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Peredur Webb-Davies
Wales
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Short version: If I have only the Core Set and the Grey Havens expansion, will I be able to build a deck that can deal with the Grey Havens quests? Ditto if you exchange Grey Havens for the Black Riders saga box?

Very long version: I bought the LotR Core Set a few years ago, and then after playing that for a bit I bought Khazad Dum + Watcher in the Water + Shadow and Flame, because I liked the idea of delving into Moria, and I used Beorn’s (Tales from The Cards) buying guide to buy some strong player cards to build decks with. I played almost exclusively solo, as I know nobody else who plays. The only problem was that I got destroyed by this game almost every time I played. I can deal with losing, and I often had fun losing, but at other times I found myself throwing my hands up in frustration. I eventually managed the Anduin quest from Core (after using a deck someone else had used online), but had no luck at all with Escape from Dol Guldur, and frankly after being unable to (I think) pass the first stage of the first quest in Khazad Dum I got so dispirited that I shelved the game. I sold it some time later (to buy a Netrunner core set, as it happens). I know the game is meant to be challenging, and I know that there are reasons for why I found it hard-going, but ultimately I found that I had other games I could play which I was more likely to have fun with.

But I absolutely love the Tolkien universe, and CCGs/LCGs in general (I have played MtG heavily in the past and now play Netrunner quite a bit), and have in the past played/bought a lot into the older Iron Crown and Decipher LotR card games, and I really really wanted to love this game. It’s just that for some reason I didn't do well with the Fantasy Flight version at all. But I still check the latest releases out on FFG's website, and I like the look of recent cycles in the game, such as the LotR saga boxes and the recent Grey Havens and upcoming Harad sets/cycles. Maybe I should give this game a second chance, says I.

So I am thinking of maybe trying again, to see if I can have some more luck if e.g. I just allow myself to netdeck and use Easy/Basic mode until I manage to not get massacred. I am considering re-buying the Core Set and then either getting the Grey Havens deluxe box – because the sailing theme really appeals to me – or maybe the Black Riders saga box – because hobbits. That amount of money ($70 or so) is the most I’d be willing to put into giving this game a second chance right now, until I get a better idea of whether I’d enjoy things more this time around.

Is this a good idea? Or are these later releases going to make me relive the punishing experiences of yore?

I think I want to be primarily be able to beat the quests, rather than build a huge card pool per se (right now). Would I be able to build a deck, or more than one, from just the Core Set and Grey Havens/Black Riders in order to take on the quests in those boxes? Or will I struggle with just those cards? I have heard that the quests just get gradually harder with each successive cycle, and I know the general advice on these boards is to start with packs/quests from the Mirkwood Cycle as they are generally easier, but those packs/themes just don’t particularly appeal to me. I assume that the problems when I played before were more to do (e.g.) with my inability to get my head around the strategy of the game rather than the cards themselves, which is why I don't want to dismiss the game completely.

I have seen that Fantasy Flight’s webpage has decklists that do focus on just the Core Set and the Grey Havens card pool, so maybe my question has in part been answwred already. But I don’t know if those decks can actually deal with a variety of different quests or not, or whether I would need cards from other sets to have a reasonable chance.

What do you think? Any advice would be much appreciated, before I drop another $70 on a game I’ve already bought once before and, well, failed at. My wallet’s in your hands, guys!
 
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Craig Sawatzky
Canada
Randolph
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I think if you do just the core and these later expansions you will be in the same boat (pun intended), as you were with KD. I think you need a larger pool of cards to take on some of these new quests.
 
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Dale Stephenson
United States
Buford
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1) Yes, you can play these quests.
2) You may have a very difficult time beating some of the quests in normal mode.
3) There's no shame in playing in easy mode.

With just core set and Grey Havens, I also wouldn't worry about having 50 cards in your deck.
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Peredur Webb-Davies
Wales
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Thanks Dale and Craig. I'll keep pondering...
 
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Mark Campo
United Kingdom
Manchester
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with 30 card decks 2 handed solo i managed normal after a few easy mode attempts to get my tactics right

you rely need the new grey haven cards as some help you quest..with out tapping
 
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