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Subject: What's so good about MEQ? [what am I missing, thread #2] rss

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Samo Oleami
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After all the complaints about Dungeonquest's combat system being too complicated for the game (which stopped after the variants have been published on-line), I wonder why is similar situation in MEQ mostly tolerated?

MEQ is the one of the purchases I regret the most (and the only FFG one, it still it made me overly suspicious about the company's recent designs though). What I thought I was buying was one v.s. the rest 3-player Arkham Horror. Unfortunately with all the mechanical similarities between the two designs it seems that the best parts of AH design were left out in MEQ:

1.) Resolution system, card made combat, is overly complicated. Compared to AH's dice rolling which let me get on with the narrative of the game, the cards in MEQ are for me a completely alien game to the rest of the game design and consequently disconnect me from trying to immerse in character. The rule of getting new cards at the start heroes's turn also creates unnecessary downtime, especially in 2 player game. And here we come to the second point:

2.) Why couldn't the game be played with all heroes having the same turn (as in AH)? I see no real reason for heroes having consequent turns except that it increases the downtime.

3.) Sauron's turn is a joke. Bookkeeping makes up for half of all his tasks. This is just downright ridiculous: when my GF was Sauron, she didn't let me help her with this stuff and downtime was increases again. In AH we split these tasks between players so that the game went faster.

Ok, I will complete my whining with a weird comparison - I've just played Munchkin Quest this evening (3 people who played MEQ plus the owner of Munchkin Quest) and we enjoyed it more, because paradoxically even though the game took quite longer than MEQ it felt shorter. It might be something about the anticlimax of MEQ and the last hour of Munckin Quest (the boss fight) being so enjoyable that we forgot the previous 4 hours of utter boredom. But it also might be something with Munckinquest giving us a feel of honestly stupid Diablo-like boardgaming clone which it was, while MEQ feels like dealing with euro/ dungeoncrawl schizo for whom I'm not really sure what it wants to be.

And this is my question - what am I missing? It might be that my main problem with the game is that I wish or expect it to be something else than what it actually is. But I'm not quite sure what it actually is. What's the right mindframe to play this? Playing AT, but secretly wishing to be playing euro? Do I need to play a couple of card driven wargames before I can try this one? I just want to make up my mind about this game - whether we should try playing it again or I just try to get rid of it somehow.
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Rauli Kettunen
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sgosaric wrote:
After all the complaints about Dungeonquest's combat system being too complicated for the game (which stopped after the variants have been published on-line), I wonder why is similar situation in MEQ mostly tolerated?


I would think because in MEQ, everything revolves around the cards. They are your life pool, are used when you move or fight, they are what you take in damage. Thus, whereas in DQ, getting into a combat means halting the main game and starting a new mini-game, in MEQ, you need to be thinking about your cards during movement especially if anticipating a combat later this turn. Also, MEQ looks at the numbers for damage, while in DQ numbers aren't damage (as I've understood it).

Quote:
The rule of getting new cards at the start heroes's turn also creates unnecessary downtime, especially in 2 player game.


Drawing cards creates downtime ? Also, Heroes draw cards at the end of Sauron's turn if you want ot be specific about it.

Quote:
2.) Why couldn't the game be played with all heroes having the same turn (as in AH)? I see no real reason for heroes having consequent turns except that it increases the downtime.


Would make playing Shadow cards need a rewrite, currently once per turn means in a 3-Hero game Sauron can use 4 over the course of the round.

Quote:
3.) Sauron's turn is a joke. Bookkeeping makes up for half of all his tasks. This is just downright ridiculous: when my GF was Sauron, she didn't let me help her with this stuff and downtime was increases again. In AH we split these tasks between players so that the game went faster.


I always handle the Mythos phase when playing AH, whether solo or with my friend. That way I know nothing gets overlooked, no monster doesn't get moved, etc. Regardless, Sauron turn shouldn't take more than 1-2 minutes in any case, Sauron should've thought of what he'll do during the Hero turns. And during the Hero turns, keeping tabs on the Heroes and planning.
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Christian Grundner
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I really like MEQ and I am sorry that you do not.

