 1 in 6. But I always felt that I had a chance - even in the Battle of Lake Town POD scenario.

This first changed with 'Shadow and Flame'. It was the first scenario I built decks specifically to beat it. And this was also when I first thought of stopping to invest in the game.

Now, enter the Numenor set. I still managed to beat the first scenario using the (slightly modified) decks I had used to beat 'Shadow and Flame', but in the Ithilien scenario I didn't even make any kind of progress in the first stage. And worse, I didn't really have any good idea how to change the decks to beat it.

As far as I know, the Numenor set wasn't advertised as 'only Pro's need apply'. There was no way for me to tell in advance it would be so friggin hard. Even the difficulty ratings given offer no hint (difficulty 4 for Ithilien?! Who do they think they're kidding? I'd say it's about a nine).

And to give an example what I hate about the scenario: Some of the worst effects in the story deck are 'Forced:' effects instead of 'When Revealed'. Likewise some locations are 'immune to player card effects'. Or a shadow card effect that 'cannnot be canceled'.

So basically, the designers are giving us cards to deal with effects and then design the story cards so that these cards are useless. Imho, this is a big no, no.

Now, with Easy Mode I've finally beaten the Ithilien scenario in my third attempt and it was very, very close, even though I played it very, very safe. Basically, exactly how I like my difficulty. Some of the 'screw you' cards are still in the story deck, but there are fewer, so you can better plan for them.

We'll see how I fare in the third scenario. I'll first try in in standard mode, of course, but I'm not optimistic.

What I've been wondering is this: Aren't the cards for an entire cycle designed at the same time? If so, I have a feeling, the player cards required to beat the scenarios of the cycle started with the Numenor box reliably will only be available after the cycle is complete. Thinking back to the Khazad-Dum cycle, wasn't it exactly like that? The until-recently-dominant dwarf decks grew in power with each new AP released. If so, maybe I should just shelf the Numenor box and wait until the cycle is complete and play them then with decks built around the new cards.

TL;DR: What I'm looking for are scenarios that you have a chance to win with an all-purpose deck, even if it takes several (say up to six ^^) tries. Even better would be scenarios that can be beaten using different strategies (i.e. spheres). That's actually what I had been hoping for in the beginning: Scenarios that play differently depending on your choice of spheres. I did not look for a game that revolves around finding the one deck that is the only way to win a scenario.

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jhaelen said:

 

karagh said:

What I've been wondering is this: Aren't the cards for an entire cycle designed at the same time? If so, I have a feeling, the player cards required to beat the scenarios of the cycle started with the Numenor box reliably will only be available after the cycle is complete. Thinking back to the Khazad-Dum cycle, wasn't it exactly like that? The until-recently-dominant dwarf decks grew in power with each new AP released. If so, maybe I should just shelf the Numenor box and wait until the cycle is complete and play them then with decks built around the new cards.

TL;DR: What I'm looking for are scenarios that you have a chance to win with an all-purpose deck, even if it takes several (say up to six ^^) tries. Even better would be scenarios that can be beaten using different strategies (i.e. spheres). That's actually what I had been hoping for in the beginning: Scenarios that play differently depending on your choice of spheres. I did not look for a game that revolves around finding the one deck that is the only way to win a scenario.

 

 

Yes, all of the cards for a cycle are designed and playtested at once.

I've never had to really, specifically deck build for a quest, with the exception of adding healing to Rhosgobel. Shadow and Flame was simply "chump block for the win." (meaning, never completely destroy a deck and only include cards I think would apply only to a given scenario - but i do add and take away lots of different things dependent on Battle/Siege/WP questing, etc.)

HoN is certainly more difficult, but other than knowing I needed to Battle and Siege quest (and therefore include heroes and allies that are good at that) I didn't deck build for it specifically and was able to win all of the quests.

As for the Forced effects that cannot be cancelled, I think that's a good thing. If every effect was easily negated, the encounter deck has little to no chance against a human player. Some of the negative effects must be able to go off, I think. So, IMHO, it's a good thing to have cards immune to certain player effects. Now, if every encounter card was, that'd be a bit extreme - but it's usually only a handful and that's fine by me. You have to think outside the box for how you want to approach that particular adventure.

At the end of the day, this is a card game. And every card game of this genre, dating back to Magic: The Gathering, requires deck building. Whether it's figuring out how to beat the stellar deck your buddy trounces you with or how to master the encounter deck, you have to be willing to put in the effort to tweak a deck to succeed. This is what card games are about, and have always been about (again, meaning the CCG/TCG/LCG variety - not things like Old Maid or Uno).

I struggle to understand the resistance by some players of this game to building decks for what is essentially an entirely new game/situation presented to us with each Quest. This isn't a board game. It's not a video game. Card games are all about, and always have been about, adapting to different challenges as the card pool grows - whether it's a competitive or co-op game. The very name "living" tells you the game will grow and change, requiring players to do the same. It's simply not enough to slap the latest cards into a deck and expect that to be successful.

To echo what another poster said, it seems like there is a contingent that plays this game not because they enjoy the aspects inherent in any LCG/CCG but simply because they like the theme - and that will always, it seems to me, lead to frustration.

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Dain Ironfoot said:

At the end of the day, this is a card game. And every card game of this genre, dating back to Magic: The Gathering, requires deck building. Whether it's figuring out how to beat the stellar deck your buddy trounces you with or how to master the encounter deck, you have to be willing to put in the effort to tweak a deck to succeed. This is what card games are about, and have always been about (again, meaning the CCG/TCG/LCG variety - not things like Old Maid or Uno).

