Recommend
6 
 Thumb up
 Hide
31 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Middle-Earth Quest» Forums » General

Subject: Playable solo? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Mark Bond
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm surprised no one's asked this yet, but for those who've played, does this look in any way playable solo? I find it hard to tell - there seems to be some hidden/bluffing factors, though. Anyone?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryce K. Nielsen
United States
Elk Ridge
Utah
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Not played, only read the rules, but my guess is solo rules /could/ be devised, with minor modifications. The trickiest would be combat, though that could either be randomized, or a different system entirely created. The other stuff, where to put threat, plot cards to draw, etc., could be automated to follow certain rules.

I'll definately be tinkering with it when I get it...

-shnar
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jorge Arroyo
Spain
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'd love to try this game, but needing one player to play Sauron is a bit of a turn off as we usually are just two...

A solo/coop variant could be what finally makes me decide to get this. Still, it does seem to be a more interesting 2 player game than Descent, and at least it doesn't require the hero to control all the characters like Fury...t
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nigel Buckle
United Kingdom
Thornton Heath
Croydon
flag msg tools
designer
NSKN are publishing my next game :)
badge
Omega Centauri Published in 2014
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Raolin wrote:
I'm surprised no one's asked this yet, but for those who've played, does this look in any way playable solo? I find it hard to tell - there seems to be some hidden/bluffing factors, though. Anyone?


Depends on what you're looking for in a solo game. You could just play both sides and accept you have perfect information for both - that would certainly help grasp the mechanics and get some of the strategies down, but wouldn't be that great IMHO as half of the game is 'what is the other side doing? why?? what is the priority right now? etc all that is lost.

To solo with a 'bot' doing the other side would be much harder - and I think you'd have to decide which side you wanted to play and then think how to simulate the other side after that.

Arkham for example is easy to solo, as you already have the other side being the GOO/game system - with MEQ each side is player controlled.

I suspect having Sauron as a bot would be easier (or certainly more appealing to those who want to adventure in Middle Earth) - you would need a flow-chart of what is done each turn, or just accept you're playing a slightly different game and rehash completely.

For example - just flip over the next plot and play it, ignoring playability requirements. Each turn Sauron does all 3 types of action and give the middle value - shadow cards play face up and trigger them as soon as they apply. Influence, you'd need some way of deciding where that goes, same for minion movement and monsters.

I have little desire to play this solo and haven't got the time to work on it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Bond
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Call it "only child syndrome", but I generally enjoy just playing out 2 sides of a game as objectively as possible and seeing who wins. I have enjoyed Runebound, the World of Warcraft board game, Prophecy, and Magic TCG this way, for example.

But some games have mechanics in which bluffing or "hidden information" is vital to gameplay, and that's where this question arises - would it work to play MEQ solo this way, or would the hidden combat cards etc. make it really... silly? (I have the same question about the Starcraft board game, for anyone who might be able to chime in on that).

I did skim the rules, but really busy these days and haven't had time to give a thorough read, analyzing as I go whether it would be fun to play this way.

I'm sure the GF would play it once in a while but unfortunately I'm stuck in "solo gamer mode" these days... yet MEQ looks great!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris J Davis
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Overtext pending moderation...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Raolin wrote:
Call it "only child syndrome", but I generally enjoy just playing out 2 sides of a game as objectively as possible and seeing who wins. I have enjoyed Runebound, the World of Warcraft board game, Prophecy, and Magic TCG this way, for example.

But some games have mechanics in which bluffing or "hidden information" is vital to gameplay, and that's where this question arises - would it work to play MEQ solo this way, or would the hidden combat cards etc. make it really... silly? (I have the same question about the Starcraft board game, for anyone who might be able to chime in on that).

I did skim the rules, but really busy these days and haven't had time to give a thorough read, analyzing as I go whether it would be fun to play this way.

I'm sure the GF would play it once in a while but unfortunately I'm stuck in "solo gamer mode" these days... yet MEQ looks great!


The combat cards would be the thing that you really couldn't do this way. A lot of them become more powerful based on what your opponent's played card turns out to be - it's not just a case of playing your most powerful card.

