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Subject: Heroes Defeated Penalties rss

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Eric Engstrom
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Is it just me, or do the penalties for being defeated not really seem like much?

Total penalties: lose one item/favor, advance slowest sauron marker by 1, move to a haven, shuffle ALL cards from rest and damage into lifepool, end turn.

That last one there is hardly a penalty, and the 2nd to last is actually a reward.

If you ask me, a player who is defeated should be "out of play" for the remainder of the hero rounds, and then "re-enter" play at the haven on his next turn (place hero marker on side to show this).
The hero should be effectively forced to heal on his next turn, moving another sauron marker by 1.
But that's just my opinion.


Does anyone else think there should be harsher penalties for being defeated?
 
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Sam Butler
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Isn't "end turn" essentially what you describe as what should happen, with the exception of another move of the leftmost tile? Only difference is the figure stays on the board, but there is no benefit to the player until the start of their next turn.

I think losing one turn out of about 9 turns total is a reasonably harsh penalty, considering you aren't dead, you are forced to retreat instead. You also lose a favor or item, which makes it worse than resting.

Also, a minor but important point here: If multiple havens are equidistant (which is not infrequent), the *Sauron* player chooses where the heroes go.

One more minor but important point: some Shadow cards can be played only when a hero is defeated, so there is a chance of more vulnerability on certain occasions; more likely later in the game than earlier in the game.

I don't think being defeated is *ever* preferable to victory in a battle (worst case scenario, you just rest at the beginning of your next turn but don't lose any favor/item). I doubt it is too frequent for it to actually be better for the hero to be defeated, although I can envision circumstances where it would be. If you just exhaust everyone instead, you don't lose an item/favor and you can still rest at the beginning of your next turn, and presumably you were trying to travel somewhere that probably wasn't a haven. Only case where I can see it debatable is if you wanted to get to the closest haven anyway, it was the travel phase of your turn, only one haven is closest from the space you will be defeated on, you could not reach the haven by travel cards, and had a lot of favor (or no favor and no items).

That said, a couple of possible house rules if you don't like the rules as they stand:

* Sauron advances any marker 1 space on defeat, Sauron's choice.
* Heroes receive a corruption card if they don't have any favor/items.

I don't have a problem with the rules--just think of defeat as retreat, not as death--but if you do, that small tweak may be what you need.
 
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David desJardins
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butsam wrote:
I don't think being defeated is *ever* preferable to victory in a battle (worst case scenario, you just rest at the beginning of your next turn but don't lose any favor/item).


You're very wrong there. The worst case is much worse than what you describe. In the worst case, you've got a lot of cards in your damage pile, you can't rest at the beginning of your next turn because you're stuck in a location with a foe, you waste a whole draw step because there are no cards in your draw pile, and you end up being defeated next turn anyway which means you're right back where you would be if you had been defeated earlier, except with a whole turn wasted in between.
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Eric Engstrom
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I agree that in practice, there are many situations where (often from bad luck/planning), it would be preferable to try and be defeated.

Speaking of which, the rules only state that a hero can voluntarily "defeat" himself if he cannot move or rest, and at no other time, right?

I think there should be a slightly harsher penalty. My friends and I are thinking this:
1) Advance leftmost sauron marker (normal)
2) Move to Haven (normal)
3) Sauron chooses hero to lose one of the following: a) 2 favor, b) 1 item, c) 1 level.
4) End turn.


Note, there is no recover step. They will need to rest on their turn. They will not be able to rest if there's a minion on their haven, allowing sauron to set a trap. However, according to the latest faq, they should still be able to heal.


Many people here have played this MANY more times than I, so in your opinions, is the above TOO harsh? (effectively, each defeat begets bigger punishment and 2 sauron piece moves, plus the possibility of a partial recovery.)
 
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Drake Coker
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While the defeated penalty may seem too soft (a common-enough complaint), it's also true that Sauron doesn't need any favors. He does just fine in the winning-the-game department.

