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Subject: Why can't I win? rss

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Big Willy's Taxidermy
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My buddy Scott called and said he would be in town so we agreed to play War of the Ring. Let me start out by saying I love this game. Only problem is I can't seem to win as the Fellowship, ever! I keep coming back for more cause I know that one of these days it's gonna happen.

I prepared, I poured over session reports, read strategy for the FSP knowing I would be playing the Free Peoples.

Scott showed up at 6p and after a brief bit of setup the game was on.

The FSP was out of the gate quick, chewing up territory at a breakneck pace as the Shadow army couldn't get a decent hunt roll. The only losses suffered were when Boromir felt the Lure of the Ring and was sacrificed to soak up the corruption. The FSP declared in Dimril Dale just to get past Moria while still hidden. Meanwhile the Shadow was getting good muster cards and was building up the Southrons near Dale/Erebor. Saruman was activated on the first turn but Rohan got good muster cards as well and was well prepared at the Fords. Other than providing a bonus die, Orthanc played almost no part for the remainder of the game, neither did Rohan.

From here on out the Fellowship had a tougher time of things, suffering from Cruel Weather and the constant seraching by the Nazgul. Legolas was separated and sent to Lorien to help in the coming attack. Strider was finally separated and sent to Minas Tirith to be crowned 2 turns later but Gandalf was still leading the Fellowship since the Shadow, while getting successful hunt rolls was only pulling low corruption with reveals. They finally drew a 3 corruption to kill off Gandalf, who was immediatly reincarnated in Fangorn the same turn. The Shadow had by this time moved into attack position near Lorien but was holding off until exercises in the north were completed. Dale fell to the Southrons and Erebor went under siege shortly thereafter. The Fellowship was in Osgiliath though with only 1 corruption and 3 companions still in tow so confidence was high.

The next few turns saw the Fellowship move into Minas Morgul, only losing the two halflings to soak up corruption along the way. They were able to separate to lead the defense of Osgiliath. At this point the Shadow began making serious strides in getting victory points. Erebor fell, then Woodland Realm was burned to the ground by the Witch King. The Free Peoples were having great success moving the Fellowship but could not get any musters to beef up defenses in the victory point locations. At one point the FP were so desperate they used an elven ring to get a muster action. Lorien fell a turn later. The Shadow had a huge army at the the edge of Osgiliath but had not attacked yet, so Gondor was not at war and not getting any reinforcements either.

The next turn saw the Fellowship declare in Mordor and move closer to the Crack of Doom before having to sacrifice Gimli to corruption. Gollum now assumed guiding duties which was good since the FP were holding several Gollum cards. Unfortunately a large force of Southrons had gathered in Umbar and we all know what that means: byby Dol Amroth! The FP was able to use Aragorn to muster 3 addition regulars in Erech and move them close to Dol Amroth but it was for naught as out comes the Corsairs to land and besiege Dol Amroth. A small Southron force took Pelagir at the same time. The FP attacked to take back Pelagir, once with the recently recruited regulars (which failed, but was able to eat at the Shadow garrison), then followed up with another attack by emptying out Osgiliath. Pelagir was taken but the gigantic force in Dol Amroth quickly finished off the siege there and then retook Pelagir on the next action, giving the Shadow 10 points and no way for the FP to get anything back as they were out of dice.

Analysing the game afterwards it was obvious that the Fellowship would have most likely dunked the ring on the next turn since they were only 2 steps away, had only 3 corruption and still had the gollum corruption eating cards. As the FP, the Fellowship aspect of the game went very well, but the military part was bunk.

I still love this game though.
Including smoke breaks, the game took ~ 4 hours
 
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Philip Thomas
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Well, I am no expert, but try killing Gandalf on a small damage tile. He is more use as Gandalf the White! Of course you might not get a WoW for ages, but that is how it goes. One good thing about this is you have Strider as guide, which allows hiding on any dice and can get you moving faster...
 
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Big Willy's Taxidermy
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I was hoping to sacrifice him with a 2 but the Shadow just wansn't getting any good draws, plus I had all the good corruption cards on the table, Axe & Bow, Wizards Staff that I wanted to use up too.
 
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Derek Coon
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“It’s about the Ring Stupid!” – Bill Clinton (Or something like that.)

I’ve read so many reports by people who can’t win with the Fellowship that I thought I would put this together. First off you have to understand that War of the Ring is somewhat improperly named. It’s only War of the Ring if you are playing the Shadow. If you are playing the Free Peoples you should be playing Quest to Destroy the Ring. Look at how asymmetric War of the Ring is: different forces, different goals, and in fact, the Free Peoples barely even need to use the same board. As the Free Peoples, it’s all about the Ring.

