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War of the Ring (Second Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Smaug Lives! War of the Rings Alternative Scenario rss

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Scott Bulger
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As promised, here is the alternative with five new cards...

Bolg
Smaug
Worm of Fire (Mouth of Sauron)
Dragon of Orthanc (Saruman)
Smaug's Weakness

Suggestions, comments, changes, etc. welcome!

Hope everyone enjoys them!

I have pdf files and jpgs of these for those interested in printing them out and using them....
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Estonia
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This should be under variants, I thought it is an official thing from Ares
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neko flying
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Slashdoctor wrote:
This should be under variants, I thought it is an official thing from Ares :)


ProTip: When you think that a thread has been created in the wrong subforum, you can click the red "X" right on top, next to the topic title, and then "wrong forum". An admin will take care of that.
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Liam (Away/AFK)
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Moved from General to Variants.
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Mattias Elfström
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The cards look very nice!

They do open a lot of rules questions however...
How can Sauron control Isengard?
How can an event card be in the possession of a character?
How do you implement "must travel"?
What does the "Ruin from above" rule do (how does Smaug attack and what is first initiative)?
Does Smaug really add two action dice? Does this increase the maximum number of SP dice? (Same for Bolg)
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Dave Michalak
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Hello Scott,

I like the idea of "What If" variants in War Of The Ring. I would suggest using the artwork for his card and miniature for Bolg, Son Of Azog from the Ares game The Battle of Five Armies The Hobbit.

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Raf B
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Nice work with the look of the custom cards.

I'm curious how you use them. Do you set up War of the Ring with no Dwarves in Erebor (and how many in Iron Hills)? Is Dale a ruin still?

Bolg seems grossly overpowered, having more leadership than either the Witch-king or Mouth and none of the Balrog's disadvantages (vulnerability to a Will die, entry advances the Dwarves and Elves on the political track). Bolg comes with his own small army all for the price of a muster die, so what handicaps might you offer the Free Peoples player?
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Scott Bulger
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That's a good idea!
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Bolg should probably be just 1 leadership.

A dragon ally would be interesting if it actually gave -1 to action dice to represent the resources required to control it, but balancing the combat effects to the appropriate level would be tricky. I think I would have it as a bonus pre-combat roll of 3@4+ rather than leadership/combat dice. There might be a probability that once it took a stronghold it claimed it as its lair and so no longer could be moved. Hmm, I wonder what a dragon die would look like though...?

What's the alternate history background to this scenario anyway?
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Scott Bulger
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http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/140059/smaug-lives-booklet

A lot of our information we used came from three superb books:

The Return of the Shadow
The Treason of Isengard
Unfinished Tales


"It might all have gone very diffently indeed. The main attack was diverted southward, it is true; and yet even so with his far-stretched right hand Sauron could have done terrible harm in the North, while we defended Gondor, if King Brand and King Dain had not stood in his path. When you think of the great Battle of Pelennor, do not forget the Battle of Dale. Think of what might have been. Dragon-fire and savage swords in Eriador! There might be no Queen in Gondor. We might now only hope to return from the victory here to ruin and ash. But that has been averted- because I met Thorin Oakenshield one evening on the edge of spring not far from Bree. A chance-meeting, as we say in Middle-earth."

Anyone wishing for a greater understanding of just about everything Tolkien should read these...very intriguing.

Did you know the only way that Sauron could use the Ithil Stone Palantir, after the fall of Minas Ithil (Minas Morgul), was to have permission to use it from an heir of Isuldur? How did he get it? The Witch King repeatedly challenged Earnur (the last king of Gondor). So Earnur rode to Minas Morgul and was never seen from again. This leads one to believe he was tortured into giving Sauron permission to use the stone.
 
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Scott Bulger
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No Dwarves in Erebor. No Men in Dale.
Add 1 regular Dwarf to Iron Hills.

Dale is still a ruin as is Lake Town.

Bolg would be a very powerful Orc leader.
He would have all the orcs, goblins and wargs that weren't destroyed at the Battle of the 5 Armies. His influence would stretch from Mount Gundabad all the way to Moria, Angmar and North of Mirkwood.

In this respect, he would be be grossly overpowered.

I can make these cards be whatever we want them to be. So nothing is set in stone. We are getting great input and would be cool to finalize a Smaug/Bolg scenario with their respective cards, rules mods, etc.
 
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Scott Bulger
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Excellent ideas!