[…]

To echo what another poster said, it seems like there is a contingent that plays this game not because they enjoy the aspects inherent in any LCG/CCG but simply because they like the theme - and that will always, it seems to me, lead to frustration.

Good post!

I definitely got into the game because of the theme and it's the main reason I _want_ to like the game. And at least initially it did meet my expectations but now it seems it's time for me to move on. Hence, it's a failed experiment for me.

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Ellareth said:

 

I don't get it when people say game isn't hard but just have few random 'you lose' cards.
Making decisions to prepare and overcome those 'you lose' cards is the challenge of the game.

 



I think peoples points though are that it dosn't matter how you deck build or play.. a unlucky draw will cripple you. This can not be modified with skill. It is pure luck. You can nto "overcome" it.. you just have to either weaken your deck to put a answer to it, and then happen to have it drawn when the card is drawn, or more often is the case, ignore it make your deck stronger (as in have a higher win ratio) and just hope it is not drawn.

 

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How many 'game over' cards exist in the game? None.

The two cards which most closely resemble this are Sudden Pitfall and Sleeping Sentry.

Sudden Pitfall can be avoided by getting a cheap ally out and questing with them each turn.

Sleeping Sentry appears in one quest. It can be countered with Balin, Elenor, or any of the spirit cancelling cards.

Both of these cards only appeared in the Khazad Dum and Dwarrowdelf era. The designers have listened to people's feedback and not included any cards like this in subsequent quests.

Besides these cards can actually be quite fun - the tension of taking a shadow effect you know you can't block, or having an easy victory snatched from you at the last minute only to claw it back with your one, heavily wounded, remaining hero. 

To call the game flawed, luck based, and saying no skill is involved in playing it because of these two cards is ludicrous.

There now exists easy mode (which omits these cards) standard mode and nightmare mode so everyone can play the game however they want. I don't see what there is left to complain about concerning difficulty.

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I've been tinkering with another version of easy mode that doesn't require the removal of cards from the encounter deck (with the exception of course of BS you lose cards like Sleeping Sentry). You start the game with bonus resources like the official "Easy Mode" but also with two extra cards in the starting hand (now a total of 8 cards). I've been amazed at how powerful this simple change can be. Usually on the first turn I can get out some allies and attachments and I'm very well set up for whatever comes off the encounter deck. It's a little tougher than official easy mode but a little easier than normal mode. Here's how I see it now in my head:

Easiest

1. Easy

2. Revised Easy (described above)

3. Standard

4. Nightmare

Hardest

With these options I can easily pick which difficulty I want to play and have a satisfying game. For the record, last night I got a friend of mine who's never played before and we played Seige of Cair Andros on easy mode. I had two decks built, one outlands (the deck my friend used) and the other gondor based. Although we still didn't win, the game never felt overwhelming and victory always felt possible. He had a great time and is eager to play again. Based on this experience, I think easy mode is a definite success. Thank you FFG!

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Kcall07 said:

To call the game flawed, luck based, and saying no skill is involved in playing it because of these two cards is ludicrous.

Then you havn't understood what people are saying. Try reading again and stop thinking that people are sayign the game is bad, unfun or to hard.. as we are NOT saying that in any way. Beither are we talkign about 2 cards.

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TragicTheBlathering said:

I think peoples points though are that it dosn't matter how you deck build or play.. a unlucky draw will cripple you. This can not be modified with skill. It is pure luck. You can nto "overcome" it.. you just have to either weaken your deck to put a answer to it, and then happen to have it drawn when the card is drawn, or more often is the case, ignore it make your deck stronger (as in have a higher win ratio) and just hope it is not drawn.

I agree unlucky draw will be crippling.
Turn 1 Attercop or Mumakil or something like that will always make your game tougher and as result make your score worse.
If that's what people are saying, then I agree with them and I guess I misunderstood.

But I thought they were saying there are cards that will 'auto lose' the game for you if drawn and there was nothing you could do to stop it?
So far I have yet to encounter a card that was 'auto lose'.

While there are some cases when encounter deck is stacked to a point where you will lose no matter what you do,
but more often then not had you done something differently 2~3 turns ago in anticipation of worst case scenario with each card flip, you would've been able to survive that encounter and therefore 'overcome' it. I have yet to see an encounter card that cannot be mitigated by clever plays (let alone deck build).

Then again, this is what the easy mode is for; if you feel like some cards are unfair and is 'automatic lose', you can simply take them out now with official variant.

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booored said:

 

Kcall07 said:

 

To call the game flawed, luck based, and saying no skill is involved in playing it because of these two cards is ludicrous.

 

 

Then you havn't understood what people are saying. Try reading again and stop thinking that people are sayign the game is bad, unfun or to hard.. as we are NOT saying that in any way. Beither are we talkign about 2 cards.

 

 

Booored…there are ppl that say the game is bad, you seem to, in fact, suggest the very thing:

"this fact though dose [sic] not remove the point that there is a fundamentally bad game design at the very core of this game"

you yourself said the game is fundamentally flawed - being flawed isn't a "good" thing - certainly being fundamentally flawed is even worse. you could interpret your comment to mean the game is "bad" (at least on some level).

even still, there are plenty of people that *do* say this game is bad, unfun, or too hard - a decent number of ppl in this thread have suggested these very things.

so, at least to me, you are misinterpreting what many others have been saying, not the other way around.

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