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Subject: Rules question after 3-player game and strategy questions rss

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Mike
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After playing the game with 3 players for the first time in over a year, the following questions came up. I also have some strategy questions at the end. I (FP) won a military victory by playing a card that allowed a double movement for an army with an Ally in it. Had I not had that card, they would probably have scored a military victory themselves two or three rounds later. The Fellowship was 6 steps from Mordor and Shadow held 5 VP (down from 7 after retaking an abandoned Helm's Deep).

On to the questions:

Does Gandalf the White's 'White Rider' (De Witter Ridder) ability completely ignore the Nazguls' presence or just their leadership value? The Dutch wording is unclear, as usual.

Is Gandalf's 'White Rider' ability applied before the 'Words of Power' ability (Woorden van Kracht)? I presume so, since it states it's applied before the fight and thus before the card playing phase.

The 'Swords of Eriador' (Zwaarden van Eriador) card states you can muster a unit in "the Blue Mountains". There is no region on the map called "the Blue Mountains", though there are the "Northern Blue Mountains" and Ered Luin just below it (which has a settlement). Does it refer to the former or the latter for recruitment? Another translation mistake?

I also had a question on We Come to Kill (We Komen om te Doden, Shadow Event card, combat text), but I can't recall what it was. Could someone please state the English wording on the card for comparison?

On to the strategy questions.

What if the Shadow Players focused solely on mustering and the hunt. Would the FP players be able to counter this with their fewer dice in the long run? I argued that the Fellowship would have all the time in the world to heal their corruption in the mean time, after which a Fellowship sprint from Minas Tirith would ensure a FP victory. Thoughts?

All three of us also found the active/passive aspect of the Politics Track to be confusing and unnecessary. It seems to add hardly anything to the game and we were wondering what purpose it serves, mechanically and strategically, that we may have missed or might be underestimating.

Finally, are we correct in our assessment that Saruman serves a strange role in this game? His character abilities are extremely powerful, making the equally powerful Ents cards from the Character Deck a must-have to take him out. Whereas most characters and cards seem to strike a nice balance, the Saruman/Ents situation seems to be an unavoidable event in every game. Not playing Saruman is pointless for Shadow while not countering him with Ents seems suicide for Rohan and the west. Thoughts?

I still have most of the BGG files on this game to work through and have not read any of the strategy guides yet.

 
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Raf B
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DreamStorm wrote:
Does Gandalf the White's 'White Rider' (De Witter Ridder) ability completely ignore the Nazguls' presence or just their leadership value? The Dutch wording is unclear, as usual.

His ability negates Nazgul Leadership only, not their presence. The effect is that Nazgul (including the Witch-king) provide no re-rolls and may not forfeit leadership for combat card effects.

Quote:
Is Gandalf's 'White Rider' ability applied before the 'Words of Power' ability (Woorden van Kracht)? I presume so, since it states it's applied before the fight and thus before the card playing phase.
Yes, but on the combat round where Words of Power is played, Gandalf's White Rider ability has no effect, so Nazgul do provide re-rolls for that round only.

[q]The 'Swords of Eriador' (Zwaarden van Eriador) card states you can muster a unit in "the Blue Mountains". There is no region on the map called "the Blue Mountains", though there are the "Northern Blue Mountains" and Ered Luin just below it (which has a settlement). Does it refer to the former or the latter for recruitment? Another translation mistake?

The unit is recruited in the region with the Town (Ered Luin - Elvish for Blue Mountains).

Quote:
I also had a question on We Come to Kill (We Komen om te Doden, Shadow Event card, combat text), but I can't recall what it was. Could someone please state the English wording on the card for comparison?

Play if a Shadow Elite unit is in the battle.
After removing casualties from the Combat roll and Leader re- roll, roll an additional attack using only the Shadow Elite units (up to a maximum of five) and score one hit for each result of 5+.

I'll address the strategy questions separately.
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Raf B
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Quote:
On to the strategy questions.

What if the Shadow Players focused solely on mustering and the hunt. Would the FP players be able to counter this with their fewer dice in the long run? I argued that the Fellowship would have all the time in the world to heal their corruption in the mean time, after which a Fellowship sprint from Minas Tirith would ensure a FP victory. Thoughts?

FP victory is never assured, whether sprinting from Rivendell or Lorien or Minas Tirith, although those Strongholds give the Fellowship some protection from a number of nasty event cards. A Shadow focus on mustering is highly inefficient; expert Shadow players seek to conquer as many VPs as possible using the starting allocation of units augmented by Muster Event cards.

Quote:
All three of us also found the active/passive aspect of the Politics Track to be confusing and unnecessary. It seems to add hardly anything to the game and we were wondering what purpose it serves, mechanically and strategically, that we may have missed or might be underestimating.

Passive nations cannot advance the final step to war and thus cannot recruit reinforcements. Exploiting that limitation is dependent on what strategy each player is choosing. To go on the offensive, the Free Peoples need relevant Companions to go activate the various nations. However, if Sauron is wantonly attacking the Free Peoples, or brings in the Witch-king, the FP player does not have to worry about activating anyone. The critical case is Rohan when the Wormtongue card is in play.

Quote:
Finally, are we correct in our assessment that Saruman serves a strange role in this game? His character abilities are extremely powerful, making the equally powerful Ents cards from the Character Deck a must-have to take him out. Whereas most characters and cards seem to strike a nice balance, the Saruman/Ents situation seems to be an unavoidable event in every game. Not playing Saruman is pointless for Shadow while not countering him with Ents seems suicide for Rohan and the west. Thoughts?

Some players conquer Rohan early to avoid messiness with the Ents, while others save it for last, when losing Saruman makes little difference. Using the Ent Events depends on a) drawing at least one, preferably two of them, and b) having Gandalf the White in play in Fangorn or Rohan, conditions which are not always possible to achieve at the right moment. So there are quite a few variables that influence the dynamic in the middle of the board. If you and your partners are getting stuck in a pattern, try mixing it up. Dale, Erebor and Woodland Realm offer five weakly defended VPs clustered much closer together than Lorien, Helm's Deep and Edoras.
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Mike
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So cards like Words of Power and We Come To Kill generate combat ROUNDS, not just a roll? Does this mean it includes leader rerolls and playing cards beforehand?
 
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Kristofer Bengtsson
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DreamStorm wrote:
So cards like Words of Power and We Come To Kill generate combat ROUNDS, not just a roll? Does this mean it includes leader rerolls and playing cards beforehand?


No. You only get an extra attack roll witout anything else (no cards, no rerolls etc.).
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Mike
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One more question concerning the 3-player game: As the sole FP player the rules state you can't use the same faction for two subsequent actions for obvious balance reasons. How does this work with recruiting? If I commit a Muster die to gain a regular Elf unit in Rivendell and a regular Gondor unit in Minas Tirith, does this mean I can't influence either faction for my next action die?
 
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Kevin Chapman
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