1) the game works best for 3 players to reduce downtime for the fellowship players (IMO)
2) it is designed to be played quickly without too much deliberation on what to do during your turn. Ideally Saurons turn only takes 1-2 minutes.

That way the game only takes 2+ hours and is fun for all involved.

Our first game was with 4 players and without knowing the rules in advance and took 8 painful hours.

Try it again with less players and you might find the game more fun.
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Charles Simon
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Our group loves MEQ and it has within the last few months, returned to a heavy rotation in our 3 player game nights. Ultimately, like with most games, it is a matter of taste and defending any points of the game are ultimately moot if it is just not to your taste, but here's a quick response to the comments you bring up:



1. To me, I think that the card based combat is one of the strengths of the game and it really ties in theme, strategy and tension in a single elegant system. A Hero's deck of cards is his life and stamina. Thus, when he is injured, he loses some of the deck. When he attacks, it wears down his stamina and he loses a card. When he travels, he loses a card. When he travels a lot, he loses a bunch of cards. This represents how the hero gets tired and drained until he can finally rest or heal, where he gets his cards back. I think that this is incredibly thematic in such subtle ways.

However, I think that the problem your group experienced with the card combat might be, in part, from being unfamiliar with the cards and system. After a few games, players in combat will know where they are planning on traveling and want to hold onto certain cards to travel after battle. The same with the combat maneuvers, you'll start to know which ones are best for minion combat vs. monster combat and realize which ones you can use when traveling and which ones you should hold onto. We do not spend every turn scouring the cards and reading the attacks and deciding which travel cards to use; it just becomes second nature and isn't complicated or time consuming.

2.The system requires consequent turns to work. First of all, Sauron needs to be watching each player's movements closely since he can play only 1 card against each player per turn. Not only that, travel can continue after combat, so it would be possible that while a Hero was fighting a monster, another Hero would start a fight with another monster or minion and everything would get cluttered and confusing if simultaneously resolved, especially because fighting doesn't end the turn. You can continue to travel after the battle.

Again, I would say that experience shortens the downtime as players are a lot quicker in the movement.

3. I'm not really sure what you mean by bookkeeping:

The Hero Rally step is simply removing Influence in a Hero's location. That isn't really time consuming, and it should probably be done by Sauron's player since so many of the Plot cards and Shadow cards depend on where Influence is placed, so it makes sense that Sauron does it so that the player knows which card play the move may have affected.

The Story Step doesn't take much time. It's just moving markers forward. Combining it with another step may save at most 4 seconds per turn.

The Plot Step isn't really bookkeeping and it must be done by Sauron alone.

The Event Step is simply drawing three cards and reading one of them aloud. This is based on the number of the card only, so you don't have to read all three and choose one. Since this affects everyone, it can be performed by any player, but reading a card's effects should take the same amount of time reading regardless of the reader, but I suppose you can choose the fastest reader in the group.

The Action Step isn't bookkeeping, but rather planning out actions for Sauron's player. This is probably the "meat" of Sauron's Turn.

However, if you are looking to do steps simultaneously, it can't be done to shave off a few seconds of the turn. The Event Step cannot occur before the Plot Step, since depending on the event, it may create a situation where a Plot Card now can be played where before it was not. The Event could also change the situation enough that Sauron may wish to play a different Plot. Sauron's Actions cannot be taken before or during the Event or Plot as well, since the actions are so important, you cannot take them in a changing board situation. Heroes really cannot take their Draw Step early either, since there is a Shadow Card that can be played during Sauron's Action Step that affects the number of cards that a Hero has in their hand.



Ultimately, I do not see the need to combine these steps. Sauron needs to know what is going on, but also you are shaving off a couple of seconds at the most at the risk of Sauron then taking more time to study the board's changes.

I would say that Middle Earth Quest is such a strategic game that it cannot be rushed like you seem to want to do. It relies so much on forward planning and strategizing that rushing through a turn just to hurry it along just for the sake of a quick game won't do the game justice. It may just be that this isn't a game for your group, but it isn't one that can be rushed for the sake of finishing quickly. There is downtime, but familiarity with the game and system really minimizes it. But it still cannot be simply rushed through. It needs to be savored.
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Samo Oleami
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Dam the Man wrote:
Drawing cards creates downtime ? Also, Heroes draw cards at the end of Sauron's turn if you want ot be specific about it.


