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War of the Ring (Second Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Better ways to play four-player? rss

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King Maple
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I like War of the Ring immensely, but haven't played it four-players yet and I truly believe that the game is better if played in teams, even though mechanics are built for two players primarily. I just cannot imagine the theme being thematic enough if just two players control the whole action.

I've read the four-player multiplayer rules and find them really clunky. So I'm wondering if there are better alternatives out there for it?

What I am thinking is to split it in parts theme-wise. Have one player control everything that happens to the Fellowship, other player control Free People armies and leaders (unless they are lead by someone from Fellowship). From Shadow Army side, one player controls Nazgul and Minions and the other player controls armies without leaders.

This separation of duties does mean that some players don't get to do much on some of their turns, but it makes more sense in terms of cooperation, rather than just going back and forth.

Could I face problems if played this way?
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Joe Reil
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I've played it four-players and just completely ignored the official four-player rules.

We actually didn't adjust anything at all - played the game exactly by the standard two-player rules, but ran each side as a team.

So there was no designated break-up of duties or actions or anything. We generally discussed and decided on plans and actions as a group and just took turns resolving stuff.
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King Maple
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RedShark92 wrote:
I've played it four-players and just completely ignored the official four-player rules.

We actually didn't adjust anything at all - played the game exactly by the standard two-player rules, but ran each side as a team.

So there was no designated break-up of duties or actions or anything. We generally discussed and decided on plans and actions as a group and just took turns resolving stuff.


That also makes sense, but by keeping some duties separated, you can make sure that some players can do 'their thing', especially in terms of battle rolls. Sure it's still cooperative and influenced by your teammate, but you have more of a right rather than having to agree on everything.

But I suppose a coop-vs-coop is a good way to play the game as well - two heads being better than one.
 
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Andrew Poulter
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Slashdoctor wrote:

Could I face problems if played this way?


I think that sepeating duties may not work too well, as some games will be heavily focused in one area. e.g. felowship movement which would leave the other player with relatively little to do.

Another example would be shadow armies without leadership. When you play with shadow you want almost all battles to have leadership. This means the player looking after the other armies, only gets to move them and does not get many fights.
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King in Green
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If there's an experience gap between the players then the less experienced player can make some higher level decisions concerning priorities- such as target strongholds, companions to separate, and which combat card to use- while the more experienced player can act as their lieutenant and handle the details. I do suggest that you try splitting the nations at least once though, as it may result in a different game experience to the 2 player game.
 
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David Boeren
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It's really a 2p game and I feel that ANY way of playing it 4p will result in a degradation of some sort.

Probably the best method is to run teams where you pretend to be 2 players and each side can discuss what they want to do. The main thing you lose in this format is time - games take considerably longer to finish, but at least you don't pick up any mechanical problems.
 
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Joe Reil
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dboeren wrote:
Probably the best method is to run teams where you pretend to be 2 players and each side can discuss what they want to do.


Which is essentially what I described. I find this does add to the game length, but not appreciably.

You do add some time in discussions and coordination, but you make up most of it in efficiency (e.g., one person can be considering the team's next action while the other is resolving the current battle).
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kevin long
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Yip - ignore the rules and just have 2 heads on each side. Plenty to talk about and also a great way to learn the game and make your first game an 8 hour marathon
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Raf B
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In a recent game my daughter and nephew took Shadow and my brother and I took the Free Peoples. It was a learning game for my brother and nephew. We followed the 4-player rules, but were relaxed about how much information each side shared about their event cards. We didn't worry about complicated rules about mixed armies and kept to the spirit of the rules if not the letter.

How the multiplayer rules approach differs from team play is that each side ends up having an effective hand limit of eight, rather than six, but each player must manage not to exceed an individual hand limit of four. We were mostly successful in this regard.

Each player starts with two cards, so this accelerates what cards see play. Gandalf's guide ability works for both FP players, but is of course dependent on how many Palantirs are rolled.

By far the biggest difference is the slowing of the military tempo due to players on a side alternating actions, so that Mordor Alpha army can't simply charge up to Dale on consecutive Shadow actions; it moves only on the Witchking player's actions. This may produce a vastly different feel for the 2-player dynamic, but it can produce a more balanced military-corruption strategy for the Shadow.
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Ralf Schemmann
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What I find that a corruption strategy can be much more effective in 4 player games. As each Shadow is free to draw and play character cards, it is much easier and quicker to cycle through that deck.
 
