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Subject: Difficulty with two players? rss

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Scott

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Is this game easier with two players? The reason I ask is because I played solo last night (with two characters) and was expecting to fly through it and lose pretty solidly. Fine I said, just trying to get the play down before I play with others. Here's the rub: I crushed it. I easily beat the game without breaking a sweat. Now, it did start Sauron on track 15, but I noted that I still would have won had he started on track 12 of the main game board. I'm a rules hound, so I'm fairly certain I played everything correctly (except for drawing two cards for the new ringbearer!). With two players, I felt like I had a ton of cards. Especially after going through riverdell or whatever where you distribute like 12 cards. I powered through the main activity tracks, averaged about 2 life tokens per dwarf conflict (so only had to move up one per conflict on the main board), and put on the ring at the obvious best times. I hardly had to use the time track, usually only 1 or 2 per conflict.

I'm thinking that maybe I've played pandemic, robinson crusoe, and eldritch horror too many times. Now those are difficult games! But nonetheless I really enjoyed the game and am excited to play in the future. I'm actually pretty cool with a co-op that is "easy."

Thoughts? More difficult with 3 or 4 players?
 
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Andrew MacLeod
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In my experience, the more players you have, the more difficult it becomes...and the more your strategy has to change.
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Duarte
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Maybe you just got lucky. The draws can be devastating.

I did one where I was cruising and when I got to shlobs lair or whatever it's called, I got 4 events in a row and 2 special tiles in 8 draws.

Of course I lost at the start of the mordor scenario..
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Kevin B. Smith
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An extensive analysis (with math) was done back in 2009: Is LOTR harder with 2 hobbits than with 4? A quantitative analysis – including F&F

Executive summary: "so that Standard play is well balanced with 2 and 4 hobbits provided that you play with Sauron @ 10 or so." At easier levels, 4 hobbits have an easier time than 2.

My wife and have generally won playing 2p, starting Sauron at 12. Some have been easy wins, but others we would have lost if he had started at 10.
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Kelly Bass
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In the original version, with only 2 players, a random 4 of the 12 cards at Rivendell are removed from the game before distributing them. Same at Lothlorien. So you'll be missing out on 8 good cards.

That's figured into the quantitative analysis referenced by peakhope.

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Rauli Kettunen
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Base game is pretty easy, even under the old rules where you miss out on some cards. Shelob's Lair being the third Fighting Main Activity line is the one that usually gives trouble (since it's the third Fighting scenario in a row). Throw in expansions, especially Battlefields which only increases the demand for Fighting cards and difficulty goes up quite a bit.
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David Damerell
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Dam the Man wrote:
Base game is pretty easy, even under the old rules where you miss out on some cards. Shelob's Lair being the third Fighting Main Activity line is the one that usually gives trouble (since it's the third Fighting scenario in a row). Throw in expansions, especially Battlefields which only increases the demand for Fighting cards and difficulty goes up quite a bit.


Unless you play Friends and Foes with the stock Military Victory rule and aim for the Military Victory from the get-go, in which case you should walk away with it.

Conversely, F&F does mean you sometimes just get screwed by a bad tile draw in Bree - unlike the base game, you have no feature cards to limit the damage with.
 
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GodRob
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2 Player I usually find cards to be very scarce.

You play 2 cards per turn (ideally) but you only draw cards once in a while. After about five turns each you just don't have many cards to play. With two players that's only 10 total turns. With five players that's 25 total turns.

Also, since it was your first game, did you memorize the upcoming events? It's quite easy to be unprepared for the first event in a future board unless you already know what's coming.
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Jim Montanus
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I've never won with this game - whether I've played base or with expansions - whether I've played 2 or 5 players. Not even with the military victory. But I haven't given up yet.
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Rauli Kettunen
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Military Victory in F&F to me is like the Highlander sequels, it doesn't exist. I use a permanent Black Gate variant, basically Black Gate, but the card keeps going back, so the Foe deck will never run out. That said, not sure BG has ever triggered more than once, but MV = yuk . Ignore that thing completely.

Quote:
I've never won with this game - whether I've played base or with expansions - whether I've played 2 or 5 players. Not even with the military victory. But I haven't given up yet.


What's your strategy? With 2 hobbits, I prefer the Main Activity line rush, don't spend any cards on the side Activity lines, just blast the Main one and hit the finish. Less Events you trigger, the better. Sure, you'll get hit with some corruption for missing Life Tokens (though you'll probably get 1-2 from just tile pulls and the Rings on the Main Activity line), but you have room to work with (maybe not Sauron at 10). Use the Ring every board, what I usually do is get the Main Activity line to three spaces of the finish, then think about doing some resource collecting, since the Ring now had a 50/50 chance of ending the Scenario. Only change this at Shelob's Lair to skip the two die roll spaces past the halfway point. Mordor really should be over in 3-4 turns, you'll have saved every double-Travelling for a fast blitz down the Main Activity line (use Gollum and Gandalf Guidance if you have them, and you'll have those double-Travelling since you haven't spent them earlier, as side Activity lines are a waste.
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Pascal Lop
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But on some boards, there are Events wich make very bad effects if you have not finished one side activity line (or sometime both side activity lines).

