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Billy Babel
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I just had a pretty crappy game where I reached mount doom and got absolutely no character die rolls except for 1 for 4 rounds in a row, and I'm quite frustrated.

I have a friend that I've mostly played the game with, and I play mostly as shadow and him as FP. He said he'd rather play Star Wars rebellion because War of the Rings is a shit game and you can't win as FP. So I challenged him to a game where I'm the FP and he plays as shadow. I had read the strategy thing on the Ares website, and I was doing pretty good for quite a while and winning handily. He emptied out Mordor, and the S&E. I have all the Exp packs so I had the extra dice from gandalf's alternate starting card, I had brought Rohan and Gondor to war and fortified them up while moving the fellowship 1-2 times every turn and I even had the deadmen there to stop combat and help out.

I was getting a little frustrated because I was not getting a single will of the west roll despite having strider in gondor after turn 2 and losing gandalf to random token choice at turn 4, it wasn't until turn 7 I got 2 will of the west in one roll, and I reinforced helm's deep as my first action because it was just about to be attacked and he used a card that took all of my will of the west die. Also he had a card that stopped the ent and eagle faction from coming into play unless I used a will of the west die. So he was able to bring out all the factions but I wasn't.

but it's whatever, I had summoned in galadriel to give me an extra die since I lost gandalf's, and he made a huge mistake not putting any die in the hunt box assuming that one would just roll that way but it didn't. So I used 3 character die and a ring to change another die into a sword to move 4 times which was one move away from the mordor track. I move one more time on turn five and during the fellowship phase of turn 6 I am on the mordor track.

Turn 6 I roll nothing but palantirs. Non of my cards are helpful. He took so long to get to minas tirith that it has five elites and 2 leaders. It took me longer to get rohan to go to war but helm's deep has 3 elites and a regular with the black door which lets me move the deadmen through mountains and most of the deadmen out. So I'm still good. I use the cards from my five palantirs as best I can and try to draw some useful cards. Frodo entered the mordor track revealed so I use a ring to change a result into a sword and hide him.

Turn 7: By this point he has all of his dice since I'm on the mordor track. I get 3 musters with no army icon, and 2 palantirs. I use my last ring to turn something into a sword, and move but am revealed again. By this point gondor has killed about 2 full stacks and is eating through the southrons and easterlings that have come from afar. I've lost one guy in helm's deep but I've been using the ghosts to end combat and kill as many things as i can.

Turn 8. 4 musters 1 will of the west. I finally bring gandalf out because I think the extra die is a tiny bit more useful than using it to hide the fellowship. Helm's deep is sitting at about 3 elites, but there is a big army of southrons gathering near the dwarf stronghold and woodland realms and another army in gundabad that was started by a card that gave him several free troops there. So I use my dice to try to start bringing the dwarfes and elves to war. I use 2 musters to bring the elves to war and 2 more to get some elite units in woodland realms and Loriel which is also being threatened by that one stronghold across from it.

Turn 9 3 palantirs 3 musters. I get a card that let's me roll some dice to get my rings back and I end u getting two back, and immediately use it to hide the fellowship. he starts moving from gundabad and I think far harad, and takes the woodland realms and the one point city that belongs to the north.

Turn 10 1 palantir 4 musters and a single sword. I use the sword to move the fellowship and draw another tile that reveals me I use the last ring to hide them again. Gondor finally falls. Rivendale is taken by the huge force from gundabad and shadow player wins the game with his last die.

and after the game was over he gave me a smug look, told me free people sucked, war of the rings was a shit game, and we shoulda played rebellion, and like what can I say to that? That game was absolutely miserable because I feel like I played much better than him, like he made a huge mistake and I did a good job of exploiting it, and that I was the better player and I still lost. I realize that 2 of the sides are character die results and one side is will of the west, giving you a 50% chance of something useful and that it was just that one game, but for how long and sweeping that game is, that's one game too many. And I'm sitting here trying to think of how you would overcome this sort of bad luck, but I only got about 3 army results in all of that, so I couldn't ninja in and take over all the stuff he had emptied out
 
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Mattias Elfström
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Replace the action dice?
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Manu
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Don't force a guy to play a game he thinks is shit and does not wish to play it just to prove a point? Because that will anger the dice gods and ensure you loose.
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Nick Case
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At a glance this post seemed to be a bit of a hissy rant so I didn't read it but if winning is the be all and end all to games for you then sobeit. I hate randomness and dice based games but I have a different opinion of WotR. For me its more of an experience than a game. Seeing all the figures move across the board and the overwhelming need to role play the odd scenarios is a real treat. The conclusion is something that you influence but don't entirely control. Either you accept that with good grace, or you don't.

