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Subject: How to play to win ?? pls help rss

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Maciej Teległow
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Hello
We've just bought LOTR and expansions and try to reach to Mount Doom before Sauron reach to us. First game we won rather easilly but that was the only won game (i am sure we were very lucky) to this time. With or without F&F we are losing. In basic game we lose somewhere in Mordor and with F&F during 4th board but we are unable to kill foes. So pls tell me how You play to win ?? Are there any "rules" for fellowship. Pls give us some help cause it is very frustrating.
 
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Joe Grundy
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Give the ring to Sam and keep it there as much as possible. He only gets most 1 step/card penalty for using it.

Don't get hung up trying to get everything on each board. Some of the side lines only give you back the same number of activity symbols you spent getting them.
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Matthew M
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General strategy for most boards involves moving up the main line quickly - stopping about three steps short of finishing the board. From there you can safely focus on the other tracks to get needed life tokens and feature cards. If the events reach a really nasty point you've progressed the main track far enough that putting the ring on should usuallly end the board.

Try to get Sam the ring - in Mordor. Otherwise spread it around. If Sam has a few spaces of breathing room he is a tough ring bearer to kill.

Save your travelling cards for Mordor. Blitz the Mordor main activity line as hard as possible. Ignore the other tracks unless you have nothing else to play. It isn't uncommon to finish Mordor with the first three hobbits.

Hope that helps. Great game!

-MMM
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Matthew Wills
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Don't forget that you can pass your turn to draw more cards.

Its an easy rule to forget.
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Casey Reed
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well one thing to remember when playing the game is when you reach shelobs lair it would be a good thing to have plenty of sheilds, and when you reach mordor have plenty of cards. after playing it several times, i find that i die because of the lack of sheilds and cards. i have played about seven 2-player games now and have only won once.
 
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Matthew M
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mjwills wrote:
Don't forget that you can pass your turn to draw more cards.

Its an easy rule to forget.


It's not really passing your turn...it's one of the options you can do on your turn - the significance being that you still have to draw tiles first, regardless of if you will choose to play cards, draw cards, or something else.

-MMM
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Robert Taylor-Smith
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My gang/club starts with Sauron at 10 and regularly 'wins'. Some tips:

Don't forget to draw cards instead of spending. We've found it's better to spend two cards or draw two cards rather than spending only one. That generally means two or three turns spending and one turn drawing with each hobbit drawing at least once per board. Having lots of cards in hand will save the team a lot of grief and maximise the shields left at the end of the game. When to draw and when to advance depends on which hobbit needs the shields/tokens.

Each event will come in to play slightly less than every other turn. Thus the gang should expect about 12 turns to solve the board main track before the last event (and by far the worst, Moria being an exception). That's assuming the gang isn't doing activities to delay event tile pulling like activating Gandalfs Foresight.

Five is a key number of shields to have on a hobbit since it's the number required to activate Gandalf. Four shields on four different hobbits is not good. Bear that in mind when deciding who should discard shields.

Know the events on the scenario board. Some scenarios are best solved by finishing one side track first so as to limit or get the best out of events. For example in Helms Deep solve the Friendship track first and quickly to get the bonus cards and limit danger on the event track. In Moria if the group can avoid the effects of the 'Trapped' event then solving the main activity track isn't so important as the remaining events aren't so bad. If the events come too fast then don't lose 'heart' since then the majority of the tiles left will be good.
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Matthew M
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flapjackmachine wrote:


Each event will come in to play slightly less than every other turn. Thus the gang should expect about 12 turns to solve the board main track before the last event (and by far the worst, Moria being an exception). That's assuming the gang isn't doing activities to delay event tile pulling like activating Gandalfs Foresight.


Wha? There are only 12 good tiles in the bag! You can't possibly expect 12 turns on the main board - it would virtually guarantee that at least the fifth event gets triggered almost every time, which is just murder. Ten turns is pushing it, IMO.

If each hobbit is drawing cards once per scenario, as you claim, then you're giving yourselves that many fewer turns to finish the board while also giving due consideration to the sidetracks. Drawing cards is good, but there are several occasions where playing only one card will be preferred. The time crunch is even more important than the resource crunch.