So, I'm not so sure about completely focus on the Main Activity line.
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Rauli Kettunen
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Coucoulop wrote:
But on some boards, there are Events wich make very bad effects if you have not finished one side activity line (or sometime both side activity lines).

So, I'm not so sure about completely focus on the Main Activity line.


Goal is get out before hitting any Events. Take the Corruption hits from missing Life Tokens rather than push through Events by wasting time/cards on Side Activity Lines. Helm's Deep is the prime example, Events are bad, bad, worse, worse, nothing positive about them. You should get a Ring token here and there on the Main Activity Line, leaving you just two Corruption to suffer unless you pulled a tile for the Friendship Line.

Same for Mordor, Main line, your goal is the blitz through it in 3-4 turns max. Spam every double Travelling/Wild and/or Gollum to get to within three of the end space, use Ring, hope you get the 50-50 roll to go your way. Mordor is 13 spaces (as opposed to 10) IIRC, so taking the Ring's 50-50 shot at moving 3 spaces into account, 10 spaces to move on Travelling. Best if you get lucky and draw Travelling, otherwise first player should got 4-5 spaces, second player same + Gandalf's Guidance, then Ring, bam, Mordor done in two turns (under absolute ideal circumstances).
 
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Pascal Lop
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Dam the Man wrote:


Goal is get out before hitting any Events.


Seems to be impossible for me. Sundial tiles comes very quickly. And when I pull a sundial tile, I have to pull another tile...which is often another sundial tile...

However, I played this game only 6 times. Maybe I's only bad luck for the moment.
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Rauli Kettunen
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Pull better ! There are 12 good tiles vs 11 bad tiles, latter forcing you to continue drawing until you get a good tile (or pull 6 Sundials). I know it doesn't change the odds, but use a tile bag from which to draw them instead of a stack (Sauron expansion even comes with a bag).

It's bee a good while since I last played, but thanks to rigorously logging plays, here's how that last game played out (pay attention to tile draws in particular):

Moria Main Activity line completed after 14 Event tiles. (Events 3/6)
Helm's Deep Main Activity line completed after 3 Event tiles. (0/6)
That's how you get the hell out of Helm's Deep!
Shelob's Lair Main Activity line completed after 5 Event tiles. (0/6)
Mordor Main Activity line completed after 7 Event tiles. (1/6)

Actually just now noticed that was a 2-hobbit game with Base + Sauron expansion, making the rush-victory even more sweeter.
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Mark L
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The last time I played (although it was a 5-player game) when we got to Mordor, the Ringbearer drew one event tile then had a normal turn, but the second player (me) drew 4, 3 of which we couldn't avoid. We lost the game mainly due to our lack of life tokens, before I even got a turn!

Of course that was just appalling luck, but sometimes you just can't avoid those events, and it's better to be prepared if you can. You might also have cards to get those life tokens while not having cards to advance the main track. And of course there are other things on the side tracks you might want, especially if you use the Resources from the Sauron expansion.



(edit: corrected Moria to Mordor, not that it really matters!)
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Rauli Kettunen
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xipuloxx wrote:
You might also have cards to get those life tokens while not having cards to advance the main track.


When playing without F&F expansion, 3 out of 4 scenario Main Activity Lines are Fighting, around Shelob's Lair, those do tend to be at a premium. Far worse when playing base + Battlefields since the latter also demand a toll from your Fighting cards.

However, IMO, lack of cards to move the Main Activity Line should not apply to Mordor, since you should've just saved any and all double Travelling cards you've gotten. Similarly, spam off any and all remaining Wilds you have. After Helm's Deep, Mordor is the board you want to spend the least amount of time on.
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Pascal Lop
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sorry, I'm french, what does "spam off" mean ?
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Rauli Kettunen
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Play as much/many Travelling cards as you have. Granted, you can only play two (grey + white), if you've gotten some double Travelling + Gollum along the way, each player should be moving the Main Activity Line 3+ spaces on their turns, minimum. A solid 7-space opening is preferrable (double Travel + Gollum + Guidance), 8 if you draw Travelling tile .
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Kevin B. Smith
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Coucoulop wrote:
sorry, I'm french, what does "spam off" mean ?

I'm USian and had never heard that phrase either.
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