Well yes, because the first player has to get familiar with the cards, before he/she can play. (It's awful in 2 player game). The cards should be drawn at the beginning of Sauron's turn. (and kept seprate from the player's hand, if that's a problem).

Dam the Man wrote:
I would think because in MEQ, everything revolves around the cards. They are your life pool, are used when you move or fight, they are what you take in damage. Thus, whereas in DQ, getting into a combat means halting the main game and starting a new mini-game, in MEQ, you need to be thinking about your cards during movement especially if anticipating a combat later this turn. Also, MEQ looks at the numbers for damage, while in DQ numbers aren't damage (as I've understood it).


So it's a cardgame with some chrome and eyecandy thrown in.
Hmmm.

That might be my problem with the game, I was not looking for a cardgame or CDG, i was looking for Arkham Horror-like adventure. Realising it's a cardgame might be the right step towards me getting the right mindset to play this. It might be good to try some fights solo, just to figure it out.

q="Dam the Man"] Regardless, Sauron turn shouldn't take more than 1-2 minutes in any case, Sauron should've thought of what he'll do during the Hero turns. And during the Hero turns, keeping tabs on the Heroes and planning.[/q]From what I understand now, the game gets quicker once you understand (like really understand)the combat cards and know them by heart and the same for the rest of the game.

So, maybe there's another question to ask: how many games do you need before it "clicks"?
(note: neither of us has ever played a CDG or a game with similar combat mechanics (well we did understand CITOW without a problem)).

gimli999 wrote:
I really like MEQ and I am sorry that you do not.

I'm also not so happy about not liking it. My bitterness comes also from the price of the game and I am kind of annoyed by the downtime in the era where this problem should be extinct. But, please forgive my ranting, this thread is actually very helping.
 
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sgosaric wrote:
That might be my problem with the game, I was not looking for a cardgame or CDG, i was looking for Arkham Horror-like adventure. Realising it's a cardgame might be the right step towards me getting the right mindset to play this. It might be good to try some fights solo, just to figure it out.


Calling MEQ a CDG wouldn't be off, I don't think. Everything the Heroes do is based on their hand of cards.

Quote:
So, maybe there's another question to ask: how many games do you need before it "clicks"?
(note: neither of us has ever played a CDG or a game with similar combat mechanics (well we did understand CITOW without a problem)).


It varies individually and from one game to another. Some people mention Horus Heresy (2010 version) needs 10 plays to get comfortable, I know in around game 3, the rule-checking was all but gone. In MEQ, like in AH, I feel the key is to get the steps of the turn down. Once you got those sorted, things just roll along. I would say around game 3 was where MEQ also started clicking on full tilt, though must say I've only played 2-player games, with 1- or 2-Heroes. Interestingly, MEQ was easily my fav game of 2009, while CitOW was fighting with Fury of Dracula for the label of my least favourite purchase.
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thinwhiteduke wrote:
1. To me, I think that the card based combat is one of the strengths of the game and it really ties in theme, strategy and tension in a single elegant system. A Hero's deck of cards is his life and stamina. Thus, when he is injured, he loses some of the deck. When he attacks, it wears down his stamina and he loses a card. When he travels, he loses a card. When he travels a lot, he loses a bunch of cards. This represents how the hero gets tired and drained until he can finally rest or heal, where he gets his cards back. I think that this is incredibly thematic in such subtle ways.

Exactly - the mechanic is thematic in an euro sort of way (you have to think about it to get the connection) - but it's not thematic in immersive sort of way and this is what I thought I should be getting out of adventure game. Thinking about which card is to be used for travel or combat just disconnects me from all the flavour text I try so hard to immerse into. What I like in AH is it's simple resolution combat.

