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Claudio De Pra
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Hello,

I have spent nearly 20 hours now with that nice game (I own the French version) and I have a few questions and remarks :
1) Number of hunt dice rolled
The rules say that the number of dices that may be assigned cannot exceed the number of members (1 if none left). OK with this. But how many can be rolled during a hunt ? Could it exceed the number of members ? What about the number of reroll ?
Example : the fellowship (with Gimli and Legolas only) are being hunted in a shadow fortress with a nazgul and an army (i.e 3 reroll allowed). The number of hunt dice is 4 (2 assigned + 2 received from the action dice roll results). May the shadow roll 4 hunt dice ? If yes, is he allowed to reroll 3 of them (even if one of the 4 dice is a success) ?

2) Counters
Do you plan to issue a "counter" extension ? I think that the game handling would be best by replacing the army miniatures by counters (this would need different counters for each nation and type of unit. I would personnally put a miniature (not counting as an army) on top of each stack to still get the miniature flavour. The counters provided with the current game require a manipulation that may lead to mistakes, as the miniatures are counted.

3) Fellowship hidden movement alternative rule
The current rules are elegant and simple but, in some way, prevent the shadow to use his armies to interfere with the fellowship movement (maybe this is intentional...). For those willing to get a more accurate system, I propose that the Fellowship plots secretly its move. Some honesty (but lies would be easily spotted...) is then required from the Fellowship regarding reroll : reroll would be allowed if the Fellowship (not its miniature) moves into a shadow occupied space. All event cards referring to the Fellowship miniature may be easily interpreted in regards to the true fellowship location (example : bad weather would cause the Felloship to erase his last plotting).
This system has been tested successfully during two games.
 
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Sam Butler
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
Claudion (#53102),

I haven't played yet and cannot answer your first question, but here are some thoughts I have:

(1) You are lucky! We're still waiting in agony here

(2) For counters, might I suggest purchasing some inexpensive poker chips? That would work nicely, and usually there are several different colors.

(3) I like that idea. You could maybe even find a copy of the map online and print it out and laminate it, get some dry erase markers, and voila! The fellowship movement is on a separate board that only the Fellowship has access to. What is the designer input to this idea?

Sam
 
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Kristofer Bengtsson
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
Claudion (#53102),

1) You can always roll up to 5 dice for the Hunt. The number of Companions does NOT matter when calculating how many dice you roll, only how many you initially put in the Hnt box. You can then roll extra Eyes when rolling the remaining action dice.

3) If the Shadow could use his armies against the Fellowship we would end up with the same problem that th eold SPI "War of the Ring" did, The Shadow player KNOWS what Sauron could not possible fathom, that the FP tried to destroy the Ring.

The Shadow could then fill the spaces infront of Frodo to slow him down... the whole point of the movement system is so simulate the fact that Sauron never even considered the fact that someone would want to destroy the Ring.
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Claudio De Pra
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
Veldrin (#53111),

I played that old SPI game too and, yes, the "end" was a problem (everybody on the volcano for a big battle....). The nexus game, I admit, has a very elegant way to avoid this (the action dice + cards is also a very good combination). I also admit that, as the shadow player knows the final objective of the fellowship, he will try to put armies in his path, which is not what happened in the "real life" of Tolkien's novel. From a wargamer perspective, however, this is adding two new mechanisms :
1) as the FP, which path do I choose ? This fits well with the novel (Moria was the last choice...)
2) as the shadow : how many armies (and dices) do I divert from my military effort in the hope of a few hunt rerolls ? Furthermore, if the blocking armies are to small, the FP may wipe them out with his own forces.
My proposal is thus, I think, adding more possibilities, but at the cost of paperwork (secret plotting)

Anyway, I am not trying to convince anybody that my alternative is better than the original rule. A boardgame has a major advantage over computer games : if you have ideas about rules or components changes, you may always experiment them...
 
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Kristofer Bengtsson
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
Claudion (#53122),

I was not trying to put down your idea. Sorry if you got that impression 8)

I agrre with you on the advantage of boardgames allowing you to experiment with your own rules. That was what we did when we playtested the game...

