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Subject: My First Game - set up questions rss

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JB
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Well I had my first 2-player game of MECCG today, although I used the term 'game' loosely, as we spent most of the time trying to figure out which of the 400 odd cards we should be using, and only got thru 1 turn of the actual game.
I have the 'Gift Set', which I think is the wizards set, and we ended up picking 25 resource & harzard cards each, as well as 10 character cards & the 5 starting characters. We got stuck on how many sites cards we should have in the site deck, and really only guessed the rest.
Can someone please let me know how I am supposed to organise the gift set cards (I think there are 400 of these) to be in playable sets. They talk about starter sets but I have no idea how my gift set is broken up into starter sets.
The game looks great, and I think going thru the learning curve will be well worth it, so any help greatly appreciated !

JB
 
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Brad Miller
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Well, the Challenge decks are the best for learning, as they are prebuilt, and you can just start going with them. Site cards go in their own decks, and each player should have as many as possible. No reason not to use all the ones you've got. Most you won't ever go to, but good to have.

I know that the Challenge decks are marked on the lower right with a letter in a circle, and you can use those to break them into decks, but again, know nothing of the gift sets.

Take the decks you've built, and try to play them. After a few turns, you will start to realize that some cards you have are kind of pointless, (something that works with Hobbits when you have none, factions you don't have the site for, cards that reference cards you don't have, etc.), and yank those out, replacing them with others. If you have played for a bit, as you read card text, you will start to see ways you could make them work with your deck. You will find that one deck has no good way of touching a party with a big hitter in wilderness, so you will have to find a way to get some of that in there.

It is a really complicated game, difficult to learn, but pretty amazingly fun, and incredibly thematic. Also, read over all of my old posts in the forums. I pretty much had no clue either, and asked a lot of questions, which elicited very useful answers from those who know.

Also, go and read the card of the day archives. Just reading them helps explain a lot of the mechanics and combos you can use.
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JB
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Thanks Brad, will check over your old posts, even what you've said here is a help !

JB
 
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Brad Miller
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The game is difficult enough without having to do the deck-building!

We were totally lost in our attempts until we got the Challenge decks. Played a game or two with those, and then were ready to go at it with our own decks.

But there is a lot of good info in the posts that are on the forums.
 
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John Peterson
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I have this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Middle-Earth-Strategies-Wiza...

It is pretty good at helping to understand effective deck construction. I'd recommend it. The Companions aren't bad, either, but I think the more conversation nature of "Mastering Middle Earth" makes it read more like an experienced player teaching the game to you than do the ICE publications.

Check out this page, which should eliminate the need for deck construction until you get the basics down:
http://www.geocities.com/blackcouncil/scenarios/boxed.html

I haven't tried it, but it seems like it might help you understand the relationships between sites and the various resources and characters that can be played. Then, you'll be able to construct a deck more effectively when the time comes....

Good luck. IMHO, this is the best CCG out there.
 
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Stokey Brown
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JBTheChamp wrote:
Can someone please let me know how I am supposed to organise the gift set cards (I think there are 400 of these) to be in playable sets.


Deck construction in MECCG can be a little tough at first, however, you should be fine with the cards you've got. Here are my recommendations for getting started:

Each player will need two decks, a play deck and a site deck. Each play deck will be comprised of the following:
2 wizards
10 characters
2 minor item starting resources
30 resources
30 hazards
----------------------------------
74 cards

Your site deck will not be a fixed size. More on this later.

Don't forget that you cannot have duplicates of Unique cards in either deck (except havens and wizards). Also, you cannot have more than 3 of any non-unique card.

Before you begin building a deck, you need to organize your cards. Follow these steps:

1) Find all of your wizards and separate them into a pile. You will probably have 4.
2) Find all of your character cards (pearl background color). Some of your characters will have originally been included as part of a "fixed pack". You will want to identify these and group them together. See http://www.non.com/metw/lists/fixedpack.html to do so. What I recommend is for you to sort your characters into 3 stacks:
a) Stack 1: 5 characters (from fixed pack)
b) Stack 2: 5 characters (from fixed pack)
c) Stack 3: the rest
3) Find all of your resource cards (copper background color). You need to sort these into 3 stacks.
a) Stack 1: All minor items
b) Stack 2: All non-minor item cards worth marshalling points
c) Stack 3: All remaining resource cards
4) Find all of your hazard cards (black background). You need to sort these into 3 stacks.
a) Stack 1: All creature hazards
b) Stack 2: All non-creature cards that impose a corruption penalty (negative number in bottom right corner of card)
c) Stack 3: Everything else
5) Find all of your site cards (ivory background). These need to be sorted into 3 stacks
a) Stack 1: Rivendell, Gray Havens, and all cards listing either of those two as the nearest haven
b) Stack 2: Lorien, and all sites listing Lorien as the nearest haven (but also add at least one Rivendell card)
c) Stack 3: Edhellond, and all sites listing Edhellond as the nearest haven.
6) Ignore any Agent cards

