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Subject: Does Sauron have it too easy? rss

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Chris Sauder
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I've played MEQ twice now, playing Sauron both times. While the first half of the game the heroes are doing as they please for the most part, but I always seem to come back in the 2nd half of the game when I can guard my plots better. Both times we've played though we missed some rules that benefit the Sauron player. I was hoping to find more to benefit the heroes, but it seems we're playing them accurately.

I discovered that they couldn't just kill off my entire influence train by ending their turn on a Shadow Stronghold, and we were clearing off all the influence. I was also limited on how much influence I could put in each area based on the area connected to it. I believe I understand the influence better now, and please correct me if I'm wrong.

On the shadow stronghold that you can have up to 6 influence if you have 6 on it you can place 1 influence on the next connected area, and up to 6 in the next (not connected to the 6SS).

We were playing that if I wanted to put 6 influence in an area the train of influence must be 6 the entire path, and that you can only place as much influence on an area as a previously placed area if that makes sense. Which would've made it impossible to fulfill the 6 influence on the shire mission for Sauron (mind you it's still difficult to do that).

One complaint the heroes had was that there is no reward for killing monsters/minions.

Does anyone else find the Sauron side is too easy? If so have you done anything to correct it? I mean there's not much stopping Sauron from just placing a new plot every turn, I can't imagine the heroes keeping up with them (yes I know there's a 3 plot limit)

I'm hoping for an expansion to this game soon...


 
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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I think the game should be tough. Continuing the game is the player's reward for killing monsters and minions.

That said, I'm not nearly mean enough to be an effective Sauron!

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/437270/hello-kitty-thrown-ou...
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Charles Simon
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The game for us feels balanced and is almost always close. You are correct, however, about the fact that Influence does NOT have to be a consistent line, so it can be 6-1-6.

I think player experience helps, and if you want help the Heroes out in catching up, let them look over and familiarize themselves with all of the plot cards before playing. Familiarity with Sauron's plots helps the Heroes immensely.

For instance, if the Heroes see Sauron is laying a lot of Influence in the areas around Mount Gundabad, they might realize that one of Sauron's plots require him to have 8 Influence in areas around Mount Gundabad. Knowing this ahead of time means that they may rush up there and remove the Influence, thus denying Sauron a chance to lay the plot card next turn. And anytime that Sauron has an empty Plot space that he cannot fill, it really hurts him.

Other plots requirements that can potentially be stopped by savvy Heroes:

*A location containing a Character and a Monster (rush to kill the monster); A Promise of Rings.
*A Monster or Minion within 1 space of Edoras or Minas Tirath (though this only moves the Black marker 1 Space, so sometimes our Heroes will let small movement Plots eat up Sauron's spaces); Loss of an Heir.
*3 Influence in Isengard (This moves the Red marker 3 spaces, so our Heroes will rush to Isengard to remove the Influence if we see it there); Rise of the Uruk-Hai.
*Minion in Erebor; A Dark Messenger.
*A Monster Token in Osgiliath; Osgiliath Invaded.
*Any Haven with at least 6 Influence adjacent to it (another easy give away that Sauron is about to play a plot); A Broken Line of Kings (Two of these Plot Cards are in the deck).
*6 Influence within one space of Edoras; Wormtongue Taints Theoden


You will find as well that once both sides are very familiar with the Plots, Sauron can also feign Plots to direct the Hero movements. For example, dropping Influence outside of Mount Gundabad or Isengard will usually draw the Heroes to that area, who have to end their turn there to Rally to get rid of the Influence. This may free you up on other parts of the map to do what you really wanted to do.

Hope that helps!
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Rauli Kettunen
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thinwhiteduke wrote:
*Minion in Erebor; A Dark Messenger.


I'll just let him have that one, ADM is quite possibly the worst Plot for Sauron, period.
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Charles Simon
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That's true. Usually our Heroes will leave out the Plots that only move the markers 1 space. However, our Heroes also really like training and farming for the Execute card, so sometimes they'll want this gone just to get the Dain training.
 