 
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Claudio De Pra
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
Veldrin (#53130),

No offense at all. I think that no "war of the ring" game could be designed to meet the precise expectations from everybody, but, from my point of view, the designers (and you playtesters) did a very good job ....
 
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Roberto Di Meglio
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
Claudion wrote:
Veldrin (#53111),

I played that old SPI game too and, yes, the "end" was a problem (everybody on the volcano for a big battle....). The nexus game, I admit, has a very elegant way to avoid this (the action dice + cards is also a very good combination). I also admit that, as the shadow player knows the final objective of the fellowship, he will try to put armies in his path, which is not what happened in the "real life" of Tolkien's novel. From a wargamer perspective, however, this is adding two new mechanisms :
1) as the FP, which path do I choose ? This fits well with the novel (Moria was the last choice...)
2) as the shadow : how many armies (and dices) do I divert from my military effort in the hope of a few hunt rerolls ? Furthermore, if the blocking armies are to small, the FP may wipe them out with his own forces.
My proposal is thus, I think, adding more possibilities, but at the cost of paperwork (secret plotting)

Anyway, I am not trying to convince anybody that my alternative is better than the original rule. A boardgame has a major advantage over computer games : if you have ideas about rules or components changes, you may always experiment them...


Of course the idea of the "actual" movement of the Fellowship against what somebody called the "quantum mechanic" approach we are using now was considered during the design process - and discarded for a number of reasons, including those mentioned above.

The point (2) above is still very much in the game "as is": trying to get a Army to the region with the Fellowship, or sending a Nazgul there, is still action/resource consuming for the Shadow. My feeling is that as the Shadow player you can not really use that many actions to harass the fellowship, and so it would be very difficult to get a military victory.

What I mean is that you can MAKE such a system to work if you want a less abstract way of handling the Fellowship outside of Mordor, but MORE than one change will be necessary.

What could possibly be necessary?
- allow for 1-unit armies free non combat movement when using an Army die;
- give a much higher bonus to the presence of armies (e.g. addition to the level of the Hunt rather than simply a reroll).

But remember that the Free People/Shadows balance in the game is a VERY delicate mechanism. It was a tough job to get the game to a proper balance and this kind of changes would affect balance a lot. But then when it's in your hand it's now YOUR game so do with it what you prefer for you!
 
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Roberto Di Meglio
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
Claudion wrote:
Veldrin (#53111),

I played that old SPI game too and, yes, the "end" was a problem (everybody on the volcano for a big battle....). The nexus game, I admit, has a very elegant way to avoid this (the action dice + cards is also a very good combination). I also admit that, as the shadow player knows the final objective of the fellowship, he will try to put armies in his path, which is not what happened in the "real life" of Tolkien's novel. From a wargamer perspective, however, this is adding two new mechanisms :
1) as the FP, which path do I choose ? This fits well with the novel (Moria was the last choice...)
2) as the shadow : how many armies (and dices) do I divert from my military effort in the hope of a few hunt rerolls ? Furthermore, if the blocking armies are to small, the FP may wipe them out with his own forces.
My proposal is thus, I think, adding more possibilities, but at the cost of paperwork (secret plotting)

Anyway, I am not trying to convince anybody that my alternative is better than the original rule. A boardgame has a major advantage over computer games : if you have ideas about rules or components changes, you may always experiment them...


Of course the idea of the "actual" movement of the Fellowship against what somebody called the "quantum mechanic" approach we are using now was considered during the design process - and discarded for a number of reasons, including those mentioned above.

The point (2) above is still very much in the game "as is": trying to get a Army to the region with the Fellowship, or sending a Nazgul there, is still action/resource consuming for the Shadow. My feeling is that as the Shadow player you can not really use that many actions to harass the fellowship, and so it would be very difficult to get a military victory.

What I mean is that you can MAKE such a system to work if you want a less abstract way of handling the Fellowship outside of Mordor, but MORE than one change will be necessary.

What could possibly be necessary?
- allow for 1-unit armies free non combat movement when using an Army die;
- give a much higher bonus to the presence of armies (e.g. addition to the level of the Hunt rather than simply a reroll).

