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War of the Ring (Second Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: teaching rss

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Phil Brillant
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Going to attempt to teach the GF War of the Ring this week. Any have a good experience with a certain side they will have an easier time playing.

Thanks.
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Heikki Laakkonen
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I would say that for a new player playing shadow is mechanically easier as there are little less choices how to use your different action dice. However when playing against a more experienced opponent the new player has better chances to win when playing the Free Peoples and concentrating on the Fellowship.
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Patrick
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I would disagree. For a new Player in my Experience playing Free People was always easier, especially since you can mostly react and dont have to act. Furthermore you don't get distracted as easily as Free People. Just make clear how important moving the Fellowship is and that you dont have to "win" your fights as Free People but it is more about outlasting your Enemy.

Also i found playing without Event Cards alltogether quite helpful for new Players or any of the Teaching Variants you find in this Forum.
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Dom Hiob
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+1 for shadow. FPP has a lot more choices to make really. If/when to drop off companions, when to declare, which route to take, where to muster, when to travel. The SP, IMO, has an easier job. Get to war quickly, muster, some strategic movement, attack/siege. The most difficult one is how many dice to assign to the hunt. Also, playing the bad guys means you'll be less disenchanted with losing against a supreme FPP (lastly, everytime I've played with new players, they felt the Shadow was so much stronger (because they kept looking at the armies on the board rather than how far the Fellowship had moved already).
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Ralf Schemmann
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I'm with Patrick. While it is mechanically a little more involved, you have a better chance at playing (at least a little) competitively with the Free against a more experienced player.
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Dom Hiob
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Uthoroc wrote:
you have a better chance at playing (at least a little) competitively with the Free against a more experienced player.


I guess we all agree on this actually. So really, it comes down to what "easier" in the OP's question means. Mechanically, it's SP. Playing competitively, it's FPP.

I think, psychologically, it's SP. First time FPPers, as I said, often have the feeling the game is skewed in favor of the SP. Even if they then go on to win, they might think you just let them win. Also, losing as SP at least has the "yepp, that's what happened in the books as well"-feeling to it, while losing as FPP is like "Middle Earth is lost because of ME!"
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Pierce Ostrander
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The experienced player should play the Shadow and should tell the new player before the game begins: "if you aren't moving the fellowship at least once every turn, you better have a good reason".

If the Shadow side is not played competently, the game is more likely to become a foregone conclusion early: with the first broken siege and no immediate backup nearby.

It takes a degree of coordination and management to maneuver appropriate forces into place at multiple locations on the board in overlapping waves. It's not something that someone can really be expected to do well on their first play.

The FP side is more passive and more forgiving early in the game, which will give you both a better chance of having a more competitive and enjoyable experience.
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Joel Stair
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it depends has she read the rules if not Shadow all day long.
My wife has played 3 times and has always played the Shadow and has won each time.

If she has read the rules and understands how to move the FollowShip then she may have more fun with them.

 
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Chris Upton
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I'm throwing my vote in for Shadow Player, since you are specifically looking for a starting point for teaching, rather than competitive play. My daughter (11) and I learned this game together and it was definitely easier for her to control the Shadow and learn the Free Peoples by seeing them in action. I'm not sure there's going to be a true competetive equilibrium of any game of strategy when introducing it to a new player for the first time. It needs to sink in. No point overwhelming them with the FP choices and strategies, IMHO. My daughter has gone on to play both sides. However, she doesn't care for the weak, hunted feel of the Fellowship. She enjoys playing the SP to crush her enemies beneath her feet with overwhelming military superiority and hear the lamentations of their women. Daddy's little girl.
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David Williams
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Depending how much of a gamer she is and how well she learns more complex games, you might consider the variant I made up to teach my wife. The basic changes were:

- No cards at all - event dice are rerolled until you get something else.

- No political track - all nations start 'At War'.

- The Fellowship start using the 'Breaking of the Fellowship' variant. This makes for a much shorter game, with the companions already separated off the FPP can have fun with them on their own - learning what they can do once separated makes it easier to handle decisions over reparating them once progressed to the normal game.