And if you don't think Orcs Attack is that bad, particularly with Sauron starting on 10, we're playing very different games.

-MMM
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Robert Taylor-Smith
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Talking about 'average' luck odds is always tricky. It just is a reasonable basis for game risk analysis. The Lord of the Ring Boardgame is about pushing the odds and estimating risk.

The odds are almost the same for pulling all twelve activity tiles without drawing one 'next event' tile as is the reverse (all six unavoidable 'next event' tiles before one activity tile). It just isn't very likely. What is the most 'likely' occurrence is two (or one or three) activity tiles drawn followed by one unavoidable 'next event' tile.

MMM. I disagree the fifth event on the scenario boards is murder. Moria (discard 5 fighting/joker) 'Orcs attack' is a good example. 24 out of 60 hobbit cards are fighting/joker and Frodo can use any white card as a joker (40 in the deck of 60), thus a party of four should have 11 to start Moria plus the 11 fighting/joker symbols that are acquired in Rivendell. That's not even taking into consideration the drawing of cards during Moria. A maximum of 10 are needed on the main track (remember ring use) so there should be no problem finding 5 for the fifth event. The same goes for Helm's Deep (discard 3 tokens) or Shelob's Lair (two dice rolls). That's not to say the group wants to face the fifth event, but group discarding cards isn't the same as group corruption or forced individual discarding. The third Moria event 'The Stone in the Well' is the worst of the six events if not prepared for (with two jokers per player). The same is true for 'Fire of Orthanc' (Helm's Deep fourth event). Thus Rivendell-Council should be all about sharing the jokers evenly around and Lothlorien-Recovery drawing cards.

Events that can instantly kill the party are Shelob 2nd event 'Faces of the Dead' and the Mordor 3rd and 4th events, and the die roll discard result if the ring bearer is caught with his cards down. Events that are almost unavoidable in a game. The only way to prepare is to have enough cards, or tokens (for which cards via side tracks are needed to get). Athelas should of course be saved for the Mordor events and not wasted avoiding corruption.

A lot depends on how many players (Hobbits) are being used. We play with 4, sometimes 5. This gives the party 40 Corruption Track spaces to play with, plus the four different Hobbit abilities. Playing with only 2, Frodo and Sam (20 Corruption Track points), is quite a different and considerably harder game. In a four (or five) player game individual Hobbit corruption movement is not a big threat. Not having the available discards for the ring bearer is, the real danger of the game.

Only doing (rushing) the main activity tracks is not the way to maximise the number of shields at the end of the game or even the best strategy to destroy the ring. We've found (calculated) it is generally best to try and take on the side tracks first then the main line, basically because of the order the events take place. Besides avoiding corruption, the main reason for doing the side tracks is to minimize the event effects. They are worth the expenditure of cards and time.

A four player game has 4 Hobbits start with 24 Hobbit cards while a two player game start with 12. Thus the game is considerably easier with more Hobbits/players. Seems obvious but should be stated for those groups having difficulties getting to the end regardless of Sauron start location.

There are 12 Activity tiles and 11 'the evil tiles'. Only the Activity tiles are 'stops', the 'evil' tiles being result plus draw again. Of the 'evil' tiles only 8 are 'next event' and of those two can be negated through the discarding of items, mostly cards, which is in almost all cases done. Thus there are only 6 'next event' tiles that cannot be negated in the whole tile set. Odds are 50/50 (actually slightly better due to the 12/11 split) to draw all twelve 'stops' (ie. activity tiles) before all six 'next' event tiles or vis/ver. Of course the maximum number of turns per scenario board is twelve BUT to reach the sixth event before the 12th turn REQUIRES bad luck. Phial and Foresight change the odds in favour of the Hobbits. Another way of looking at the odds are that it's slightly better than 50/50 the group will get two turns before each unavoidable 'next event' tile.

For example, the group should (ie. using double symbol cards) be able to get Eowyn before the second event on the Mordor scenario board 'Lord of the Nazgul attacks', which actually turns the event into a benefit, by doing the 'find new allies' track first. The scenario boards are carefully crafted.