 
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Falenthal Greenleaf
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[q="Irishwarrior123"
Did you know the only way that Sauron could use the Ithil Stone Palantir, after the fall of Minas Ithil (Minas Morgul), was to have permission to use it from an heir of Isuldur? How did he get it? The Witch King repeatedly challenged Earnur (the last king of Gondor). So Earnur rode to Minas Morgul and was never seen from again. This leads one to believe he was tortured into giving Sauron permission to use the stone.
[/q]

I've read all the aforementioned books, but don't recall having read that (although my memory is not eidetic, either ).

Could you point me to some quote or reference for this. It's really interesting.
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Carl Hanson
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Falenthal wrote:
Irishwarrior123 wrote:

Did you know the only way that Sauron could use the Ithil Stone Palantir, after the fall of Minas Ithil (Minas Morgul), was to have permission to use it from an heir of Isuldur? How did he get it? The Witch King repeatedly challenged Earnur (the last king of Gondor). So Earnur rode to Minas Morgul and was never seen from again. This leads one to believe he was tortured into giving Sauron permission to use the stone.


I've read all the aforementioned books, but don't recall having read that (although my memory is not eidetic, either ).

Could you point me to some quote or reference for this. It's really interesting.


I would also like to know where you found this, because there are a few instances within the LotR where characters use Palantirs without such permission. Namely, Sauruman, Pippin, and Denethor all use Palantirs without explicit permission.
 
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Rob W
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Is there an alternate Saruman card? Dragon of Orthanc states that Saruman must move to Erebor, yet Saruman's card does not permit him to leave Orthanc...
 
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Scott Bulger
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Smaug's card permits Saruman to leave Orthanc.

But I see your point. It is a timing issue.

Smaug's character card is not "Active" until Saruman travels to Orthanc and activates him.

Good point!

Might have to add that to the Dragon of Orthanc card!

 
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Scott Bulger
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Palantiri Chapter, Page 407, 408, etc. in Unfinished Tales tells of who is "authorized" to use these stones and how they were used, etc.

More fascinating reading.

Saruman could use the Orthanc Stone because he had the authority through the Stewards/Kings of Gondor

Denethor was a Steward and therefore authorized.

Aragorn was Isuldir's heir therefore authorized.

Pippin's use was accidental. Because if you read about the Palantiri they had to be oriented in such a way as to communicate. The fact that he handled it at the same time Sauron was trying to use it was mere coincidence.
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Rob W
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Irishwarrior123 wrote:
Smaug's card permits Saruman to leave Orthanc.

But I see your point. It is a timing issue.

Smaug's character card is not "Active" until Saruman travels to Orthanc and activates him.

Good point!

Might have to add that to the Dragon of Orthanc card!



So the intention of the "must move" phrase is that you immediately move Saruman (or Mouth of Sauron for the other card) to Erebor? Or that you use the several character dice that could be required to move them over a number of player turns?
 
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neko flying
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Irishwarrior123 wrote:
Palantiri Chapter, Page 407, 408, etc. in Unfinished Tales tells of who is "authorized" to use these stones and how they were used, etc.

More fascinating reading.

Saruman could use the Orthanc Stone because he had the authority through the Stewards/Kings of Gondor

Denethor was a Steward and therefore authorized.

Aragorn was Isuldir's heir therefore authorized.

Pippin's use was accidental. Because if you read about the Palantiri they had to be oriented in such a way as to communicate. The fact that he handled it at the same time Sauron was trying to use it was mere coincidence.


Wow! Thanks! :)
 
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Raf B
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Porkins_ wrote:
Irishwarrior123 wrote:
Smaug's card permits Saruman to leave Orthanc.

But I see your point. It is a timing issue.

Smaug's character card is not "Active" until Saruman travels to Orthanc and activates him.

Good point!

Might have to add that to the Dragon of Orthanc card!

So the intention of the "must move" phrase is that you immediately move Saruman (or Mouth of Sauron for the other card) to Erebor? Or that you use the several character dice that could be required to move them over a number of player turns?

This discussion got me thinking, so I have a couple suggestions to raise - ignore as you see fit. These are nothing more than subjective kibbitzing, of course, but they're influenced by what I learned playtesting the expansions about how the designers turn the dials incrementally, not to 11, when they add or alter game components.

Mechanics:

- If you want a mobile Saruman, the effect you're looking for is something that gives him a Level, say 2 or 3 instead of 0.