But apparently form what I'm reading MEQ is about card based combat first and adventuring second. If this will help me get the game and enjoy it I can live with it, but just this question:
Is MEQ a game where you can immerse in the character at all? (compared to other adventure and dungeoncrawl games) In what way it makes you feel like playing a thematic game? (Should I look at it more a wargame?).

thinwhiteduke wrote:
However, I think that the problem your group experienced with the card combat might be, in part, from being unfamiliar with the cards and system. After a few games, players in combat will know where they are planning on traveling and want to hold onto certain cards to travel after battle. The same with the combat maneuvers, you'll start to know which ones are best for minion combat vs. monster combat and realize which ones you can use when traveling and which ones you should hold onto. We do not spend every turn scouring the cards and reading the attacks and deciding which travel cards to use; it just becomes second nature and isn't complicated or time consuming.

This might be THE problem. This is quite a long game for us and if it needs 10 plays to get it, it might be a problem. How many plays did the gamers you know need to get it?

I think that my group (me included) expected this to be somewhat similar to Arkham Horror in terms of getting the rules and immersing in a character and I might be having a really hard time convincing them to try playing it again, not to mention a couple of times (I actually like the game more than the other two, but I was mostly ignoring combat and loosing a lot whistle). Two player game might be easier to set up, but it was actually a lot worse as far as downtime is concerned (aaargh, all these cards, let me think, like, for 20 minutes). Is it easier if one player is always the Sauron or is it the other way around?


thinwhiteduke wrote:
2.The system requires consequent turns to work.

You convinced me, I'll drop the issue.

thinwhiteduke wrote:
I would say that Middle Earth Quest is such a strategic game that it cannot be rushed like you seem to want to do. It relies so much on forward planning and strategizing that rushing through a turn just to hurry it along just for the sake of a quick game won't do the game justice. It may just be that this isn't a game for your group, but it isn't one that can be rushed for the sake of finishing quickly. There is downtime, but familiarity with the game and system really minimizes it. But it still cannot be simply rushed through. It needs to be savored.
It's not about rush, it's just that at least with us it felt like most of the time we were just waiting for somebody else to come to terms with his AP and do something, resolving bureaucracy and whatnot. The funny thing is that we didn't have these problems at all with Chaos in the old World and there's quite a large amount of bookkeeping in there as well.

I still think that the heroes should draw cards at the start of Sauron's turn and keep them separate from their hands and it would make the game faster with retaining all the flavour. (at least till we play 20 games of it and know every card and it's strategic and tactical significance at heart, but then again we must first play at least once more).

Hope I don't come across too cranky, all the feedback is very, very helpful. thumbsup
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Dam the Man wrote:
It varies individually and from one game to another. Some people mention Horus Heresy (2010 version) needs 10 plays to get comfortable, I know in around game 3, the rule-checking was all but gone. In MEQ, like in AH, I feel the key is to get the steps of the turn down. Once you got those sorted, things just roll along. I would say around game 3 was where MEQ also started clicking on full tilt, though must say I've only played 2-player games, with 1- or 2-Heroes. Interestingly, MEQ was easily my fav game of 2009, while CitOW was fighting with Fury of Dracula for the label of my least favourite purchase.

That's the thing - first you have to familiarize with all the phases in a turn and the moves in each phase and once you get that you realise there is a combat mechanic which is not connected to the first part, so it does feel like two games in one. So, 2 games for the phases, 2-3 games for the combat. Oh, well.

How would you compare 2 hero and 1 hero 2-player game? (and which runs smoother?).
 
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sgosaric wrote:
But apparently form what I'm reading MEQ is about card based combat first and adventuring second.


I wouldn't put it like that. Heroes generally want to avoid any and all combats, because they have no rewards to gain from them (apart from the Starting Quest rewards where you have to kill the monster). Generally combats just expend their cards, leaving them able to move less, needing to rest (to heal) more often, all of which helps Sauron. Sauron of course wants the Heroes to have to fight, although Peril works better than monsters against Thalin. Most of the time in our games, if the Hero has two or more paths to where they want to go, if one path has a monster, they'll try their best to see if they can reach the destination via another path. And even after that, check if they absolutely need to reach the destination this turn, if not critical, then might take a longer route but stop short. Worst thing about the combats is that if it happens during the Travel step, it ends the Hero turn unless they defeat the monster/minion (except Thalin). And any shortened turn is money in the bank for Sauron.