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birchbeer
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Rafamir wrote:
In a recent game my daughter and nephew took Shadow and my brother and I took the Free Peoples. It was a learning game for my brother and nephew. We followed the 4-player rules, but were relaxed about how much information each side shared about their event cards. We didn't worry about complicated rules about mixed armies and kept to the spirit of the rules if not the letter.

How the multiplayer rules approach differs from team play is that each side ends up having an effective hand limit of eight, rather than six, but each player must manage not to exceed an individual hand limit of four. We were mostly successful in this regard.

Each player starts with two cards, so this accelerates what cards see play. Gandalf's guide ability works for both FP players, but is of course dependent on how many Palantirs are rolled.

By far the biggest difference is the slowing of the military tempo due to players on a side alternating actions, so that Mordor Alpha army can't simply charge up to Dale on consecutive Shadow actions; it moves only on the Witchking player's actions. This may produce a vastly different feel for the 2-player dynamic, but it can produce a more balanced military-corruption strategy for the Shadow.


I have a game night coming up in which WOTR will be played. We usually play with four using the rules provided. But the restriction against moving the same units successively really affects the game, especially for the Shadow IMO, and not in a good way.

I was thinking of how this could be changed, but remaining true to each person having specific factions to manage:

Given that you start with 8 cards (4 per each person) and are allowed to trade cards with your partner once per turn, what if the same person were allowed to move again, including moving the same army, etc., but must pay a penalty of discarding one card from HIS hand to do so? With only four cards in hand this would likely be a rarely utilized option, but at critical moments it could be a game-changer.

If someone has other thoughts besides a forced discard I'd like to hear them so we can try them out.
 
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Philip Sokolov
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Give the 4-player rules-as-written a shot. I have played with it ~50 times, and consider it the “real” WotR game to the point that I have zero interest in playing the 2-player rules. The 4-player game is just a total epic party, plus it models the theme better, IMO.

The only part we ignore is where you try to figure out exactly which player won. We just consider it a win as a team.
 
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birchbeer
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phils@tbw.net wrote:
Give the 4-player rules-as-written a shot. I have played with it ~50 times, and consider it the “real” WotR game to the point that I have zero interest in playing the 2-player rules. The 4-player game is just a total epic party, plus it models the theme better, IMO.

The only part we ignore is where you try to figure out exactly which player won. We just consider it a win as a team.


Um, I guess you missed the part where I said what the problem was with it. I thought it was clear that I (we) HAVE played it. Many times in fact. The restriction against one player playing the same army in successive turns severely hamstrings the options. DEW especially is too slow. The play becomes epic only in the sense that it takes two extra hours to complete. This length is a real downer.
 
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Philip Sokolov
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My comment wasn’t aimed at you, specifically, but rather at the whole topic as framed by the OP.

That said, your problem seems to be with constantly referring to the inferior 2-player rules by comparison. DEW is too slow? Only by comparison to the 2-player game. It is still a very strong strategy, but also, it’s not the end of the world that it is not quite so overpowering, and that you may have to consider other strategies. The game is too long? Doesn’t the world have a place for 4-hour games? You go in knowing that, setting aside the right amount of time, food, booze, and energy drinks, crank up the LotR soundtrack and have yourself an epic game!
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birchbeer
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If it were just 4 hours it wouldn't be a problem. Try 6 hours! It's fun for me regardless, but some people are put-off by it and walk away frustrated. I never like to see that.

"Inferior 2-player rules?" Not sure where you're getting that; your opinion, I guess, but it would probably see 90 percent of the people here disagree with you. The 2-player rules in the 2nd edition are about as perfect as you could hope to get with such a complex game.

Any and all suggestions that will help streamline 4-player into the 2-player look and feel are most welcome.



 
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Robert
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bamonson wrote:
I have a game night coming up in which WOTR will be played. We usually play with four using the rules provided. But the restriction against moving the same units successively really affects the game, especially for the Shadow IMO, and not in a good way.

I can find this rule in the rulebook only for the three player game and then it applies only to the Free Peoples. Can you tell me where I can find this rule?

bamonson wrote:
Given that you start with 8 cards (4 per each person) and are allowed to trade cards with your partner once per turn...

In a four player game each player starts with two cards (one from each deck). So it's only four cards per side.
 
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