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

Subject: New player with a question rss

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Gary Habbermas
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I have owned the core set since the day it released, have played casually and have had good times. The recent break up of my game group has caused me to look closer to the solo element of the game. For a month I have bought an expansion every week and am enjoying watching my card pool grow.

My question is for more experienced players. I am not trying to be provocative here so please hear me out. Are there improvements in more recent expansions as far as encounter decks, general player card mechanics, and creature interaction design? I am at the beginning and trying to work my way up. I'm listening to podcasts and hearing hints of advancement but nothing concrete.

I have concerns that I don't mind to spell out just keep in mind that I do like the game and am inexperienced with it so I may be unrealistically demanding.

I'm already growing tired of some of the universal or anthem-like mechanics. Dwarves are my current flavor and they are fun, but I'm seeing more of this tribal type thinking coming my way (like Gondor, Rohan, etc.) and I would prefer deck building to be more of a puzzle. Has this changed with later expansions? I'm starting to feel led down a primrose path if you know what I mean.

The surge keyword seems very swingy and seems to render my deck design pointless and sometimes ends games very early. This is frustrating if you have limited time and experienced lengthy setup.

The first time I saw "immune to player card effects" I was like "WOW this dude is powerful!" after the third time I saw it it feels cheap and lazy. If I have an attachment and this would nerf a needed or powerful creature why not create a difficult choice for me instead of rendering some of my cards as near dead draws? For example, if I attached to Smaug a card that wouldn't let him attack maybe he could do alternate damage based on how many treasures I have burgled. Maybe there is limited space on cards for such things but I prefer tough choices to absolute abilities that arrest some features of my deck design.

Any answers or general feedback is much appreciated!
 
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Jim Hansen
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Zuthas wrote:
My question is for more experienced players. I am not trying to be provocative here so please hear me out. Are there improvements in more recent expansions as far as encounter decks, general player card mechanics, and creature interaction design? I am at the beginning and trying to work my way up. I'm listening to podcasts and hearing hints of advancement but nothing concrete.

I would say yes, although "improvements" is a bit subjective so it's hard to say definitively. Imo, quest design has generally improved and become more innovative as the game has progressed.

Zuthas wrote:
I'm already growing tired of some of the universal or anthem-like mechanics. Dwarves are my current flavor and they are fun, but I'm seeing more of this tribal type thinking coming my way (like Gondor, Rohan, etc.) and I would prefer deck building to be more of a puzzle. Has this changed with later expansions? I'm starting to feel led down a primrose path if you know what I mean.

They do continue to develop tribe-based decks, and some of them can feel a bit preconstructed (like Outlands and, to some extend, Silvan and Dwarves). But there is a ton of design space for non-trait based decks, and some traits like Gondor, Noldor, or Dunedain have a lot of different builds. Some heroes like Erestor singlehandedly open up dozens of new deck types with many deck building decisions. The deck building becomes very rich as your card pool grows.

Zuthas wrote:
The surge keyword seems very swingy and seems to render my deck design pointless and sometimes ends games very early. This is frustrating if you have limited time and experienced lengthy setup.

Yeah, surge kind of sucks and come sometimes screw you. I would never say that renders deck design pointless though. Good decks can survive the surges.

Zuthas wrote:
The first time I saw "immune to player card effects" I was like "WOW this dude is powerful!" after the third time I saw it it feels cheap and lazy. If I have an attachment and this would nerf a needed or powerful creature why not create a difficult choice for me instead of rendering some of my cards as near dead draws? For example, if I attached to Smaug a card that wouldn't let him attack maybe he could do alternate damage based on how many treasures I have burgled. Maybe there is limited space on cards for such things but I prefer tough choices to absolute abilities that arrest some features of my deck design.

