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War of the Ring (First Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Mini-Game variant to test rss

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Yann M
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I need some other testers than myself and my friends to tell me what they think of it. I will put it on the site as a Word file later.


MINI-GAME

Ideal to introduce “War of the Ring” to a new player or to play a game in less than 1 hour.

FP = Free Peoples player
SP = Shadow Player
VP = Victory points

SETUP

Only the armies of the following “countries” (NOT Nations) are placed on the board :
- Mordor
- Harad (and Umbar)
- Gondor
Only the Political Counters of the following Nations are placed on the board :
- Sauron
- Southrons/Easterlings
- Gondor (Active)
The Fellowship is placed in Minas Tirith with Gollum as the guide. The Companions are placed by the FP in his Gondor Settlements.

GOALS

The FP must destroy the Ring or reach 2 VP.
The SP must corrupt the Ring-bearers or reach 5 VP.

MAP

No VP can be gained outside Gondor, Mordor and Harad.
It is forbidden to use a Muster die or a Muster Event Card in a settlement outside these 3 countries, except to put Sarumane in play.
It is forbidden to create units from other Nations than Gondor, Mordor and Southrons/Easterlings.

CARDS

The FP draws 3 cards per turn. He chooses the third between his two decks.
The SP draws 4 cards per turn.
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Re:Mini-Game variant to test
Jyrki (#463153),

I can see that it would be quick, and therefore a reasonable method of demonstrating the mechanics. However, I'm afraid that from my perspective it looks boring.

The military game in the full version is full of feints and thrusts, trying to anticipate where the DP will attack. This is reduced to a frontal assault in your variant.

Likewise, the fellowship has tough decisions about the route to take, and whether to stop and heal or push on. Taking off from Minas Tirith means we've got a short dash with no havens to consider.

You've anticipated problems with the cards by allowing extra draws, but what you're going to be left with is broad swings of luck. If one player spends several turns drawing unplayable cards, and the other doesn't, it should force a result with little help needed from the players.

I know this sounds negative, but it isn't meant in an unfriendly way. I don't know how much you've played the game. You may well be more experienced than I am, and simply disagree with my assessment, which is fine.

Or you might be new to the system, and find my view useful. In summary, I think your variant may be effective if used briefly to demonstrate the mechanics, but I wouldn't spend time on it beyond that. Playtesting implies (to me) a scenario worth playing on its own merits.
 
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Yann M
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Re:Mini-Game variant to test
Sphere wrote:
Jyrki (#463153),

I can see that it would be quick, and therefore a reasonable method of demonstrating the mechanics. However, I'm afraid that from my perspective it looks boring.

The military game in the full version is full of feints and thrusts, trying to anticipate where the DP will attack. This is reduced to a frontal assault in your variant.

Likewise, the fellowship has tough decisions about the route to take, and whether to stop and heal or push on. Taking off from Minas Tirith means we've got a short dash with no havens to consider.

You've anticipated problems with the cards by allowing extra draws, but what you're going to be left with is broad swings of luck. If one player spends several turns drawing unplayable cards, and the other doesn't, it should force a result with little help needed from the players.

I know this sounds negative, but it isn't meant in an unfriendly way. I don't know how much you've played the game. You may well be more experienced than I am, and simply disagree with my assessment, which is fine.

Or you might be new to the system, and find my view useful. In summary, I think your variant may be effective if used briefly to demonstrate the mechanics, but I wouldn't spend time on it beyond that. Playtesting implies (to me) a scenario worth playing on its own merits.


>In summary, I think your variant may be effective if
>used briefly

It was my goal.
You were searching something like the Starting from the Shire Variant.
This variant is not supposed to be used in the same way. Not at all.

>Playtesting implies (to me) a scenario worth playing on
>its own merits

IMHO, this variant has a lot of merits, just not the ones you were looking for.
 
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Yann M
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Re:Mini-Game variant to test
Sphere wrote:
If one player spends several turns drawing unplayable cards, and the other doesn't


"unplayable cards" ? You didn't understand how this variant was conceived : you're supposed to use a lot of cards in COMBAT. That's one of the funnier things about it.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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Re:Mini-Game variant to test
Jyrki (#463777),

I commend you for the idea; the game certainly needs a better introductory scenario adn this is an excellent start. I think, though, that you might have slightly too narrow a focus by only having one FP nation. I would suggest limiting the game arena to Rohan, Gondor, Isengard and Mordor (and excluding Harad). Also, the FSP should start slightly farther away from Mordor, to give a little more game time to the hunt process, and should have a couple companions (randomly chosen?) still in it to give a taste of that major part of the game.

Your idea about handling event/combat cards is very good, but it might present a slight problem of slowing the game down by forcing players to read extra cards each turn.
 
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Yann M
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Re:Mini-Game variant to test
Only the Political Counters of the following Nations are placed on the board :
- Sauron
- Southrons/Easterlings
- Gondor (Active)


Note : all the other Nations are "at war" (it's important for some cards and some Minions).
 
