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The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Is this game luck or skill? rss

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DOUGLAS BRUNDIN
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Akron
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After opening the game back up recently, my friend and lost on the Anduin. Then I tried today again solo. Died twice. Brutally. I had even carefully constructed a deck for the occasion.

I started to play a third round but drew a terrible location card for The first flip, so I just packed it all up for today. It was no way I could've won that game because I was behind the eight ball right from the start.

So my question to the more experienced players is: is this game more skill in deck building, or luck of the draw? I've played a total of about 10 games so far over the years and, being a veteran gamer, it's sort of feels to me at this point like it's more of a luck based game. As if I need to have the right card at the right time against the right enemy in order to win. Other living card games and collectible card games rely more on the strategy of adapting to a situation by using the cards that you have cleverly. But I don't get that feeling with this game. It seems like if the situation is bad and I don't have the right card to deal with it there's literally no way to deal with it.
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Ben O'Steen
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Bishops Stortford
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Luck of the draw is at the heart of this game. Deck building a good deck gives you the tools to mitigate and control this to an extend and making good card choices to deal with the encounter cards you might experience can mean you are likely prepared for most events.

Still, a bad set of draws might do you in, but skill definitely plays a part, both in deck building and knowing how to use the cards well in play.
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Seth Dortch
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It’s definitely true there is luck involved in this game. Either hitting a ton of enemies or lands in a row can really hurt your strategy. But as far as the luck factor goes, it’s a factor (at least in part) in every card game.
Still, with good deckbuilding, you can mitigate a lot of that. As I play the game more I learn how to build my decks better. And how to handle 'oh crap!' moments better too. I still lose (some sessions a lot!). But it makes it all the more sweeter when I beat a quest.
 
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Valerio Vitelli
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How big is your card pool? Are you only playing with card from one core set?

I would say that at the time the core set was released, luck vs. skill was 40-60, and this ratio progressively went in skill's favor through the expansions. I think we are know at 20-80, sometimes the encounter deck pull off an unstoppable combo, especially at the beginning of the game, and this gets worse if your deck doesn't "take off". But most of the time with proper deck building (specialized on the quest or generic) and competent card play you'll be able to win.
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Lee Broderick
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I think I'm more with Seth than Ben on this. Strategy and skill in deck-contruction are crucial to mastering the game. I think if it was out out and out luck based the game wouldn't have survived the way that it has done.

That said, I agree with Ben that luck plays a part.

Unlike other CCG's and LCG's, there is a randomness at the core of the game which is crucial to its replayability and challenge - necessary due to the fact that you're not playing against another player. So, it's a question of balance. Luck can sometimes undermine the best laid plans, and that can feel incredibly frustrating - to the extent that I sometimes don't want to play the same deck again even though I know logically that on another occasion I would never have experienced that sensation. With the right deck though, any scenario is beatable most of the time.

Luck plays a part, but it shouldn't be dictating every (or even the majority) of victories and defeats.
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Jim Hansen
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I think the luck is similar to other LCGs. Maybe a touch higher just because you are drawing from 2 decks instead of 1, so there is more room for variance.

Now that doesn't mean there aren't times where you have no chance. That's typically how you lose. Too many enemies or too many locations that you can't deal with fast enough. A nasty shadow card or treachery that you can't cancel. But that usually means that you just need to tweak your deck.

A mediocre deck can easily lose 50 times in a row against a hard quest. But a good deck (with a full card pool) can beat Journey Down the Anduin 99% of the time. If you just have a core set, I can definitely see your frustration because your card pool is limited and there is only so much deck building you can do.

If you don't mind netdecking, you should check out these decks for a core set:
BACK TO BASICS: A Killer deck using only cards from a single Core set
BACK TO BASICS TWO: A Pair of Tandem Decks using one Core Set
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Joe
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I'm a newer player but I have found that planning ahead and building deck(s) for a given scenario is, in fact, part of playing the game. But in the end decks are shuffled and cards are drawn...



 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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At the beginning it's a game of luck. After you learn and do your math, it's a game of skill. And oh, so very much game of skill it is.

Luck IS skill.
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DOUGLAS BRUNDIN
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thank you all for the input. Here's some more info. I'm using the core set to build decks, actually two. So I have three Gandalfs. But on Anduin, playing solo, I'm faced with limited resources and limited cards to handle the hill troll, MUCH LESS anything else that comes at me. Literally, if I draw another monster, I'm cooked. I can't deal with it. I can throw out an ally or two to chump block but then I don't have resources to handle the troll who is coming in a few rounds. When I played with my buddy, I always seemed to have a Gandalf ready to throw into the fight and that contributed heavily to us surviving for as long as we did. Maybe that's the problem, limited card pool in the core set combined with some bad deck building skills and maybe some bad luck draws.

I'll definitely go back and try again. Maybe I'll tune my deck to focus on low cost allies and low cost buffs that I can use almost every turn.

PLEASE: DON'T OFFER SPOILERS OR DECKBUILDING TIPS in this thread! LOL. I appreciate the kindness, but part of the fun is the struggle, right? I want to win because I won on my own!

I really thought you all had some very interesting perspectives. Thank you.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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An indirect tip: some of the quests are designed in a special way, to encourage/force/point you towards certain mechanics and ways to counter them. Hill Troll is relatively easy to handle, if you have the right tools. And yes, these tools are in the core set. Look at your cards and find the solution. You might be even mad at how easy it could be afterwards. The next step is to increase the chance to get the right tool at the right time. And yes again, there are ways to increase that chance in core set as well. There are many ways to build your deck and try different ideas. Different decks solve the same problem in different ways.

That said, some quests are easier/harder when playing solo, so there's that, too.

Happy hunting :)
 
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Jeff Kayati
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The first scenario in the core set teaches you to play the game.

The second scenario, Journey Down the Anduin, teaches you the necessity of deck building.

The third scenario teach you how to hate the designers.
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Hedyn Brand
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The best way to tackle the troll is by not encountering it - use lower threat heroes.

I think the first Mirkwood pack should be considered the third scenario, until you have more player cards and/or learn more deckbuilding tricks
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Chris Stanford
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The game felt a lot more luck based when I started out than it does now.

It took me forever to beat Journey Along the Anduin the first time. Now, after playing the game for many years, and after playing JatA countless times and having learned all its tricks, I've gone back to the quest and as a challenge I've forced myself to use cards from only a single core set, to recreate the early days. Now, I never lose. It's too easy, even. Once I stacked the encounter deck to start with Brown Lands in play then reveal the East Bight as the first encounter card, and still crushed it. This probably comes across as boasting, but I'm just trying to illustrate a point.

Yes, there is luck in this game, but experience, deckbuilding, and a careful analysis of the encounter deck can overcome it.

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secoAce -
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What I really appreciate that speaks to how well designed with obvious dedication to the gameplay and setting is how each scenario plays so differently from one another. The first scenario of the Core box is a very simple and straight-forward scenario to learn the basics of the game.

For me at least, I found that this straight forward approach didn't work with the Anduin scenario. Since you don't want any tips or spoilers, I'll just say that I had to apply a different strategy in how I approached this scenario before I was able to beat it. It took several failed attempts before I discovered the right strategy to use and that's been true for every new scenario I've tried. That makes each expansion so much more exciting; it's not just more of the same.

So yes, there is the luck of the draw as with any card draw game, but consider the card draw to be the hand you are dealt and your task is to find how to make the most use of your cards and how to deal with the drawn encounters.
 
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