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Subject: The Tale of Years - Mega-Campaign Mode for LOTR LCG rss

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banana
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Hey everyone,

“The Tale of Years”

Campaign Rules


Those campaign rules were designed and tested by the “Chokhobbits” team consisting of banania, Elia83 and Mouette33. It is based on a number of ideas we read on various forum of this very rich community, and ideas of our own. Many thanks are going to Karagh for his amazing templates of new Gift, Presence and Haven cards.

With these campaign rules, we only aim at reinforcing the narrative aspect of the game. FFG did a great job at it with the Campaign Mode of the Saga Expansions, and we wanted to expand this experience to the regular Deluxe and Cycle scenarii. We thus designed this generic Campaign Mode which is basically a "victory point variant".

In LOTR LCG, you collect victory points when defeating some encounter cards and we felt it'd be interesting to find a use for them. So now, you can purchase resources, cards, and much more things with those victory points!

Of course, there had to be a downside to this avantage. That's when we stole the idea of the "dead pile" from Ian Martin. The "dead pile" is distinct from the discard pile and is thematic in the sens that each destroyed unique ally or lost unique attachment are placed in this pile. You cannot play those cards anymore as they are considered lost or dead!! The only way to fetch back those lost card is to spend your victory points at the end of a scenario, so it keeps the pressure on any other purchase you might want to make.

Of course, the rules make it mandatory to fill your deck with at least 6 unique cards (with 3 different titles).

At first, we did not want to include any custom card, so be aware you can keep playing the Tale of the Years campaign mode without any new card. But if you really like the "victory point"/"dead pile" experience, chack out the Boons and Gifts you can earn when playing this variant, as well as the Burdens threatening you.

We also introduced Haven and Presence, being both the iconic good and bad locations of Middle-earth that can have a beneficial or detrimental effect on the game, depending on the state of the dead pile!

You can find the whole rules here:
The Tale of Years v3



It contains:
- The Rules for the Campaign Mode
- A table reminding which hero can be used at which point in the campaign
- The global chronology with narrative pauses, and game restrictions


And the custom cards here:








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Patrick
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Really great work here, congratulations to all involved!

I wrote a lengthy appeal (that got deleted accidentally) on your use of "scenarii" in the rulebook. Please just use "scenarios," which is much less pretentious, and more widely used in English (Italian has apparently dropped the extra i, so it's not even in use anymore, anyway).

Really nice work though!
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banana
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Pretentious? I'm French, what did you expect?shake

To be honest, we also use "scenarios" as a plural but I did not know how it was done in English so I used latin. Thank you for pointing that out John, I'll correct it for the next version.
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Patrick
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Thanks for taking that so kindly, banania, communicating in forums is difficult sometimes. I have a pretentious streak too, but I'm not sure that the game does (and Prof. Tolkien, salt-of-the-earth Hobbit that he was, certainly didn't).

I've looked over the document much more since and this is REALLY great. You all did a fine job.
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Mark
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This sounds amazing but since I am a newb at this game I have a couple of questions. To start off the conversation I will say that I only have the core set.

So the first part of the campaign is the hobbit made up of two expansions. Can I play any cards from my core set (minus the heroes/allies specifically mentioned in the manual y'all put together) plus any of the new cards received from the hobbit expansions?

Once I beat this part of the campaign (which will take forever for me) I can keep adding all my cards together (minus the heroes/allies specifically mentioned as unallowed for the quests) as I keep progressing throughout the campaign (as long as they aren't in the dead pool as you mentioned)?

Thanks,
Mark
 
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banana
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Yes, you can use any player card for any expansion you want to play the Campaign!

The only restrictions we applied are the one listed in the document, specifically for Heroes and Unique Allies.



Be aware that you can do the whole campaign starting with the Hobbit, yes. But you can also restrict yourself to doing the part you like more.

For instance I'm currently doing a campaign for the "Against the Shadow" sub-campaign consisting of the Stone of Erech, the scenarios from Heirs of Numenor, the Massing at Osgiliath and the scenarios from Against the Shadow.

