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

Subject: Scaling Suggestion for 3-4 Players [All Quests] rss

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Jeff Hannes
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The biggest issue 3-4 player games from a scaling standpoint is locations, as the rules (which only allow one active location at a time) will often cause you to end up with a glut of locations in the staging area. The obvious answer is to load up on cards like Northern Tracker that can help clear out locations, but I see two problems with that. First, it forces an arbitrary deck-building rule, where you MUST include many of these cards in at least one of the decks. Second, some of the latest Nightmare quests (The Long Dark in particular) have done a very effective job of introducing locations that are not so easily disposed of by such cards.

So here's my very simple suggestion:

When playing with 3-4 players, you can have two active locations.

When placing progress after successfully questing (or when using a card that places progress on locations), choose one of the active locations to place progress on. Any excess from questing carries over to the other location. Progress is only placed on the quest when there are no active locations.

If a card effect refers to the active location and there are two locations, the first player chooses which one it affects.

And that's it... For some cards you may have to use some judgments (like effects that move a card up to become the active location, like Caradhras, but in the case you'd just keep at least one other location active, if there had been one there), but I think most would be fairly intuitive.

I don't play a lot of 3-4 player, but I'd have to think this would help alot and also help preserve most quests to function as intended.
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Andrew Brown
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xanalor wrote:

I don't play a lot of 3-4 player
as someone who does, i would say that this variant is not really necessary.

yes, locations can pile up, but so does the questing power. sure, characters such as Northern Tracker are more powerful in larger groups, but we generally go most games without any of them even showing up.
 
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chadgar24
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xanalor wrote:
The biggest issue 3-4 player games from a scaling standpoint is locations, as the rules (which only allow one active location at a time) will often cause you to end up with a glut of locations in the staging area. The obvious answer is to load up on cards like Northern Tracker that can help clear out locations, but I see two problems with that. First, it forces an arbitrary deck-building rule, where you MUST include many of these cards in at least one of the decks. Second, some of the latest Nightmare quests (The Long Dark in particular) have done a very effective job of introducing locations that are not so easily disposed of by such cards.



On the last episode of the Grey Company, Matt Newman says player cards will help with location lock. I would not be surprised to see more cards in the future to help explore/negate locations in the staging area. Personally, I would like a card that lets you place excess progress on a location, much like Ride them Down does with enemies.
Already there are cards that let you place progress on a location outside of questing in the staging area, re-arrange the active location with or without the travel effect, and ignore location threat or text while in the staging area.

I think the real problem is that people are not utilizing the current card pool well enough. In the case of the OP here, he only listed cards that place progress on locations (I know you were generalizing so please no offense).

What about Gildor's council or Strider's Path, or Celduin Traveler? What about Secret Paths? Or Thror's Key and Map? Or progress cards like Warden of Arnor, Legolas, Blade of Gondolin, Greyflood Wanderer, Longbeard Elder, Bombur ally, Strength of Will? Rohan tricks? Heck...Shadow of the Past to put a desired card as the first one revealed? Short Cut is hit or miss...but is an option. These are cards from all 4 spheres.

There are other ways to manage locations/staging instead of just Northern Tracker, Asfaloth, and Snowbourn Scout. You can have a lot of fun with it. Travel to a 5 progress location, play Strength of will to place 2 prog, Legolas armed with a Blade of Gondolin kills an enemy, exploring it, then play West Road Traveler Strider's Path to set up another location to be explored during questing.
Anyway, IMHO, there are a lot of cards to deal with location lock. I think the real problem is that people view them as 'boring' and not as flashy as card draw, combat, or resourcing.

edit...I had the wrong card to do the effect I wanted.
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chadgar24 wrote:


There are other ways to manage locations/staging instead of just Northern Tracker, Asfaloth, and Snowbourn Scout. You can have a lot of fun with it. Travel to a 5 progress location, play Strength of will to place 2 prog, Legolas armed with a Blade of Gondolin kills an enemy, exploring it, then play West Road Traveler next planning to set up another location to be explored during questing.


My understanding is that you can't do this with the West Road Traveler per the FAQ:

(1.26) The word “switch”
In order for a switch to occur, switched items must
exist on both sides of the switch.

You can make a solid argument that location management is optional in a 1-2 player game (although often helpful and occasionally important) with adequate willpower. In a 3-4 player game, you can make a solid argument that some location management is needed on many/most quests. I think the OP has a decent proposal to balance this out.
 
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Jeff Hannes
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compton9890 wrote:
In a 3-4 player game, you can make a solid argument that some location management is needed on many/most quests. I think the OP has a decent proposal to balance this out.


Yeah, this was the point I was attempting to address... I'm aware that you can manage it with the existing card pool, but what if you want to play four themed dwarf decks? (Which, incidentally, was the bulk of my 4-player experience.)

What really got me thinking about it was a recent discussion on The Grey Company podcast, where they talked about the necessity of having one deck pretty much dedicated to location control. My proposed variant is just for those who don't want to have to specifically build to handle location lock.
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chadgar24
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ah, ok I see. Yes if you don't want to have a deck/player to handle locations, or the cards that are used to do so don't fit your groups themes, then this is a great way to play.

similarly, if you don't want to handle all the enemies that can come out you could reduce thier attack power and hit points by half. Or, if threating out is a problem, divide each heroes starting threat by 2. Obviously I am joking around.

This game is fun for the reason you started this post: if your play experiance is not what you wanted, just make a home-rule to make it more fun for you. There is no reason you can't make this game the most fun experiance it can be.

If it were me though...I would keep 1 active, but have some limit on locations in the staging area. Lets say only 3 can be in the staging area at any given time, once a forth is added you (for example) doom 2, or each player exhaust a character, or some other 'treachery-type' effect.

Have fun!
 
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Kelly B
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xanalor wrote:
but what if you want to play four themed dwarf decks?


Well then, short legs make locations a lot of work. Sure thing that dwarves are more likely to experience troubles when the distances are greater...

ahem, sorry.whistle
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chadgar24
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dang....your response was more clever than mine!
 
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Daniel DuBois
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It seems very easily arguable to me that that fact that you can clear ONE location per turn through the base mechanics of the game when playing with ONE player, and ONE location per turn through the base mechanics of the game when playing with FOUR players, is, at best, inelegant, and, at worst, broken.

I think it would be fun to grab 2, 3, or 4 miniatures, and let players go to separate locations. You could add some caveats like a) only the active location with a majority of players on it forgoes its contribution to threat, b) the progress placed on a location can't exceed the contribution made by the players on it, c) active locations a player is not at are immune to that player's effects, d) you can't sentinel or ranged for players who are at a different location than you.

This idea is completely non-playtested, but I think a more elegant, albeit more complicated, game would have resulted had some design effort along these lines been attempted.
 
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