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Subject: "Progressive" Easy Mode Idea rss

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DOUGLAS BRUNDIN
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I've been struggling with beating the core box missions even after 10+ plays. I'm a veteran gamer but the brutality makes the game less enjoyable than I'd like. I've read most of the variants for "easy mode" here on the geek and I've come up with an idea that I'll be trying for myself. I'm going to call it Progressive Easy Mode.

I'll play new missions on regular LOTR official easy mode rules. If I lose, I'll start adding items from the following list in order each time I lose. After that, I'll move up to the next harder level and play that until I beat it, and so on until I'm playing on Regular Mode. The handicaps will stack so at level 3 I will get all the handicaps in levels 1, 2 and 3, etc.

Here's the order of how I'll add progressive handicap layers:

1. Play on official FFG LOTR easy mode
2. Choose one starting hand card per hero. For each hero, choose one starting card that matches his or her influence color (or neutral).
3. At the beginning of each turn when you collect resources, take one resource for each hero PLUS ONE EXTRA resource which you can assign to any of your heroes.
4. When drawing your card each turn, draw TWO cards and choose to keep one. Discard the other.
5. When drawing your card each turn, draw two cards into your hand and then discard one card from your hand.
6. Begin the game with a fourth hero and set your starting threat according the the value of the three most expensive heroes.
7. Do not use shadow cards.
8. Burn all your LOTR LCG cards and find a new game to play.



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Fred Buchholz
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8. should read Sell all your cards and then use the money to find another game...

And you should reach 8 in a solo game against the Dol Guldur Scenario in the core box
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Brian Jordano

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Are you using three heroes? The rules say you can use 1-3 heroes but anything less than using 3 is total folly. I shelved the game for a year due to not using 3 heroes from the start, and then discovered a year later it was my favorite game of all time along with a select few others.
 
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simon cogan
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I look forward to following your adventures.

I am doing a similar marathon in 'The Road Goes ever On' blog!
 
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Lee Broderick
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Dbrundin wrote:

7. Do not use shadow cards.


I'm curious as to why this is all the way down at 7. In my edition of the rules (which predates the creation of Easy Mode) the easier rules are, I think, called Basic Mode. Basic Mode consists more or less entirely of not drawing shadow cards.

In other words, this is an entirely legitimate way to play and to reduce the difficulty. Have you ranked it this low because you didn't know that or because you don't like the idea of predetermined combat?
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Greg Darcy
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cornishlee wrote:
Dbrundin wrote:

7. Do not use shadow cards.


I'm curious as to why this is all the way down at 7. In my edition of the rules (which predates the creation of Easy Mode) the easier rules are, I think, called Basic Mode. Basic Mode consists more or less entirely of not drawing shadow cards.

In other words, this is an entirely legitimate way to play and to reduce the difficulty. Have you ranked it this low because you didn't know that or because you don't like the idea of predetermined combat?

It is still in the rules. It is on page 28 under "Basic Game".

The first game I won was Basic + Easy. I am still on easy. I cannot understand why anyone would get a nightmare deck.
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Iain
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Hi Douglas, I don't mean this to sound condescending or insulting at all - but does that mean you haven't been able to beat A Passage Through Mirkwood even with the pre-built Leadership deck?

You should pretty easily be able to win that scenario with the leadership deck; lore/spirit are a bit harder and tactics is tough but possible if you are very lucky.

It might be worth having a quick read through, and work through, this guide: A guide for new LOTR:LCG solo players. Also double check you aren't playing any rules wrong to make the game even more difficult than it is! The turn order sheets are good for that.

Again, not meant in any negative way, just want to make sure everyone can enjoy this fantastic game
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Iain
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GregDarcy wrote:
cornishlee wrote:
Dbrundin wrote:

7. Do not use shadow cards.


I'm curious as to why this is all the way down at 7. In my edition of the rules (which predates the creation of Easy Mode) the easier rules are, I think, called Basic Mode. Basic Mode consists more or less entirely of not drawing shadow cards.

In other words, this is an entirely legitimate way to play and to reduce the difficulty. Have you ranked it this low because you didn't know that or because you don't like the idea of predetermined combat?

It is still in the rules. It is on page 28 under "Basic Game".

The first game I won was Basic + Easy. I am still on easy. I cannot understand why anyone would get a nightmare deck.


Haha - they do look scary if you look at them with the new game - but even after adding in the Mirkwood Cycle the core box scenarios are significantly easier. I would say if you had a few expansion cycles the core scenarios would be outrageously easy - I believe that is why people get nightmare decks
 
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Seth Dortch
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Gribbon wrote:
Hi Douglas, I don't mean this to sound condescending or insulting at all - but does that mean you haven't been able to beat A Passage Through Mirkwood even with the pre-built Leadership deck?

You should pretty easily be able to win that scenario with the leadership deck; lore/spirit are a bit harder and tactics is tough but possible if you are very lucky.

It might be worth having a quick read through, and work through, this guide: A guide for new LOTR:LCG solo players. Also double check you aren't playing any rules wrong to make the game even more difficult than it is! The turn order sheets are good for that.

