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Shadows over Camelot» Forums » General

Subject: I you had to pick one: SoC vs. Lord of the Rings rss

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Shannon McNair
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My question is a simple one: which of these two cooperative games would you choose if you could pick just one? I'm trying to determine if I want to trade SoC for LotR by Knizia.

Have at!
 
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Daniel Renaud
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I own and played both. LotR have a greater replayability value.
 
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Barry Figgins
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I'd go with SoC, just because I think it'll get played more. Lord of the Rings has just enough rules quirks that I've found it's disorienting for new players.
 
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Zack Boatman
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I would decide based on the number of players you usually game with. If the number is usually greater than 4- go for SoC. If you usually have 4 players (or less) in your group, go with LotR. I find both to be fun to play, but other than the fact that they are cooperative, there are few similarities.
 
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Alex

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I have (and I love) both.

I think SOC is much more casual and friendly, and is a great "party" game for RPG players or fantasy fans.

LOTR has more replay value and is better suited to gamers. Be sure to get the Lord of the Rings: Friends & Foes expansion to fully enjoy the game.
 
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Luca Iennaco
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If you search the forum, you'll find similar threads full of many opinions.
Personally, I prefer SOC (look into one of those old threads to see the "detailed answer" ).
Whatever you'll choose, have fun! meeple
 
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Jonah Johnson
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SOC-and print out the expansions for more fun.

stay well,

jj
 
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Mr. D
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jellospike wrote:
I have (and I love) both.

I think SOC is much more casual and friendly, and is a great "party" game for RPG players or fantasy fans.

LOTR has more replay value and is better suited to gamers. Be sure to get the Lord of the Rings: Friends & Foes expansion to fully enjoy the game.



I 2nd this statement. SoC is a more social game. LotR is more "gamer-y"
 
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Anthony Simons
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I'd take SoC over basic LotR any day - basic LotR is far too friendly!

However, with the Sauron expansion LotR outshines SoC a lot. The game becomes very evil, and one player gets to watch the silly hobbits struggle towards their doom.devil
 
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Gergely Orsó
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I own both, played SoC many (30+) times, and still love it.
I played LotR twice, and it seemed more like a puzzle than an actual game. It offers (compared to SoC) not much in the player interaction department, you just chose the best option (that's not hard to spot) and go with it. I don't know about the expansions, but the base game is beaten by SoC without difficulty.
 
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Paul
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Leaving aside theme (which would vary depending upon taste)---which would be best for a a group that would include 10-11 year old boys?
 
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Matt Fullenwider
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Merkles Boner wrote:
Leaving aside theme (which would vary depending upon taste)---which would be best for a a group that would include 10-11 year old boys?


I personally prefer LotR, but for that demographic, I'd probably go with SoC. Unless they're experienced gamers, some of the rules quirks of LotR could be overly confusing.
 
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Chris Farrell
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Check out my review. It has a fair number of LotR vs. SOC comparisons.

Lord of the Rings is definitely the stronger underlying game, and more thematic as well. I'd agree is a touch more complicated, but the difference isn't that significant. Shadows also has non-trivial rules complexity.

Lord of the Rings is also more gamerly, which could be either good or bad, depending on the audience. SOC is more of an experience game, something where you play along, look for the traitor, but each individual player doesn't really have to make that many serious decisions. Lord of the Rings is more challenging, but again, that may not be what you're looking for.

Lord of the Rings is fundamentally a lot more replayable, and that is further enhanced by the two expansions (Sauron in particular is great).

Shadows is theoretically playable with 7 or even 8, while LotR is not. But all of my expreinces with Shadows and larger numbers of players (6+) have been awful. It's easty to get lost in a big game and feel like you aren't doing much.

For the pre-teen kids, it depends a lot. In general, if the kids are seriously into boardgames, I think LotR is the better bet. But the tastes of younger kids can vary a lot.

For me, it's Lord of the Rings by a mile. But, I'm not a big Arthurian guy, so that may color my judgement somewhat.
 
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Adam Marostica
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Lord of the Rings hands down, all the way, without a doubt, no question, and then some, for sure, in a heartbeat, to infinity.
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Matthew M
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Kwyjibo wrote:
Lord of the Rings hands down, all the way, without a doubt, no question, and then some, for sure, in a heartbeat, to infinity.


Adam understates it somewhat, but I agree with his sentiment.

-MMM
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Tony Wai-kit FUNG
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I own both games. I am an arthurian fans, so I love SoC. However, talking about purchase recommendation to others, I definitely recommend LoTR over SoC.

The first impression and the experience of the first few games of SoC are usually very good and inspiring. This good experience can be maintained if you always play with different players, esp non-gamers. If you usually play with a constant group, the game suffers when there are usual play patterns developed within the group. The anaylsis and deduction and intrigue aspects of the game would be lost. The fun factor diminishes a lot. The theme remains.

LoTR is less attractive than SoC at the first look. The missions or game progress is slightly more abstract than SoC's. But the coherent mechanism and learning curve make it a better masterpiece than SoC. And it's highly more replayable. The well-designed scoring system gives you (even the same game group) motives to beat yourself, with a fair objective quantitative measurement. Adding with Friends & Foes expansion, the game is pushed to another apex, giving you a very friendly but not easy all-players co-op game. If you insist good-vs-evil competition, you can play with Sauron expansion. The difficulty is further increased. Depending on your game group style, you can play LoTR in a casual, friendly and fully cooperative way. You may also play in a competitive way, with head-to-head competition against the Sauron player. You can even enjoy playing it with intra-group competition, by playing selfish and giving yourself the sole winner.

