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Risk: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition» Forums » Strategy

Subject: GvsE Strength Balance rss

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Christopher Tatro
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I've played the Trilogy Edition twice in the past week now, and both times found that the Evil side becomes a Man and Elf Crushing Machine by about 4 turns into the game. I was wondering if other folks have had this experience or if it is our playstyle or if it is just bad luck? I've played on both Good and Evil sides and seen this happen, so I'm not just sour grapeing here.

The crux of the issue seems to be that Evil players secure Mordor, Haradwaith, Rhun, and Mirkwood pretty easily and start pulling bonus armies for those regions while the Good folks are still trying to consolodate Gondor or Arnor. My suspicion was that the starting territory cards given out put those players into lock-holds on those territories, but when I look at the cards other than Mordor it shouldn't seem to be the case. Perhaps it is because the starting Good cards are more scattered?

The problem may be due to our play style - even though we're playing the vanilla version (not Team or Alliance) the sides fall into de facto truce/alliances, and usually agree how to divide up the board once the card placement has been sorted out, based on who has a better starting position in parts of the board. For example, last time "North Evil" agreed not to reinforce her one or two holdings in Mordor and other southern locales, while "South Evil" agreed to do the same for Angmar and other northern locales. The good players do this too, but while "South Good" eventually manages to secure Gondor, "North Good" usually fails miserably in trying to unite Arnor or Eregion (?). Rarely in the course of the game do the good or evil players turn on each other. Perhaps if we were more cutthroat and played it in the true spirit of a 4 player game this wouldn't happen.

Just looking for other folks' feelings on this.
 
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Roger Summers
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Re:GvsE Strength Balance
Christopher Tatro (#24495),
Bad everthing with this assesment I feel. Our games have been soooooo varied. None of the regions usally stay controlled for very long with the exception of Mordor about 50% of the time.

The only thing that seem to be consistant from game to game for us if the Morgul/Minas buildup. Its no wonder Osiligath is a ruin!
 
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Troy Holaday
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Re:GvsE Strength Balance
I agree. The balance seems good to me. One problem is that the original poster has so clearly structured his thinking into North/South Good/Evil. Falling into re-creating the novels is a bad idea. I held Gondor last night (off and on), but quickly took Haradwaith to keep the Mordor player from having it. Further, rather than trying to completely solidify Gondor in the first few turns, I grabbed one of the neutral territories in Mordor at the beginning of the game(the cul-de-sac on the south side) and held it as long as I could, to keep Mordor from building up too quickly. My brother scoured the north, but it took him a while to get rolling. My point is that Good forces holding the Haradwaith and Southern Mordor is not very Tolkien-esque, but it is good strategy. Also, while holding entire regions is obviously a good strategy, so is denying your opponent the ability to do so. Sometimes it is better to give up trying to own 100% of your own region in order to keep your opponent from owning all of his.

The neat thing about the ring strategy/sub-plot is that no-one is ever "out." As long as evil can keep hold of some of the territories the ring will pass through, he has a decent chance of winning the game. If he gets leaders involved, he only needs an 11 (3/36 or about an 8% chance) for a one-roll win. If he can get three or four such rolls, lookout. I was quaking in my boots that the ring would be discovered every time it passed through enemy territory. My nephew has an uncanny ability to roll double 6's.

P.S. This is why I don't agree with the earlier poster about minimalizing the ring sub-plot. It completely destroys the drama to make it a 10-point "swing vote."
 
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Roger Summers
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Re:GvsE Strength Balance
gwangi (#24600),

I can appreciate your thoughts about the ring and it is in fact the game. I dont feel we have minimilized it in any way other than we have taken liberty with the Tolkin aspect. Like you point out (very well I might add) you have to think "beyond the book" when you play. Your first few games you want to play the book, and that was fun, but then the game stragety was rethought. The great thing is, the game still holds its Tolkin appeal and captures a ME war game very well.

We just hate the fact (when playing with experienced players) that a single die roll will grant a victory. In our games it is still important to protect the rings path (for some) so that those victory points will not be awarded if it was found. That exact number still needs some tweaking but so far our 10 and 6 seems to hold up well.

The instant win, find the ring rule works well enough and is fun. The points variation is just suggested as an optional rule.
 
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Christopher Tatro
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Re:GvsE Strength Balance
Thanks for the feedback. After actually looking at the initial placement cards, I had the feeling the problem lay in our approach to the game rather than any actual imbalance. I don't think we're trying to "re-create the novels" but I do think we were guilty of thinking the two players on the same side should be "working together" and of (on the Good side) not aggressively enough placing to counter Evil's ability to easily take Rhun and Mirkwood.

