Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
26 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » Recommendations

Subject: Co-op for newbies - Shadows or LoTR? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Tim Franklin
United Kingdom
Braintree
Essex
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm spending the evening with a work colleague and his wife this week to give them a bit of an intro to boardgaming (or 'our kind of boardgames', or however you want to put it.)

I'm doing OK in general with a list of 'intro' games, based on past experience with family, but I'd like to take one co-operative game - partly as an option in case there are issues with too much conflict, and partly to help showcase the range of games there are in the hobby.

Of those I own, Arkham Horror is right out, but I'm really not sure between Shadows Over Camelot (probably traitor-less) and Lord of the Rings (no expansions). I'm familiar enough with both that I can teach them easily enough, and I enjoy both, so I'd welcome your thoughts on which is the better "hook"...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul King
United Kingdom
Cambridge
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Unless they're heavily into LoTR, I'd go for Shadows as I think that it's more "colourful" and appealing. LoTR is a bit abstract and dry.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Socialism will win.
badge
I have eaten some Netrunner counters, a treasure token from Nemo's War, and a First Martians condition token. Also maybe a Fallout "L" token.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LoTR is BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-ring.

I'm not much into Co-op Games but I enjoy Shadows.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ed
United States
Oakland
California
flag msg tools
badge
Wankel engine
Avatar
mbmbmb
I would definitely go with Shadows. It looks amazing, and it's the more fun of the two games. But I would keep the traitor card in. Half the fun is suspecting your fellow knights of treachery!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Timothy
United States
St. Charles
Missouri
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree with the general trend here ... LoTR is very boring and abstract to me. Shadows is pretty fun for the first few times you play.

Fury of Dracula's a fun one for sure ... just be sure to read and understand the rules before you try to teach someone else.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Myke Madsen
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'd vote for Lord of the Rings. I think it's actually less complicated, less contrived and has a lot more tension in it. YMMV.

For what it's worth, I can't stand Shadows, partly because I've had it bomb completely with two different groups.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Have faith
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
HappyProle wrote:
I'd vote for Lord of the Rings. I think it's actually less complicated, less contrived and has a lot more tension in it.
I agree.

ShOC isn't bad but I enjoy LoR more.

I agree you should check out Fury of Dracula too.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Donald Walsh
United States
Columbia
Maryland
flag msg tools
I buy science fiction/fantasy book collections in MD/DC/VA. GeekMail me.
badge
I buy science fiction/fantasy book collections in MD/DC/VA. GeekMail me.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If you're looking at Fury of Dracula, I suggest Scotland Yard, particularly with non-gamers. For non-gamers, there are a number of advantages:

1) simple to learn rules
2) fast play time
3) non-intimidating theme/components

Scotland Yard is like the "gateway" co-op game.

And yes, I think LotR has tension, it just doesn't have any actual GAME to go along with the theme and the tension.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marco Fuini
New Zealand
Porirua
Wellington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My wife enjoys co-ops, so I own both. Although I much prefer SoC.

I agree SoC looks far more impressive, but it takes a little while to get the hang of. LotR is more Linear in its approach (get to the end of the line on each board). Both have tension, but I think LotR is easier to grasp for newbies. I never include the Traitor with newbies, they don't understand the game well enough to factor in the threat of the traitor or effectively take the role of the traitor if they draw the card.

Beware of making decisions for the newbies in either game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ed
United States
Oakland
California
flag msg tools
badge
Wankel engine
Avatar
mbmbmb
bikini wrote:
Beware of making decisions for the newbies in either game.

Yeah, that's what happened in my play of Lord of the Rings, which is probably why I've never had any desire to play again. One person knew the game and told the rest of us what to do every turn. Let people discover cool things for themselves. That's part of the enjoyment of gaming. Don't be a Goofus.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
shumyum
United States
flag msg tools
badge
♒♒♒♒♎♒♒♒♒ sloooowly sinking
Avatar
If you want to get their feet wet with something simpler, I recommend Scotland Yard (or New York Chase). I've had very good success introducing this game to newbies.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Fassio
United States
Petaluma
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LotR, period.