(Not to mention, if you like LoTR theme, no doubt you should get LoTR.)
If you want to find a replayable game for a constant game group, I still recommend LoTR.

My SoC has been put on the shelf for a year already without being played again. My LoTR is however kept being played nowadays. And most decent players in my game group (not those pure gamer games' gamers) all always like to play LoTR than SoC.
 
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Tom Chappelear
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I have both, and would echo the earlier comments: SoC has more interaction between players and feels more like a party game, while LoTR is more gamer-y and calculating. I personally vastly prefer LoTR, but both are good games. Cooperative games are very difficult to pull off successfully, and you can't go wrong with either.

Unless you hate them.
 
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Mike Compton
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Perhaps I'm mistaken but it seems like I'm one of the few people here who really likes SoC and who doesn't like LotR. In fact, I would have to be coerced into playing LotR while I'm typically always up for SoC. Now, in the interest of explaining my viewpoint (and before anyone starts attacking me with the usual challenges) here are some acknowledgements first:

SoC is essentially a dressed up card game. It's not a very heavy game. I get that. I accept it for what it is and, in the "party game for gamers" role it works great. Expecting a real "gamey" game out of SoC is placing an unrealistic expectation on it. At the same time, for all of LotR's "gaminess", it feels so linear that it devolves into the level of being uninteresting to me. Yes, one really feels like they are "plodding along the trail" towards Mt. Doom partly because, IMHO, the game its self "plods" along.

Some people get a bad taste in their mouth with SoC because seasoned players can become a bit bossy and try to offer too much direction to newer players of the game (which also makes playing a Traitor much harder with increased directive table talk). So, my group plays with little to no table talk allowed and the game still retains its social aspect. This method of playing also mitigates a lot of the misgivings some people have about the rules of vaguery regarding player communication (i.e. not being specific but still hinting in such a manner that one might as well have just come right out and said what they meant clearly rather than trying to be cryptic). LotR offers no intrigue with respect to what the other players will do because everyone can be so open about what they are going to do (and there is no possibility of a Traitor so there is no unspoken analysis of the other players' decisions). Thus, LotR can suffer much more from people in the game bossing other people around with respect to what they should do on their turn - which can cut down the fun factor pretty heavily.

All in all, every game of Shadows I've played has been different and, with seasoned players, we often handicap the game with some number of introductory black cards at the beginning to make up for the experience level in the group. This works really well and the game still has flavor after many, many playings of it. It's the intrigue of the Traitor that makes the game interesting - much the same way some people like party games like Werewolves of Miller's Hollow or Mafia.

Also, there is more flexibility with regard to what a person or what the group might do in SoC. With LotR, it's this board first. Now this board. Okay now this board. All in the same order. Though this may appeal to some, I feel like LotR suffers a bit from the "game playing you" rather than you choosing to attack the game from a selected standpoint.
 
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gordon seahorn
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Both are fun, but I'd go with SOC.
 
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John Harley
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I own SoC and have played a few times. Its light, & looks good on the table. But once the Trator is found, the game looses its magic and feels tedious. Before that, great!

I've tried a few variants for it but havent managed to sustain the entertainment past the uncovering of the traitor yet.

It's so light that I'm left kinda wishing for a meatier game.

Fury of Dracula has a great coop element, but is a bit over complicated, still I greatly prefer it to SoC.

I haven't played LOTR but I would probably trade SoC for it given the chance.

 
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mads l. brynnum
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I replied to a post in the LotR entry, but was advised to post in this thread instead. I'll do so and this is what I wrote on the matter:

I would go with LotR in a heartbeat. The theme of the game is strongly embedded in the mechanics* and especially with Friends and Foes it's a really difficult and tense game. Furthermore the Sauron expansion opts for a non-coorporative game which can be great fun.

I've played SoC some times and enjoy it quite a lot, but I think the feel of the game is more light than LotR. And the possibility of a traitor can make it a very funny game. Some might like that - I know I do occasionally - but over all I think LotR is a better game.

mads

* I know some will argue that the game is dry and the rules fiddly and very unthematic. But the difficulty and the everpresent risk of something very bad happening fits - IMO - perfectly with the mood of the books/movies. Especially the Frodo/Sam part of them.
 
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Giles Pritchard
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Hi, I own, like and play both games.

I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan, but I feel I 'enjoy' SoC more when I play it.

If I had to keep one of the two I would keep Shadows.

If you are thinking of trading Shadows, maybe it would be worth trading it???

LOTR works better as a two player game (my wife and I used to play it a bit) - but my wife prefers Shadows, even when the 2pl Shadows is not as good a game as 2pl LOTR.

I you are ready to trade SoC - maybe it's time!!!

Whatever you pick - good luck!

Cheers!

Giles.
 
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Paul Sauberer
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I also like both and own both, with all expansions for LotR. If I had to choose which one I like better, it would be a tough decision. My gut instinct would say to go with LotR on the basis of theme.

However, in the real world, SOC hits the table far more often with our group than does LotR.

My guess as to the reasons are that it is more accesible, at least seems to take a shorter amount of time and can accomodate up to 7 players, which we seem to have a lot of the time.
 
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John Hooper
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Count me in for LOTR - I love the sense of adventure in the game. The theme and mechanics are much more reminiscent of the subject than SOC.

John
 
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Tim Deagan
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I own both, I prefer LotR.

SoC is absolutely beautiful to look at, but IMHO highly dependent on having the right folks to play it with. LotR is less so (and plays a fair solitaire.
 
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