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Subject: The MUST have rss

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Ralph Tricoche
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I am interested in this game. I saw the reviews, and how to plays, but I would like ot know what is the absolute must have to get a full experince out of the box set.
Thanks folks.
 
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Wiedewiet
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https://talesfromthecards.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/new-playe...
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Brother Leon
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Core + mirkwood cycle

Or

Core + Heir of Numenor + Steward's Fear.

Steward's fear contains a pretty much ready-made deck archetype (and is an excellent, but difficult, quest).
 
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Bill Kunes
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A playing partner. I think it is an interesting game but I've not been able to get anyone else to play. Consequently I've been forced to play solo which is good, but can be a bit fiddly and mentally exhausting.

meeple Keep playing...
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Todd
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Core, Mirkwood and Dwarrowdelf cycles. That gives you lots of quests to try, and lots of good cards to better your chance of beating the quests.
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Richard Thornley
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I just picked up the core, a few of the Mirkwood adventures, and Khazad-Dum. Very excited to dive into this. And it's nice to play a game that doesn't involve dice, for once (not that I have anything against dice...)
 
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Bryan
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EVERYTHING devil
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Dale Stephenson
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There is no specific expansion pack that is essential, but no expansion pack you won't want to get eventually if you are into the game. Mirkwood is a convenient place to start, but it neither has the best player cards nor the most enjoyable quests.
 
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Brother Leon
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dalestephenson wrote:
There is no specific expansion pack that is essential, but no expansion pack you won't want to get eventually if you are into the game. Mirkwood is a convenient place to start, but it neither has the best player cards nor the most enjoyable quests.


No - but it does have the song cards.

Which I see as a key part of the game.
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Dale Stephenson
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nssxxx wrote:
dalestephenson wrote:
There is no specific expansion pack that is essential, but no expansion pack you won't want to get eventually if you are into the game. Mirkwood is a convenient place to start, but it neither has the best player cards nor the most enjoyable quests.


No - but it does have the song cards.

Which I see as a key part of the game.


It can be useful in some decks, but I wouldn't call it a key part of the game. By far the most popular player attachment in the Mirkwood cycle is A Burning Brand. I see the chief advantage of starting with Mirkwood is that there's a wealth of progression-style decks and discussion that use only Core + Mirkwood, which really isn't the case if you start elsewhere. But that's simply for historical reasons; there's no structural reason you couldn't start with any other cycle instead. Or with saga boxes. You could also just buy deluxes and ignore all the adventure packs. It's all good, and no card (not even Burning Brand) is *essential* in itself.
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Pietro Pomella
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To be fair some cycles introduce VERY complicated boardstates (Ringmaker and Dreamchaser in particular, but Angmar Awakened is no joke). The first cycles are generally simpler in my opinion, even though the quest design is sometimes sloppier. The Lord of the Rings saga boxes on the other hand I found to be consistently amazing, and might be a good way to start a collection after all!
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Hedyn Brand
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I consider the song cards essential too. They are a simple way to help new players without advanced deckbuilding skills. Sure, you may have played for years and think they suck like a jet turbine, but they need no special support cards to stick in your deck. Three little card that need almost no though and heroes lacking the relevant sphere.

I also consider the Mirkwood cycle the cards they couldn't fit into the core. At the very least the last pack is useful to get Dain, then newbies can jump into the Hobbit sagas straight away.
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Valerio Vitelli
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nssxxx wrote:


Core + Heir of Numenor + Steward's Fear.

Steward's fear contains a pretty much ready-made deck archetype (and is an excellent, but difficult, quest).


I strongly disagree with this. Heirs of Numenor deluxe box is notorious for his sharp rise in difficulty compared to the previous cycles. Tackling it with just one core set and not the rest of the card pool is a recipe for frustration. Even worse, with that limited card pool you force the player to build just one deck capable of dealing with those quests (Outlands with tactics Beregond).
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Dirk Meijer
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dalestephenson wrote:
no card (not even Burning Brand) is *essential* in itself.


I very much agree with this sentiment, but some cards can be considered "staples" moreso than other cards.

As far as player cards go, if we want to elevate some sets to "essential" status, this overview lists all (non-core) player cards that receive a popularity ranking of 5, grouped by set. It seems that both the Shadows of Mirkwood and Dwarrowdelf cycle are good choices. Other notable sets are Over Hill and Under Hill, Heirs of Númenor, The Steward's Fear, The Voice of Isengard, and Celebrimbor's Secret.