So, if you do want to tweak the penalty, I recommend trying to find another tweak of a similar scale to give to the heros.

Alternatively, you could accept the penalty for what it is and focus on finding winning strategies for both sides
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Sam Butler
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There is no such thing as a partial recovery...if a hero gets a free ride to the haven, then the hero can just heal on their next turn at the very beginning, no matter what the board condition is.

If you don't plan well, then I can see the situation where defeat would be preferable for the heroes from a near-term outlook, where you have taken a lot of damage...but presumably, you were trying to go somewhere for a reason, and now you will be set back in your travels. In general (although there are certainly some exceptions), Sauron's monsters play defense, and the heroes play offense. The hero probably needed to be on the space the monster/minion is on, or further back. If you think back over the last couple of turns for how you could have planned things better, though, you probably could have ended one of your recent turns in a haven and been in a better position for that battle without the cost in time. So, I think it is far more frequent for a situation to arise where the heroes *think* it is better for them to be defeated as a result of poor planning on previous rounds, but in reality when you look at the turns leading up to the present turn the heroes could have planned things slightly different to heal and not be defeated. I think the times where you look back on the game as a whole and think "I am so glad I was defeated; that helped me more than getting to a haven instead of picking up 1 favor token" will be practically nonexistent.

As far as house rules -- perhaps a corruption card draw if the hero has no favor and no items, but that's about as far as I would be willing to go.
 
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David desJardins
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butsam wrote:
If you think back over the last couple of turns for how you could have planned things better, though, you probably could have ended one of your recent turns in a haven and been in a better position for that battle without the cost in time.


Of course, if you had psychic powers and could predict which cards Sauron would hold and which random events and encounters would occur, then you could always have planned better. With such powers, you'd probably never lose a battle in the first place, much less be in a situation where you want to be defeated. But in the real game random things happen all the time that cannot be anticipated and can put you in untenable positions that you would not have chosen.

Quote:
I think the times where you look back on the game as a whole and think "I am so glad I was defeated; that helped me more than getting to a haven instead of picking up 1 favor token" will be practically nonexistent.


We're talking about when being defeated is better than the alternative. Not when it's your goal from the start, that is ridiculous. Many, if not most, games eventually reach such a situation. Not because we are all stupider than you, but because the events of the game are unpredictable.
 
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Eric Engstrom
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I slept on the idea, and I think that my idea is probably too harsh a penalty for a hero. If Sauron moves a minion to the haven, they cannot rest. This would utterly destroy a player who has most his/her cards in the rest pile. Plus, the loss of a level is a rather terrible penalty.



1) Advance leftmost sauron marker.
2) Wake up in Haven.
3) Hero Chooses: A) Lose 2 favor. B) Lose 1 item.
4) Recover. (Shuffle all cards from damage, rest, and hand into a new life pool.l)
5) Gain 1 corruption.
6) End turn.

This increases the penalties without boosting sauron's marker or denying life pool replenishing. It also resets the hand.
 
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David desJardins
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bungeeboy wrote:
If Sauron moves a minion to the haven, they cannot rest.


False.
 
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Joe Fling
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bungeeboy wrote:
If Sauron moves a minion to the haven, they cannot rest.



True.

Pg. 20 in the rules: "If there is a monster or minion on the hero’s location, or if he is on a Shadow Stronghold location, he may not rest (and this step is skipped)."

Does'nt say anything about Havens.


 
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Drake Coker
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The only tweak I would suggest from the standard rules is to add "or draw a corruption card" to the list of "lose a favor or an item". This would give a penalty in cases when the hero has neither favor nor items and is balanced by giving the hero a choice to hold onto favor/item if he deems it necessary.

In the mid-game, a single point of favor is often important. I see no need to increase the penalty to two favor.

The only thing I don't like about this suggestion is the thought that you probably would never (or almost never) see a hero lose a horse under it. So I'm not entirely happy with the idea.