All three tracks on Moria can be completed in eight turns with three movements per hobbit without stopping to draw, less if using the ring. Helm's Deep and Shelob's Lair nine turns and Mordor slightly more than eleven turns although by then Gandalf cards are being used along with ring action and the dual symbol cards. Thus each Hobbit has a reasonable chance to stop and draw every two or three turns. Actually the strategy is to draw then move/play cards the following two or three turns starting with Moria. Our group generally finds each player playing cards 8 times and drawing 3 times during a game. It should be noted that the dual symbol cards should be saved for Mordor if at all possible.

I'd suggest that a two player game start Sauron at 15, a three player game at 12 and a four player game at 10. It is still harder even then for 2 than 4 or 5.
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Matthew M
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flapjackmachine wrote:


MMM. I disagree the fifth event on the scenario boards is murder.


I didn't say the fifth event is murder. I said reaching the fifth event is murder. Reaching the fifth means also suffering the third and fourth. I rarely want to even see the fourth. The resource drain does not compare to the resources gained by the couple of extra turns afforded by pressing one's luck.

Quote:
Moria (discard 5 fighting/joker) 'Orcs attack' is a good example. 24 out of 60 hobbit cards are fighting/joker and Frodo can use any white card as a joker (40 in the deck of 60), thus a party of four should have 11 to start Moria plus the 11 fighting/joker symbols that are acquired in Rivendell.


Subtract 30 for the main activity tracks of the first three boards. You can get an average of 2 back per board by using the ring, but sacrifice shields for doing so. Additionally, there are several drains on wilds throughout the game that this analysis isn't accounting for.


Quote:
Events that can instantly kill the party are Shelob 2nd event 'Faces of the Dead' and the Mordor 3rd and 4th events, and the die roll discard result if the ring bearer is caught with his cards down. Events that are almost unavoidable in a game.


I see the third Mordor event in maybe 50% of games and will almost never see the fourth. The Fellowship shouldn't need to take more than four hobbit turns in Mordor.


Quote:
Athelas should of course be saved for the Mordor events and not wasted avoiding corruption.


Considering we don't see those events, using Athelas for avoiding corruption is not uncommon.


Quote:
A lot depends on how many players (Hobbits) are being used. We play with 4, sometimes 5. This gives the party 40 Corruption Track spaces to play with, plus the four different Hobbit abilities. Playing with only 2, Frodo and Sam (20 Corruption Track points), is quite a different and considerably harder game. In a four (or five) player game individual Hobbit corruption movement is not a big threat. Not having the available discards for the ring bearer is, the real danger of the game.


This ignores that with fewer hobbits you get more Gandalfs in play due to a higher concentration of shields. Though more hobbits means more corruption, it also makes it harder to collect a full set of life tokens, which eats away at that total. Further, when Sauron moves in a 4 player game it counts as twice as much relative corruption as compared to a 2 player game. I agree that the 2 player game may be harder, but only because of the limitation placed on the number of cards received in Lothlorien and Rivendell. A 3 player game is not more difficult than a 5 player game to any significant degree, or vice-versa.

Quote:
Only doing (rushing) the main activity tracks is not the way to maximise the number of shields at the end of the game or even the best strategy to destroy the ring. We've found (calculated) it is generally best to try and take on the side tracks first then the main line, basically because of the order the events take place. Besides avoiding corruption, the main reason for doing the side tracks is to minimize the event effects. They are worth the expenditure of cards and time.


Other than Mordor, where the rush is the only way to go (until Battlefields comes out) I agree. I disagree with your proposed order, however. Side-tracks are good, but ignoring the main line leaves you less flexible and at the mercy of the tiles. The favored order should be to do the main-line and event-critical side tracks first until the main line is about two-thirds done. Then focus on the sides. If an unacceptable event comes up you should be within ring's reach of the end.

Quote:
A four player game has 4 Hobbits start with 24 Hobbit cards while a two player game start with 12. Thus the game is considerably easier with more Hobbits/players. Seems obvious but should be stated for those groups having difficulties getting to the end regardless of Sauron start location.


Again, this is overly simplistic and, IMO, wrong for the reasons stated above. In addition, consider the number of activations per hobbit on a board. With five players three hobbits will only get two turns max to collect needed life tokens, etc. With two players they can have as many as six turns apiece per board. The game plays differently with different numbers of players, but that doesn't mean one is more difficult.

