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G Wintner
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Just looking for people's thoughts on the subject. Thanks!
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Rauli Kettunen
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#1: Battlefields
#2: Friends & Foes


#3: Sauron

This is actually one of the few games where I mix and match expansions instead of going with my usual "mix it all in" approach. Coming back to the game after a break, prefer to just run base, then do base + F&F, followed by base + BF. If feeling particularly frisky, might do base + F&F + BF, haven't yet been brave enough to play all three expansions in one go blush . Each expansion add difficulty, which, while necessary to buff up the easy base game, really gets up there even with two expansions. Often playing solo with 2-hobbits, base + one expansion proves a challenge (I think I have a losing record in this game overall).

Of course, unless you already own the expansions, you'll have a Frodo-esque quest to find them in most cases I'd think.
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Daniel Wilmer
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Its an interesting question.

Friends and Foes: Adds extra boards, alternate paths between them, new character/Gandalf/story cards and and extra win/loss mechanics.

Pros: More theme, more story moments, more to consider for more 'game'.

Cons: For the most part a longer game, if just for managing foes. Not so great for new players or those that struggle with the main game.

I tend to add Friends and Foes for seasoned players, regular gamers and after a couple of successful games for new players looking for more.

Sauron: New vs mechanic, bag variant for event tiles, event tile variant to allow difficulty turned up to 11, new character/Gandalf/story cards, new global support cards, new loss mechanics.

Pros: chocolate box; can pick and choose from certain expansion parts to add for normal and vs games. New miniature. You can be Sauron!

Cons: Difficult to get vs. to the table. Needs familiarity with main game, brutal on the uninitiated.

Personally my plays for vs. is low so I cant give a strong opinion on if the vs. aspect is a reason to pick it up, however having the option is appreciated for me and I love the bag based event tile variant!

Battlefields*: Whole new mechanics with associated battleground boards with tokens and tiles that add new spacial puzzles to each mission board. New Gandalf/character/story cards.

Pros: Completely changes strategy for the game and each board - , epic battles that pull focus away from main storyboard without neglecting it too much, but absorbing hand in a different way. Very thinky and ups the challenge by a fair amount.

Cons: Lots of new decisions, prolonged turns; lots of set up for each board and tile flipping each turn = much longer play time. Probably not suited to higher player count as decisions on battle board need some forward planning (ie. prone to AP and alpha player syndrome).

For the epic game this is wonderful and certainty changes the type of challenge more than the other expansions. It is however fiddly and not one to whip out for a 'short' game of LOTR. It also challenges players to a level that really doesn't suit many groups for first plays, making it harder to get to the table. One for those who feel the base game, or friends and foes no longer offer the cooperative experience that they are looking for.


Of course all these expansions can be combined together but I'd recommend each played separate initially unless the group is very familiar with each that is added. The Sauron expansion has more features that can be dropped in and out easier

So those are my thoughts. The completionist in me snapped them up quickly after falling hopelessly for the base game. The order they were released is probably the order I'd picked them up if I were to do so again. Friends and foes feels like an natural progression of the game, Sauron mixes it up and Battleground adds much more 'puzzle' to the game.

Hope that helps!

*edit for putting wrong name and missing text.
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Daniel Wilmer
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Dam the Man wrote:


Of course, unless you already own the expansions, you'll have a Frodo-esque quest to find them in most cases I'd think.



Too true, took me several months to track down each but I was being frugal hunting for a reasonable price. Paid the most for Friends and Foes.

As of writing ebay has both Friends and Foes and Sauron available for a moderate price (about 150% of retail+shipping).

I managed to get battlefields from amazon.de for retail price 18mths ago but it has long since sold out. It will probably be the hardest to find. It is worth noting that Battlefields was produced as an international version in German, French and English. If you find any of those copies it should be fine it has copies of all the language cards inside even with a different language lid!
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DomaGB
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I like Friends and Foes, it's like more of the same.

I own but have never played the Sauron expansion, because I prefer to keep it entirely co-op.

I do not own Battlefields. But after looking at it, I am not intrigued, I will not hunt it down but I suppose if I found a cheap copy I would buy it.
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Dan Cavaliere
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Rauli and Daniel summed it up (above) quite well.

I wouldn't 'play without' Friends & Foes but I also really like Battlefields. Since I mostly play solitaire I don't use the Sauron exp much.

My ranking would be F&F, Battlefields, Sauron.
 
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Gary Pressler
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Chiming in with agreement...

Friends & Foes "completes" the base game. Always in there.

Battlefields is the "advanced" game. Not for your first several games. New rules to learn with the new battle boards, but very neat stuff. Great for solo play or with a group that has played the base game a lot and looking for more.

Sauron is the "unspeakable name in quotes" expansion. As said, there are mix-n-match elements. I am only interested in playing this game cooperatively, so much of it will never be used. The extra evil red event tiles increase the difficulty, but not in a way that I find particularly interesting. I'm glad to have it, but will rarely use any of it. Neat miniature. And it has the prettiest box of the three expansions, so I kept it to store the others.
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Kelly Bass
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SolarJ wrote:
Its an interesting question.... Hope that helps!
I would have said exactly what Daniel said above, only I am not nearly as eloquent.

If playing with F&F, make sure you use the Black Gate variant, else the Military Victory is far too easy. sauron
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G Wintner
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Thank you everyone so very much for the info! Great stuff. Now to begin the quest [to find the Friends and Foes expansion, which is definitely grabbing me the most based upon this feedback].

Frodo lives!
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