Quote:
Two player game might be easier to set up, but it was actually a lot worse as far as downtime is concerned (aaargh, all these cards, let me think, like, for 20 minutes). Is it easier if one player is always the Sauron or is it the other way around?


Seems your group has AP issues quite a bit. Sauron requires more experience IMO, especially with regard to the Plots, since you need to prepare a turn or two ahead before you can play them. But once you've played two or three games, shouldn't be any issues with swapping roles. We didn't, although I did win as Heroes when my friend first took Sauron's role. Hero and Sauron sides are still two very different games.
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sgosaric wrote:
That's the thing - first you have to familiarize with all the phases in a turn and the moves in each phase and once you get that you realise there is a combat mechanic which is not connected to the first part, so it does feel like two games in one. So, 2 games for the phases, 2-3 games for the combat. Oh, well.


Still, having read DQ's rules, at least the combat mechanics are handled with the cards that are used for everything else as well. Combat against monsters should be fairly simple matter, both have a limited amount of Str and cards. If I'm Sauron, I first think do I have a chance of exhausting the Hero with the monster. If not, then I'll go heavy on attack, since the monster will die regardless. If I can stall and thus end the Hero turn early, I'll take a defensive approach. As Hero, it's important to look for the melee-ranged odds in the monsters combat deck and see if I can work a combo that would boost my attacks, so I can kill the monster with as few cards as possible.

Quote:
How would you compare 2 hero and 1 hero 2-player game? (and which runs smoother?).


Probably the 1-Hero, since you're focused on a single Hero, though as Sauron, it takes more preparation to get used to the idea that the Hero gets two turns in row. They can really cover a lot of ground, much more than one excepts initially. But overall, you get the same amount of turns in both. Personally I do favor the 2-Hero approach, then if one Hero gets defeated or otherwise ends the turn really early, at least have still the other Hero to do something with. Similar to using 2 investigators in AH (when playing 2-player, I solo with 4), if one is LiTaS, at least you get something to do during the turn.
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Charles Simon
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sgosaric wrote:
Exactly - the mechanic is thematic in an euro sort of way (you have to think about it to get the connection) - but it's not thematic in immersive sort of way and this is what I thought I should be getting out of adventure game. Thinking about which card is to be used for travel or combat just disconnects me from all the flavour text I try so hard to immerse into. What I like in AH is it's simple resolution combat.



I happen to think that it is immersive in a lot of ways, including making every action you take have a tangible cost. It isn't so abstract to me to feel Euro, it seems much more tangible and based in theme, just more tangible and less random than dice combat. I also happen to love Arkham Horror as well, But these two really are such different beasts for a number of reasons.


sgosaric wrote:
But apparently form what I'm reading MEQ is about card based combat first and adventuring second. If this will help me get the game and enjoy it I can live with it, but just this question:
Is MEQ a game where you can immerse in the character at all? (compared to other adventure and dungeoncrawl games) In what way it makes you feel like playing a thematic game? (Should I look at it more a wargame?).



I wouldn't say card based combat at first. I've played games where there were perhaps 2 battles at the most; it all depends on the route that Sauron is taking to try to win. Sometimes fighting isn't necessary, if other options such as Shadow Cards and Peril are options. But I happen to find the card combat to be a great, thematic addition to the game.

I think that it feels thematic in the sense that a story is being told and each of the players contributes to that. Characters become corrupt and have their own personal quests to contend with while trying to real an overall goal. However, in some sense I suppose it may feel like the characters aren't "personal" in other games because they really don't get better from loot or equipment. There are only like 3 different equipment cards a Hero can have and, while each is useful, none make you react the same way you would if you suddenly got a bad-ass sword or now had a Tommy Gun.

Even the character "leveling" is a little more subtle. Adding to your stats doesn't have a direct tangible impact, even though it usually does help a lot, but its not like you suddenly get +1 movement or something. And Training (adding cards from the Training deck to your deck of life cards) doesn't seem to be a huge deal, unless you realize that most of the Training cards are great maneuvers and also adding cards to your deck increases your "hit points" as well. But I can understand your point in that these are subtle advances and don't really pull you in with excitement like gaining a level or getting a great weapon in other games are.


sgosaric wrote:
This might be THE problem. This is quite a long game for us and if it needs 10 plays to get it, it might be a problem. How many plays did the gamers you know need to get it?



