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The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: Making the Plunge. Help! rss

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William Heitman
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I know. If there's one thread of this ilk, there's 100. But grant me the chance to tailor the specific question of "what to buy" to my particular needs.

I'm coming at this as someone who really likes Mage Knight but A) can't find someone to play it with him due to prohibitive barriers to entry and B) still occasionally enjoys the game solo but finds it has too few scenarios, making every victory feel pretty similar and, thus, empty especially in light of the setup and playtime.

BUT, to be clear, I love the balance and puzzle-ish nature that game offers.

I'm looking to blow 100-150 to start off and give the game a really fair chance. I'd be looking to solo primarily, though there's a decent chance I might be able to get the gal I'm dating to play despite her protestations that she's NOT a geek. She liked Jaipur; I'll get her there

SO...two questions:

1) Pursuant to my needs, what should I buy first? Should I be worried about directing my purchase towards a balanced card pool? I think I recall complaints that the core set's offerings were pretty unbalanced.

2) The biggest draws for me here are A) Variety in Scenarios/Goals and B) Considerable challenge that rewards intelligent play (a la MK). Should I be worried that integrating cards released after a particular scenario was released might unbalance/decrease the challenge of a particular scenario?
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SCOTT WADYKO
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I just bought a great starter set used on here tonight. I was in the same boat last week. I took the plunge.
 
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Rob Rob
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Quote:
A) can't find someone to play it with him due to prohibitive barriers to entry and B) still occasionally enjoys the game solo but finds it has too few scenarios, making every victory feel pretty similar and, thus, empty especially in light of the setup and playtime.

It scales well from one to four. There's no "prohibitive barrier" because unlike a CCG, the game is "all in one." Since it's coop, you don't have to have a minimum investment level to be "competitive."

Quote:
BUT, to be clear, I love the balance and puzzle-ish nature that game offers.

Many quests could be described as "puzzle-ish."

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I'm looking to blow 100-150 to start off and give the game a really fair chance. I'd be looking to solo primarily, though there's a decent chance I might be able to get the gal I'm dating to play despite her protestations that she's NOT a geek. She liked Jaipur; I'll get her there

At ~$26 for the core game, ~$21 for large expansions and ~$12 for the adventure packs. You can easily have core game, Khazad-dûm, and all six of the Shadows of Mirkwood Cycle for $120ish. Or the core and both Hobbit expansions for only $65ish. (Online prices)

If the GF likes LotR you will probably have better luck than not.

Quote:
1) Pursuant to my needs, what should I buy first? Should I be worried about directing my purchase towards a balanced card pool? I think I recall complaints that the core set's offerings were pretty unbalanced.

Each expansion or adventure set is balanced. You'll get a pretty even compliment of spheres, especially spread over a few decks. If adventure pack "A" has a lore Dwarf hero, you can be sure adventure pack "B" will have a Spirit Gondorian hero. The issue with the core set is some cards are limited (less than the three copies of each you are allowed) and there are only about 30 per sphere (less than the 50+ per deck you are required).

Quote:
2) The biggest draws for me here are A) Variety in Scenarios/Goals and B) Considerable challenge that rewards intelligent play (a la MK). Should I be worried that integrating cards released after a particular scenario was released might unbalance/decrease the challenge of a particular scenario?

The core set has only three quests. That could get stale but since each adventure pack has its own quest, they add up fast. Each expansion set has three quests as well. If you bought the core and both Hobbit sets you'd have nine quests. Don't worry about integrating or unbalancing decks. The adventure packs come in thematic "cycles" which relate to the large expansion; Heirs of Númenor relates to the Against the Shadow cycle of adventure decks. Mostly because of the Gondorian trait.
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Eric Sawler
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My advice, buy the Core set and either the first cycle (Shadows of Mirkwood) or the two Hobbit Expansions. Mirkwood sets you on a progression, which you can extend into each new cycle. It includes the "Song" cards which will help if your making dual or tri sphere decks. Even though the later cycles say you only need the main expansion (Khazad-dûm for the Dwarrowdelf cycle and Heirs of Númenor for Against the Shadows cycle) I feel that each new cycle assumes you have access to the previous cycle of cards.