I'll soon post a write-up of that campaign!
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Andrea Marino
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Wonderful rulings, I'm looking forward to play with it!

I have a question, I try to explain with an example.

You wrote:
[11] As an exception to rule [5], any card in the dead pile
at the end of the turn can be replaced in your player
deck, by a card with a different title but from the
same sphere (or neutral).

You have three copies of a unique ally in player deck, and then one of these goes in the dead pile. At the end of the turn you can replace it with another ally in the player deck as per [11] for no cost.
You just had a unique ally killed but at the beginning of the next turn in your player deck there are 2 other copies of him plus another ally, so it's not such a big problem.

Couldn't it be too much of an advantage over the core rules?
A unique ally or attachment leaving play normally, as per core rules, would go to the discard pile, so usually is lost for the game (except for some player card effects, like Stand or Fight...).
I would try to experiment with the idea of replacing it in the DISCARD PILE instead of replacing it in the player deck, so it's more similar to the standard behaviour of a card that goes in the discard pile as per core rules.

If I put a single copy of an unique ally or attachment in my player deck, I could imagine that rule 11 is good, but if I have 2 or more copies of it, it seems to me it gives too much of an advantage.

What do you think?
 
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banana
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That's a mistake, good point.

It should read:

[11] As an exception to rule [5], any card in the dead pile
at the end of the game can be replaced in your player
deck, by a card with a different title but from the
same sphere (or neutral).

That makes thematic sense.

If a unique ally is destroyed (which means "by placing damage tokens equals to its Hit Point value") it goes to the dead pile. (Whereas, as a reminder, if the unique ally is discarded by effect, the unique ally goes to the discard pile). Note that non-unique allies go to the discard pile whether they are discarded or destroyed.

We are considering here that the ally is "dead".

Which means two things as per our rules:

1) You can't play this unique ally anymore during the current game. So this very detrimental. Imagine you have Gildor in your dead pile and two Gildors in hand, you just can't play him, he's dead.

2) Unless you buy the unique ally back by spending an amount of victory point equal to his cost at the end of a scenario, the ally just stay in the dead pile. That means you can't use him on later scenarios. The dead pile is a "permanent" pile. This also is detrimental, because if you lost Gildor in a previous scenario, you still have 2 copies of him in your deck and can't play him during the next scenario. To mitigate that we installed the rule that if Gildor dies (goes to the dead pile) and you can't buy it back at the end of the game, you can at least replace the 3 Gildor cards of your deck by 3 other player cards from the same sphere (or neutral), at no cost.

Note that Gildor stays in your dead pile. You can retrieve him later for example (at the end of scenario n+3 let's say). If you do, you must revert your deck back to its initial state, with 3 Gildors.
 
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Matthew Thake
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I really love the idea behind this and plan on giving the whole thing a go once we've gone through the quests for the first time.

Are there plans to keep the campaign mode updated with all the new quests and expansions?
 
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banana
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Yes!

We're in the process of updating the rules and reinforcing the narrative. So there will be a version 2, probably around the time the Ring Maker Cycle will end. We'll keep you updated on what we do.
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Jamie Lewis
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Thank you! I have been looking for something like this since I first bought this game!!
 
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Tracy Newman

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A quick question that may be obvious: when you reach the end of a scenario, do you reset threat levels to the starting threat when beginning the next scenario? Or do you only do this after a narrative pause? Thanks!
 
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banana
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You reset your starting threat at the beginning of each scenario, as per normal rules.
 
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banana
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Hi everyone!

We have updated our Campaign Mode variant.

We adressed some points, discrepancies and balancing issues we encountered when we played the campaign.

Check it out!
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Knut Högvall
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Nice, but why is there a border only on the even-numbered pages?
 
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banana
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Thanks. Probably some devilry.

Quote:
It's SARUMAN!!!!
 
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Terry
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If anyone is interested, I started an AAR on a campaign game.

If you like reading, have a look.

https://lotrlcgcampaigncgame.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/hello-...
 
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banana
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AMAZING!

