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Subject: Initial thoughts after 1st game WOME + LOME rss

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Patrick Tumpane
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So WOTR is my all time favorite game. I own the second edition with LOME and now WOME, have an anniversary edition on the way, and Fubar AWol's famous stronghold minis (if you don't have them, they are FOR SURE worth it).

I just had my first WOME game last night with a regular opponent of mine and we decided to go balls to the wall and do WOME + LOME.

Here are a collection of my thoughts on it:

I probably have about 50 plays or more with the stand alone, but probably 9 or 10 only with LOME, if that. If you are not really well versed in LOME, I would not recommend taking on both LOME and WOME at once. It will add significantly to the game time due to all of the added action dice and frequent rule checking with all the new elements.

My opponent played as the shadow, and he had a lot of difficulty managing all the options that LOME and WOME provide, and he is a really seasoned stand alone player, but again less than 10 LOME plays.

As others have said, my initial thoughts are that the WOME factions are more helpful for the FP. I managed to bring in all 3 factions but only the eagles and ents played a role for me. My opponent only brought in Spiders and 1 corsair, and never used them (he did use the spiders to minimal effect).

One element that I was surprised about was the actual use of the factions. I didn't realize that after you muster the ents or the dead men etc, the only way to actually use them is via faction event card. While I'm sure it was play tested to oblivion, it seems odd that WOME would add these factions that you can play to replace their card in the stand alone, and then you still need a card to actually use them. As it happened in this game, I mustered about 6 ents including tree beard, only to finally get the appropriate "march of the ents" in the last round of the game. Both of those cards which I went through the deck vigorously for, were at the very bottom as luck would have it. It was a wee bit frustrating to spend some much time and action die to basically do what one would do in the base game (say for example if you were waiting for 2 or 3 ents awake cards).

That being said, there are some obvious differences between the capabilities of the cards in second edition and the factions in WOME, and those are awesome. The call to battle function is really nice IMO. I also like that you could use factions like the ents in other ways, and some of the event faction cards like "saruman is a neighbor' could be really awesome if you drew it early (I did not).

All in all, like any new elements to this game, I'm sure it will take a lot of play thru's to appreciate all WOME has to offer and I will one day enjoy this a lot more than my opponent or I did last night. We always love WOTR and we accepted this would be a learning game and we wouldn't take the result to seriously (FP Ring dunk, unbelievable luck with tile draws).

If you're going to do your first game w/ WOME:
1) Don't also use LOME unless you are really comfortable with all elements of that expansion
2) Spend time reading all the faction cards at your deposal if you have time before the game
3) don't take your first attempt too seriously, unless you win in which case you are completely justified in celebrating excessively.
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David Williams
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Regarding the strength of the Shadow factions, I'm somewhat revising my opinion now I have had chance to play with them more.

The thing I overlooked on my first game was how useful they are for harassing the Fellowship. Spiders and Wild Men move much more quickly than army units, but can serve the same purpose for getting hunt re-rolls once you have the right cards in play.

Also, the call to battle effects can be useful and I made a point of using them more in my last game. Spiders can eliminate leaders before the battle starts which is useful in sieges, and having Huge & Horrible in play could make a big difference if a stronghold conquest is going down to the wire.

Corsairs I haven't yet found amazingly useful, though I did use them in the first game to rapidly reinforce a failed siege on Minas Tirith, so there is that. If you get them early enough they could also rapidly accelerate a conquest of Pelargir and Minas Tirith.

Another element of the game is basing your decisions on which faction cards you have in hand, not deciding which factions you want then hoping you get the right cards.

Even without using them to attack, Ents are really good for keeping Isengard under control. The Shadow cannot afford to be brave with the units from Orthanc if there are any Ents in play at all. Even just 1 could quickly destroy Saruman because there are cards which let the FP recruit Ents and immediately play another card.

So far we always included both LoME and WoME. I'm not sure if games are taking longer or not - it does feel like the FP can make conquests of both Gondor and Rohan considerably more difficult. Then again the Shadow can buy time by harassing the Fellowship and the Faction figures can definitely help in battles. Their effects just aren't as extreme as those ofthe FP.