Now you can begin constructing your Site deck. This is very easy -- just select the Rivendell/Gray Havens stack. Done.

Now you can begin constructing your Play deck. Follow these steps:

1) Take 2 wizards. Take duplicates if you can. Otherwise, try to take either Pallando or Radaghast (not both) and take one alternate. Otherwise, just take 2 cards. TOTAL SIZE: 2 cards
2) Take character stack 1 (5 cards from a fixed set). TOTAL SIZE: 7 cards
3) Shuffle character stack 3 and take 5 cards at random or cherry-pick. Avoid hobbits for now . TOTAL SIZE: 12 cards
4) Shuffle resource stack 1 (minor items) and take 2 cards at random or cherry pick. Some good cards are Cram, Dagger of Westernesse or Elven Cloak. TOTAL SIZE: 14 cards
5) Examine resource stack 2 (cards worth marshalling points) and do the following. The objective is going to be to get around 30-32 MP worth of cards in your deck. Pull out any cards that can only be played exclisively at a single site (e.g. factions resource cards are always played at a specific site). Pair any of these that match a site card in your site deck with the site card. Discard the rest. Next, find resource cards that can be played at each site in your site deck (e.g. if you have a major item, pair it with a site where major items are playable). **NOTE: if an item says "hoard item" on it, it must be played at a site containing a dragon automatic attack (in addition to the greater/major item requirements). Once your site cards are all paired with a resource card (excluding your havens), count up how many MP worth of cards you've pulled out. If it is greater than 32, you have too many. Begin pairing down your resource cards -- try to have a relatively even mix of items and factions. Try to include at least one ally, and at least 1 card worth miscellaneous MP. Put excess cards back for the next deck you build, but keep your site cards that are no longer paired -- they might come in handy during play. Some good cards are Sword of Gondolin, Hauberk of Bright Mail, Orcrist, Rangers of the North, Blue Mountain Dwarves, Goldberry. Avoid rings for now.
6) Use resource stack 3 to bring your resource card total to 30. Draw randomly or cherry pick. Good cards are: Risky Blow, Concealment, Thorough Search and Fellowship. Avoid Halfling Strength and Halfling Stealth. TOTAL SIZE: 44 cards
7) Shuffle hazard stack 1. Draw 15 cards at random or cherry pick. Good cards are Cave Drake, Ambusher, Slayer and Cave Wurm. TOTAL SIZE: 59 cards
8) Shuffle hazard stack 2. Draw 7 cards at random or cherry pick. Good cards are Lure of Nature, Lure of the Senses and Despair of the Heart. TOTAL SIZE: 66 cards
9) Shuffle hazard stack 3. Draw 8 cards at random or cherry pick. Good cards are River, Greed and Twilight. TOTAL SIZE: 74 cards

Repeat process for your opponent's deck, but with these modifications:
1) Select the Lorien Site deck, but be sure to include at least one Rivendell card in it.
2) Use character stack 2 (since stack 1 is taken)
3) For MP resources, try Riders of Rohan, Wood Elves and Quickbeam instead of Rangers of the North, Blue Mountain Dwarves and Goldberry
4) If you don't have enough cards from a particular stack to form a second deck. Try taking cards from a different stack within the same category. If you don't have a second set of 30-32 MP resource cards, try cutting your first deck down to 25 or so, and then see if you have enough. Both decks should have roughly the same MP worth of resource cards in them.
5) If your first deck used Pallando as the wizard, include Radaghast in this one, or vice-versa. Otherwise, use any two that are available.