To answer a question you posted on your blog:
I don't think FFG's gonna sue you for anything posted on your blog, so go ahead and add some pics!
At least, I don't think the other blogs out there have any problem of the sort.
You can always write to FFG's legal services. I did it for the Quest Companion website and got absolutely no answer, I guess they don't care, as long as you're not doing an online deckbuilder, which is the prerogative of cardgamedb.

 
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Terry
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I have taken your advice and added a few card pictures to break up the mass of text: I tend to write a lot.

Now working on the second update: we are into the Misty Mountains.
 
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RegisF
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Have fun Terry.

We're gonna add some new stuff. I hope you'll like it cool
 
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Looks very cool. I am curious how much this has been play tested. Especially near the end where you are having 11 quests in a row without a narrative break seems insane. I'm tempted to run this in easy mode, but wanted some feedback before starting.
 
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banana
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Are you sure? I'm counting a maximum of 6 quests in a row without a narrative pause.

About playtesting, it has been. I'd not say "a lot" but I've consistantly played it on Against the Shadow (TOUGH that's why we added some bonuses) and Shadows of Mirkwood (very easy due to the amount of victory point available).

These days, mouette33 and I are running a campaign starting with The Hobbit. Works very well too.

Maybe a bit of balancing would be necessary for the Ring Maker and Dwarrowdelf. When I tested them, it seemed mostly ok, though I admit it could have been playtested MORE. For the ring-maker cycle, we already tried to give bonuses, considering very few Victory Points available to the players.

We do have an excel sheet with all information on Victory Point (easy mode, normal mode and nightmare mode) to find global balance, which can be quite difficult due to the huge differences between cycles.
 
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banania wrote:
Are you sure? I'm counting a maximum of 6 quests in a row without a narrative pause.

About playtesting, it has been. I'd not say "a lot" but I've consistantly played it on Against the Shadow (TOUGH that's why we added some bonuses) and Shadows of Mirkwood (very easy due to the amount of victory point available).

These days, mouette33 and I are running a campaign starting with The Hobbit. Works very well too.

Maybe a bit of balancing would be necessary for the Ring Maker and Dwarrowdelf. When I tested them, it seemed mostly ok, though I admit it could have been playtested MORE. For the ring-maker cycle, we already tried to give bonuses, considering very few Victory Points available to the players.

We do have an excel sheet with all information on Victory Point (easy mode, normal mode and nightmare mode) to find global balance, which can be quite difficult due to the huge differences between cycles.


Just to be clear, I'm not critiquing at all. I think this is a great idea and can only imagine the number of hours of work that went into it.
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Andrea Marino
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Thank you for this wonderful work! Also I liked very much the new art in version 2.0 of the rules.

I have some questions.
In the original official saga rules (pag.4 - "The Fellowship of Heroes") all the players get +1 permanent threat for each hero replaced (Fallen Hero or not) at the end of every scenario and there is no way to use again a Fallen Hero in the campaign.

In The Tale of Years rules:

-- [2]: ... You get a permanent +1 threat penalty ...
Q: Does it affect all players as per normal saga rules? Same question for rule [3]: Replacing a hero that did not fall gives a permanent +1 penalty to your starting penalty...

-- [7]: you can raise permanently your starting threat by 1...
Q: I assume this penalty applies only to the player who change the cards and not to all players...

-- [23]: When any player has been eliminated by death of his/her heroes, he can get back into the campaign
at the next narrative pause with a global penalty of +1 threat.
Q: Global penalty = affect all players?
Is this penalty permanent or lasts only for one scenario played?
In this situation (narrative pause), MUST the player change his heroes (as per normal saga rules) ? Does all players have to pay other +3 permanent threat because of this 3 Fallen Heroes being replaced ?


 
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sortilege wrote:
Thank you for this wonderful work! Also I liked very much the new art in version 2.0 of the rules.

I have some questions.
In the original official saga rules (pag.4 - "The Fellowship of Heroes") all the players get +1 permanent threat for each hero replaced (Fallen Hero or not) at the end of every scenario and there is no way to use again a Fallen Hero in the campaign.