One last thing to bear in mind when comparing - the Ents and Dead Men both require a companion to be tied up. That's a significant cost for the FP. The Eagles are mechanically similar to the Spiders and Wild Men, though more mobile and with some handy event cards. But that makes up for the Shadow factions being able to help with the Hunt.
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Raf B
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Orion3T wrote:
Another element of the game is basing your decisions on which faction cards you have in hand, not deciding which factions you want then hoping you get the right cards.

David, you are spot on. I'm going to start a strategy thread making this very point.
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David Williams
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Rafamir wrote:
Orion3T wrote:
Another element of the game is basing your decisions on which faction cards you have in hand, not deciding which factions you want then hoping you get the right cards.

David, you are spot on. I'm going to start a strategy thread making this very point.


I think it took me a while to learn that this is really the best approach for the entire game.

But with WoME, I have found it becomes even more important because the cards play an even bigger role now.

I will still end up sometimes recruiting stuff I don't use, simply because it seemed a good idea at the time. But the game was always designed so whatever you do the FP can counter it to make it less appealing to follow through.

Factions make that even more apparent. If I bring in Saruman, I can virtually guarantee Ents will appear shortly after. And suddenly I need to keep at least 6+ units in Orthanc to protect Saruman. By the time I do that, it looks better to attack Gondor instead. Then the Dead Men appear and they can be really damaging, so I settle for just making sure they cannot kick me out of Minas Tirith.

So I bring in the Witch King and send him some Spiders to harass the ringbearers.... and now those spiders head North to help against Dale, Woodland Realm and Erebor....

And so it goes on.
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Jason Dexter
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If he only brought in one corsair it seems likely the rules were played wrong? When corsairs become "in play" 3 are supposed to be placed in Umbar. So I don't think it is possible to have less than 3 starting out.
 
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David Williams
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savedbyhim01 wrote:
If he only brought in one corsair it seems likely the rules were played wrong? When corsairs become "in play" 3 are supposed to be placed in Umbar. So I don't think it is possible to have less than 3 starting out.


Maybe... I took this to mean they recruited 1 after it was brought into play. So there would be 4 on the board. Corsairs recruitment is generally 1 figure at a time IIRC.

Still, I feel like those are the faction which will be hardest to use well. I actually brought them in first in my last game, trying to get S&E into the game early. But for some reason it didn't pan out, and I don't think I moved the Corsairs for the entire game.

I did use a lot of S&E up north though, so was glad to have brought them to war early.
 
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Jason Dexter
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I feel the corsairs are very helpful for assaulting Gondor. The 3 starting corsairs alone allow the shadow army to extend a siege three times without downgrading an elite. That by itself is very valuable not even counting their ability to transport troops quicker than a normal action die. They aren't the "get Dol Amroth automatically" weapon that the card is in the base game, but they are more useful across the whole of the game.
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David Williams
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savedbyhim01 wrote:
I feel the corsairs are very helpful for assaulting Gondor. The 3 starting corsairs alone allow the shadow army to extend a siege three times without downgrading an elite. That by itself is very valuable not even counting their ability to transport troops quicker than a normal action die. They aren't the "get Dol Amroth automatically" weapon that the card is in the base game, but they are more useful across the whole of the game.


I think the reason I haven't found them useful against anywhere but Minas Tirith is that the Dead Men always seem to appear. And those make the prospect of pushing through Pelargir up to Dol Amroth very unappealing for me. You could get to Dol Amroth and have to siege it multiple times because Dead Men can so easily kick you back out.

I tried to get Gondor finished off before the dead men came into play, but I haven't managed it so far.
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David Williams
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To be clear, what I mean is that if there are 4-5 dead men in Erech, and you besiege Dol Amroth, then the FP can relieve the siege once for each Dead Men figure they have, assuming they have the right cards.

The cards might be more of a limitation here, so that it's more likely they will only do it 2 times. But even so they can roll 6 dice each time (assuming they attack twice per Faction card) and defeat an average of 6 units, while also forcing you to attack Dol Amroth an additional 2 times. That's before you even manage to attack the besieged city and use your Corsairs Call to Battle ability.

Corsairs are equally dependent on cards of course. So sometimes the right cards just don't come out in time to really take advantage of them. Another reason to consider your hand before deciding which faction to bring into play.

Maybe I need to try and follow through on the attack more quickly right at the start. Maybe leave Minas Tirith till last; after all, the corsairs can help get reinforcements there quickly once Dol Amroth is secured.