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ErikPeter Walker
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Every game i've played (granted, only 3), it felt like the heroes were getting bogged down with corruption and having horrible luck and they still won anyways. I don't think it's incredibly unbalanced.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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After 50 plays, Sauron has a 33-17 edge over the Heroes. Sauron has 21-12 (Mission-Final Combat) spread on his wins, Heroes 9-8. Should also mention that 11 of the 17 Hero wins have come in 1-Hero games (25 1-Hero, 25 2-Hero games played) and overall in 1-Hero, Sauron has a slight 14-11 edge over the Heroes.

Yes, I like to track stats blush .
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Charles Simon
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Heh heh. Here's more confession from another stat tracker.

Games played: 19

Hero wins: 12
via Mission Card: 9
via Final Battle: 3

Sauron wins: 7
via Mission Card: 5
via Final Battle: 2


Now to be fair with our stats, a number of our Hero wins were front-loaded. We had the inverse problem and it took Sauron a little longer to figure out effective play. Also, we've changed up Sauron players a number of times to give a different experience (and to learn strategies for both sides), and so our Sauron player may be experienced in the game, but not that experienced with playing as Sauron.

Also 6 of the games were 2-player. The rest were 3-player. It's not a large enough sample to be sure, but I do feel that the 2-player game actually favors the Hero player a bit more.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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thinwhiteduke wrote:
Now to be fair with our stats, a number of our Hero wins were front-loaded. We had the inverse problem and it took Sauron a little longer to figure out effective play.


Sorta same, sorta different. First five games saw sides swapping final combat wins, Heroes getting three, Sauron two. But then Sauron romped off seven straight wins by Mission before the Heroes finally got their first win via Mission in game #13. Sauron also has longer win-streaks (7-game, 5-game, 4-game), while Heroes have just one 4-game streak, otherwise it's ones (and a single 2-game streak).
 
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Drake Coker
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11 games (even mix of 2 and 3-player and one 4-player).

Games decided by final combat: none!!

Sauron: 6 wins
Heros: 5 wins

Conclusions: none yet

 
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Sam Butler
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I don't think the game is unbalanced, but I do think it is easier to learn for Sauron. I'm not surprised when new people to the game think there is a Sauron bias; Sauron only has to deal with himself, the heroes have to work together effectively -- which is somewhat more difficult when you don't yet have experience with the game. Keep playing, and make sure the heroes have a strategy for working together -- they should not act independently. Also, make sure they try to maximize each others' strengths.
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Chris Sauder
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Well I finally got to play on the hero side of things, and the experience I had with Sauron helped in undermining him. Though Sauron did have us guessing on his win condition. (he needed 3 plot cards active at Finale)

In the game we played neither side got the win condition. (Heroes needed 2 or less minions left on the board) Sauron was so far behind on his story track that the Ring Wraiths were incredibly feeble to the point where Sauron didn't want to waste time on the final battle.

The key to our success was getting rid of his plot cards as fast as possible. We also didn't shy away from the minions (not as scary as you might think) because we had to kill all but 2. Training was also a great key to success cause the skills you get when you train are very powerful.

So our curent tally is

Sauron : 2
Heroes : 1
Me : 3
 
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JB
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I think you have it in a nutshell, the heroes gotta know the plots. I have just finished my 3rd game with my wife, and have easily won 2 of the 3 now I know to concentrate on advancing one colour ring only.
It was just too far for the heroes to travel to gain enough favour, and I was allowed the mass my plot requirements at will.
I think once the heroes figure out what the plot requirements are then they can race up to the area Sauron is spreading his influence.
In fact, maybe it's enough to try & disband influence in an area Sauron is concentrating on, and the plot card details they can live without, cause let's face it, wives are not gonna read plot cards on a rainy Sunday afternoon
If anyone has any other advice on how the heroes can win please share.
 
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