But, honestly, Sauron does fine with the rules as published. As a frequent Sauron player, I've long ago stopped thinking of killing heros as a goal. If killing one suits my purposes and the opportunity arises, then fine. But my real goal is to keep the heros managed while I pursue my nefarious plots and the game gives me plenty of options to do that.
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Drake Coker
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joefling34 wrote:
bungeeboy wrote:
If Sauron moves a minion to the haven, they cannot rest.



True.

Pg. 20 in the rules: "If there is a monster or minion on the hero’s location, or if he is on a Shadow Stronghold location, he may not rest (and this step is skipped)."

Does'nt say anything about Havens.




And the FAQ states that heros can heal in havens even if minions are present, and healing is part of resting, ergo heros can rest in havens with minions present. But we're just repeating the arguments of another active thread here
 
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Joe Fling
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lol yes we are.
 
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Eric Engstrom
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Olvenskol wrote:
The only tweak I would suggest from the standard rules is to add "or draw a corruption card" to the list of "lose a favor or an item". This would give a penalty in cases when the hero has neither favor nor items and is balanced by giving the hero a choice to hold onto favor/item if he deems it necessary.

In the mid-game, a single point of favor is often important. I see no need to increase the penalty to two favor.

The only thing I don't like about this suggestion is the thought that you probably would never (or almost never) see a hero lose a horse under it. So I'm not entirely happy with the idea.

But, honestly, Sauron does fine with the rules as published. As a frequent Sauron player, I've long ago stopped thinking of killing heros as a goal. If killing one suits my purposes and the opportunity arises, then fine. But my real goal is to keep the heros managed while I pursue my nefarious plots and the game gives me plenty of options to do that.


I think I continually think of my frustration from 2 player games while making this. You're right in that if any tweak is made to please the group, it should be as small as possible. Overall, for 3 or 4 player games, I would probably just say to tack on a corruption card. It's not much, but it makes defeat sting just a bit more.

Olvenskol wrote:
And the FAQ states that heros can heal in havens even if minions are present, and healing is part of resting, ergo heros can rest in havens with minions present. But we're just repeating the arguments of another active thread here


LoL indeed. Regarding that, I actually emailed fantasyflight, very clearly stating the passages in the rules regarding the Rest step and the Heal paragraph, asking them if they could better explain the FAQ to me. Awaiting a response.
 
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Sam Butler
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I apologize for not being clear in what I meant. I definitely did not mean to offend or suggest the absurd. What I meant was during the game, you may have a choice to travel to pick up a favor, for example, or end that turn in a haven instead. If you are about halfway through your deck and have a lot of cards in your damage pile, is it really worth getting that 1 favor that you will likely discard anyway, or should you have chosen the haven instead? Sure, in the heat of the turn, a tactical situation could arise where it is best at that point in the game to be defeated given past choices, but it is probably as a result of some previous bad choice. I'm not saying it won't happen, but I am saying it is generally not optimal for the heroes to be defeated if they looked at the game as a whole and not just that one segment where due to tactical circumstances taking one battle removed from the choices that led up to it, it is best to be defeated.

There are certainly a lot of unknowns, part of what makes the game fun from one play to the next. But if you have a lot of cards in your damage (or rest) pool and want to go take on a minion, you might find it better to end the turn before in a haven instead of being defeated. If the battle's already begun, it's too late -- then the situation may arise where it is best for the hero to be defeated. But I don't think it is optimal. I certainly can't think of any reason why being defeated would be superior to being victorious in a battle (by victorious, I mean actually killing the monster/minion, not just mutual exhaustion). Finally, an astute Sauron player may realize it is optimal for the heroes to be defeated and instead voluntarily choose exhaustion to further punish the hero for the bad choice.

Of course, the one glaring exception to what I stated in nearly all games is trying to get to Barad-dur (for a mission or for plot discarding), where Sauron can make life miserable...but then, it is also bad for the hero to be defeated, because they are then kicked out of Sauron's domain and are no longer anywhere near Barad-dur, so "instant transport" to a haven is a huge setback, so even then the hero player doesn't want defeat instead of mutual exhaustion.