Knowing the Hero Cards isn't that important. Just a play or two under your belt and you'll have a general idea of what cards are more useful for travel and which are more useful for combat. Knowing the specifics of each card in combat is secondary and it's only a play or two before you start to realize that you can look to see that this card costs 1 Strength and causes 3 Damage, and this one costs 3 Strength and causes 5 Damage, and unless you are planning on fighting a minion, you can probably hold the first card for combat and use the second for travel. Knowing the relationship of Strength cost vs. Damage inflicted is really the only thing that I consider when deciding if I'm holding cards for combat in most turns.


sgosaric wrote:
I think that my group (me included) expected this to be somewhat similar to Arkham Horror in terms of getting the rules and immersing in a character and I might be having a really hard time convincing them to try playing it again, not to mention a couple of times (I actually like the game more than the other two, but I was mostly ignoring combat and loosing a lot whistle). Two player game might be easier to set up, but it was actually a lot worse as far as downtime is concerned (aaargh, all these cards, let me think, like, for 20 minutes). Is it easier if one player is always the Sauron or is it the other way around?



Yes, I would say that playing one role probably helps the learning curve since both sides play so differently. I played Sauron almost exclusively until we all became more comfortable with the game. After we all knew the game, we switched up roles, and it did take a little longer in that game because the new Sauron player had to familiarize himself of how to use the cards effectively and as the new Hero, I had to do the same. But it still moved quicker than our first games because we knew the ideas behind the game, but just had to familiarize ourselves with the way to do it.


sgosaric wrote:
It's not about rush, it's just that at least with us it felt like most of the time we were just waiting for somebody else to come to terms with his AP and do something, resolving bureaucracy and whatnot. The funny thing is that we didn't have these problems at all with Chaos in the old World and there's quite a large amount of bookkeeping in there as well.



Fair enough about the rush vs. downtime. There is downtime in this game and familiarity will shorten it, but not remove it. I really do think that this game is best for 3 players and good for 2 players. 4 players does cross that threshold of too much lag overall.


sgosaric wrote:
I still think that the heroes should draw cards at the start of Sauron's turn and keep them separate from their hands and it would make the game faster with retaining all the flavour. (at least till we play 20 games of it and know every card and it's strategic and tactical significance at heart, but then again we must first play at least once more).



Actually, as long as they are not added to your hand, I don't really see any problem with do that. It will help the players know their cards and even help them start to make travel plans based on icons while Sauron is taking his turn.


sgosaric wrote:
Hope I don't come across too cranky, all the feedback is very, very helpful. thumbsup



Not at all cranky. Glad to offer insight, but ultimately not every game fits every player or group. While our group loves the game, especially when there are only 3 of us, I am not so in-love or blinded by the game not to realize that not everyone will share our opinion.
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Dam the Man wrote:
Still, having read DQ's rules, at least the combat mechanics are handled with the cards that are used for everything else as well. Combat against monsters should be fairly simple matter, both have a limited amount of Str and cards. If I'm Sauron, I first think do I have a chance of exhausting the Hero with the monster. If not, then I'll go heavy on attack, since the monster will die regardless. If I can stall and thus end the Hero turn early, I'll take a defensive approach. As Hero, it's important to look for the melee-ranged odds in the monsters combat deck and see if I can work a combo that would boost my attacks, so I can kill the monster with as few cards as possible.

thumbsup
I'll print this and put it in my MEQ box.
Very helpful. Thanks.
 
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sgosaric wrote:
Dam the Man wrote:
Still, having read DQ's rules, at least the combat mechanics are handled with the cards that are used for everything else as well. Combat against monsters should be fairly simple matter, both have a limited amount of Str and cards. If I'm Sauron, I first think do I have a chance of exhausting the Hero with the monster. If not, then I'll go heavy on attack, since the monster will die regardless. If I can stall and thus end the Hero turn early, I'll take a defensive approach. As Hero, it's important to look for the melee-ranged odds in the monsters combat deck and see if I can work a combo that would boost my attacks, so I can kill the monster with as few cards as possible.

thumbsup
I'll print this and put it in my MEQ box.
Very helpful. Thanks.


