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Subject: Game Balance: A Poll rss

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Matt Davis
United States
New Concord
Ohio
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So there doesn't seem to be much serious discussion of game balance around (at least as compared to, say, BSG.) So here's a poll and hopefully some discussion.

(Please pay attention to what number of players you're talking about when answering.)

Poll
1. With 3 heroes...
  Sauron won almost every game Sauron won more often than the heroes Things were about even The heroes won more often than Sauron The heroes won almost every game
Early in the learning curve
After a few games
After a lot of games
2. With 2 heroes...
  Sauron won almost every game Sauron won more often than the heroes Things were about even The heroes won more often than Sauron The heroes won almost every game
Early in the learning curve
After a few games
After a lot of games
3. With 1 hero...
  Sauron won almost every game Sauron won more often than the heroes Things were about even The heroes won more often than Sauron The heroes won almost every game
Early in the learning curve
After a few games
After a lot of games
4. With 3 heroes, over time...
The game balanced itself out, more or less
The game stayed balanced
The game stayed unbalanced
The game became unbalanced in the opposite direction
5. With 2 heroes, over time...
The game balanced itself out, more or less
The game stayed balanced
The game stayed unbalanced
The game became unbalanced in the opposite direction
6. With 1 hero, over time...
The game balanced itself out, more or less
The game stayed balanced
The game stayed unbalanced
The game became unbalanced in the opposite direction
      47 answers
Poll created by coolpapa

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Matt Davis
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So, I know that there are more variables affecting balance than number of players, but that seems to be the clearest one. In the 1-hero game, in particular, the hero choice seems to have a huge effect. I've only played one 1-hero game, but Thalin was a beast in it....
 
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Drake Coker
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San Diego
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I've only played twice so far, so not enough usable data.

First game: 2-player, I walked away with it as Thalin

Second game: 3-player, convincing win for Sauron against the elf scout and mounted fighter (can't keep the generic names in mind!)

Neither game was close. Luck was noticeably in Sauron's favor in the second game while Sauron probably fumbled the opening couple turns in the first game.

 
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Rauli Kettunen
Finland
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No 3-Hero games for me, but it took 13 games for the Heroes (1- or 2-Hero games) to win by Mission for the first time. I think Heroes have 3 wins by Mission in 17 games (2 or 3 more in final combat).
 
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Ted Kostek
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Camano Island
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I've played twice now w/ 4 players (3 heroes). Both games have been close.

The biggest variable seems to be the secret mission, IMO.

I don't necessarily regard this as a big problem. One thing I'm looking for in a quest game is a different experience each time. It also adds replay value, IMO.
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Sean D.
Canada
Langley
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I haven't played enough to submit my vote just yet. In the 3 full games we have finished the results have been:
1 hero win in finale (1 hero) - this was the closest one
1 Sauron win in finale (3 heroes) - 3 newbie heroes against a very aggressive Sauron who had super dominance
1 Sauron win by mission (3 heroes) - heroes didn't knock out the plots fast enough, they got too busy going for more training instead of fighting the shadow... sauron

I am not sure how this will change as my group gets to play more.

Editted for typos
 
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Krzysztof Janski
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I think the game is extremely well balanced (at least with 2 heroes). Both sides have equal chances to win and usually the game is tight and exciting (in my case there was only one exception, when Sauron [me ] crushed the heroes by advancing the black marker to the finale space). Sauron though has a much more demanding task, but it's logical - getting influence in Middle-Earth isn't easy and if you are an Evil Lord you have to work hard sauron And the heroes are just running around and destroying evil plots and intrigues...just like common pests. So, again, both sides have equal chances to win, but Sauron needs to put more effort in winning it, because usually he is the chasing side.

Of course you can get a difficult mission (but all mission can be done), but hey - if you don't succeed you have the final battle
 
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Orcanthropy
United States
Edina
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designed scaling balance?
Having only played a couple games, does anybody else notice any scaling at all in this game? I find it devoid of any scaling difficulty regarding how many players are playing. Sauron is just as powerful with 1,2,or 3 heroes so of course its easier for him to win with less playing. Am I missing something here?
 
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David desJardins
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Burlingame
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Jayrome007 wrote:
Am I missing something here?


Yeah, your comments don't any make sense at all. Have you actually read the rules? With one hero, the hero gets 2 Hero turns for each Sauron turn. With two heroes, each hero gets 1 Hero turn for each Sauron turn, so the total is the same. With three heroes, each hero gets 1 Hero turn for each Sauron turn, but Sauron gets to do 50% more during his turn, so the ratio is the same.
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Jason Cawley
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David - in the 3 hero game the extra Sauron *action* does balance, but the plot phase one at a time restriction and the starting cards, influence, and plot do not improve. He also doesn't get any more minions.

There is only one item favoring Sauron in the 3 hero game - favor. It mostly comes from the turn's event and doesn't get any looser with 3, while corruption as a favor-sink typically does.

Overall I think the heroes are definitely stronger with 3 - but poor play can throw it away. (Favor too distributed to dismiss plots, too many greedy players taking buff over favor when talking to people, or to dismiss their personal corruption, etc).
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