Again, not meant in any negative way, just want to make sure everyone can enjoy this fantastic game


I have to second this. Even with only one copy of the core set Passage through Mirkwood is pretty beatable. Sure you might get a bad draw and lose every now and then. But it's honestly not too hard a quest.
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Dale Stephenson
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Gribbon wrote:

Haha - they do look scary if you look at them with the new game - but even after adding in the Mirkwood Cycle the core box scenarios are significantly easier. I would say if you had a few expansion cycles the core scenarios would be outrageously easy - I believe that is why people get nightmare decks


Passage would certainly be outrageously easy, barring awful luck with the few dangerous cards in it. Anduin's still a solid scenario with the full card pool, and Escape is still a tough scenario with the full card pool (and still *very* difficult one-handed).
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Paul Childs
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Read this thread:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1108855/back-basics-killer-...
 
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Kristóf Szelestei
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The game can be a pain in the ass, a lot depends on how you draw. In case of the second scenario a 4th hero maybe doesnt help. You should use heroes to stay below 30 so you have time for the troll (draw a forest snare for example).
 
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DOUGLAS BRUNDIN
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I have beaten passage through mirkwood and the anduin. I beat anduin once on regular difficulty and I believe I beat anduin twice on regular difficulty but I lost like 10 games in a row before each win on anduin. My victories were a combination of fortuitous staging area layouts and lucky card draws and even then I barely won.

I've lost dol guldur 4 or 5 times now on regular mode and then once or twice on easy mode. On hard mode we couldn't pass the first quest card. On easy we almost made it to quest card 3.

I really enjoy this game but I wanted to create a system for myself that would give me the hope of knowing that I'll make it a little easier each time until I just barely win. Then, next time, I'll turn up the heat one click and struggle to beat that for a while AND allow myself to move to the next adventure.

Someone asked why did I put the "don't use shadow cards " at the bottom. The answer is simple- the shadow cards create a variable of unknown in combat which is the very last thing I want to eliminate from the game. I want to KEEP that variability and mystery until I'm almost ready to quit the game.

Again, this system is designed to meet MY unique needs and play styles. Maybe it will be helpful for you too.
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Jason Ross-Collins
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Given this is my first venture into LCG (and indeed my return to boardgame/cardgame/fantasy stuff generally) I always like to see that people describe this game as brutal (as it means I've started at the harder end). My initial games with this were a. How do I actually play it? and b.Why can't I ever win?

I've never ever tried it without 3 heroes. I've never played it on easy mode (as mentioned here they can be punishing, but the tension that shadow cards generate is essential).

I also didn't start making progress until I went for multi sphere decks e.g. spirit/tactics leadership/lore. Thankfully I discovered Beorns Path and Tales from the Cards. Both of which walkthrough those early scenarios and have suggested decks which really work.


For me to play this properly you've got to have multi sphere decks. That's the only way for the inexperienced (who wont know the cards well enough to appreciate the combinations etc.) to win. Even then the second two quests can be hard, hence I'd purchase a couple of the adventure packs OR probably better go straight for Khazad Dum which is what I did.

I now feel (after a couple of months of playing a couple of times a week - all solo) that this is great game, challenging and punishing at times, but none the less a really great game.



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DOUGLAS BRUNDIN
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I've beaten Passage and Anduin on regular difficulty. Dol Guldur is where I'm beginning to titrate up my handicap. Today I'm trying on Level 2 where I get to choose one starting card per hero.

Also, the reason I put "no shadow cards" so low was because they make the game unpredictable. I'd rather do other handicaps before removing shadow cards. But hey, I posted this to help people so if another order works better for you then go for it! Have fun!
 
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DOUGLAS BRUNDIN
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Ok, my test of easy mode level 2 was successful and a spectacular failure! The ability of choosing starting cards to put in my hand didn't seem critical in the early game but paid off later when I needed certain key cards and had them. I did get a few "lucky" situational things during the mission and I made solid, steady progress into Dol Guldur card 2. The Nazgul was problematic but only because the encounter deck kept throwing other small threats that I had to deal with. Finally, I saw my opening and drew the Nazgul into combat and progressed to quest card 3! I knew I'd have to make some sacrifices to achieve a victory but I knew I had an actual chance here. I had an actual plan and had the cards to pull it off. However, fate dealt me a crushing blow and my forces were overwhelmed and I lost.

This was the closest I've come to winning this mission. The PROGRESSIVE EASY MODE makes me eager to play again because I know that EVENTUALLY I'll beat it and when I do, it'll likely be a nail biter because each increasing level of P.E.M. adds only a slight boost toward victory.

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Steven Kornegay
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Not sure if you are using the prebuilt sphere decks or not, but deck building multi-sphere decks/heroes is the only way to fully enjoy this game, that I have found.

This deck helped me win pretty much all the time against "Passage through Mirkwood" without easy mode.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/724807/spirittactics-deck-p...
 