As you get more familiar with the cards in each deck, then the metagame starts to come into play.

"Okay, that's a weak monster, so he'll probably go for a heavy attack. I'll play defensively with my Hero, he won't have many shields on his cards, so even Parry will go through."

And then suddenly the Hero ends up exhausted as Sauron player also played defensively . Still, it's sweet hitting the Hero for 5 dmg with pansy Crebain (who have Str 3, just enough to play Reckless). Sure, they'll die if the Hero hits them for just 1 dmg (because of Reckless's text), but getting nice dmg with the weakest monster is very nice.
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thinwhiteduke wrote:
I also happen to love Arkham Horror as well, But these two really are such different beasts for a number of reasons.
Well it has taken a lot of time, but I think that I finally get this point now. The similar mechanics made me think otherwise.

thinwhiteduke wrote:
But I can understand your point in that these are subtle advances and don't really pull you in with excitement like gaining a level or getting a great weapon in other games are.

Not so much level and stuff (though tommy gun in AH is fun) it's more about AH characters having a back story and, well, maybe it is about tommy gun. I mean that in a sense that heroes and combat cards are fairly abstract and don't have any specific flavour to them, compared to weapons in AH or even take that cards in CITOW. Now that I've figured this out I might find it easier to concentrate on the good stuff about MEQ.

thinwhiteduke wrote:
I've played games where there were perhaps 2 battles at the most; it all depends on the route that Sauron is taking to try to win. Sometimes fighting isn't necessary, if other options such as Shadow Cards and Peril are options.

thinwhiteduke wrote:
Knowing the specifics of each card in combat is secondary and it's only a play or two before you start to realize that you can look to see that this card costs 1 Strength and causes 3 Damage, and this one costs 3 Strength and causes 5 Damage, and unless you are planning on fighting a minion, you can probably hold the first card for combat and use the second for travel. Knowing the relationship of Strength cost vs. Damage inflicted is really the only thing that I consider when deciding if I'm holding cards for combat in most turns.

This will also get printed and put in the box.

thinwhiteduke wrote:
I really do think that this game is best for 3 players and good for 2 players. 4 players does cross that threshold of too much lag overall.
I did think about 4 player game, but consider myself warned. (Still, we did play 4 player 5 hour munhkin quest game yesterday, it was the longest session since I quit RPGing 5 years ago though)

epilogue
I think I am ready to give it another shot.
You both certainly helped me realise what I should expect from this game. And the tips about playing the combat cards saved me a session or two. So thank you both for your time and priceless feedback. (but have a GG nonetheless).
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Max Maloney
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sgosaric wrote:
That's the thing - first you have to familiarize with all the phases in a turn and the moves in each phase and once you get that...

Part of the issue is just familiarity. You've probably forgotten that you went through this process with Arkham Horror, which can also be a very slow game when you first learn it. It has the same process of learning the turn order so you do things properly and many small rules that can be done incorrectly. You just have to like/want the game enough to cross that threshold.
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Stephen Sekela
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Great discussion!

I personally am on the fence about this one - I definitely "like" the game, but I'm not sure if I "LOVE" it. Was super excited to try it out and read all I could about the game prior to finally getting to try it out. Have played it three times so far (but only as the heroes). My "issues" with the game are different than yours, but I can understand your reservations. I can say that I did enjoy it more each time I played, and I want to get it to the table again, and would like to try my hand as the Dark Lord some time!

I know this isn't a "recommendations" thread, but have you ever tried Fury of Dracula (second edition)? It's very similar in some ways to MEQ (multiple players vs. a single "bad guy"; card combat system ((although the cards are strictly used for combat - not movement, damage, etc as in MEQ)); very cool components; excellent theme). FoD can be a bit complicated, too, but it's a little simpler than MEQ overall, there should be less AP, and it has an easier "learning curve". If you are interested in a Dracula-themed game and like the "feel" of MEQ, but it just doesn't do it for you after another couple plays, I suggest you give FoD a try.