Starcraft is slightly easier, as in that case you often just play the most powerful card that matches your unit (unless you want to save it for later).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom
United States
Plainfield
ILLINOIS
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Not really a solo game, but then again I don't think there is much of game in there anyway. I think this game is about as close to a shit sandwich as you can get so take my advice with a grain of salt. The rulebook is probably the worst obfuscated syntactical nightmare (yes irony) I have seen, and if I see another Fantasy flight manual filled with hyper-link instructions I think I will puke. What is a hyper link set of instructions? Where a lazy writer instead of pushing for clarity decides it is acceptable to put see page 12 instead of finishing a thought. There is nothing wrong with having redundant or duplicate explanations in multiple areas of a rulebook. This rulebook helps foster contradictions and rule questions galore. Don't believe me just wait till the debates start getting hot (they are already happening) on how to interpret rules. A good rulebook leaves interpretation almost completely out of the picture. This rulebook invites it. Yes there are many games that have terrible rulebooks but it seems this particular game designer couldn't write a good manual to save his life.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Cote
United States
Maine
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Huh. I usually have similar sentiments after reading FFG rules, but I was pretty impressed with these. I had just 2 questions after my first pass. The first was pretty obvious, but I was just checking. The second was actually answered in the rules, but I was thrown off by a comment in the FFG site preview. Unless the cards add a lot of rule-breaking options (those pictured here seem clear), I don't see the FAQ being very much at all.

I suppose I will agree about organization. FFG tends to want to describe game flow on a single page, then scatter the details in seemingly random order over the next 20 pages. This does happen in MEQ, but it's much better than in Arkham Horror or Fury of Dracula. They are learning...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David
Canada
Ontario
flag msg tools
mb
Eh, I didn't find the rulebook all that bad.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom
United States
Plainfield
ILLINOIS
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Well I respect other people's opinions and expect they will vary.

While I don't think the rulebook is above an eighth grade in reading difficulty (which is good because it should be simple) the two times I played it everyone at the table had different interpretations to various rules. I saw the demo several times and gen con and people were questioning several aspects of the game.

The other thing I didn't like was how long a turn was. The process for Sauron took over 25 minutes for each player who claimed to know how to play the role (while one game I saw lasted six hours at GenCon). A typical turn for me took at most three minutes. The down time was too much to be acceptable and I don't think a story drive game should have that much downtime. I again realize opinions will differ.

I suspect that the game itself is difficult, or that complex, and once people have several plays under their belt I am sure the game will speed up.

After all is said and done if people have a good time playing the game then that is all that counts.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris J Davis
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Overtext pending moderation...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
johnnyspys wrote:
The other thing I didn't like was how long a turn was. The process for Sauron took over 25 minutes for each player who claimed to know how to play the role


WHAT?? This should be impossible. The Sauron turn consists of (from memory):

1) Remove all influence in each hero's space (no thought required).

2) Advance story markers (no thought required).

3) Play or discard a single plot card (small amount of thought required, and should really have been decided during the previous turn).

4) Read out an event card (no thought required).

5) Choose two actions from:
a) Place up to 6 influence (thought required, but not 25 minutes worth).
b) Draw up to two cards of each type (very little thought required).
c) Activate up to 3 monsters (again, not 25 minutes worth)

6) Heroes draw cards (no thought required).

Most of this is bookkeeping stuff. Where was 25 minutes coming from?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nigel Buckle
United Kingdom
Thornton Heath
Croydon
flag msg tools
designer
NSKN are publishing my next game :)
badge
Omega Centauri Published in 2014
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
bleached_lizard wrote:
johnnyspys wrote:
The other thing I didn't like was how long a turn was. The process for Sauron took over 25 minutes for each player who claimed to know how to play the role


WHAT?? This should be impossible. The Sauron turn consists of (from memory):

1) Remove all influence in each hero's space (no thought required).

2) Advance story markers (no thought required).

3) Play or discard a single plot card (small amount of thought required, and should really have been decided during the previous turn).

4) Read out an event card (no thought required).

5) Choose two actions from:
a) Place up to 6 influence (thought required, but not 25 minutes worth).
b) Draw up to two cards of each type (very little thought required).
c) Activate up to 3 monsters (again, not 25 minutes worth)

6) Heroes draw cards (no thought required).

