Roberto Di Meglio
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As is already apparent in some reviews and comments, undoubtly the fact that in WAR OF THE RING the Free Peoples (FP) Player may win a military victory is going to be highly debated by players.

As you may have read elsewhere, there are two ways to win in WAR OF THE RING:
- "Ring" victory: for the Free Peoples getting the Ring to Mt. Doom; for the Shadow getting the Ringbearers to 12 Corruption Points (meaning that Frodo and Sam get corrupted, killed, captured...)
- "Military" victory: for the Free Peoples conquering 4 Shadow Victory Points; for the Shadow conquering 10 Free People Victory Points (Stronghold=2 VPs; City=1 VPs).

There was much debate during playtesting whether including such a condition or not, and what such condition should be.

The point is:
- FP Military Victory should be there to open up more options to both players as this is a GAME and we want people to play and enjoy it multiple times.
- FP Military Victory should be difficult but not impossible (otherwise, why bother including it?)

As Military Victory is based on Strongholds, at the beginning of the development of the game, the FP Victory was based on the difference between lost and conquered Strongholds. This made Military Victory impossible, except perhaps with a very good FP Player against a totally incompetent Shadow player. The Shadow ALWAYS has more VPs than the Free Peoples.

Allowing the Free People to win by conquering two Strongholds does not mean that the War of the Ring is won. It only means that (just like with the assault on Morannon of the Last Battle) the counterattack of the Free People is effective enough to draw the attention of Sauron away from the Ringberarers enough so that they will be successful in their quest.

In game terms, the FP Military Victory is, 99% of the cases, just a deterrent so that Sauron can not play in a "silly" way leaving Strongholds empty while assaulting FP nations. The Shadow, as any attacking army, must at some level make sure that its home ground has some level of defense. Even un-defended Shadow Strongholds will be able, most of the time, to raise a garrison by mustering when the Shadow player realizes an attack is coming.

Then - if the Shadow player leaves Strongholds undefended, does not care about keeping some of its recruitment dice for the end of the turn, does not look at the fact that the FP armies are moving against his fortresses, and moreover continues to do all of this AFTER he has lost the FIRST stronghold so that he loses a second one - I think he would deseve to lose, don't you think so?

When you know how to play the game, this is what is required (most of the times) for the Shadow to lose militarly.
Alternatively, there is a SMALL chance that a quick and brilliant FP military campaign with early activation of some FP Nations could bring a victory - but this would still not be an impossibility even from the point of view of being faithful to the books.
 
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Ben .
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Re:Free People Military Victory in WAR OF THE RING - A Designer's Point of View
Personally, I think that the idea of not allowing the Free People's player(s) a military victory would be silly.

If you were designing the game with the idea of strict adherence to the story of the book, then the game would ALWAYS end with the FP player winning by destroying the ring. Wouldn't make for much of a game, would it?!
???

It's important that if the game offers either player a selection of strategies, that they are equally valid and all with merit. It sounds to me like this is the essence of what is being captured in WOTR, and I am eagerly awaiting it's release!
 
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Jean-François Dejoie
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Re:Free People Military Victory in WAR OF THE RING - A Designer's Point of View
Another possibility would be to have the military FP victory be a minor victory, as the ring is not destroyed and could come back (as it did with Aragorn's ancestor), while the ring destruction brings a major victory.

Would it make sense in the game?
 
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Roberto Di Meglio
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Re:Free People Military Victory in WAR OF THE RING - A Designer's Point of View
retamator (#44264),
We considered at some point introducing "levels" of victory (marginal, minor, decisive...) but this looked like an un-necessary addition to a two-player game (or two-teams game), where victory is victory in the end... However, the various victory conditions DO have a elative importance against each other, so a Ring victory, if taking place at the same time as a Military victory, takes precedence, and in this sense only can be considered "major".
 
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Miguel de la Casa
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Re:Free People Military Victory in WAR OF THE RING - A Designer's Point of View
cybernex (#44363),

I expressed before my reserve about the task of translating LofR to a "wargame". In justice, I must admit now that all your answers and comments up to now make a lot of sense. I agree that a FP millitary victory in the terms you put it sounds like a good idea. If someone doesn't like they can ply without it or, at least, increase the level of VP needed, or whatever.

I'm looking forward to see, and play, your game.
 
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Ben Sones
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Re:Free People Military Victory in WAR OF THE RING - A Designer's Point of View
Your reasoning sounds good to me. I mean, in order to have a game at all, you have to allow outcomes that differ from the book (the book offers only one outcome, so if you remain 100% faithful to the book, then the FP player will always win!). I don't see why allowing a FP military victory is any more egregious than allowing a Sauron victory. Making it a sort of alternate (and somewhat more difficult) path to victory sounds like a good idea, though.


 
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Sam Butler
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Re:Free People Military Victory in WAR OF THE RING - A Designer's Point of View
cybernex (#43244),

I do not think a military victory for the FP is out of the spirit of the books too much anyway. Aragorn, Theoden, and Gandalf all sought military objectives to overcome the Dark Lord's forces. True, they were mainly meant to defend, but there was the incident at the Black Gate. While some may say that was to divert attention (and that is true), it is also true that if they successfully took enough enemy strongholds, then it would make the path to Mount Doom more safe. So I agree it is necessary for gameplay...but it is also not much of a stretch from the books. Destruction of the One Ring would have not been nearly so perilous if enemy strongholds were conquered.