Never have I played a game that was more frustrating than Shadows Over Camelot, not even Age of Steam. It might be our gaming group, but I have played with multiple people from different groups, even people who tout the line, "We've never lost a Shadows game ever," with the same predictable result. The Knights are always taxed for cards and the relentless onslaught of catapults and invaders makes Shadows one of those games that we all walk away from drained, angry, and the Traitor winning. LotR is much more new player friendly.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sifu
United States
Beaverton
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
In the situation you described, I think the best hook is a low-conflict game like Thurn und Taxis or Ticket to Ride. Seriously. Co-op games are kind of a unique beast, and more people pulled off the street are going to enjoy Ticket to Ride than *any* co-op game.

That said, for noobs, here are some thoughts:

Arkham Horror - great game, but too frickin long and fiddly
Fury of Dracula - probably too long, also has some fiddle-faddle (but less than AH)
Shadows over Camelot - maybe. It's a gussied up card game, and so is simple enough in essence. BUT can take a LONG time to play, and it bores me to tears
Scotland Yard - possibly. Another option here is Ghost Chase. I know it's got a childish theme, but I think it's a lot of fun, and it plays pretty fast. Very similar to Scotland yard in relevant respects
Lord of the Rings - this is Knizia's masterpiece (I realize I'm probably in the minority with such an assessment). Tense throughout and richly themed. Of the "heavier" co-op games, I would choose this for newbies. I think it's the easiest to pick up and the most fun. It also plays reliably in less time than Shadows, Arkham, and Dracula. I can understand how playing the game with a jerk might turn people off it, but with people who are willing to kibbitz but ultimately allow each hobbit to make his own decisions, this game is incredibly fun. You really do have to work together and make sacrifices for one another to succeed.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Long
United States
Brush Prairie
WA
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
weirdness! never had a problem playing shadows with non-gamers - the crowds i have worked it with, really enjoy talking it all out (ignore rule about limiting certain discussions?) and can see the potential as they go through the game and immediately want to try it again - also have played first learning games with out the traitor

one thing i almost always do for any learning games, is leave out complications that don't alter the games ability to play out - that also has the added bennie of making newbies want to do it again with all the game features

and LOTR is one of the worst games i have ever played
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sifu
United States
Beaverton
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
I think it's funny that there is a kind of inverse relationship between Shadows over Camelot and Lord of the Rings. If you really like one, there's a good chance you will dislike the other. I'll play LotR anytime for instance, but would rather stab myself in the leg than play Shadows. And it seems that there are plenty of bizzaro-Sifus out there, too.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
R S
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have both and have played both. For newbies SOC is the better choice. It is easier to learn and not quite as unforgiving as LotR can be.

I love LotR but it can be merciless if you don't understand the game fairly quick. Shadows is easier to learn. Plus the pieces look great!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dane Peacock
United States
Stansbury Park
Utah
flag msg tools
badge
That tickles
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Another vote here for Shadows over Camelot, but it is absolutely a must to play with the traitor (or at least the threat of the traitor). Why would you purposely rip a large chunk out of the fun to begin with? Give them the full impact of the game. Don't worry, it isn't that much more difficult.

Lord of the Rings is bad for a mix of vets and newbies because so much of the success depends on experience with the game in optimizing certain choices. Newbies OFTEN feel like they are being controlling by the vets. If you have enough self control to lay off and let the newbies make all of their own choices, then maybe.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tony Wai-kit FUNG
Hong Kong
Mongkok
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have both SoC and LotR.

Shadow over Camelot - I only enjoy it with newbies. SoC suffers from low replayability. And my BGG rating of this game dropped by -2 pts over time. Anyway, SoC can be recommended if you are going to play it only a few times and with newbies. I don't mind to host SoC for newbies. I generally refuse to play it anymore. I may, very occasionally, consider to play with non-newbies in a game with 5 players or less. The game is actually broken with too many players.

Lord of the Rings - Looks dry, but subtle indeed. High replayability, even with or without all expansions. The games is highly cooperative. And it's fun if you can strictly follow the rules that "Do NOT show any cards to other players". ("Not Showing" here should mean not let others affirmatively knowing your card. This is the spirit of the game to make it a multi-player game. Although some rules-judge would allow "verbally show" their cards, it's less fun.) And learn how to enjoy LotR, play with a group who follow the above advice and enjoy it.
PS: "Showing" cards make it more a solitaire game and this is why most dislikes come up.
PS: Do not think competing against the system is trivial. It isn't. And it is not easy. And there is no specific formula to beat the game.
PS: If you think LotR is random, it's never more random than SoC. And my group has a good feeling on LotR because you can TALK about a particular game session after finishing a game. We can REMEMBER a particular, because LotR gives your experience more than some randomness.
PS: After each failed game, we always think we could have done better.