We haven't played with the "Hunt for the Ring" option yet because many players dislike the insta-win possibility with a lucky roll. Maybe we'll give it a shot though.
 
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James Morgan
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Re:GvsE Strength Balance
I think playing the game with 4 players(like any other risk game) creates a 2on2 situation. Usually it will be the two good players vs the two evil players. Everytime I have played the Trilogy edition(6 times) its been with 5-6 players. We usually have two evil players fighting it out to control Mordor with the loser retreating to Haradwaith. The other evil player is fighting in the north with two good players and the 3rd good player is holed up in Minas Tirth trying to control Gondor/Rohan.
 
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andrew higdon
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Re:GvsE Strength Balance
Christopher Tatro (#24495),

Your style of play may also be giving more respect to the book as well as your opponents. Rather than try to get Gondor or Eriador, go for Harad and Rhun, and don't be afraid of Mordor. Use your cards to gain a foothold, and don't let go. If Mordor cost you Gondor, Mordor is easier to hold and pays the best.

See all territories as possible. Forget what you read, and take a risk!
 
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Greg Elliott
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Re:GvsE Strength Balance
Christopher Tatro wrote:
I've played the Trilogy Edition twice in the past week now, and both times found that the Evil side becomes a Man and Elf Crushing Machine by about 4 turns into the game.


I've only had the trilogy edition since Christmas, but from our alliance games so far, I agree with Christopher. In keeping with the Alliance rules, we could not realign territories between good players to consolidate a region, so we had to wait for an evil army to do it for us. I was able to take Mirkwood for a few turns, but got pushed back into Rohan and never regained an entire region. When we play without any alliances, I don't see the same imbalance though. (As long as elves are willing to fight elves).
 
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Troy Holaday
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Re:GvsE Strength Balance
Binars (#24605),

Okay. I maybe see your point about the ring. I like the drama, but the other day my brother and I (playing evil) against three good players (I'll explain how we worked THAT out some other time) uncovered the ring, pre-emptorily ending the game. It seemed anti-climactic in this case.

One tweak I might consider in the future is disallowing the modifiers to the finding the ring roll, but I doubt it, because that favors the good players (getting the ring destroyed).

One variant that would be interesting: the ring DOES go to Gondor - or somewhere else. (I.e. good players become "evil.") This would allow them to fight the whole game out without allowing evil a chance to find the ring (unless evil took the appropriate territory). I would play it like this. 1) The "Fellowship" players must declare their intention to "Keep" the ring at the beginning. 2) The Fellowship must roll a 3+ to move the ring from one territory to another, regardless of whether or not a die icon is displayed. 3) If the ring reaches a Fellowship friendly stronghold (i.e. Minis Tirith, Rivendell, Edoras), it may stay there for the rest of the game. The Fellowship is allowed to move it out of the stronghold, but must roll a 6 to do so (spies of the enemy know where the ring is and are watching - or power-hungry leaders interfere). Leaders would add a +1 modifier to the roll. In this game, the ring would make sense as a 10 point victory bonus - rather than a game ender. The prescribed path of the ring would be completely ignored and the option to destroy the ring would not exist. The only problem with this is that the "internal clock" is missing, so a turn limit would need to be set. Another option would be, instead of allotting victory points, make controlling the ring in a stronghold worth another 2 men per turn. In this case, one might want to specify which strongholds (Rivendell is awfully close to the ring's starting position and good would have a definite advantage). Just some rough ideas.
 
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Troy Holaday
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Re:GvsE Strength Balance
gwangi (#25137),

I posted this "Keepers" variant, with a few more details in the files section.
 
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William Thomas
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Re:GvsE Strength Balance
I played about a week ago. I was good with another guy, while my friend as his bud were evil. I quickly got Rohan, while the other good guy got Arnor quite quickly. We were not on teams, so the evil guys scuffled over the south, while I built up my northern border. I was unable to challenge the other good guy in the North from fear of being broken up from the South and he quickly gained power. Soon, he swept south. By then, one of the evil guys was near death, while the other one was hiding in Mordor. The Ring reached Mount Doom before he could wipe us all out, but I am pretty sure that he would have eventually. One guy was died at the end, and I was pitiful. The other guy had Mordor beefed up, but it would not have stood a chance against his massive forces.

So, I think a lot of it is playing style. I played a more defensive battle, while Gondor was torn to pieces. There really was no "North" evil and that is probably why the "North" good dominated. I played a three player game as well, two good versus one evil. The evil dominated for most of the game, controlling the south and some of the north until we joined up to weaken him a bit.

It does seem Mordor is really easy to hold and build up, but it is not impossible to break, espcecially with a way under the mountains adventure card.
 
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