I only have the first Hobbit expansion, but it has the benefit of a lot of new heroes. In the Mirkwood cycle, you'll only get 6 new heroes, but in the two Hobbit boxes, you'll get 8 (4 per expansion). The Hobbit expansions are heavy with dwarves. So if you do these two, you could skip Mirkwood and go directly into Khazad-dûm, which also has a lot of dwarves.

Finally, you could start with the newest saga expansion, Black Riders, if you want to follow the Lotr Main story line or love Hobbits. I started from the beginning and went in order of release. I'm a bit behind now...
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Jan Probst
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Chrysalis83 wrote:
Mage Knight [...] prohibitive barriers to entry

What the hell is people's problem with Mage Knight.

Apart from that, if you can get multiple people together at all, I suggest just buying a core set for now and trying that out with default starter decks and 3-4 people.

After that I give it 80% that our what to buy advice is moot because you want it all right nao anyway.
 
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William Heitman
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Weltenreiter wrote:
Chrysalis83 wrote:
Mage Knight [...] prohibitive barriers to entry

What the hell is people's problem with Mage Knight.

Apart from that, if you can get multiple people together at all, I suggest just buying a core set for now and trying that out with default starter decks and 3-4 people.

After that I give it 80% that our what to buy advice is moot because you want it all right nao anyway.


Don't get me wrong. Despite the comments I made above, I think MK is a terrific game. It's just an awful lot to ask of non-gamers. My most regular game group (coworkers all) is more the Resistance/Dixit type. Heaviest things I've gotten them to play are Ra and Speicherstadt, so MK definitely isn't happening. And sometimes I'm looking to solo something without investing 3-4 hours.

Core-set-only definitely isn't happening (neither is 3-4 players). Limiting myself to the specified budget is my compromise to avoid the NAO Syndrome. I can do it. I swear.
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Daniel Corban
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Mage Knight is one of the best games to play solo, and I am saying this as someone who doesn't even want to play anything solo. If it isn't good enough for you, then I suspect this won't be any better. I'd never bother soloing this, ever. It just isn't balanced for it, unless you are really bored and try using two decks.

My advice: buy a core set and teach these other people you know how to play.

Also, dumping $100 at the start is absurd. You will actually ruin some of the enjoyment that way. One core set is sufficient to play the game a dozen times before knowing if you need more scenarios.
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I was in a sort of reverse situation of OP last year, I had great fun with LotRLCG and was wondering if I should get Mage Knight (ended up getting MK and Expansion too and greatly enjoy it).
I too am mostly solo player, although I would occasionally be able to play 2 player games during some weekends.

If you liked the challenging puzzle-like element of MK, I say you should definitely give LotRLCG a try.
I find LotRLCG to be even more challenging than MK, and because each deck type deals with given situation in different ways it offers more of a replayability than MageKnight; some decks might try and suffer through trecheries and race to the end, while other decks might try and scry decks and tread carefully, some might take calculated risks while dealing with enemies by taking undefended attacks, others might try and avoid dealing with nasty enemies via low threat or direct damage approach.

Obviously there are some flaws with this game especially consdering difficulty of each quest in respect to number of players, but as a solo player I have found every scenario except two (Escape from Dol Guldur, Massing at Osgiliath) to be fair and consistantly winnable with the card pool that were available at the release of each scenario. It's true that some of the earlier quests gets easier with number of players, but there are also cases where number of player increases the difficulty (one of these quests being the very first expansion Hunt for Gollum). I personally am happy where the game's balance is with solo player and have always been, although I do wonder how 4-player experiences would be like with some of recent quests; I've heard some of the quests that were (in my opinion) 'too easy' gets absolutely brutal as number of player increases.