Scotland Yard - I highly recommend this game if you are going to play light-heartedly. It's really a good game for casual gamers and for new gamers.

Fury of Dracula - If you are going to play with some more serious-minded friends, or if you want to have a slightly longer game, FoD is a very good choice.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brent Mair
United States
Roy
Utah
flag msg tools
The Meeple Nation Boardgame Podcast - 30 minutes a week!
badge
BGGCon 2015 or Bust
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I really enjoy cooperative games. I have used Shadows Over Camelot without the traitor to introduce new players to the game. That is what I suggest. Add the traitor the second game.

Lord of the Rings is a very fun game but I wouldn't use it as an introduction unless the theme were a big draw. Play it with no expansions in that case.

With either game make sure you don't dictate to them what they should do. Since you are playing against the system it is easy to fall into that trap. Let them make their own mistakes and actually play the game.

As for Fury of Dracula and Scotland Yard, I can't tell you. They might be good games but they are not cooperative.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matthew Arbo
United States
Eugene
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
What my group did in my first game of Shadows to make it easier on the newbies was deal us face-up loyal the first game, then deal face-down to everyone else. It worked well, I thought, but it does require that you have people who can accept "This role is hard to play for a new person." It's almost never a problem for people who've played a few of "our kind of boardgames," but some people who are new to the idea might not like that.

ETA:
As for which game, I'd try to judge it beforehand on earlier games, if you can. As we've seen on this thread, it's very easy to like one and hate the other. If you need to just pick one or the other beforehand, LotR seems to me a bit more of a "gamer-game" and SoC a bit more appealing to the general masses.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim Franklin
United Kingdom
Braintree
Essex
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the feedback, folks.

Fury of Dracula and Scotland Yard sound like they warrant investigating for the future - I like a sprinkling of co-op with my regular competitive gaming - but buying anything between now and Friday is out. I'm limited to the three I have (and I really think Arkham Horror is out, on length on complexity).

My personal thought on LotR is that it's rich in atmosphere and tension, but not in immediate theme (in the same way AH is, for example). That is to say, I never see a strong connection between flipping tiles / playing cards and fighting off a band of orcs in the depths of Khazad-Dhum, but I do feel a strong sense of struggle against the implacable advance of evil, weighing individual sacrifices against group success and the like.

I'm not sure if someone coming to the game with thoughts of Liv Tyler and dwarf-tossing is necessarily going to get that, though

Shadows feels a bit more, obvious, I guess, in its appeal, but I'm torn on the traitor issue for first play. Does the game lose too much without? Is it too much to handle for first-timers with? I'll mull it over...

I am taking some other "newbie staples" as well - Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Diamant etc - this was just about putting a co-op in the bag of goodies as well. Thanks for the suggestions, though.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dane Peacock
United States
Stansbury Park
Utah
flag msg tools
badge
That tickles
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Shadows feels a bit more, obvious, I guess, in its appeal, but I'm torn on the traitor issue for first play. Does the game lose too much without?


Yes. Way yes.

Quote:
Is it too much to handle for first-timers with? I'll mull it over...


No. Not at all.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Werner Bär
Germany
Karlsruhe
Baden
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Another vote for LotR.

LotR is very well balanced with any number of players.

SoC is good with 4 experienced, or with 5 less experienced players. Too much players, and the game is very easy (yes, i know you can try to fix it with the squire rules, but it isn't balanced out of the box). Only 3, and the game becomes boken to the point that the publisher added a special rule to fix it.

But the biggest drawback of SoC is that the difficulty is strongly influenced by the amount of table talk you allow (and other ways of sharing information, such as your reaction to a card drawn). So this is a very bad game to play with people new to the hobby IMO, since they like to share the info.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Karl
Austria
Salzburg
Salzburg
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Depends on the players and the number of players.

I like both games (however I hugely prefer Arkham over both fog them now), however, LotR is by far the better game. For gamer groups of 2-4 it would be me pick. SoC is better for groups of 5+ and is more aimed at the party game fraction for me.

For your scenario I suppose SoC is slightly better.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   |