Good luck!
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Zordren wrote:
I know this isn't a "recommendations" thread, but have you ever tried Fury of Dracula (second edition)? It's very similar in some ways to MEQ (multiple players vs. a single "bad guy"; card combat system ((although the cards are strictly used for combat - not movement, damage, etc as in MEQ)); very cool components; excellent theme). FoD can be a bit complicated, too, but it's a little simpler than MEQ overall, there should be less AP, and it has an easier "learning curve". If you are interested in a Dracula-themed game and like the "feel" of MEQ, but it just doesn't do it for you after another couple plays, I suggest you give FoD a try.


Dam the Man wrote:
Interestingly, MEQ was easily my fav game of 2009, while CitOW was fighting with Fury of Dracula for the label of my least favourite purchase.


Just for the record: FoD has been on my wishlist for ages, but with a game having mixed reaction I'm a bit wary. Namely that it can drag and there were some complaints on this site about combat system. (Given we survived Munchkin, there is still hope for me eventually buying it. I'd always use a good 3 player game)
 
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Hello,

sgosaric wrote:
After all the complaints about Dungeonquest's combat system being too complicated for the game (which stopped after the variants have been published on-line), I wonder why is similar situation in MEQ mostly tolerated?

MEQ is the one of the purchases I regret the most (and the only FFG one, it still it made me overly suspicious about the company's recent designs though). What I thought I was buying was one v.s. the rest 3-player Arkham Horror. Unfortunately with all the mechanical similarities between the two designs it seems that the best parts of AH design were left out in MEQ:

1.) Resolution system, card made combat, is overly complicated. Compared to AH's dice rolling which let me get on with the narrative of the game, the cards in MEQ are for me a completely alien game to the rest of the game design and consequently disconnect me from trying to immerse in character. The rule of getting new cards at the start heroes's turn also creates unnecessary downtime, especially in 2 player game. And here we come to the second point:

2.) Why couldn't the game be played with all heroes having the same turn (as in AH)? I see no real reason for heroes having consequent turns except that it increases the downtime.

3.) Sauron's turn is a joke. Bookkeeping makes up for half of all his tasks. This is just downright ridiculous: when my GF was Sauron, she didn't let me help her with this stuff and downtime was increases again. In AH we split these tasks between players so that the game went faster.


I know some of your concerns are addressed in earlier responses, but I just thought I'd through in my two cents as well. I played Middle Earth Quest for the first time a few days ago, and though not in love with it I certainly enjoyed it enough to give it a second try.

I think the comparison with Arkham Horror is fair enough; certainly, that game jumped to mind very quickly as I raced around with my hero, trying to collect enough prestige to close Sauron's gates kill his plots. But otherwise it bears little similarity, as it's not cooperative, nor is it randomly generated.

Otherwise, I can't really undersatnd your complaints. Strangely, I found the aspect you seem most critical of--the card-driven combat system--to be the most interesting and innovative part o fthe game. I found the way the cards work together very elegant: how movement exhausts your stamina for that turn, possibly making battle difficult if not impossible; how agility helps balance that; the way exhaustion and combat damage thins out your deck, forcing eventual rest; and was especially impressed by the way training not only opens up more powerful combat possibilities but increases the hero's endurance. There was a fantastic tension in playing the cards, comparing ratios and trying to bluff or outguess the opponent; all-in-all, far more interesting than simply rolling dice for 5s or 6s in Arkham Horror.

I do think the game is unbalanced towards the Sauron player--not necessarily in terms of winning, but in terms of engagement with the game. Sauron is always engaged, whether in battling heroes or considering playing a card on that turn. The heroes seem to suffer a lot of downtime, and that's a real drawback of the game.

It was only a first game, though, three first-time-players and Sauron, who owned the game. I'm not convinced it's a fantastic game--not in the same league as War of the Ring, for instance--but I certainly want to play it again. (Though possibly not with four players, and preferably with people who know the rules next time.)

-M.
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