It's certainly interesting... but it does seem like the FP factions are more intuitive on how to use them when you first start out. Their utility is more obvious and reliable than the Shadow factions. At least that's how it seemed as a Shadow player.... I dare say as a FP player I'd feel the opposite.
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Lee Brady
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We played our first game with the warrior factions yesterday. We've played quite a few games with Lords so also included them. Now it has to be said that we were both keen on getting as many factions into play as possible - just to see how they worked. And this of course had consequences to game length...

I played the Free People and agree that both the Ents and Dead Men were useful counters to Saruman and Southron attacks on Pelagir respectively. Just having them in play affected the Shadow players game plan. However, I made most use of Eagles (due to available cards in hand), but didn't find them very effective. I did manage to remove Nazgul from an assault on Lorien, but the Shadow play later returned with spiders and I still lost the siege. Will need to play with eagles some more.

The shadow player managed to get five Corsair units into play but was disappointed to learn that transported armies still have to obey the normal army movement rules. He was planning to sail them along the coast to attack the North, but was thwarted by me placing troops in coastal regions. Several Dunlendings were recruited but had almost no play... Interestingly, spiders were used to good effect by the shadow player. Their use really made an impact on assaults on Minas Tirith and Lorien. I can see my opponant always using them in the future.

All in all, we enjoyed playing with the new factions but we are likely to be much more selective in what we bring into play in the future.
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Charles Hammer
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Orion3T wrote:

I think the reason I haven't found them useful against anywhere but Minas Tirith is that the Dead Men always seem to appear. And those make the prospect of pushing through Pelargir up to Dol Amroth very unappealing for me. You could get to Dol Amroth and have to siege it multiple times because Dead Men can so easily kick you back out.

I tried to get Gondor finished off before the dead men came into play, but I haven't managed it so far.



I almost took it one game before deadmen came into play which I drew Many kings in service of Mordor as my starting card. The rolls didn't favor me in the siege, so I stopped after one round, but the Army of the Dead decimated the rest of my forces before I could get my second stack there two turns later because I couldn't roll the movement. My second full stack of S&E with four elite mumakil endured long enough for the army of the dead to disperse and it looked like not even the return of the King or aid from the eagles could save it, but then Cirdan's ships came to Dol Amroth's aid and eventually led a counterattack to retake Pelargir and Osgiliath as the Witch king abandoned his army and fled to Angmar. FP had mustered the elves all the way to war in the meantime.




Dol Amroth requires more action die and unit casualties to take than any other stronghold in the game if the free people gives it 2+ mustering action die because of its distance from SP settlements. Deadmen can be summoned quite early if it looks like SP will make a play for Dol Amroth. Drawing wraiths of feaar is the only important variable for FP, but the CtB cards are still quite strong.

Minas Tirith is the bloodbath SP will usually choose because they can regularly pump 2-3 full stacks of units into it and expect to take it. Dol Amroth requires a similar commitment, but your odds of winning in the end are a little lower. Both DA and MT can now bleed SP enough that SP doesn't usually have the units left to take the other one. If you take MT with units leftover, the better play is to go for Rohan next with them. If your using mustering die to recruit an extra army to take the second one, you'd be better off spending them somewhere further north.
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Marty Sample
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If Dark Door is played, the Dead Men can now influence battles in Rohan as well.
 
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Jason Dexter
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Dead Men can be strong. But I don't think they are the automatic every game savior of DA. A lot of variables come in to play. To use them most effectively the FP has to:

1. Separate Strider to a region next to Erech.
2. Use a muster action.
3. Use at least 1 more recruit die on a future turn.
4. Preferably draw a Wraiths of a fear card.
5. Strider cannot be crowned in Erech so it would be wise to crown him first. If you crown him in MT it is another journey to Erech. Crowning him in DA generally takes more dice.

All of these things take dice. All of these things require dedicating resources that could be used other places (like recruiting ents, hard to do both effectively at the same time). The SP could bluff an early attack on DA and then divert forces to MT instead wasting the FP building up a Dead Men army that in the end don't accomplish much of anything.

I think they like most things in WOTR, they are best used situationally.
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David Williams
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Sure - it takes an investment of time, though often those actions are done when the FP had no other obvious choices. In previous games the FP would often end up mustering more units in Dol Amroth than can retreat into a siege, so some of those were effectively wasted. Much better to have 5 units and the Dead Men than 8 units and no Dead Men.