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James
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Since the thread has already been necro'd (which is cool by me always, actually), I'll mention that I'm seriously interested in throwing out all the other tweaks and just doing this:

Quote:
6. Begin the game with a fourth hero and set your starting threat according the the value of the three most expensive heroes.


The deckbuilding is not the most fun part for me and when I build, I'd rather build thematically. When I play LotR, I'd rather play through a story, not lose the first three or four times every scenario before having to redesign my deck and winning. I own that I'm not very good at the game but I play too intermittently to get good and stay good at it. I have some other go-to games to play as steep mechanical challenges.

I am genuinely curious as to what just the tweak of a fourth hero (taking the threat of the top three) would do for most scenarios - whether or not it would make it so easy as just to make the game an exercise -- or still leave me with different, other challenges scenario by scenario.

Belated thanks for the thread!
 
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Todd
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I hear ya, the game is difficult, especially with limited cards. But the first 2 quests should definitely be beatable. The 3rd one I would only bother with once you have more cards, and are comfortable playing 2-handed.

This is what I did when first learning:
1. Play Basic mode, i.e. no shadow cards
2. Once I got the hang of the game, play Normal mode. Remember, those shadow cards can be a savior sometimes too when a tough enemy turns up as one (with no nasty shadow effect, of course)
3. Read through Beorn's Path (https://hallofbeorn.wordpress.com/beorns-path/) to get a good idea of how to build decks based on the quest
4. Try the "Killer" deck (already linked) - it's a great Core-only deck that can handle both of the first 2 quests
5. Once you get more cards, try other popular decks on ringsdb.com

I only started trying my own decks after I had the Mirkwood, Dwarrowdelf and a couple Saga expansions. Hang in there, it's a great game!
 
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David Griffin
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Dbrundin wrote:
I've been struggling with beating the core box missions even after 10+ plays. I'm a veteran gamer but the brutality makes the game less enjoyable than I'd like. I've read most of the variants for "easy mode" here on the geek and I've come up with an idea that I'll be trying for myself. I'm going to call it Progressive Easy Mode.

I'll play new missions on regular LOTR official easy mode rules. If I lose, I'll start adding items from the following list in order each time I lose. After that, I'll move up to the next harder level and play that until I beat it, and so on until I'm playing on Regular Mode. The handicaps will stack so at level 3 I will get all the handicaps in levels 1, 2 and 3, etc.

Here's the order of how I'll add progressive handicap layers:

1. Play on official FFG LOTR easy mode
2. Choose one starting hand card per hero. For each hero, choose one starting card that matches his or her influence color (or neutral).
3. At the beginning of each turn when you collect resources, take one resource for each hero PLUS ONE EXTRA resource which you can assign to any of your heroes.
4. When drawing your card each turn, draw TWO cards and choose to keep one. Discard the other.
5. When drawing your card each turn, draw two cards into your hand and then discard one card from your hand.
6. Begin the game with a fourth hero and set your starting threat according the the value of the three most expensive heroes.
7. Do not use shadow cards.
8. Burn all your LOTR LCG cards and find a new game to play.





I recognized from before I started buying cards that the upward difficulty curve of this game from the core box through the current generation was steeper than I would enjoy. I managed to stay with Normal mode through the first set of quests, but the first Khazad Dum mission (Into the Pit) marked my farewell to normal mode. I was glad to discover your post, you have some good ideas here. I thought of #2 (or a variant of it) to choose a card and then ADD it to your normal hand (giving you both a card you can depend will be there AND an extra card).

One of the things I've thought of when watching the pros play on YouTube is that the single mulligan system virtually guarantees that you will end up playing with less than optimum hands (sometimes really bad hands) and that seldom ends with a victory. I can see how people might want bragging rights to win with a bad hand but I feel the game is hard enough even if you have a fairly optimum hand. I understand that a good deck (rather than the crap I build) has a lot more options of what constitutes a good hand and good players are better at recognizing a hand they can work with.

What is the value of playing 10 times to win once if you're winning mostly because you got the right cards in your opening hand? I can't help thinking that variant rules that directly address the inconsistency of the experience based on opening hand (or even encounter deck shuffle) might be worth thinking about.

Your #2, choosing a card, turns part of the chance into a player decision that matters. The logical conclusion to this line of thought would be choosing your entire opening hand. I see this as not unlike what happens in XWing or Star Trek Attack Wing where you essentially do just that (though there is no hand in that game -- you're choosing your entire "deck" for the game).

Of course the other side of this coin is the encounter deck whose shuffle can (especially for solo games) take the game from too easy (even for me) to impossible (for anyone no matter how good or experienced he is). You can remove more cards (Easy mode +) but the further you go in the quest line, the decks get smaller. The consequences of removing cards is to tighten the deck and amplify the ugliness of the remaining cards. I think you'd almost have to make "Nothing happens" cards to SUBSTITUTE for cards so that the size of the deck isn't affected (or substitute encounter cards from the core set).

I'll try some of the ideas in your post though, especially the first one, thanks!
 
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