Quote:
There are 12 Activity tiles and 11 'the evil tiles'. Only the Activity tiles are 'stops', the 'evil' tiles being result plus draw again. Of the 'evil' tiles only 8 are 'next event' and of those two can be negated through the discarding of items, mostly cards, which is in almost all cases done. Thus there are only 6 'next event' tiles that cannot be negated in the whole tile set. Odds are 50/50 (actually slightly better due to the 12/11 split) to draw all twelve 'stops' (ie. activity tiles) before all six 'next' event tiles or vis/ver. Of course the maximum number of turns per scenario board is twelve BUT to reach the sixth event before the 12th turn REQUIRES bad luck.


Simple math proves this false. What is the probablity that the last tile in the stack is an activity tile? 12/23. That's over 50%...it actually requires better than average luck to get all 12 turns.

Quote:

Another way of looking at the odds are that it's slightly better than 50/50 the group will get two turns before each unavoidable 'next event' tile.


This is, of course, all out the window as soon as the first tiles have been drawn - they immediately change your future odds and need to be accounted for. If you draw 8 good tiles out of your first 10 pulls do you really think it's a good idea to keep pulling out of a bag that is now almost 75% bad?

Quote:
For example, the group should (ie. using double symbol cards) be able to get Eowyn before the second event on the Mordor scenario board 'Lord of the Nazgul attacks', which actually turns the event into a benefit, by doing the 'find new allies' track first. The scenario boards are carefully crafted.


Why bother getting Eowyn when you can be done with Mordor in around three turns with proper planning? If you're using double wilds for anything other than the main track you're mad. The scenario boards are well crafted - and Eowyn is a trap IMO. Going for her takes away precious time from the real goal of getting up the mountain. The only time I get Eowyn in play is when I'm playing with Friends and Foes - she is far and away the best use of the Red Arrow.

Quote:
I'd suggest that a two player game start Sauron at 15, a three player game at 12 and a four player game at 10. It is still harder even then for 2 than 4 or 5.


With Sauron at 15 experienced players should only use to unusually horrible bad luck - even with two players. As I've said, the challenge isn't necessarily more difficult - just different in form. Your four and five player strategies are interesting, but I wonder how much you are calling Gandalf in those games. If we use him three times it's a lot. For reference, we typically end up with quite high scores thanks to the unused shields. One of our best outings with Sauron on 10 had all four players survive with well over 20 unused shields.

Interesting hearing other approaches. I'll have to keep your comments about Mordor in mind when Battlefields comes out - I'm not used to having to actuallly spend time on that board, but that expansion may require it.

-MMM
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Bryan Stout
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There are several strategies that can work for LotR. Any strategy needs to be flexible, because the circumstances change from game to game. I'll try to summarize my own approach, but understand that none of these principles is set in stone, since different principles outweigh others in different circumstances. (Hmm, that tends to be how I approach life in general, I think...)

Anyway, the best way I can summarize my approach is: Maximize Your Assets. That is, get assets when you can, and use the ones you have to the best advantage. More detailed principles follow:

- Look ahead and be prepared. When I first read the rules, I wondered why they had you set out Moria right at the start; I thought it might be better to wait to place the Scenario board out when you actually start the Scenario. But the point is, you need to see what's coming and plan for it, especially for requirements for discarding. So, in Bag End, use the Preparations action to help prepare for Nazgul Appears; in Rivendell, Council helps prepare for Fellowship; in Lothlorien, Galadriel and Recovery help prepare for Test of Galadriel. They also help prepare for Scenario Events, such as Watcher in the Water, where each player must discard one Hiding symbol. Always be prepared for Faces of the Dead with 3 shields or a star, or that'll kill you. But even if it doesn't kill you, the failure to discard leads to one bad thing after another.

- Keep a healthy number of cards in hand: This helps you be ready for discarding, especially the unpredictable times, such as "Active player reveals 1 card and discards 2 matching symbols." It also allows you to play 2 cards during your turn, rather than 1, taking full advantage of your turn. In general, I will draw 2 cards if I cannot play 2, unless things are desperate. This means that I usually have about 6 Activity (grey and white) cards in hand, unless I'm Pippin who can get by with about 4.