But remember that the Free People/Shadows balance in the game is a VERY delicate mechanism. It was a tough job to get the game to a proper balance and this kind of changes would affect balance a lot. But then when it's in your hand it's now YOUR game so do with it what you prefer for you!
 
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Andy Daglish
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
Claudion (#53102),

1) Number of hunt dice rolled
The rules say that the number of dices that may be assigned cannot exceed the number of members (1 if none left).


"gollum!" dit Gollum

OK with this. But how many can be rolled during a hunt ? Could it exceed the number of members ? What about the number of reroll ?

these questions are unconnected. You roll the dice in the box at that time, but not more than 5. Any dice up to three maximum that don't hit [sounds obvious, but isn't] can be rerolled, if you have Nazgul, orcs or a stronghold, each of these giving one reroll.

Example : the fellowship (with Gimli and Legolas only) are being hunted in a shadow fortress with a nazgul and an army (i.e 3 reroll allowed). The number of hunt dice is 4 (2 assigned + 2 received from the action dice roll results). May the shadow roll 4 hunt dice ? If yes, is he allowed to reroll 3 of them (even if one of the 4 dice is a success) ?

yes. In theory an eye tile drawn against four successes could cause 4 damage.

2) Counters
Do you plan to issue a "counter" extension ? I think that the game handling would be best by replacing the army miniatures by counters (this would need different counters for each nation and type of unit. I would personnally put a miniature (not counting as an army) on top of each stack to still get the miniature flavour. The counters provided with the current game require a manipulation that may lead to mistakes, as the miniatures are counted.


stacks of counters will not give the information you need quickly or clearly enough. A difference of one unit can be critical, and you may need to co-relate more than one battle. I am not sure about holding boxes for the same reasons, but I have never used them anyway, except when rules demanded their use. Base size and shape may be a problem, I won't know till I see the published product.
In the test i used the wargs from Hasbro game+expansion. These had enormous bases which were sawed off with no loss of stability to the piece! In fact several wargs stack nicely...sideways.

3) Fellowship hidden movement alternative rule
The current rules are elegant and simple but, in some way, prevent the shadow to use his armies to interfere with the fellowship movement (maybe this is intentional...).


those rerolls are critical to winning, so you should always fly in a spare Nazgul and deploy or drop off spare orcs, if you can. Of course a Fellowship on 1+ can just declare away from anything in its space.

Something to note in writings about this game is the likelihood of one side having the relevant die to perform the recommended action. Very often you won't have the dice at all, or in the next turn either. For example, the SA can only fly Nazgul off one side of their dice, though ground movement with armies is more common. The FP can move the Fellowship off three sides of each of their dice.

And why is it called "The Fellowship" when they're not allowed to move by sea?

For those willing to get a more accurate system, I propose that the Fellowship plots secretly its move. Some honesty (but lies would be easily spotted...) is then required from the Fellowship regarding reroll : reroll would be allowed if the Fellowship (not its miniature) moves into a shadow occupied space. All event cards referring to the Fellowship miniature may be easily interpreted in regards to the true fellowship location (example : bad weather would cause the Felloship to erase his last plotting).
This system has been tested successfully during two games.


I would play the game as it is, because it does what you want already. You say that secret plotting is more accurate. Is it? However strong or weak the Hunt is, it may not hit. Again, it sounds obvious, but isn't. If it does hit, it may not reveal. In the game, you may not reveal the Fellowship until it is halfway up Mt Doom. And if it is revealed often, then you do know where it is anyway, but you can't stop it.
A rather odd feeling I got, after playing a lot, was that the game mimicks the book rather well in this respect. In the game Sauron can only impede the Fellowship indirectly, as if he or his minions are unsure as to what they are doing [of course Saruman's orcs had specific orders, which might be the basis of an expansion product that includes him as a third side].
Even if you have 5 dice in the box with 3 rerolls, and three FP dice as well, they do you no good if you roll 1 and 2s eight times.

Unsuccessfully hunting = Sauron not knowing.

In play this is the impression I received. This brilliantly effective mechanism is one element that makes the design so very strong.