Sam
 
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Re:Free People Military Victory in WAR OF THE RING - A Designer's Point of View
cybernex (#43244),
Before your game "Middle Earth" by SPI was my favorite military Ring game. In it you can win a military victory for either side in the Army game. This worked quite well as I'm sure it will in your game.
The question I have is will there be a 3-Player version for your game with the 3rd person being Saruman and also trying to win militarily or with the Ring?
 
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Re:Free People Military Victory in WAR OF THE RING - A Designer's Point of View
Jimzik (#50457),

On the last page of the rulebook there are Multiplayer rules, and your hope is fulfilled.

The 3-player version has 1 player as the Free Peoples, 1 player as Sauron controlling Mordor/Moria/Angmar and 1 player controlling Sauron's allies: Saruman/Isengard/Southron and Easterling Nations with elite units counting as leaders. This way the Saruman player has his own leaders, it would just be too odd for him to use Nazgul.

Overall victory conditions are the same as the 2-player game. Victory between the 2 evil players is determined with each player adding the # of Strongholds/Cities captured subtracting Strongholds/Cities lost. Highest total wins.

Both evil players are able to search for the Ring. I suspect that in 3-player games where one evil player is behind in military victories, it would make sense for that player to *not* search for the Ring, giving them more time (and action dice) to catch up with their ally/competitor. That would actually make for quite an interesting game.

The four-player game splits the Free Peoples into 1 player as Gondor/Elven Nations and the other player controlling Rohan/North/Dwarven Nations.
 
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Mike P
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Re:Free People Military Victory in WAR OF THE RING - A Designer's Point of View
What!?!? The FP can win a military victory!?!? That didn't happen in the book OR the movie! It shouldn't happen in the board game either! This is unacceptable!

It would be like a WWII board game where the Germans can win! Unheard of!

And speaking of WWII, did you know there is a major movie (Animal House) that talks about the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor? I'm a bit of a war buff, so I can tell you that it was the Japanese. Unbelievable!
 
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Re:Free People Military Victory in WAR OF THE RING - A Designer's Point of View
fanaka66 (#50945),
This being the internet and all, I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not (but I think you are, and if so, quite the funny guy). Just in case you're not, here's a little session report regarding FP military victories:

Yes, the Free Peoples can win a military victory, but it seems like it would be pretty hard for them to do so. Having had the game for a full week now, I've gotten one game in so far and here's how the FP attack on Sauron went:

My opponent played the FP and late in the game made an attempt at a military victory. He briefly captured Moria, but left Lorien wide open to capture. The Dwarves of the Iron Hills besieged Dol Guldor, but were forced to flee from a large army of Sauron. The Dwarves had left the Iron Hills empty, which left it extremely vulnerable to an Easterling capture.

He was considering moving his Elves North to Mount Gundbad for the second Evil Stronghold when the Witchking swept out of Angmar, driving all before him. Moria was retaken in short order, while the Elves fled back to Lorien, which was quickly besieged and in danger of being lost. Gandalf the White dashed north from Minas Tirith to lend support, otherwise the realm of Galadriel would have been lost.

My opponent observed that any attempt by the Free Peoples to capture an Evil Stronghold left a FP Stronghold extremely vulnerable to attack and the non-recycling nature of FP units makes it very hard for them to successfully conduct a siege.

In short, unless the Evil player is really not paying attention, a FP military victory is highly unlikely and easily exploitable.
 
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Chad
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Re:Free People Military Victory in WAR OF THE RING - A Designer's Point of View
My only comment on this is that for a certain card combo - it becomes fairly easy for the FP to capture Orthac.

I played a 3 person game last night where I was Sauraman. The FP was able to capture Dul Guldor with a combination of Dwarves, Elves and Northerners. He made an assult on Mt. Gulbardor (sp) which we were able to repules.

Down in Rohan - I had hammered the Rohirim so that he had 1 normal at the Fords of Isen and 1 elite in Helms deep. I had 1 Elite and 3 regular in Orthac

Never having seen the cards, he was able to in a single action, activate the Ents and the Hourons and kill all four untits and Sauraman - leaving Ortac undefended and with us no ability to stop him from entering it - a very dramatic turn around that felt somewhat cheap (granted we aided it by losing Dul Goldor)
 
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Re:Free People Military Victory in WAR OF THE RING - A Designer's Point of View
Well, in the five games I´ve played, I´ve yet to see a Ring Victory happen either way. I have seen three FP military victories and two SP military victories.

For us, the possibility of a FP military victory is much more than a "deterrent" or "extremely unlikely unless the Shadow player is truly stupid".

Granted, the Shadow Players made some strategic errors in the first games (being just a bit too cautious, and ending up mustering all his available Sauron troops to defend all the various strongholds - and thus unable to reinforce the place the attack actually hit (and a maximised FP army will sweep aside moderate garrisons).

A couple of times, event cards sabotaged the attacks on Gondor, leaving Mordor too weak to resist a combined super-army from wreaking havoc.

However, the reason the FP were able to put up such a fight was usually because the Fellowship was abandoned - the companions all separated to lead armies, and all the character dice used for army movement instead of moving the ring as is often the case. The FP only served as a deterrent for the SP to allocate at least one die to the hunt pool in normal situations, out of fear of rolling no eyes.

Well, I hope that an aggressive shadow player, who always attacks the places where the FP are gathering instead of where he is weak, will prove victorious.
 
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