IIRC the balance of the game was probably thrown off, surprisingly against the FPP. But neither of us cared. We played the variant about 2 times I think, then progressed to the full version. We have played that a lot since, and the variant definitely helped her to learn the core mechanics which I believe significantly contributed to the longevity of the game. She is still happy to play, while when we tried the full rules on our first game she was almost put off trying it again due to the length and complexity.

The discussion is here if you're interested:

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/17912013#17912013
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Bill Quentin
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It's much easier to mechanically teach an absolute beginner if they play as the Shadow first time round. Maybe even the first 2 or 3 games.

It has to be a non-competitive game initially. So in a way, you're playing with them against yourself as the FP.

As the game progresses, you also need to tell them what you're deciding to do with the Fellowship - so they begin to understand from the other side of the table why it's all about weighing up the pros and cons as the FP player. Prepares them for what's in store.

Over those 2 or 3 games you begin to impart the narrative of the game and how it flows. Then it's time for the newbie to try as the FP and add on the extra Fellowship mechanics into their combat/dice/cards knowledge.

Also, play some mock-up practise seiges/city battles/combat cards outside of the main game. Hugely beneficial early on.
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Marty Sample
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Agree the Shadow is easier for a newbie. The thing that I've seen trip up newbs is the handling of the Fellowship - when to move and how to best deal with breaking off characters towards other goals.
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Pierce Ostrander
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Marty S wrote:
Agree the Shadow is easier for a newbie. The thing that I've seen trip up newbs is the handling of the Fellowship - when to move and how to best deal with breaking off characters towards other goals.


I'm in the "let them play the fellowship" camp - since as stated above, coordination of the SP movements to converge at the right time with the right forces is more complex and requires a more complete sense of the pacing (understanding how much time it takes to do things and how much time you have left).

Breaking off characters - I'd just give them this tidbit: Characters, while in the fellowship, provide insulation against corruption. For a first game, I advise the player to keep the fellowship together with two exceptions: Strider and Gandalf, since they provide an extra die each, and getting more actions (extra dice) is a very good thing.

If you simply tell them this - it frames their decision. Granted there are times when you might want to break off other characters, but for a first game - I'd make it clear that breaking off these two is usually the right thing to do - if Gondor has not fallen and you think you can get Strider there to be crowned for the extra die.

A newbie will have a hard time keeping the pressure on the FP player if playing the SP - and that is what makes the game exciting.

 
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Bill Quentin
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fubar awol wrote:
Marty S wrote:
Agree the Shadow is easier for a newbie. The thing that I've seen trip up newbs is the handling of the Fellowship - when to move and how to best deal with breaking off characters towards other goals.


I'm in the "let them play the fellowship" camp - since as stated above, coordination of the SP movements to converge at the right time with the right forces is more complex and requires a more complete sense of the pacing (understanding how much time it takes to do things and how much time you have left).

Breaking off characters - I'd just give them this tidbit: Characters, while in the fellowship, provide insulation against corruption. For a first game, I advise the player to keep the fellowship together with two exceptions: Strider and Gandalf, since they provide an extra die each, and getting more actions (extra dice) is a very good thing.

If you simply tell them this - it frames their decision. Granted there are times when you might want to break off other characters, but for a first game - I'd make it clear that breaking off these two is usually the right thing to do - if Gondor has not fallen and you think you can get Strider there to be crowned for the extra die.

A newbie will have a hard time keeping the pressure on the FP player if playing the SP - and that is what makes the game exciting.


Yes, but that's more about the overarching strategy of the game. Before a new player gets to that, they need to learn the basic mechanics first.

And there's simply less to cram in as the Shadow player on the basic level. Knowing how FP character detachment/guide abilities/group/individual movement works, on top of all the same combat/cards/mustering rules of the SP, is a lot to take on straight away.

I think it's important to differentiate basic mechanics and strategy/best way of using armies. The latter part comes naturally.
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Raf B
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Phil, try this teaching variant for a quicker, lighter introduction that focuses on the Fellowship more than battles.
 
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Zenphos Ruby-Eye
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Free player is easier. A fisrt game verse an experienced player will never be competitive. So no point worrying about it. To make it a bit more fun for them drop a shadow action dice.
 
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