 
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Claudio De Pra
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
cybernex (#53145),

I fully agrees with you about the complexity of balancing such a game.
The reason why I tried with my friend to find an alternative to the current rule is an occurrence that happened during my first game : as FP, I was 3 moves away from my last revealed position, which was one region south of Dol Guldur. The shadow then played "bad weather", and pushed my miniature into Dol Guldur. He then received a reroll bonus during the next hunt attempts... You have said (Consimworld), and I agree, that this is an abstract way to represent difficulties encountered by the Fellowship, but, in that case at least, the mechanism was not satisfactory. Maybe, in that specic case, the "bad weather" card could be rewritten so that the counter (not the miniature) is moved one step back on the track....

Anyway, this wont prevent me to have a lot of fun with your game...

 
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Andy Daglish
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
Claudion (#53326),

He then received a reroll bonus during the next hunt attempts...

Why did you allow him to Hunt if you were on 3+?

If you didn't want your opponent to have this advantage, it would have been better to declare away from the stronghold at the beginning of the next turn. Attemtping to improve 3+ in an SA stronghold suggests you should be punished for your greed!
 
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Claudio De Pra
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
aforandy (#53336),

Very good point. As I said, it was my first game. I will not do the same mistake twice....
 
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Tom Kassel
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
aforandy (#53230),

The FP can move the Fellowship off three sides of each of their dice.

Three? Presumably you are counting event as the third, but that requires an appropriate card in hand. How many such cards are there in the deck?
 
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Stephen Owen
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
Tom Kassel (#53355),

No, it's 2 character dice and a will of the west - assuming you roll all of these
 
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Tom Kassel
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
steveowen wrote:
Tom Kassel (#53355),

No, it's 2 character dice and a will of the west - assuming you roll all of these


??? Andy said the Fellowship could move off three sides of their die, by which I understand they could move when character, will of the west or event was rolled, the latter assuming that they held an event that moved the fellowship.
 
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David Fristrom
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
Tom Kassel wrote:
steveowen wrote:
Tom Kassel (#53355),

No, it's 2 character dice and a will of the west - assuming you roll all of these


??? Andy said the Fellowship could move off three sides of their die, by which I understand they could move when character, will of the west or event was rolled, the latter assuming that they held an event that moved the fellowship.


What you may not realize is that the Character symbol appears on two sides of the Fellowship dice.
 
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Andy Daglish
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
a blue, or character, die face occurs only once on the SA dice, so getting the Fell Beasts airborne when required can be tricky. During mobilisation you may wish to move combat units to nazgul, rather than vice versa, which renders the blue die rolls not very useful. If this is a flaw in the design, its about the only one
 
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Tom Kassel
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
dfristrom (#53376),

Quite right. I assumed from the rulebook's six different Fellowship die face images that they each appeared once. Are the fellowship dice not identical? If not, which of the six is omitted?
 
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Talarius Dunedain
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Re:Questions and alternate rules
Tom Kassel (#53386),
The opposing dice are different and are another clever mechanic of the game, imho. The Free Peoples player will tend to have more Character-driven rolls (3 possible) each turn while the Shadow player will have more army/muster rolls (also 3 possible).

Conversely, their opponent's strength is their own weakness: The FP player has only 1 Army result per die while the Shadow player has only 1 character result per die.

Statistically, this will naturally encourage each side to play to their strengths; the FP player will keep moving the Fellowship to Mordor and be forced to move armies via their characters while the Shadow player will muster and move armies en masse, while having more trouble moving their characters around (or more importantly, not be able to play Character Event cards).

Just one more reason why I love this game. It subtlely encourages you to play your side as it did historically, but doesn't necessarily force you to. If the FP player keeps rolling up lots of army results, hmmm, maybe they should go on the attack after all!

Free Peoples Dice:
Character Icon (sword) - 2 sides
Muster Icon (helmet) - 1 side
Army/Muster combo - 1 side
Event Icon (Palantir) - 1 side
Will of the West - 1 side

Shadow Dice:
Character Icon (sword) - 1 side
Muster Icon (helmet) - 1 side
Army Icon (banner) - 1 side
Army/Muster combo - 1 side
Event Icon (Palantir) - 1 side
Eye of Sauron - 1 side
 
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