That said, will the circumstance occur where a hero wants to be defeated? Yes. Will the hero get unlucky sometimes? Of course. All I am saying is if you look at one particular isolated battle circumstance then I can dream up all sorts of ways that defeat is better than exhaustion...but the game is more than a bunch of individual battles, and if the hero tries his/her best to avoid those scenarios where it would be better to be defeated than exhausted unless there is a very strong reason to take the risk, the hero will play a better game.
 
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Drake Coker
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Quote:
LoL indeed. Regarding that, I actually emailed fantasyflight, very clearly stating the passages in the rules regarding the Rest step and the Heal paragraph, asking them if they could better explain the FAQ to me. Awaiting a response.


Cool

Given my past experience, you can expect to hear nothing for several weeks, but eventually you should get a response directly from Corey. Maybe during the brief respite between Runewars heading off to the printer and the inevitable flood of questions once that game hits the shelves!
 
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David desJardins
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Olvenskol wrote:
Given my past experience, you can expect to hear nothing for several weeks, but eventually you should get a response directly from Corey.


Sounds right. We've had at least half a dozen questions, every single time the answer back from FFG (eventually) has been the common-sense answer rather than the rules-lawyer answer. I will give anyone 10 to 1 odds that this is no different.
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Winston Smith
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Thinking thematically (since I haven't actually played the game itself yet), it seems as though time-out is the more natural penalty/cost to being defeated in the field, though a case could be made for corruption or item/favor loss.

The LoTR books have quite a number of scenes in which a hero (ie with a speaking part) is incapacitated, and then retrieved by friends/allies and taken back for healing. I can think of five right offhand: Frodo (at the Ford), Gandalf (after battling the Balrog), Faramir (at Osgiliath), Eowyn (at Pelennor Fields), and Frodo and Sam (after Mt. Doom; this might be a good example of using up one's very last Hero card for travel!). So having the good guys survive defeat by being taken back to friendly Havens certainly seems to be part of the Tolkien flavor.

What all these occurrences have in common is that the character was taken out of action for a significant amount of time while being healed up, typically something like 5-10 days in the story. Recall that Faramir and Eowyn are forced to miss the big march to the Black Gate while they recover, for example.

It seems that this added delay from a recovery is modeled in the game by having the Sauron story markers move forward -- one person's delay is sort of equivalent to his/her opponent's advance. This is how the delay incurred by normal resting/healing is already modeled, I guess. So thematically this is perhaps OK. For those who feel they need a house rule to tweak the defeat recovery against the Heros, upping the delay a hero experiences might be a thematic way to do so. For example, you could have the Hero heal only partially during his/her rescue, with only one Fortitude's worth of cards in the Life Pool -- this way he/she doesn't miss the next draw, but would be strongly motivated to take the time out (relatively speaking) to heal up fully at the Haven at the start of his/her next turn. Adding a Corruption card would also increase the motivation to heal up, and could be said to model a severe wound from the battle, similar to Frodo's suffering the Morgul knife splinter.

So I think a tweak could be added in a thematic way, if you really want one. But you'd have to think about the effect on play balance, which people seem to be reporting is pretty good as it stands.
 
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Eric Engstrom
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After playing a couple more games, we agreed that the rules for being defeated aren't too bad at all. However, we did add one thing.

C) Lose 1 favor, 1 item, or gain 1 corruption.


A couple situations arose where a corruption card was handed out in the case of a defeat, and the game was still well balanced. We will probably keep this.
 
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Matthew Emch
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Isn't each game turn two years? The way I look at it, you lose two years of having your dog in the fight. Sure you are refreshed and ready to go afterwards, but you just lost an entire turn and some favor and some headway against Sauron's plots!

And if you had to rest to remove corruption when suddenly you became defeated ala Shadow Card or Ambush then you are in a real sorry state of affairs.
 
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