- A Gundabad powerhouse should be on the board at game set-up, not something one throws in with a Muster die. Perhaps just require mustering Bolg himself, and only once the Dwarves or North is at war (more restrictive than if the Elves are at war).

-- Alternative idea for naming Bolg's ability to add one to combat strength: Bolg's Bodyguard.

- Limit Smaug's activation to a visit from a Sauron Minion. Perhaps that requires an Event card as you've done or some other prerequisite like the fall of Woodland Realm or other 'incentive'.

Balance:

- Without any VPs available to the Shadow from either Erebor or Dale, consider whether Shadow needs fewer than 10 VPs to win or if the challenge of wresting 10 from the remaining FP locations is a balancing factor. Should Iron Hills be treated as a 1 VP city and Dale as a Fortification?

- Beef up the Free Peoples to balance buffing the Shadow's options. E.g. extra unit or two in Woodland Realm; an extra elite in Iron Hills, plus a leader (Dain II). Especially if this variant assumes no Battle of Five Armies occurred, these nations presumably would have more fighting strength available.

Variant design considerations:

There are small-tweak what ifs, like the Balrog and Smeagol in Lords of Middle Earth, medium tweaks that involve deviating from the course of the books early on (like the Council of Elrond variant's set up allowing Companions to return to their homelands instead of accompanying the Ringbearers), and big tweaks. By deviating 80 years back to the Hobbit, that's a rather sizeable tweak, but my inclination would be to work forward from there with smaller tweaks.

For that last reason, I would lean to making Bolg (or his successor) not quite as bad-ass as you have him (he's some 80 years older at this point, too), and I don't quite see why Saruman would roam so far from Orthanc to bandy words with a fickle dragon sitting on a nice, comfy hoard of Dwarven gold. What can the White Wizard offer him?

As a fan of the old SPI War of the Ring, I loved the idea of Saruman roaming to intercept the Fellowship and seize the Ring for himself - a more plausible motivation than trekking all the way to Erebor. (Then again, SPI also had a variant with Saruman as an independent power that could align with either the Shadow or the Free Peoples, the latter case representing a super-sized counterfactual.)

Lots of fun possibilities here!

Edit: section headers for clarity
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Grant Johnson
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I'd watch your iconography. The symbol you have for Smaug indicates he adds 2 action dice, and 1 for Bolg. I don't think that's your intent.
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Scott Bulger
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Thanks, Grant!
 
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Scott Bulger
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"....and I don't quite see why Saruman would roam so far from Orthanc to bandy words with a fickle dragon sitting on a nice, comfy hoard of Dwarven gold. What can the White Wizard offer him?"

Saruman did not have to offer him anything. Saruman's powerful and persuasive voice would be enough to play upon Smaug's greed and lust for treasure, etc.

"His voice and speech were extremely convincing, more powerful than mere rhetoric. When he focused this power on a person or a group of people, he could sway their hearts, plant fears and sow lies as he pleased. According to the stature of the listener, this spell could last as long as the speech did, or it could take root in them and last forever. Saruman's voice was so powerful that he was able to convince the Witch-king that he knew nothing of the One-Ring or the Shire. His voice was not hypnotic, however, rather it was persuasive; and the real danger the voice posed to the listener was not them falling into a trance, but agreeing with it." http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Saruman
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Scott Bulger
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Hi All,

Rafa makes some great points and suggestions!

This discussion could probably go on forever with various twists and turns, etc.

What I will do over the next week is to take everone's ideas,etc. and mould them into a virtual consensus scenario which we can all tweak to our liking.

Topics covering
The Character Cards and abilities, etc. for Bolg and Smaug.
Unit additions and removals
Any special rule changes like Saruman able to move away from Orthanc,etc.
 
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Raf B
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Irishwarrior123 wrote:
"....and I don't quite see why Saruman would roam so far from Orthanc to bandy words with a fickle dragon sitting on a nice, comfy hoard of Dwarven gold. What can the White Wizard offer him?"

Saruman did not have to offer him anything. Saruman's powerful and persuasive voice would be enough to play upon Smaug's greed and lust for treasure, etc.

True, Saruman could appeal to Smaug's vanity to much better effect than Bilbo's courtesy and riddling did. I guess my sense of Saruman is that he was more obsessed with the One Ring and holding sway in his corner of the world than journeying so far afield. Have fun!
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