In The Tale of Years rules:

-- [2]: ... You get a permanent +1 threat penalty ...
Q: Does it affect all players as per normal saga rules? Same question for rule [3]: Replacing a hero that did not fall gives a permanent +1 penalty to your starting penalty...


Yes, the wording was wrong. Damn english language where "you" can mean one person, or several!

This should read:
"[2] Any hero who is in the dead pile (see [9]) at the end of a scenario will be counted as a Fallen Hero. Each player gets a permanent +1 threat penalty on his/her starting threat."

Quote:
-- [7]: you can raise permanently your starting threat by 1...
Q: I assume this penalty applies only to the player who change the cards and not to all players...


Yes. I'll reword this into:
"[7] If a player still want to change player cards in his deck between two narrative pauses, he can raise permanently his starting threat by 1 to replace up 6 cards in his deck ."

Quote:
-- [23]: When any player has been eliminated by death of his/her heroes, he can get back into the campaign
at the next narrative pause with a global penalty of +1 threat.
Q: Global penalty = affect all players?


God, I just realized what a mess those rules about elimination are (it never actually happened in our play group, playing this campaign mode so I guess that's the reason why).

So to answer your question: yes , if one player is eliminated by death of his 3 heroes, it affects all players by a +3 starting threat penalty, as per Fallen Heroes rules. Otherwise, why wouldn't the group decided to sacrifice 3 heroes just before a narrative pause? If they only get +1 threat penalty instead of 3, that's a real bargain! Sorry for this not-so-clear and unbalanced rule, it has been removed for version 3.

Also, I just realized a player eliminated by threating out does not incur any threat penalty. That's an heresy. In the official saga rules, any hero in the discard pile is considered as a Fallen Hero, so as losing by threat discards your heroes, the players would get a +3 starting threat penalty.

What we propose for our campaign mode is the following:
1) If a player is eliminated by threating out (reaching the 50-threat threshold), he can go back into the campaign at the next narrative pause and each player gets +X starting threat, where X was the number of heroes the player controlled.
2) However, contrary to the official saga rules, the heroes are still available to the players, they don't go to the dead pile as they are simply discarded. This is to represent that threating out is the equivalent of having too much attention from Sauron, but the characters are not "dead" (they have not been destroyed).

Quote:
Is this penalty permanent or lasts only for one scenario played?


The penalty is permanent.

Quote:
In this situation (narrative pause), MUST the player change his heroes (as per normal saga rules) ?


Yes, unless they are retrieved by Victory Points!

Quote:
Does all players have to pay other +3 permanent threat because of this 3 Fallen Heroes being replaced ?


Yes.


******

To sum up, here are the rewritten rules about player elimination:

Quote:
[21] When any player has been eliminated (even if his team mates won the scenario), cards from this player that went into the dead pile during this scenario stay in the dead pile for the next scenarios, unless retrieved by the players.
[22] When any player has been eliminated by reaching the threat threshold, he can get back into the campaign at the next narrative pause and each player gets a +X starting threat penalty, where X is the number of heroes the eliminated player controlled .
22.1. As per normal rules, heroes leaving play due to the elimination by threat of any player go into the discard pile, as they are discarded from play. As those heroes are not in the dead pile, they don’t count as Fallen Heroes and can be used again by the players at the next narrative pause.
[23] When any player has been eliminated by death of all his X heroes, he can get back into the campaign at the next narrative pause and each player gets a +X starting threat penalty as per Fallen Heroes rules .
23.1. Of course, the other players can retrieve any player’s heroes in the dead pile, thus reducing the threat and deck changing impact on the eliminated player when he comes back into the campaign.
[24] When any player has been eliminated by a defeat condition of the scenario, he can get back into the campaign at the next narrative pause with no starting threat penalty .
24.1. As per normal rules, heroes leaving play due to the elimination by threat of any player go into the discard pile, as they are discarded from play. As those heroes are not in the dead pile, they don’t count as Fallen Heroes and can be used again by the players at the next narrative pause.

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