The chances are the dice and card draws might determine who wins the game at the end and if that is going to make you so mad that you need to vent in angry posts that forget capital letters at the start of sentences then its probably not the game for you.
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Dom Hiob
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I didn't read through the whole post (no time). And I don't think I'm in a position to give strategic advice (especially not with the expansions which I've never played). One thing caught my eye, though.

Quote:
He said he'd rather play Star Wars rebellion because War of the Rings is a shit game and you can't win as FP.


Maybe someone has the statistics for the online client. Because I think that's easily disproved with them.

edit: I just had a look at the page:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1heX5V4VSGD4hfMjC_gLh...

A first glance (I didn't analyze the data properly; and I couldn't see the total number of games won/lost for each side) suggests WotR is balanced about the same as chess is. I wonder whether there even are statistics for SW:R?
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Scott M.
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BillyBable wrote:
That game was absolutely miserable because I feel like I played much better than him, like he made a huge mistake and I did a good job of exploiting it, and that I was the better player and I still lost.


WotR is not a Euro. Better play does not equal win.
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Jan Tuijp
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atraangelis wrote:
BillyBable wrote:
That game was absolutely miserable because I feel like I played much better than him, like he made a huge mistake and I did a good job of exploiting it, and that I was the better player and I still lost.


WotR is not a Euro. Better play does not equal win.


There certainly is a luck factor involved. But, as in most strategic games, the luck factor can be mitigated by better play. So most of the times better play does equal win. Then again, there are those rare occasions when the dice gods decide to really, really mess things up. Happened to me a while ago while playing Road to Legend (1E). My fellow player and I watched with sheer awe how I had one terrible roll after another for about two hours, after which I dizzily left the table.

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It sounds like someone's feelings were going to be hurt either way from this set-up. Games are better for making friendships than breaking them. If you had played Rebellion and the Imperials had found the rebel base straight away or the combat dice had gone 1-way then that would have been unfun as well in this case.

I'm a decent player and have beaten world-class players and lost to beginners at more than one board game. But I keep playing them because of the good experiences I've had and the friends I've made. Talk with your friend and agree on a game that you'll both enjoy.

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Sometimes it happens. War of the Ring is like poker. Better plays generally win, but not every time. All you can do is increase your percentage chance of winning and hope the other player doesn't draw out on you. If he does, congratulate him and try again and then the next time try to mitigate the "luck" factor even more by playing even better.

Edit: You probably should have used that first Will of the West to bring out Gandalf rather than reinforcing Helm's Deep. That would have given you one more die the rest of the game. Could have been the difference.
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Thom Brennan
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savedbyhim01 wrote:
Sometimes it happens.


Indeed. Call it luck, fate or the Dice Gods, there are days and games where nothing goes right. This was one of them. But, as others have pointed out, the whole idea is to play a game for the enjoyment of the game. When the Dice Gods are frowning, that is sometimes a challenge.
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atraangelis wrote:
BillyBable wrote:
That game was absolutely miserable because I feel like I played much better than him, like he made a huge mistake and I did a good job of exploiting it, and that I was the better player and I still lost.


WotR is not a Euro. Better play does not equal win.


If this were true, better players wouldn't consistently win and, more to the point, people wouldn't invest hours into playing it if it was just a toss up.
 
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Keith Craig
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My local game group is very similar to the OP.
They do not want to play WOTR as they feel all the choices are obvious.
I disagree with them but I am not going to force them to play.
They do love to play Star Wars Rebellion so I play that game with them.

I now play WOTR on line using the client and the Facebook group. This way I get to play WOTR almost every weekend and can then play games with the game group that we all can enjoy.

 
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Dom Hiob
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not to derail the thread, but

kbclac wrote:
They do love to play Star Wars Rebellion so I play that game with them.


Is it any good? I've yet to play and am not a huge SW fan (I prefer Dune, which SW actually borrows fairly heavily from). So I'm interested more in gameplay value/quality than in SW feel.
 
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Mattias Elfström
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DomHiob wrote:
not to derail the thread, but

kbclac wrote:
They do love to play Star Wars Rebellion so I play that game with them.


Is it any good? I've yet to play and am not a huge SW fan (I prefer Dune, which SW actually borrows fairly heavily from). So I'm interested more in gameplay value/quality than in SW feel.

I like it.