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Yann M
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Re:Mini-Game variant to test
SevenSpirits wrote:
Jyrki (#463777),

I commend you for the idea; the game certainly needs a better introductory scenario adn this is an excellent start. I think, though, that you might have slightly too narrow a focus by only having one FP nation. I would suggest limiting the game arena to Rohan, Gondor, Isengard and Mordor (and excluding Harad). Also, the FSP should start slightly farther away from Mordor, to give a little more game time to the hunt process, and should have a couple companions (randomly chosen?) still in it to give a taste of that major part of the game.

Your idea about handling event/combat cards is very good, but it might present a slight problem of slowing the game down by forcing players to read extra cards each turn.


>I would suggest limiting the game arena to Rohan, Gondor,
>Isengard and Mordor

The first version was like that. But it was too close to the real game.

>the FSP should start slightly farther away from Mordor, to
>give a little more game time to the hunt process

I would like to make it start farther away from mordor but the game would be too long. Like that, a session lasts 6 or 7 turns with a good FP.

>and should have a couple companions (randomly chosen?)
>still in it to give a taste of that major part of the game

In the first version of the variant, 2 companions (chosen by the FP) were still in the Fellowship. But the Fellowship was too strong like that ! I had to separate all the Companions.

If you test it and find different results, I would be happy to modify my variant. That's why I ask people to send me feedbacks abotu their sessions (I already got one from another website).

>slowing the game down by forcing players to read extra
>cards each turn

3 hypothesis :
- the player is a beginner, and then this variant would make him discover a lot of cards. Great !
- the player is an expert and then he knows the cards and don't have to read them.
- the player is "in-between" and then it slows the game a little. But the game's still very short.
 
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Sam Butler
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Re:Mini-Game variant to test
Jyrki wrote:
GOALS

The FP must destroy the Ring or reach 2 VP.
The SP must corrupt the Ring-bearers or reach 5 VP.


I must add that the FP Corruption should not start on 0. I haven't actually tested this, but shooting from the hip so-to-speak, perhaps start the Fellowship's corruption on 4? Most corruption is achieved in Mordor, so I don't think it should be at 6 (halfway), but it also should not be at 0.

True, the FP player is in a stronghold and can spend turns to heal, but that also gives the Shadow extra turns to win militarily.

Sam
 
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Yann M
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Re:Mini-Game variant to test
butsam wrote:
Jyrki wrote:
GOALS

The FP must destroy the Ring or reach 2 VP.
The SP must corrupt the Ring-bearers or reach 5 VP.


I must add that the FP Corruption should not start on 0. I haven't actually tested this, but shooting from the hip so-to-speak, perhaps start the Fellowship's corruption on 4? Most corruption is achieved in Mordor, so I don't think it should be at 6 (halfway), but it also should not be at 0.

True, the FP player is in a stronghold and can spend turns to heal, but that also gives the Shadow extra turns to win militarily.

Sam


I thought about it but :
- The SP can win usually in less than 8 turns, so the FP must move twice a turn on a few occasions to reach Mount Doom in time
- If a really good and very cautious FP spends turns to heal, the game becomes too long
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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Re:Mini-Game variant to test
What about a mini-game set about the time of "The Last Debate" in Return of the King.

FP get: a Gondor / Rohan army of about 5 units, Aragorn, Gandalf, Pippin, Legolas, Gimli, Imrahil, all in Minas Tirith. Fellowship on the '0' space of the Mordor track, Gollum as guide, 4 corruption.

The Shadow gets a small force in Druadan forest, the Mouth, and four Nazgul.

All hunt tiles are in the bag, including special hunt tiles.

Shadow gets 5 dice + 1 for minion.

FP get 2 dice + 2 for companions.

Card decks should be heavily narrowed down to only include historical cards: Altheas/Anduril, There Is Another Way, The Eagles Are Coming, Mustering of a Long Planned War, The King is Revealed, The Lidless Eye, others...

Victory conditions are as per the full game, but a SP military victory happens at the end of a turn when Minas Tirith is taken and no Shadow strongholds are controlled by the FP. FP military victory is unchanged.

Only east Gondor, Ithilien, Dagorlad, and Mordor are movable spaces for armies.
 
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Rodger Garfinkle
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Re:Mini-Game variant to test
Jyrki (#463153),

Great ideas! I'd been thinking the same basic thing myself.devil

As an elementary school teacher, I really can't help but think of better ways to teach complex ideas to less than brilliant people.

The goals of creating an introductory game and creating a fun quick game really should be handled in different ways. I wouldn't try to design one scenario for both purposes.

I was thinking that an introductory game should reduce the number of rules and elements for first time players, but not change any of them. People can only absorb so much at a time. Also, it would build a basic understanding of the goals and mechanics of the game so people could build on that as they go. Thus you might:

1. Base it on the ending sequences of a typical game so people can see what they are working towards in the new game.
2. Limit units to just those involved in Gondor and Rohan battles to preserve the connection with the books, while shortening the game and simplifying strategies. Set up same as start for these regions.
3. Start the fellowship in Minas Tirith with just Gollum as the guide, to align with end game.
4. Only Gandalf the White & Aragorn as (separated) companions. Use all three minions.

A scripted first turn as an example utilizing and describing many of the rules and special abilities would also go a long way toward helping new players learn the mechanics of the game.
 
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