Most of this is bookkeeping stuff. Where was 25 minutes coming from?


Quite! Sauron should be thinking about options during the FP players turns ... combat can take a bit of time, most of the downtime/playing time I see is in the FP turn - the players deciding where to move, which cards to use to do it, what to do, and then both sides thinking about card play in combat.

Certainly can't see Sauron taking 25 minutes a turn ...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom
United States
Plainfield
ILLINOIS
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Perhaps the problem with this game is it is not a game ready to play after one brief reading at a con, although I didn't have any problems learning over twenty new other games. I always expect to learn a few rules incorrectly the first time around and I primarily relied on the understanding of other players because I feel I should trust people if they say they know how to play the game.

I agree with both of you that way too much time was spent for Sauron...which is why I think the rules are most likely the problem. Again most of the players took about five minutes. For a non Sauron player there are not many choices other than avoid the fights as long as you can while building up your character's strength. The people that played Sauron seemed confused to no end. In fairness, when people tell me they know the rules and can explain the game, I simply try to believe them. At cons I try to avoid arguing with people I don't know about rules so I only ran through the rules quickly before I played. After my two experiences, I carefully sat down and read the rules in between games while everyone was grabbing lunch. While I understood what was going on so it was not like some games where there is simply no way to understand what the author meant, I found the manual presentation awful. In order to find a complete answer there were multiple occasions where I had to check three or more pages as the complete answer was spread over several non consecutive pages instead of in one or two concise locations. The rules in essence were laid out like a scavenger hunt and I am not sure this is a good to write a manual.

When playing with three new people x 2 (six total) who said they knew the game and have had the demo explained to them by the designer I can only explain their game time problems three ways: rules, ubermensch AP, or illiteracy but I could be wrong. I am siding with the most friendly interpretation. At Gencon I was in the open boardgame room one day for around ten hours and I saw several groups playing the game and I decided to time ask them how long it took them to play the game because I wanted to see how my experience was comparatively. I got the same responses about how long the game took. Now I like long games and have no problem sitting down to play an eight hour game. However, this game felt like 25 minutes of accomplishment in three to four hours of gaming.

As I said, perhaps the length of turns in this game is a problem with the first two or three times this game is played but there are not many games I have played where I hated the game at first and then grew to love it after I played it several times.

Speaking of people misunderstanding the rules there are already posts on BGG where people say the quests for the heroes are too easy because all they had to do was collect five favors. This is only a partial quest line as they also have to be ahead in the story track in order to win. The thread author didn't seem to understand this but I had this same question asked of me later in the day at Gencon so the author is was not the only person who thought this.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nigel Buckle
United Kingdom
Thornton Heath
Croydon
flag msg tools
designer
NSKN are publishing my next game :)
badge
Omega Centauri Published in 2014
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
johnnyspys wrote:
Perhaps the problem with this game is it is not a game ready to play after one brief reading at a con, although I didn't have any problems learning over twenty new other games. I always expect to learn a few rules incorrectly the first time around and I primarily relied on the understanding of other players because I feel I should trust people if they say they know how to play the game.

I agree with both of you that way too much time was spent for Sauron...which is why I think the rules are most likely the problem.


Maybe, wasn't there - so hard to say. There IS a summary at the back which covers most stuff, and is more useful for Sauron - what the summary doesn't go into detail over is what you do when you explore (and how you do it) which is the main thing the Heroes need to know.

Thing about the game is Sauron is a much more strategic role - as the Heroes you go for the targets in play. Either grab favor, disrupt influence, attack monsters or visit characters, of course your overall goal is there as a check (to win you must have a maximum of 1 corruption card, well avoid the mouth then and don't take the 'dark path' option!). But Sauron ... what the hell do you do? You have 2 actions (or 3 in a 4 player), which to take, where to put influence, do you draw cards, if you do which plots to keep? Which plots to play, can't play any ... gulp, what do you do so you can??

It can all be a bit overwhelming, especially as the hero story marker just keeps marching on 2 a turn, really putting you under the hammer to get yours moving ...

Maybe that was the problem, AP for Sauron -- too many choices with little or no idea what was optimal?