- Use each card to its maximum. Whenever possible, use all the symbols in a 2- or 3-symbol card, whether discarding or moving. The same goes for yellow cards and Character cards: during one Scenario have a player play out all (or almost all) his cards before playing Lembas on him; in Friends & Foes, use Resourcefulness for 3 shields (not fewer), use Impetuosity to play 4 cards instead of 3 (definitely not 1 or 2), and use Bravery when there are several Life-token Foes showing, not just 1.

- Avoid Events when possible. Always pay the cost of 3-symbol Sundial tiles if you can; except be sure to use Staff at some point. Also be sure to use Phial.

- Use each card at the best time. E.g., either Mithril or Belt can win the game at last space of Mordor. In general, yellow cards should be saved for when it is hard for players to handle the situation without them (e.g. Staff); but it is usually better to use a card than not use it, so this is something you have to play by feel, which comes with experience.

- Use each opportunity to full advantage, at the best time. As I said before, use your turn to play 2 cards rather than 1. In Friends & Foes, don't use your turn to automatically eliminate a Foe since you can normally pay its cost, unless it has a cost which is difficult to pay; and be sure to use Firebrand for difficult Foes. Use the Ring to skip over several harmful main Activity line spaces in a row, or (usually better) to jump to the end of the main line to avoid a bad Event.

- Play to get the assets each Scenario board offers. The early Events in each board tend to offer rewards, so I try to finish side line goals that lead to rewards, e.g. Events 2 & 3 in Helm's Deep; they also have punishments to avoid, so it's a double motivation. For Events that have only punishments, e.g. Moria #4, I'll try to meet its conditions if they are almost done and the Event is imminent, otherwise I'll ignore it and do the main line. An exception to getting board assets is Mordor, where the side lines do not matter much at all compared to finishing the main line.

- Share the damage. Plan Ring token capture so that the Ring-bearer position moves around -- and not to someone who is very corrupted already. Similarly, spread around the Life token burdens: in a 2- or 3-player game, you can usually get every player to have all 3 token types, but in a 4- or 5-player game, try to have each player take just 1 damage for token lack per Scenario. Don't worry very much about token collection when doing Activity line movement, or the Events will usually overtake you. Just do the line movement you need to do, and usually you can have each character get 2 of the token types. (Remember to have Merry just get 1, in a many-player game.)

[Note: many players have used an opposite tactic: concentrate the damage, and let players die off one by one so that the survivors are healthier and can finish. That's a valid option if your group is open to it, although Knizia meant to have all the players stay in: his optional rule that the Fellowship loses if anyone is eliminated was his original intent.]

These are the principles I use, and others will probably agree with some and disagree with others, which is fine -- the more viable options, the better.

Good luck!

Bryan
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Mr. D
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I am not an expert on this game, but I enjoy it a lot.

I get the impression from flapjack's posts that he is only drawing 1 tile per turn - instead of continuing to draw until he gets an activity tile.

My lord - I've been in 1 game where the first player has drawn 5 events to start and 1 game (on the Bree board) where the first player drew all 6. Horrible luck!!
 
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Matthew M
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Tubarush wrote:
I am not an expert on this game, but I enjoy it a lot.

I get the impression from flapjack's posts that he is only drawing 1 tile per turn - instead of continuing to draw until he gets an activity tile.


He's playing correctly...from his most recent post:

Quote:
There are 12 Activity tiles and 11 'the evil tiles'. Only the Activity tiles are 'stops', the 'evil' tiles being result plus draw again.


-MMM
 
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Robert Taylor-Smith
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I must have fallen under corruption during my previous posts..

MMM is right the gang would have to have good luck to get all twelve activity tiles before the sixth event. Plus all calculations have to be rethought as each tile is pulled. It is true though that pulling 5 event tiles in a row at the beginning means that most tiles left are activity tiles, pulling the sixth event then is 1 outa 18.

I guess my posts didn't make it clear that our gang finishes a board in around 8 turns. It's been a long time since we tried to run 11 or 12 turns.

Corruption is a big problem with a two player game with Sauron at 10, with four or five players it doesn't seem to be a big a problem, assuming the ringbearer is moving around, esp. to Sam.

All in all a great boardgame that players should be able to get to the end(at least with four players or Sauron at 15).
 
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