It is not as deep as WotR, but it has some interesting decision points and it is definitely thematic.
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Keith Craig
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DomHiob wrote:
not to derail the thread, but

kbclac wrote:
They do love to play Star Wars Rebellion so I play that game with them.


Is it any good? I've yet to play and am not a huge SW fan (I prefer Dune, which SW actually borrows fairly heavily from). So I'm interested more in gameplay value/quality than in SW feel.


I really enjoy the game. It is not as deep as WOTR but it is very fun.
After we play a game we will talk about events that occurred in it for days after finishing.
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Andy Latto
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BillyBabel wrote:

Turn 6 I roll nothing but palantirs. Non of my cards are helpful. He took so long to get to minas tirith that it has five elites and 2 leaders. It took me longer to get rohan to go to war but helm's deep has 3 elites and a regular with the black door which lets me move the deadmen through mountains and most of the deadmen out. So I'm still good. I use the cards from my five palantirs as best I can and try to draw some useful cards. Frodo entered the mordor track revealed so I use a ring to change a result into a sword and hide him.

Turn 7: By this point he has all of his dice since I'm on the mordor track. I get 3 musters with no army icon, and 2 palantirs. I use my last ring to turn something into a sword, and move but am revealed again. By this point gondor has killed about 2 full stacks and is eating through the southrons and easterlings that have come from afar. I've lost one guy in helm's deep but I've been using the ghosts to end combat and kill as many things as i can.

Turn 8. 4 musters 1 will of the west. I finally bring gandalf out because I think the extra die is a tiny bit more useful than using it to hide the fellowship. Helm's deep is sitting at about 3 elites, but there is a big army of southrons gathering near the dwarf stronghold and woodland realms and another army in gundabad that was started by a card that gave him several free troops there. So I use my dice to try to start bringing the dwarfes and elves to war. I use 2 musters to bring the elves to war and 2 more to get some elite units in woodland realms and Loriel which is also being threatened by that one stronghold across from it.

Turn 9 3 palantirs 3 musters. I get a card that let's me roll some dice to get my rings back and I end u getting two back, and immediately use it to hide the fellowship. he starts moving from gundabad and I think far harad, and takes the woodland realms and the one point city that belongs to the north.

In these 4 turns you rolled 21 dice, of which only 1 was either a will of the west or a sword. The chances of this are about 1 in 100,000. In a game that has chance elements, you can't overcome 1 in 100,000 bad luck; one time in 100,000, you're just going to lose, and there's nothing you can do about it.

One time in 100,000, you'll have 1 in 100,000 good luck. You'll win, but it will be too easy, and there will be no excitement in the game.

If a gem is fun 49,999 times out of 50,000, and 1 time in 50,000 it feels luck based, those are good enough odds for me.

Your luck was actually worse than that, since you got only 1 sword on the following turn, but the odds of "only one good die" are easier to figure out in my head than "only 2 good dice", so I just used your run of 4 bad turns.

If when you're the better player, only winning 99,999 games out of 100,000, rather than 100,000 out of 100,000, spoils your enjoyment of the game, I suggest you play games without a chance element.

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Patrick Tumpane
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In agreement with others here. One point I would double down on that one of the previous commenters mentioned is you made a pretty fatal mistake not bringing in Gandalf with that WOTW. As a rule of thumb w/ the FP, I always try to play assuming that the SP has nasty cards that can fuck me over. In this case, I've been waiting two turns with no WOTWs and I finally get some, I am going to play safe and assume he has the WOTW cancel card, and will use it.

Sure, you might lose Helms Deep or whatever, but maybe not. The gamble certainly didn't pay off for you. With one more die per round, you could have had another WOTW to crown Aragorn, which again would have changed your odds of getting more Character Die in Mordor.

Now, getting to the meat of your issue, your buddy thinks its a shit game. Well, he is certainly entitled to that opinion, and it may be best to not play WOTR with him if you like it. But seriously, how is a game supposed to be fun if your opponent is actively trying to prove that its not? The best part of this game is how rich in theme and options it is. I have certainly been guilty of reacting poorly when dice have not gone my way, but if you play enough, you will be on the other side of that as well. The key is enjoying the ride, playing your dice as best you can, and don't get too high when you win or too low when you lose. Or go play different games
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Sean Killelea
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I read the original post and thought, "that was a great story!" Epic sweeps of fortune, victory being snatched away by the cruel hands of fate! I think ultimately I would've been happy to be a part of that game and talked much about it afterward.