A lot of the boss enemies have immune to player card effects, because some player cards would make the quest trivial (like the Forest Snare on Smaug example you mentioned). You could call it lazy, but it would be near impossible to otherwise design the enemies with alternate conditions like you described. At least they use it sparingly, maybe once or twice per cycle. With very few exceptions (like Laketown with Smaug), there will always be other targets for your cards, so they won't be dead draws. But yeah, some cards will be completely useless against certain quests. That's part of the deck building.
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Hedyn Brand
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There is an increase in overall quality of quests through the cycles, I think. Each cycle adds new things both for player and encounter cards, so there's variation and a need to reconsider your builds. The standalone and saga quests add more different fun.

A possible counter to surge effects is being able to peek at the next cards. If you have an effect to discard from the encounter deck or move cards around, you have a better chance of avoiding those. I don't expect Smaug to ever fall for a snare though
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Gary Habbermas
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Thanks for taking the time to thoughtfully respond. I am waiting for KD to reprint and will finish up that cycle. I'm really intrigued by the sailing mechanics I'm seeing and some of the discard interactions.

I guess my deck building isn't where it needs to be too deal with surge because it has beat me quite a few times and my improvements haven't been very effective. That said I am probably still behind on card pool so maybe as I get more access to more cards I will see some favorable options.
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Hedyn Brand
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I've got one whole cycle out of turn (I try to buy chronologically), but it turned out to be useful. I got The Lost Realm cheap, and it had Athelas and other useful things. The whole cycle is very ranger-friendly. The Hobbit saga expansions also add some useful cards, in addition to giving you a nice change of pace.
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Gary Habbermas
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Have you built multiple decks of just one? I am starting on a second but it is very weak at the moment.
 
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Getting that second deck to be good isn't always easy. I usually go with all four spheres split evenly across two decks, but sometimes three spheres with one shared works.

Tactics can be boring and is weak at some things, so I usually go with Leadership as its secondary. Then Spirit/Lore for the other deck. Spirit is increasingly becoming the "do everything sphere", but Tactics is still the place for plain combat.

Typical deckbuilding in LCGs revolve around a few key cards, then you add cards which support it, and throw in a few cards for protection against various surprises.

In LotR the key cards are sometimes heroes and their gear (like Galadriel+mirror from Celebrimbor's Secret, or some variant of Aragorn and a number of his items, with a few titles for good measure), but can also be more focused on a few strengths of one sphere and appropriate heroes chosen later.

Sneak Attack+Gandalf is a common combo because it maximises the number of times you can use him. You can really machine it so he deuces your ex if you let him, which may feel like cheating.

I typically find all the cards which let me do as much as possible for as little discard as possible, so hero abilities or heroes+attachments with recurring/reusable effects are great. I only pick a discard effect if it's REALLY useful, but remember that allies are all basically cannon-fodder. They make nice fuel when you need it.

With the Song cards from the Mirkwood cycle you can make two-hero decks and keep threat low (secrecy decks), because both heroes could acquire any sphere. You'll have fewer resources, but there are cards to compensate. You won't have much trouble until there are a few allies in play either because of the low threat.

I'm about to sit down and try to build "matched" decks for some demoing later today. Not sure how I'm going about it yet, but the intent is to have a pair of decks which a beginner can choose from and not feel too lost in Mirkwood at least. Possibly avoiding any tricky interactions in the process.

I've also considered beginner+bodyguard decks, where the bodyguard deck has plenty of assisting keywords which help the other player, attachments and effects usable on any player and such general support. Basically the tank+healer of the group

Sometimes you just have to rebuild your decks to suit a scenario. I see it as returning to the inn to resupply or hire some help. For instance, if you're overwhelmed by locations you might want to go back and get a few tracker allies to get past those more quickly.

I recommend looking at the entire card pool of the game by sphere to see what each one does. Lore example.
Lore has a lot of avoidance/location control, card draw and healing. It's also where the traps are, and combined with encounter prediction it can be very useful
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Gary Habbermas
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Very helpful, thank you!
 
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