Yes, along the way you’ll get some muster and army dice that you can use to try to slow down the Shadow to buy Frodo and Sam more time, but don’t get caught in the trap of trying to beat the Shadow at his own game. He has greater forces, more agile leadership, and better cards; you will lose. Chasing the free peoples military victory is a bit like chasing the hot chick at the sorority social: too hard to get and when the lights go off it’s all the same. (Except for bragging rights the next morning.) Go for the lonely girl in the corner (ring victory).

The question then is how? Cast aside the romantic images from the books and movies. You’ve got to play a bloody minded game, and that means that more than Boromir aren’t going to make it to the end of the story. Gandalf the Gray is obviously first to go. Move as much as the dice will allow until GtG is dead. Even if you draw a 1 the old guy’s got to go. Obviously, if you have Wills you must save them to be your last action of the turn so that you can raise Gandalf the White if chance allows. At this point Strider is the guide and should be using his ability to hide the fellowship without using character die to keep things moving along. Don’t intentionally kill Strider even if you draw a 3. You should be randomly drawing bodies at this point. Aragorn is an illusion. Separating Strider to get Aragorn’s die ends up costing much, much more than he is worth.

As to how often to move the Fellowship, you have to respond to your opponent’s game. Depending upon his strategy you will need to average 1.5 to 2+ moves per turn. This means that nearly all of your character dice have to go to the Fellowship! If he is playing a strategy of drawing lots of character cards and trying to beat the Fellowship down you will need to move slower. While he is doing that, his military campaign is slowed down. If he completely ignores the Fellowship to the point of not placing any Eyes in the Hunt, rest assured that the time will come when he will roll zero eyes (75% chance over the course of the game). Your Elven rings should be saved for such an eventuality. I never use Elven rings except on the Fellowship. By all means use A&B etc. if you get them, but use them as soon as you can. Don’t stall your progress looking for a good time to play Wizard’s Staff or Bilbo’s song. Note that using this strategy you will often not bring in Gollum.

Keep an eye on what tiles have come out of the bag. Remember that except for Eyes they aren’t going back in. Absolutely try to get all 4 blue tiles in for Mordor. Don’t be tempted by the combat affects. Keep drawing character cards with your Palantirs, and don’t be afraid to throw away cards. On the strategy cards, use the combat effects of the cards that pertain to regions he is ignoring. As an example, if he is concentrating on the North dropping an extra elite and a leader in Dol Amroth won’t help you as much as the card’s combat affect.

Ignore your military loses. If you have extra die or an appropriate card then by all means use it to slow to Shadow’s military campaign down, but if you slow the fellowship down in order to try to slow down the war you are playing the Great Eye’s game. To you, there are only two lives in Middle Earth that matter. It’s all about the Ring.
 
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Tim Taylor
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Quote:
Bullroarer Took wrote: "Go for the lonely girl in the corner (ring victory)."


That is such a delicious pun on so many levels! "Ring victory" indeed!

TT
 
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Philip Thomas
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The above post could also be posted in the Strategy articles.

It actually suggests to me this is a rather dull and luck-based game, for the Fellowship. Roll dice, move as fast as possible, hope the tile draws are good, hope you don't lose Strider as a random casualty, hope you draw the cards for the blue tiles. Yawn...
 
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Derek Coon
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I personally think that playing the Free Peoples IS much less interesting than the Shadow. Things do get better in the expansion, but it's not equal.
 
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Philip Thomas
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I just lost as Free Peoples by moving the Fellowship when I could have had a Military victory.

Admittedly, my opponent had put 4 dice in the Hunt and rolled 3 eyes and he had already lost two Minions so he had only 2 dice left.

And I had 5 Dice. The fellowship was in Mordor, step 2 of the track, on 9 Corruprion. After we both used 2 dice, I had a leader and 3 regulars in Minas Morgul. 1 Sauron regular was under siege there. There were no Sauron troops in Gorgoroth or Barad Dur. I had 1 Sword and 2 WoW. And I used the Sword to move the Fellowship! I mean, what was I thinking? Well of course he drew a 3 tile and that was the end of that.

Moral: The Fellowship game is not all about the Ring. Sometimes you need to think outside the box.

(This also applies to the elimination of the minions, btw).
 
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Philip Thomas wrote:
It actually suggests to me this is a rather dull and luck-based game, for the Fellowship. Roll dice, move as fast as possible, hope the tile draws are good, hope you don't lose Strider as a random casualty, hope you draw the cards for the blue tiles. Yawn...
This is why our group has started exploring the FPMV - and has got good results with it. What you write above, Philip, could easily have been written by a particular member of our group. He finds Strider Sprints - and similar - boring. I don't fully agree since there are good cards and sublte military moves to be made, but not as many.
 
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