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War of the Ring: Lords of Middle-earth» Forums » Rules

Subject: Action Dice vs. Keeper Dice vs. Lesser Minion Dice rss

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Roy Subs
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1. Can the Free Peoples Player use Gandalf Keeper of Narya activate and put a Nation directly to "At War" using the Galadriel or Elrond Keeper Die?

2. Can the Shadow Player use the Gothmog Die or Balrog Die to remove "A Power Too Great" from the table (with an Army card and Character card)?

The rules state that KD (Keeper Dice) / LMD (Lesser Minion Dice) cannot be altered using an Elven Ring, but there is no mention on the above situations. Gut feeling would be that yes, a KD/LMD should act as an AD when it is in use during a turn, but as an Elven Ring cannot be used to alter KD/LMD, then 1 and 2 are not clear.

If someone has found an answer in the rules, could they point to that as I've been unable to see the answer? Thanks.
 
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Kevin Chapman
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Keeper dice are Action dice. They can be used for any purpose requiring an Action die, unless the rules state otherwise.
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Roy Subs
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Thanks for the clarification Kevin. It's been pointed out to me that page 8 states this directly also. This came up recently in a game, and I was told that I could not use the KD as an Action Die, so this is useful.

Sidenote: This does immediately raise the question of simplicity vs. complexity in game design. What you say makes perfect sense; it's a simple, clean and elegant rule i.e. if the KD/LMD is in use, then it's an AD for situations that call for an AD. On the other hand, there is the bizarre restriction that an Elven Ring cannot alter a KD or LMD, which is an awkward cludge. Sure, IF the Shadow Player had an Elven Ring, he could use it to activate the Balrog say, but then again, giving up a Ring is a big strategic decision. It was this bizarre Elven Ring rule that lead my opponent to disallow me from using the Galadriel die for the purposes of activating Rohan to War with Gandalf, Keeper of Narya (and he's a top 10 ladder player, and I think it made perfect sense for him to think that due to the clunky Elven Ring restriction, as that restriction strongly suggests that KD are not *normal* AD), while the rule saying that the KD acts as an Action Die is clean and elegant. Many people will play this wrongly due to the counter-intuitive Elven Ring cludge (removal of that bizarre Elven Ring restriction would make the rules consistent there, but that can't happen unfortunately).
 
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Andrew Poulter
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Without the rules to hand, I think it is correct that you cannot use the other elven rings to activate Gandalf's ability. Each of the characters have specific abilities tied to their own ring. This adds a new layer of strategy as to which rings to use if you are using them as Elven rings rather then their specific abilities. For example, if you use the Gandalf ring you cannot use his ability later unless you get the ring back with the new event card.

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Roy Subs
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Sure, but think that's a bit different (and this is why it's confusing!). I completely agree with you that the specific Ring power should only be used for it's specific function, that's clean and makes sense, but it's the restriction that prevents a Ring to be used to alter the face of a KD or LMD that causes this unnecessary confusion.

From what Kevin points out here, a KD or LMD can be used as an AD for effects requiring an AD. This is a clean rule, and so Gandalf Keeper of Narya's ability can be activated with any AD (or KD!) plus his Elven Ring (but ONLY his Elven Ring Narya can be used for this!).

But, you cannot use an Elven Ring to alter the face of a KD / LMD, this is specifically restricted, even though in all other respects a KD / LMD is treated as an AD. It was that specific rule that led my opponent to (very reasonably) say that "a KD is not a normal AD", and so when I tried to use "Narya Ring + Galadriel KD" to activate Rohan to War with Gandalf Keeper of Narya's ability, I was forced to use a normal AD for that function, which was wrong, but it is this specific restriction that prevents Elven Rings from changing a KD / LMD face that creates this unnecessary confusion.
 
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Andrew Poulter
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Ah, I misread the original question, reading dice as ring.
 
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Kevin Chapman
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roysubs wrote:
But, you cannot use an Elven Ring to alter the face of a KD / LMD, this is specifically restricted, even though in all other respects a KD / LMD is treated as an AD. It was that specific rule that led my opponent to (very reasonably) say that "a KD is not a normal AD"

A Keeper die (or a Lesser Minion die) is not a "normal" Action die - it is a special type of Action die, hence it's special properties. However, it is an Action die nonetheless, hence its behavior as an Action die unless otherwise noted. It's very similar to the situiation of the Witch-king: he's a Nazgul, but a special kind of Nazgul.
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Roy Subs
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I'm with that completely Kevin, and I've always thought of KD/LMD in the way that you say (that's a good analogy), but do you know why the rule to make Elven Rings not able to alter the face of a KD/LMD was done? All I can come up with is that this was done to prevent the Shadow using an Elven Ring to activate the Balrog, but it doesn't seem a useful restriction (as using a Ring for that is a big strategic choice since Rings are rare in the game). Was that the reason? It's a shame as I bet a ton of people have made the same mistake of not allowing KD/LMD to be used for rules requiring an AD due to this bizarre ruling on Elven Rings. I'm at a loss to see what usefulness or necessary mechanic makes it important for the Elven Rings to be incapable of altering the face of a KD/LMD so was this introduced early in the testing (for some good reasons) but then just ended up in there? Do you know of a good reason for this rule, as it seems to make no sense at all?
 
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Andrew Poulter
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I don't recall any specifics but my guess is to stop the discard results being changed. The lesser dice are just that, riskier and not as powerful as the normal action dice, so using Elven rings on them would make them less risky.
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Dennis Brakmann
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GamesJart wrote:
I don't recall any specifics but my guess is to stop the discard results being changed. The lesser dice are just that, riskier and not as powerful as the normal action dice, so using Elven rings on them would make them less risky.


I would agree with that. Also, they have some results (Draw Card) that are just plain weaker than all others, where 'normal' action dice are more balanced (obviously not WotW but we're talking about changes via Elven Rings). Their faces are not better than others per se (yeah, M/A I know...), though their usefulnes in certain situations may differ.

Keeper dice are more imbalanced, and I have the feeling that this is on purpose. Maybe the designers did not want the option to migitate this by using elven rings?

Doesn't make the rule less cumbersome for those that feel it is, though.
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Kevin Chapman
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All good points. If you want to justify the rule thematically, the Elven Rings influence the fate of the Free Peoples by mitigating their luck (in the form of Action dice results). The Keeper dice are now allowing the Free Peoples an extra boost by allowing additional actions. Since these extra actions are being provided by the Elven Rings, would it seem right to allow them to change their own additional influence?
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Roy Subs
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Edit: I hope that exceptions like that don't get further complicated in Expansion 2; here's hoping that it's a great one with streamlined rules
 
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