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Subject: Fun first game (solitaire)...dunked the ring too! rss

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Isley
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Just got this game in the mail, and I couldn't wait to get a group together. So I busted it out of the packaging and set it up to play solitaire (controlling Frodo and Sam myself). The rules seemed pretty intuitive and things started off well (though I used the variant "preparations" rule to start and rolled a three as frodo...ouch!) I tried to work at keeping Sauron in one place while finishing the boards as quickly as possible (I quickly learned that the events can get out of hand...got down to the fifth one on the moria track! Helms Deep went better as I looked ahead and was able to fulfill the positive conditions of the first three (fourth hurt though). Shelob's Lair went pretty well though Sam had to roll three dice (Gollum and two dice squares).

Finally I was in Mordor with Sauron on 8, Sam on 6 and Frodo (ringbearer) on 4. Sam thought only of Frodo and gave him the healing of the first event while using Gandalf to heal Frodo two more. Sam was forced to Sacrifice himself soon after and it was down to Frodo V Sauron. I was at step 55 with one hide card. I realized that if I used it for a shield I could rearrange the top three cards (last Gandalf card). Put an ugly event card on the bottom, and with a combination of wild cards and a lucky use of the ring (got an eye and moved three...past all three dice events!) I slammed the ring into mount doom. My final dice roll was an eye putting Sauron at six and me at four (if it was a discard or a three I would have lost since I had no cards in hand and was two spaces away!)...close! WHEW!!! (only had three shields left too)

Heh, I suppose I should add I started at 15 for this one.

Anyway, I really liked it, I wonder how it will play with a group (I'm assuming even better). It seems like it would be even better (though I can get controlling sometimes with my "perfect plans"). Why are you not allowed to show your cards but you can discuss them? Just to provide a memory element? Seems like it might bog things down if every turn you are like "ok what cards did you have again?"

And whew...this has got to be super hard with friends and foes while starting at 12!
 
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Isley
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Ouch...second two player game with my girlfriend made me realized how lucky I got the first game! (score of 41...but we had a lot of bad luck)
 
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Isley
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Oh, and I seem to have missed the "only play two cards if one is grey and the other is white" rule. Even harder!
 
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Ken B.
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thrasymachus wrote:
Oh, and I seem to have missed the "only play two cards if one is grey and the other is white" rule. Even harder!



Yeah, that's uh....that's pretty huge.


We won first time five-player with Sauron at 15. We've played it six times since with Sauron at 12 and have yet to pull off the win. Very challenging. I've got the expansions waiting in the wings if we can ever master the base game!
 
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Isley
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Yeah, after realizing my white/grey play mistake, I'm a little intimidated to try it with Friends and Foes...though I still haven't played with more than two, it seems like it would be a bit easier with more players (all the extra cards).
 
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Ken B.
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thrasymachus wrote:
Yeah, after realizing my white/grey play mistake, I'm a little intimidated to try it with Friends and Foes...though I still haven't played with more than two, it seems like it would be a bit easier with more players (all the extra cards).



Well, there's a different challenge with 5 players--there aren't enough life tokens to go around! Even if you wanted to balance it out so everyone got one of each, you can't. So you have more cards, but fewer of other resources.

Plus, several events scale up by forcing EVERY player to do something or face the consequences.
 
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Brian Pihl
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Isley
The game is great with 1-5 people. Well balanced. Just be careful not to direct everyone else's move if you are the expert. Let them figure it out. If we need to, we eventually just lay down our cards rather than do the "what do you have again" thing.
 
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Isley
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I'm still a little confused as to why you are supposed to hide your cards? Can anyone give me more insight into this...seems like it would needlessly slow things down. Just like in LOTR: The Confrontation, we play with out hands revealed (upon request) so that we don't have to constantly be going through the other person's discard pile and figuring out what they have left.
 
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Werner Bär
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If you play with open cards, one player (with most most experience, or just dominating) could tell all others what they should do.
Now with hidden cards, players will often decide themself what to do, or ask for advice (which is a very different feel compared to unwanted advice)
 
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Isley
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Yeah, that makes sense I guess...it would probably help to have an unspoken rule that the players won't try to memorize eachother's cards at all times to keep things from getting needlessly complicated.
 
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