It wound up failing at what you were trying to do (disproving your friend's opinions of the Free People's chances and being a bad game as a result) but in some ways, to me, it showed itself to be an awesome game nonetheless!

Alas, I was not your target demographic.

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Billy Babel
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supamanu wrote:
Don't force a guy to play a game he thinks is shit and does not wish to play it just to prove a point? Because that will anger the dice gods and ensure you loose.


he sat down and played as the shadow just to prove a point too. So I guess fuck me for saying that game was relatively balanced and wasn't a shit game right?

also I don't understand why this game doesn't have a pressure valve in case things do go miserably wrong. Like in mageknight if you have a hand of cards that is absolutely worthless then you can play them on their side for 1 movement, 1 defense, 1 attack, but WOTR doesn't have anything like that. Like why isn't there something like "use 2 dice to play any 1 result that is not a will of the west" That way you could use 2 dice to perform any 1 action if you are incredibly desperate. or if the fellowship delcares in fangorn use any die result to bring gandalf the white into play. Like something similar to that so that terrible dice do not just ruin several hours of play.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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BillyBabel wrote:
supamanu wrote:
Don't force a guy to play a game he thinks is shit and does not wish to play it just to prove a point? Because that will anger the dice gods and ensure you loose.


he sat down and played as the shadow just to prove a point too. So I guess fuck me for saying that game was relatively balanced and wasn't a shit game right?

also I don't understand why this game doesn't have a pressure valve in case things do go miserably wrong. Like in mageknight if you have a hand of cards that is absolutely worthless then you can play them on their side for 1 movement, 1 defense, 1 attack, but WOTR doesn't have anything like that. Like why isn't there something like "use 2 dice to play any 1 result that is not a will of the west" That way you could use 2 dice to perform any 1 action if you are incredibly desperate. or if the fellowship delcares in fangorn use any die result to bring gandalf the white into play. Like something similar to that so that terrible dice do not just ruin several hours of play.

So go play mageknight if you like it so much better. Don't expect every game to be designed to please you. Many of us would rather play wotr just like it is.
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BillyBabel wrote:
supamanu wrote:
Don't force a guy to play a game he thinks is shit and does not wish to play it just to prove a point? Because that will anger the dice gods and ensure you loose.


he sat down and played as the shadow just to prove a point too. So I guess fuck me for saying that game was relatively balanced and wasn't a shit game right?

also I don't understand why this game doesn't have a pressure valve in case things do go miserably wrong. Like in mageknight if you have a hand of cards that is absolutely worthless then you can play them on their side for 1 movement, 1 defense, 1 attack, but WOTR doesn't have anything like that. Like why isn't there something like "use 2 dice to play any 1 result that is not a will of the west" That way you could use 2 dice to perform any 1 action if you are incredibly desperate. or if the fellowship delcares in fangorn use any die result to bring gandalf the white into play. Like something similar to that so that terrible dice do not just ruin several hours of play.


Interesting ideas. Why not try them and report back how they went? In competitive play the FP player often gets some dwarven rings which allow re-rolls of the action dice to balance the game.
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Raf B
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Hanging on to one'S Elven rings is one such pressure valve. When playing with Lords of Middle-earth it can be oh so tempting to spend them on special abilities instead of their base game purpose. I've screwed myself as FP in many a game cavalierly using rings early on.
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Joanna G
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You need someone more enjoyable to play with. Smug opponents are the worst. If you are in L.A., I'd happily play against you.

And throw out those jinxed dice.
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BillyBabel wrote:
also I don't understand why this game doesn't have a pressure valve in case things do go miserably wrong. Like in mageknight if you have a hand of cards that is absolutely worthless then you can play them on their side for 1 movement, 1 defense, 1 attack, but WOTR doesn't have anything like that. Like why isn't there something like "use 2 dice to play any 1 result that is not a will of the west" That way you could use 2 dice to perform any 1 action if you are incredibly desperate. or if the fellowship delcares in fangorn use any die result to bring gandalf the white into play. Like something similar to that so that terrible dice do not just ruin several hours of play.


There are mechanisms against it.

Firstly, there are 3/6 sides which the FP can roll when they want to move/hide the fellowship. The probability of getting extended periods without rolling either WotW or characters is pretty small (the figure above of 1/100k is simplified; it's actually not as rare as that, but it's the right order of magnitude).

Secondly there are cards, which might allow you to use an Event die to move the fellowship.

Thirdly, there are Elven Rings which allow you to change a die.

Finally, there is the fact that it's rare for other results to be useless. Those Musters may not have helped you move the ring, but they should definitely have allowed you to slow down the Shadow's military progress and buy time.