Also, they are quite capable of helping Minas Tirith as well if required, and could even help recapture it with a bit of luck and clever timing by the FP.

It's quite possible that it's not worked out for me because I didn't get the right dice at the right time, so the S&E assault wasn't mobile enough. Corsairs should help with this in principle, but it's difficult because there is often so much else going on.

So sure, I'm not saying they are a silver bullet or make it worthless to try conquering Gondor. But in both my games so far the Dead Men have been there and active before I could mobilise enough units to assault Dol Amroth, even with Corsairs. The first game I did take Pelargir, but was ejected again by the Dead Men.

It probably doesn't help that in both games I was pursuing a corruption strategy from about Turn 3, because the fellowship had made such good progress early on. So I was trying to buy time for military conquest. However Wifey doesn't tend to be put off by that and in both cases she moved too fast and ended up losing by corruption.

And of course, 2 games is not a lot to go on. I did try in game 2 to focus on S&E and getting Dol Amroth, but with this game it's often so easy to end up doing something else for some reason. Without knowing exactly what happened each round I can't be much more specific.
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Charles Hammer
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There are situations where you can take Dol Amroth, but most of the time you can take other strongholds for less movement/mustering actions,casualties and a higher chance of successfully conquering it. Its a good idea to at least bluff that your going to DA or maybe even put it under siege so that FP player can't muster an army to retake Gondor or think about sending the deadmen into Rohan.

In my experience Dol Amroth was already one of the least conquered strongholds before WoME. It was only regularly taken with a Corsairs of Umbar card play, if the FP chose to not muster units there or the FP didn't roll mustering and SP took Pelargir, Lamedon and put DA under siege. Most games see play of at least one of Cirdan's ships, Imrahil of DA, Grey company and every little is a gain if you threaten or attack DA. Games I've played before WoME when SP attacks DA w/o Corsairs of Umbar, see DA being put under siege regularly, but not taken often unless SP brings in a second army.

The army of the dead is just the cherry on top that can almost guarantee the first SP army won't take DA and might also destroy the second or waste some SP actions.


I've only really played with three other players, but we ended up shifting crowning Strider at Minas Tirith to mostly crowning him at DA, just because Aragorn in Minas Tirith will usually die when SP sends three full army stacks against it. Dol Amroth is further away, but if the fellowship doesn't get revealed through Moria and can stack up 3+ moves its about the same to get Aragorn to. If I had Stone of Erech in my hand I'd send Strider to Minas Tirith or where the fighting is likely to occur almost every time.
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David Williams
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Charles_the_Hammer wrote:
The army of the dead is just the cherry on top that can almost guarantee the first SP army won't take DA and might also destroy the second or waste some SP actions.


Yeah, this is a good summary of what I was trying to say.

Not that it can't be done, but it makes what was previously an obvious target which you could reliably take out with 15 units or so if you move quickly, to a much riskier endeavour even if you do move quickly.

Even if you went for Dol Amroth first, the dead men are quite capable of making Minas Tirith difficult as well. So now the Shadow also needs to leave units all through Gondor to prevent that (was always a good idea but not essential - now I'd say it's essential to protect a siege of Minas Tirith.

The real risk is if the FP can get 2 consecutive actions and have some units to recapture the strongholds. Otherwise they seem best for relieving sieges which are underway as the Shadow then needs to attack again, and will likely lose units in the process.

Anyway, none of this is intended as positive or negative feedback or criticism of the expansion - I think it's great! It's just strategic discussion about how best to use the new factions. I would hope (and expect) that good use of the Corsairs early on should make Dol Amroth an easier target, and if the Shadow can move fast enough before the Dead Men are in play, then the Dead Men really cannot do much to help in Gondor (though Dark Door might allow them to save Rohan).
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Charles Hammer
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Orion3T wrote:

Anyway, none of this is intended as positive or negative feedback or criticism of the expansion - I think it's great! It's just strategic discussion about how best to use the new factions.


I really do like WoME as a whole, I could list out dozens of positive things to say about it. I just like discussing strategy instead. I think it buffs FP a little bit, but that might be a good thing since SP tends to win more.
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