Following my advice will more than likely not yield you a very competitive deck, however, it will give you something that should mostly work, and playing with it a few times should go a long way toward teaching you what cards work together, which are useless in your deck, which might work better, and essentially set you on your way toward becoming a regular MECCG deck-builder. Hopefully this will be helpful for you.
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JB
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Thanks everyone.
Stokey, those steps are exactly what I need, thanks for stepping it out so well.
Will give this a go & see what happens !
I was only using one row of the cards from the gift set to get started, but you're suggesting I sort the whole box into the decks ?


JB
 
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Stokey Brown
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JBTheChamp wrote:
I was only using one row of the cards from the gift set to get started, but you're suggesting I sort the whole box into the decks ?


I had assumed you had 2 starter decks and 8 boosters worth of cards all jumbled together. If you are instead trying to modify a particular starter deck with 4 booster packs worth of cards, you'll need to take a different tack.

It has been a long time since I played with a ME:TW starter deck out of the box, so I can't recall how good the card distribution is in the random card packs. Nevertheless, I will try to make a recommendation.

If you don't focus your deck around a particular haven, you'll find yourself spending a lot of time traveling around - and not accumulating MPs in the process. You should therefore try to settle on a haven as your home base -- usually Rivendell or Lorien. With such a small card pool, you might not be able to make this work as cleanly as you'd like, but see what you can do. Take cards out of the starter deck that are exceptionally far away, and add in cards from the boosters that are a bit closer to the rest.

You then need to ensure that all of your MP resource cards can be played at the sites you've selected. For example, if you have the Iron Hill Dwarves faction card, but you don't have the Iron Hill Dwarf Hold site card, then it's pointless to have the faction in your deck because it's unplayable. These kinds of superfluous cards can be removed and replaced with something more generic. Lay out your side cards and resource cards, and then try to pair them up to ensure that everything is covered. Having an extra site or two as a backup never hurts.

Hazards can be pretty tricky. Try to avoid anything that will blatantly interfere with your resource strategy (e.g., don't put a hazard in your deck that changes forests to shadowlands if a lot of your sites will require you to travel through forests). Try to avoid creatures exclusively keyed to darklands/darkholds and sea zones, since neither of these are often visited by the casual deck. Also, cards that specifically counter the One Ring are generally pretty worthless since the chance of your opponent playing a One Ring strategy are miniscule. Later on, these kinds of cards can be added to a sideboard, but I don't think you need to worry about a sideboard for now.
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Rauli Kettunen
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Slight addendum to zurupeto's listing, it's allowable to have 3 wizards in a deck these days, either 3 of one wizard or 2+1 (backup in case opponent has same wizard and draws him first).
 
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Andrew Young
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And if you never have, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.
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Great stuff guys.

devil

 
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JB
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Yep, top answers & appreciate the time. Dismal weekend of begging the wife to play without success soblue.
Have read thru the starter rules now from the companion & armed with the info in this post I am ready (as I'll ever be).
Might just start with randomn site cards for starters, will that work ?
Quote:
I had assumed you had 2 starter decks and 8 boosters worth of cards all jumbled together. If you are instead trying to modify a particular starter deck with 4 booster packs worth of cards, you'll need to take a different tack

Sorry Stokey have no idea what I have, except to say the box says 'gift set'. They don't make it easy !
Thanks again all.
 
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Stokey Brown
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JBTheChamp wrote:
Might just start with randomn site cards for starters, will that work ?


If you don't have to share your site cards with the other player, and don't want to sort them as I've outlined, then just use all of them as your site deck (remembering that you can't have duplicates of non-havens, of course). There is nothing preventing you from having every site card in the game comprising your site deck. Though it might end up as over-kill, this would be better than randomly picking a subset, since doing so might have you tromping over vast distances of Middle Earth for little effect. Remember, you ideally want to focus your MP-collecting efforts around a single haven, and have a site deck comprised chiefly of sites within 4 moves of that haven (or site cards with the haven listed as the closest). Barring that, and any particular resource plan, just take everything you have.
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JB
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OK I just learnt how to thumb from the thumb geeklist (I know I'm slow), so Stokey got some thumbs from me.
Half my confusion lay in the fact I have 2 complete sets - one black bordered (original 95 version & good) & the other blue bordered (95 reprint & not so good).
Sooo, I have seperated them out, organised the resources, hazards, characters & am nearly ready to go. Can't believe I spent most of a cool, windy Saturday last weekend organising my cards, and loved it !
 
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