Quote:
Again most of the players took about five minutes. For a non Sauron player there are not many choices other than avoid the fights as long as you can while building up your character's strength. The people that played Sauron seemed confused to no end. In fairness, when people tell me they know the rules and can explain the game, I simply try to believe them. At cons I try to avoid arguing with people I don't know about rules so I only ran through the rules quickly before I played. After my two experiences, I carefully sat down and read the rules in between games while everyone was grabbing lunch. While I understood what was going on so it was not like some games where there is simply no way to understand what the author meant, I found the manual presentation awful. In order to find a complete answer there were multiple occasions where I had to check three or more pages as the complete answer was spread over several non consecutive pages instead of in one or two concise locations. The rules in essence were laid out like a scavenger hunt and I am not sure this is a good to write a manual.


Rules didn't seem to bad to me - but I wasn't trying to read and play at the same time (never do that with a FF game as rule!)

Quote:
When playing with three new people x 2 (six total) who said they knew the game and have had the demo explained to them by the designer I can only explain their game time problems three ways: rules, ubermensch AP, or illiteracy but I could be wrong. I am siding with the most friendly interpretation. At Gencon I was in the open boardgame room one day for around ten hours and I saw several groups playing the game and I decided to time ask them how long it took them to play the game because I wanted to see how my experience was comparatively. I got the same responses about how long the game took. Now I like long games and have no problem sitting down to play an eight hour game. However, this game felt like 25 minutes of accomplishment in three to four hours of gaming.


Shrug, can't see it taking *8* hours, first game with 4, which will be longer, took us about 5 hours including rules explanations for 2 who hadn't read anything about the game, and it dropped quickly after that. Last game was a 2 player and we finished that in 3 hours.

Playing as Sauron there is little percieved downtime, as you're involved in each players' turn and you have to work out what you want to do, where the heroes look like they are heading etc.

Playing as a Hero then it will depend on the other players - if you are playing as a team then each player's turn is important, what are you doing, what needs to be done next, etc, and I think that's what the heroes have to do to win. But if you are playing as individuals with the attitude, "it's my turn dude, shut up and let me think/play ..." then you will find yourself with no much happening while the others do stuff. Of course you can use the time looking through your hand of cards and planning your move for when it is your turn ...

Quote:
Speaking of people misunderstanding the rules there are already posts on BGG where people say the quests for the heroes are too easy because all they had to do was collect five favors. This is only a partial quest line as they also have to be ahead in the story track in order to win. The thread author didn't seem to understand this but I had this same question asked of me later in the day at Gencon so the author is was not the only person who thought this.


True, but some certainly seem easier than others - eliminate minions seems particularly tough on first thought ... as Sauron can just plonk them in an always at peril location and you can never actually fight them!

Some are easier 2 player (1 corruption card maximum) some with 4 (5 favor in total). The minion slaughter one seems impossible until you play it a bit and realise that one effect strategy for Sauron is to use his minions to protect plots, that then puts them in vulnerable spots and a hero double-team can take them down (first guy comes in and weakens the minion putting wounds on him, second guy finishes him off before Sauron can move him away). Same arguement goes for the Sauron objectives, group feel was the 6 influence or a minion in the shire was impossible, I pulled it off (see http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/432458)

I don't believe this wasn't playtested - everything else seems right, rather I think it is a case of not considering strategies. Once you've got over the learning hump then you'll look at the game at the next level and instead of just optimising your play for your side 'now' you'll be looking at what the other side is doing, what their objective is likely to be and what can you do to prevent it ... then the 'easy' objectives might not be so easy.

To have 5 spare influence means you haven't burned it off discarding corruption or removing plots, so if Sauron gets corruption onto you, do you just ignore it, some corruption cards are annoying and there are some horrible shadow cards that get worse with corruption ... Sauron might start defending favor with influence (=peril) or monsters and leave plots exposed to encourage favor use.

Also as you learn the location decks then you'll see exploring for effects, and Sauron starting to put influence in areas just to stop those 'if you have more wisdom than influence in the region you get ......' type cards.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom
United States
Plainfield
ILLINOIS
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am agreeing with everyone here so perhaps my assessment of this game should be stamped: "game play experience will vary greatly depending on with whom one plays with".