Having said that, power creep is being handled surprisingly well in this game. There are certain points in game where the player cards got spike in their power curve (namely during Return to Mirkwood AP and Steward's Fear AP), but overall the earlier scenarios still maintained around the similar level of difficulty.
It is true that some of newer powerful decks puts earlier scenarios to shame, but those decks obliterate later scenarios as well. I think the way the meta works at the moment is that there are few strong decks that can obliterate through most quests, but few select quests that requires extraordinary strategy keeps those said decks from 'One Deck to Rule them all'.
But there are ways to enjoy the game if you are casual player or wants to build creative deck (official easy mode variant), and also ways to boost up difficulty of earlier quests to counter powerhouse decks (Nightmare Mode which unfortunately requires additional purchases unlike Easy Mode).


As for what you should get to get into the game, I have 3 suggestions depending on your situation;

1. Get 1 copy of Core Set.

I've found Core Set alone provides entertaining experience in a frusting way (although I imagine you enjoy those given that you enjoy MageKnight).
Play till you can comfortably win against 1st scenario with each of pre-built decks, consistantly win against 2nd scenario with pre-built deck, and bang your head against 3rd scenario few times (maybe even luck out and get a win). That should provide weeks (if not months) of fun time and more importantly allow you to familiarize with strategies of the game.
I see bit too many people jumping into game with bunch of expansions and copy powerful decks off the forum without fully understanding strategical reasoning behind those decks and dive into difficult quests without knowing when to make tactical decisions.
I believe my kazillion losing streak I had when I first started the game (and learning from each mistakes I've made that costed me those games) is the reason why I don't find the game as 'impossible to play solo' as some people do.


2. If for some reason it is inconvinient for you to order games, get 1 copy of Core Set and 6 Adventure Packs from the Mirkwood Cycle. (I.E. Core Set and complete first Cycle).

I wouldn't normally advise to buy expansions right away, but for those asking which expansion to buy first, I usually answer 'in order of release', with Massing at Osgiliath being possible exception (although Osgiliath was released between Hunt for Gollum and Conflict at Carrock, I think it fits better between Return to Mirkwood and Khazad-Dum).
If for some reason buying game is inconvinence to you, You should grab some expansions along with Core Set even though I would recommand you do not touch any expansiosn until you've milked the Core Set to death.. because I'm very positive that you would enjoy the game from your experience from MageKnight and from the fact you are asking if you should buy this game in a forum filled with royal fans of this game.


3. If for some reason it is inconvinient for you to order games, and some of the Adventure Packs from Mirkwood Cycle is out of print (therefore preventing you from getting complete first Cycle), get the 2 Hobbit Saga Expansions called 'Over Hill and Under Hill' and 'On the Doorstep'.

I know that Mirkwood Cycle was out of print until recently (actually not sure if they have reprinted them yet). If that is still the case, and you would like to order some expansions with core set because ordering game is pain in the ass for whatever reason, then get the Saga Expansions.
From what I understand, these Saga Expansion is desinged in a way to provide fair but challenging experience to even to players with just Core Set. I have personally never played Saga Expansions with Core Set cards alone, but I have heard good things about them in the forums.



Lastly (although you did not ask), regarding how many copies of Core Set to get, it was generally recommanded that you purchase 2 copies if you were serious player. However, that was when there were very few expansions available and wildly popular strategy was to use powerful heroes with readying ability. Now, with all the expansions you can get and the game's meta being ally-centered rather than attachment centered (although attachment heavy decks are still valid and powerful decks), I would advise against picking up 2nd copy of Core Set and spend that money for more expansions. Personally I own 1 copy of Core Set and 1 copy of all expansions (except for Nightmare Decks and newly released Black Rider) and never felt the need for second copy of Core Set.




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Joshua Kryzch
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LOTR LCG is a great game. I primarily play solo and that was one of the main draws to the game for me. It plays awesome solo, and scales well all the way to four players.

I recommend buying a core set, all the Mirkwood AP's and then play in order . I just can't say enough about the game and the awesome solo experience. The artwork and theme is wonderful!
 
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William Heitman
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I think I'm looking at core+mirkwood+2 hobbit sets. I don't intent to gorge on it all at once- just prefer to buy in bulk for the sake of shipping and don't have much else presently to fill up the shopping cart.

Thanks for the suggestions. Guess I'll be back in a few weeks with impressions.
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