As far as quests go, I don't know a great way to assess the community's opinions on this, but I'd personally guess that Saga expansions are the way to go.
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Carlos Saldanha
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I'd go in a different direction,

Core Sets + Saga Expansions

Why?

1) Saga Expansions are self-contained
2) Saga Expansions offer a different depth from the "basic" game with a Campaign going on
3) Saga Expansions are a good and cheap way to play in a progression series
4) Saga Expansions are directly related with the Lord of the Rings book, where a player will see lots of familiar faces before getting into all the rest that this game has to offer
5) Core Set + The Hobbit Saga is really a cheap and easy entry point


But in the end it will be "one game to hoard them all" sauron
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Dale Stephenson
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Pietro Pomella wrote:
To be fair some cycles introduce VERY complicated boardstates (Ringmaker and Dreamchaser in particular, but Angmar Awakened is no joke). The first cycles are generally simpler in my opinion, even though the quest design is sometimes sloppier. The Lord of the Rings saga boxes on the other hand I found to be consistently amazing, and might be a good way to start a collection after all!


It's true that the first two cycles are simpler. Ringmaker's multitude of Time effects makes it the most burdensome in terms of managing the board state. But especially for the one-handed solo player, I don't think the board states are that difficult to understand. Ringmaker's really more fiddly than complicated IMO.

The one Deluxe I would avoid as a "first choice" is Heirs of Numenor, simply because it requires such a different approach for Battle/Siege questing.

One huge advantage of doing Mirkwood first is that you can follow the wonderful Beorn's Path through the first cycle, which I did as a new player and learned a lot about playing and deckbuilding. If new players want to netdeck or follow Beorn's Path I absolutely recommend starting with Mirkwood. However, if they want to find their own path without taking advice or basing a deck on someone else's decklist, I don't think it matters too much (except avoid HoN as a first choice) where they go. Any direction will add good cards, enable them to build better decks, and provide interesting quests to play.

To be clear, I think there's nothing wrong with starting with Mirkwood, followed by Khazad-Dum. Mirkwood is especially helpful if the next stop is either saga, because it provides Fast Hitch and Rohan cards for LOTR, and Dain Ironfoot for Hobbit. But one thing to keep in mind is that cycles continually come in and out of print, so sometimes new players can't get Mirkwood and/or Khazad Dum where they are at. In those cases, it's absolutely *not* necessary that they wait for those cycles to come back into print to expand, and instead start with a cycle/saga that *is* available.
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Dale Stephenson
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gnurf wrote:
I consider the song cards essential too. They are a simple way to help new players without advanced deckbuilding skills. Sure, you may have played for years and think they suck like a jet turbine, but they need no special support cards to stick in your deck. Three little card that need almost no though and heroes lacking the relevant sphere.


I don't think they "suck like a jet turbine", and I think 3x of the off-sphere Song in a deck can be a useful thing. (New players don't have the card pool to do monosphere anything well, and tri-sphere decks aren't as easy to play or build starting out). I still occasionally use Songs. (OK, it's mostly Song of Wisdom to set up a hero defender with Burning Brand). Rivendell Minstrel, plus a single copy of Song of Wisdom and Song of Kings, is *still* in my LeAragorn/Theodred/LoDenethor deck with the full card pool. I just take issue with considering it "essential". If you don't get a song card (and half the time, you *won't* have a song card in your opening hand even if you mulligan for it), the deck will still need to function; and I've *never* mulliganed for a song. Steward of Gondor can be essential. Songs are just useful. Build the off-sphere with a few less cards and no expensive cards, and you'll be just fine.

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I also consider the Mirkwood cycle the cards they couldn't fit into the core. At the very least the last pack is useful to get Dain, then newbies can jump into the Hobbit sagas straight away.


Sure, Dain is awesome to power up a dwarf deck. But if Mirkwood is being reprinted, you can still build a powerful dwarf deck without him. Thorin/Ori/Nori can do dwarven swarm well, especially if you also have Khazad-Dum.

If you want to know the minimum purchase requirements to build the most powerful possible dwarf deck, Return to Mirkwood would make the cut. But this thread is about the expansions you MUST have. No pack or cycle, not even Foundations of Stone, fits that description.
 
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Dale Stephenson
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dwjmeijer wrote:
dalestephenson wrote:
no card (not even Burning Brand) is *essential* in itself.