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryce K. Nielsen
United States
Elk Ridge
Utah
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I haven't played yet, just read the rules, but I have to agree with others, this one was a lot more explicit about situations than other rulebooks have been, so I don't have many questions. With a lot of FFG games, I'm constantly referring back to the rules, digging up FAQs, posting on boards, etc. I don't think that will happen here, but time will tell.

-shnar

P.S. johnnyspys, love the avatar. Mani is best!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom
United States
Plainfield
ILLINOIS
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
shnar wrote:
I haven't played yet, just read the rules, but I have to agree with others, this one was a lot more explicit about situations than other rulebooks have been, so I don't have many questions. With a lot of FFG games, I'm constantly referring back to the rules, digging up FAQs, posting on boards, etc. I don't think that will happen here, but time will tell.

-shnar

P.S. johnnyspys, love the avatar. Mani is best!


Thanks. I am always worried about sequels but with this film there are so many potential cool themed stories to be explored I would love to see one.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Bond
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Speaking of people misunderstanding the rules there are already posts on BGG where people say the quests for the heroes are too easy because all they had to do was collect five favors. This is only a partial quest line as they also have to be ahead in the story track in order to win. The thread author didn't seem to understand this but I had this same question asked of me later in the day at Gencon so the author is was not the only person who thought this.


Hey, all I was asking was if the game looked playable solo...
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryce K. Nielsen
United States
Elk Ridge
Utah
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
johnnyspys wrote:
Thanks. I am always worried about sequels but with this film there are so many potential cool themed stories to be explored I would love to see one.


Woa, wait, they're doing a sequel?!?

-shnar
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom
United States
Plainfield
ILLINOIS
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nope no sequel planned...just wishing for one.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom
United States
Plainfield
ILLINOIS
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Raolin wrote:
Quote:
Speaking of people misunderstanding the rules there are already posts on BGG where people say the quests for the heroes are too easy because all they had to do was collect five favors. This is only a partial quest line as they also have to be ahead in the story track in order to win. The thread author didn't seem to understand this but I had this same question asked of me later in the day at Gencon so the author is was not the only person who thought this.


Hey, all I was asking was if the game looked playable solo...


Sorry Mark if there was a misunderstanding...I was not talking about you but another thread from a different post. You are correct your topic thread sort of grew tentacles and we shifted to other things.

Sorry if you thought I was talking about you.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryce K. Nielsen
United States
Elk Ridge
Utah
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
johnnyspys wrote:
Nope no sequel planned...just wishing for one.


Yeah, but wouldn't be as good if Mani's not in it! They need to do a prequel

-shnar
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Bond
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
johnnyspys wrote:
Raolin wrote:
Quote:
Speaking of people misunderstanding the rules there are already posts on BGG where people say the quests for the heroes are too easy because all they had to do was collect five favors. This is only a partial quest line as they also have to be ahead in the story track in order to win. The thread author didn't seem to understand this but I had this same question asked of me later in the day at Gencon so the author is was not the only person who thought this.


Hey, all I was asking was if the game looked playable solo...


Sorry Mark if there was a misunderstanding...I was not talking about you but another thread from a different post. You are correct your topic thread sort of grew tentacles and we shifted to other things.

Sorry if you thought I was talking about you.


Hey, no problem! It was kind of funny to see the thread taking on, er, new directions!

So, uh, anyone think MEQ looks playable solo?
whistle
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryce K. Nielsen
United States
Elk Ridge
Utah
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hey! Don't try and rerail our derailing!

But yes, I actually think it wouldn't be hard to automate Sauron's actions. Would be nice to see an official mod for this, kind of like the Sauron expansion for Knizia's LotR (Lord of the Rings: Sauron) but the opposite effect (it added a Sauron player to a co-op game, and we want to remove the Sauron player in a competitive game ).

-shnar
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Cote
United States
Maine
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Raolin wrote:
So, uh, anyone think MEQ looks playable solo?
whistle

If you made a table of locations for placing monsters, another table of strongholds for placing influence, another table for direction from a location (movement and influence), removed all the blank monster tokens, and played with all the rest face up, it might work mechanically, but be lacking most/all of the mission/bluff stuff and intelligent selections for plots and perils. For combat, you could always play a random card for Sauron, but again, it will weaken the combat for the Sauron side, and make it less enjoyable to "outwit".
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.