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Subject: Quick and easy version for newer and younger players rss

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Eric Bridge
United States
Roanoke
Virginia
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Hi all,
In my very first game (2 players) we got CREAMED at the beginning of Helm's Deep! Since that time I have obviously picked up on the strategies needed to win, but newer and younger players can be very intimidated, I believe, if they run into some bad luck all at once. Since that first playing I have come up with the following rules that 1) Make the game go much faster, and 2) Make the game much easier. Keep in mind I only employ these rules with younger players, and when I'm introducing someone to their first game. I figure if they win their first game, they're more likely to come back and try a more challenging version (ie: most or all of the ACTUAL rules)

1) Unless you turn over a Sauron tile ("Ringbearer takes one corruption" and "Player corrupts twice or Sauron moves down one"), the tile drawing part is over and the player gets to take his turn. In other words, after a sundial or activity card is turned over the player's turn continues. This prevents the "piling on" of sundials before any player can move at all. Personally this makes more sense to me anyway, since sundials represent the passage of time. I don't remember Sauron having a "speed up time" ability in the books. **Note: This is a BIG difference and I do not advise experienced players to try this as it removes so much of the challenge.

2) Since the first 3 boards only have 3 activity paths. Players can get frustrated and slowed down by having a hand full of the 4th (unuseable) type. Instead, allow the playing of the 4th type of activity as one of the "Main Path" (in other words, Fighting) cards. The card retains its original color. Again, this will speed up the game, and also throw a new strategy into the mix - Do I use this travel card to fight now or save it for Mordor when its most needed? As you all know, Mordor uses all four activities so this rule CANNOT be employed on the final board.

3) Remove the randomness of the Shield at the end of each board, and place a "3 Shield" on the final space instead. This allows for better planning of who will get how many shields, and also obviously makes calling on Gandalf/discarding shields much easier. After all, shouldn't you be well rewarded anyway for completing the board, especially since some of you will have to add some corruption at the same time?

Unless someone just truly doesn't grasp the basics of the game, these rules will almost guarantee a win for the fellowship. In my experience, if I want someone to play again, I can "break them in" with this version, and make it harder later. Also, because you can move up the main path so much faster this way, the "training game" should be shorter as well. Take it or leave it. I hope this might help some of you. God bless.
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Paul
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Has anyone else tried this version? Looks interesting -- and I'll be playing with my 10 yr old --- but don't want it to be TOO easy. Curious if there's any reactions.
 
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PK Levine
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I like the suggestions, though I honestly feel that incorporating all of them might make the game too easy, even for kids. I've played this with 11-13 year olds (admittedly, not quite "kids") and made up for their inexperience by making lots of suggestions the first time through -- by the 2nd or 3rd time playing, they rarely needed my advice.

I think I'd try one of the three suggestions and see if that worked by itself before adding any others.

OBTW, this reminds me . . . some (adult) friends of mine bought this game after I got them hooked on it, but they're not the kind to really read the rules in depth and were trying to play from memory instead. Long story short, every time the board said to draw a shield, they were drawing randomly from the box to get a 1, 2, or 3 shield piece! The funny thing is, they still lost at Helm's Deep.

PK
 
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Chris Shaffer
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I've been playing with my nine-year old daughter and she does fine with the base game. Then we got the Sauron expansion and she's becoming a good Sauron player.

I guess it would depend on whether you're playing with gamer kids or non-gamer kids.
 
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