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Lord of the Rings» Forums » General

Subject: Particularly subject to alpha gamer problem, no? rss

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James C
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In my group we're HUGE Tolkien fans (addicts, really) and this game has hit our radar.
We also like co-ops, and regularly play, in this order:

LOTR: The Card Game
Eldritch Horror
Castle Panic
Flashpoint: Fire Rescue
Forbidden desert / forbidden island

I have two concerns with picking up this LOTR game:
1/ would it be redundant given what we have? Would we ever opt for this LOTR game ahead of something else in our collection (above)?

2/ from what I've read, it really seems as though everything is essentially a group decision. Wouldn't it be particularly susceptible to an alpha gamer who spots the best course of action (which appears to be frequently obvious in this game if the reviews are accurate) and barking out orders to everyone?

Thank you.
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GodRob
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Professor X wrote:
In my group we're HUGE Tolkein fans (addicts, really)


This. Get the game!

Your concerns are valid but shouldn't be a problem for the first few plays and you can usually find a copy cheap.

Being one of the first cooperative games, many of the games you already enjoy probably have some similarities to this one. Plus, I think the term "Alpha Player" was invented just for this game! (Probably not, but I'm sticking to that opinion). Still, I personally think this is better than all of the others (haven't played Flashpoint) and is a great addition to any game group.
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Alfred D.
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You could mitigate a potential alpha-gamer problem by playing this with the Sauron expansion. The group will have to tread carefully and not have Sauron overhear/understand the discussions. This basically spreads out the decission making a lot more.
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Justus
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I think its a better game than flashpoint, though not as mechanically refined as pandemic. However, I love the story aspect of it. Classic Knizia deeply themed game but you'll miss the theme if you're not paying attention. Given your preferences, if you can get a cheap copy go for it.

I mean if you wanna avoid alpha gamer in a coop, go with hanabi right? But I don't think its any worse than forbidden island.

edit: saw your microbadges. Just do it.
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Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
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You also play with a hidden hand of cards. You can incorporate the competitive variants (shields face down, corrupted hobbit wins, etc) to mitigate the alpha gamer stuff (present in all coops, really).

I find this coop really gets people talking the problem through, compared to others - it's a brilliant, ahead of its time, design.
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Kevin B. Smith
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Professor X wrote:
1/ would it be redundant given what we have? Would we ever opt for this LOTR game ahead of something else in our collection (above)?

It's definitely not redundant. The gameplay is unlike any other co-op I am aware of (and I maintain PeakHope's comprehensive list of purely cooperative games). The tile flip at the start of each turn is unique (or nearly so). Moving shared pawns along the plot paths is unique (or nearly so). The hobbits and Sauron on the corruption track, moving toward each other is unique (or nearly so). Heck, having 4 scenario boards that you move through is unusual. It really doesn't feel like anything else, so mechanically it is not redundant.

Whether or not you would ever opt for it is a subjective thing, of course. Presumably if you enjoy the theme and gameplay, you would.

Quote:
2/ from what I've read, it really seems as though everything is essentially a group decision. Wouldn't it be particularly susceptible to an alpha gamer who spots the best course of action (which appears to be frequently obvious in this game if the reviews are accurate) and barking out orders to everyone?

Personally, I think the alpha gamer problem is solveable for any game, either with self-control, or houserules. But if your group really does have the problem, then I think this game is about as prone as most others. My wife and I have played 20 times, and I'm still not sure when to rush the main plot line, versus rushing one of the other lines to gain some benefit or avoid some peril. And sometimes we choose to press hard to complete a scenario, while other times we hoard resources for a later board. Sometimes we worry more about Sauron advancing, and sometimes we let him charge forward. We win more than we lose, although we tend to play on "easy" or "normal" difficulty.

As others have said, you have a hidden hand of cards, plus the unpredictability of the tile draw.

If you love the theme, I recommend finding an inexpensive copy and giving it a try. Worst case, you play a few alpha-gamer-dominated games, but you got to experience a classic.
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Dave Slaven
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I've played Eldritch Horror, Castle Panic, and Forbidden Island, and they're all very different from LOTR.

As far as alpha gamer problem goes, if you don't have a problem in Castle Panic and Forbidden Island, I don't think you'll have it with LOTR either.
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James C
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Thank you all. Very much appreciated.

I picked it up for $22 (Amazon Prime / free shipping).
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