All that said, you did have an unlucky game and the mitigation options weren't enough in this extreme case. I'd be pretty sure you could have played some better moves (people already pointed out you should have brought in Gandalf when you had opportunity; I see why you didn't, but hindsight shows it probably wasn't a risk worth taking) but there does come a point where the dice simply don't go your way. The Hunt can be equally unforgiving (e.g. drawing all the worst tiles once in Mordor) so luck is definitely part of this game. It's possible to play the odds perfectly and still lose.


As a response to your overall point though - you don't actually state the final situation. Where exactly did the Fellowship reach? What was their corruption on? These are important details because if the game was anywhere near close, then the fact you had such bad luck and didn't get crushed actually supports your argument, not your friend's.

By that I mean, if you had really good luck, and still lost with 11 corruption and the fellowship not even on the Mordor Track, then he would have a point. But the bad luck in your part actually supports your case, provided the game was actually reasonably close in the end. You can squarely point at the bad luck and blame it for your loss.

Now if your friend just thinks there is too much luck in the game, then that's another matter which would only bear out over many games. And even then it's possible for players to find one side or the other more difficult to play.

I haven't played Rebellion, but as a possible point of comparison, is it not possible for the Empire to get lucky and guess the location of the Rebel Base right off the bat, crushing the Rebels early as a result? I'm pretty sure there is at least some luck in Rebellion, right?

What about other games he likes which have some element of luck?
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Orion3T wrote:
I haven't played Rebellion, but as a possible point of comparison, is it not possible for the Empire to get lucky and guess the location of the Rebel Base right off the bat, crushing the Rebels early as a result? I'm pretty sure there is at least some luck in Rebellion, right?


I think just the idea of comparing the element of luck in Rebellion and WotR is preposterous. Rebellion is WAY more luck based than WotR.

I found it interesting the comparison with Mage Knight, since there is indeed some of that in WotR: if you get a card that has no use to you in a particular moment, you can simply use that card in combat. The fact that you can mitigate your bad luck during combat with the cards you have in your hand is just great (oh, the combat in Rebellion in comparison...). Anyway, if you are that unlucky with dice, use those damned Elven Rings. If that doesn't help and your dice are that jinxed, you should use the Dwarven Rings variant (and you should do the salty water test. It has happened to me that the dice of a particular game were indeed viciously unbalanced).

Now to Rebellion. Luck can and utterly screw you up in combat in that game. For those that haven't played it yet: you get 1 to 3 combat cards during the first round of combat based on leadership and that's it, that's all the mitigation you'll ever have. From then on it is completely based on rolling dice, there is very little you can do. None of the maneuvers that exist in WotR exist in that game, there isn't anything like the Strongholds, any card like Scouts (I love to play that card when I'm the FPP), anything like initiative... nothing. In Rebellion you just throw dice like there is no tomorrow. Oh, those combat cards? They basically consist of "Block 1 damage", "Discard to block 2 damage", "Deal 1 damage"... and the one you must love to hate if you don't like too much luck in your game: "your opponent can't block damage this round". WHAAAAAAAT! You mean I get 3 "Block 1 Damage" cards, you draw just 1 card and your card says I can't use any of my cards? How does THAT feel, mr. "I don't like too much luck in my games"?
As well said by that video review SHUT UP AND SIT DOWN made months ago, combat is so boring you may find yourself avoiding combat just to avoid the boringness.

Oh, but the main board play in Rebellion is just as bad if not even worse. Not only can the Empire player find the Rebel base by luck (subjugating the planet where the rebel base is), but there are cards that reinforce that luck element. For instance, the Empire player can be lucky enough to get that card that allows him to guess out loud a system and the Rebel player must tell him if the Rebel Base is there, or worse, a mission where the Rebel player must name 3 systems and one of them is the Rebel base. Oh, by the way, how does the mission system work anyway? Oh, you roll dice vs your opponent dice and see if it's a failure or a success... huuummmm. Interesting. Any way to mitigate those bad results? Nope. Absolutely not. Nada. You assigned 2 leaders and rolled 4 blanks vs your opponent 1 blank and you can't do the mission. LOVELY.

Honestly, I think the OP should simply accept he doesn't like WotR the same way I have accepted I HATE Rebellion (and NOT because of its lucky based system. Want to know why, take a look at this thread: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1562647/rebel-base-here-go-... ). I believe the OP should just accept that the theme/game is not interesting enough for him and move on.
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