I very much agree with this sentiment, but some cards can be considered "staples" moreso than other cards.

As far as player cards go, if we want to elevate some sets to "essential" status, this overview lists all (non-core) player cards that receive a popularity ranking of 5, grouped by set. It seems that both the Shadows of Mirkwood and Dwarrowdelf cycle are good choices. Other notable sets are Over Hill and Under Hill, Heirs of Númenor, The Steward's Fear, The Voice of Isengard, and Celebrimbor's Secret.


That's a fascinating search, but popularity based on decklists is going to skew towards early expansions because of progression-style decks. Consider the presence of Winged Guardian on the list. Playing progression style, Winged Guardian is an instant add to a tactics deck. But once Heirs of Numenor comes online, Defender of Rammas becomes an instant replacement -- same cost, same stats, no requirement to pay a resource to prevent it from going away. In the context of the full card pool, Winged Guardian is only useful in an Eagles deck or as a *supplement* to Defender of Rammas in siege quests.

At the other end, the list has *no* entries from the current cycle. Is that because there's no cards that are worthy? If Harad had been the first cycle, I'm sure cards like Greenwood Archer, Wait No Longer, and Steward of Orthanc would be Popularity 5. If you reverse the release dates of Steward's Fear and Mumakil, you'd see Khaliel's friends instead of all the Outlands folks on the list.

Here's the cards from expansions that I would nominate as staples in non-monosphere decks (using the definition of generally worth including at least one copy in any deck). Asterisks for the ones where I want two heroes in the sphere to include. Sideboards are for cards that are always worth including in some but not all quests, or that depend on whether you are primarily defending with heroes or not.

Neutral:
Treebeard (Antlered Crown, Ringmaker cycle)
Steward of Orthanc (Race Across Harad, Haradrim cycle)

Sideboard:
Gather Information (Lost Realm)

Leadership:
Greenwood Archer (Sands of Harad)
Errand-Rider (Heirs of Numenor)
*Galadriel (The Road Darkens, LOTR saga)

Sideboard: Dunedain Remedy (Drowned Ruins, Dreamchaser cycle)

Lore:
Daeron's Runes (Foundations of Stone, Dwarrowdelf cycle)
Quickbeam (Treason of Saruman, LOTR saga)
Warden of Healing (The Long Dark, Dwarrowdelf cycle)
*Derndingle Warrior (Escape from Mount Gram, Angmar cycle)
*Mirkwood Explorer (Thing in the Depths, Dreamchaser cycle)
*Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Numenor)
*Firyal (Mumakil, Haradrim cycle)

Sideboard:
A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock, Mirkwood Cycle)
Thror's Map (OHUH, Hobbit saga)
Ioreth (Storm on Cobas Haven, Dreamchaser cycle)

Spirit:
Arwen Undomiel (The Watcher in the Water, Dwarrowdelf cycle)
*Bofur (The Redhorn Gate, Dwarrowdelf cycle)
*Rhovanian Outrider (Temple of the Deceived, Dreamchaser cycle)
*Jubayr (Mumakil, Haradrim cycle)

Sideboard:
Power of Orthanc (Voice of Isengard)

Tactics:
Honour Guard (Wastes of Eriador, Angmar cycle)
*Legolas (Treason of Isengard, LOTR saga)
*Marksman of Lorien (Drowned Ruins, Dreamchaser cycle)
*Wait No Longer (Mumakil, Haradrim cycle)

Sideboard: Defender of Rammas (Heirs of Numenor)

That's not consider cards that are auto-include if you have a hero with the trait, such as Elrond's Counsel, Unlikely Friendship, Envoy of Pelargir. There are staples lurking in every cycle.

Quote:
As far as quests go, I don't know a great way to assess the community's opinions on this, but I'd personally guess that Saga expansions are the way to go.


OHUH, the first Hobbit box, I think is perceived as being weak/annoying quest-wise, as is the Mirkwood cycle. Battle/Siege questing (mostly in Heirs of Numenor and its cycle) is different enough that I wouldn't recommend it to a new player. [Plus, I hate Morgul Vale]. Ringmaker cycle is easily the most "fiddly" to play. All cycles have a wide spread in quest difficulty, especially for the one-handed solo player. The backstory provided by FFG for non-Saga expansions is quite good (IMO) except for Mirkwood and Dwarrowdelf, and Mirkwood is loosely based on events actually given in the text. All saga expansions do an excellent job of following the text.
 
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