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Subject: Would you recommend this game for a newbie? rss

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Ender Wiggins
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I am new to CCGs, but am looking to get into it (along with someone else I know). I'm not intending to play in tournaments, and I don't plan to spend a lot of $$$. My aim is just to get a stash of 500-1000 cards fairly cheap (either some starter packs or else a box of used cards from eBay) that will enable me and my friend to have fun playing some social games for a good while. Here's where I can use some advice from experienced players - which CCG should I pick? Here are the ones I have narrowed it down to:

Magic TG, LOTR TCG, or Middle Earth CCG?
My thoughts so far:

1. MAGIC THE GATHERING
I've downloaded the demo from Wizards of the Coast and have enjoyed it so far.
Advantages: (a) Readily available (large boxes of used cards are reasonably cheap on eBay); (b) Well established and proven; (c) the fantasy theme appeals to me

2. LORD OF THE RINGS: TRADING CARD GAME (LOTR TCG)
I don't know how the game-play compares in quality to Magic The Gathering. Comments?
Advantages: The LOTR theme appeals to me.
Disadvantages: Since it's relatively new, I imagine it is harder to get a large lot of used cards cheap?

3. MIDDLE EARTH CCG
Advantages: (a) Reviews suggest it has far more depth and strategy than LOTR TCG and Magic TG; (b) It is much more than a card game, and has qualities of role-playing and board games; (c) the LOTR theme appeals; (d) seems highly regarded?
Disadvantages: (a) Too hard to learn? (b) Games can be too complex and lengthy? (c) No longer in print, so harder to get a large lot of used cards cheap?

Any recommendation or thoughts on how the above compare? Would you recommend Magic The Gathering to a newbie like me? If so, where should I start? Or would the game play make one of the others a better choice?

Thanks in advance for any advice or comments!
 
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W. Eric Martin
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Re:Would you recommend this game for a newbie?
I haven't played the other CCGs, but Magic is a fun game that you can easily play with 1,000 cheap commons and land. You can build decks, play as individuals or as teams against other teams, and try many different draft formats.

As long as you keep it fun -- and don't get sucked into competing at tournaments, which will require a major $$$ investment -- you can have many hours of enjoyment for very few dollars.
 
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Snooze Fest
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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Re:Would you recommend this game for a newbie?
EndersGame (#479496),

Good name - great book! As for your questions...

I have played Magic, LoTR and ME. A lot of MtG, some LoTR, very little ME. So I guess you should take my comments with a grain of salt. Anyway, I think your points are right on the mark:
My wife and I have tried learning ME - it does look like a good game, but it has been somewhat difficult trying to teach ourselves. But people do seem to tell me it's much easier if you can find someone who already knows how to play. It should be pretty easy to get a nice-sized collection of the cards, though (we bought a bunch at a convention).
LotR is much easier to learn. I'd guess the cards are pretty easy to find on the cheap, although I don't know for sure. The gameplay has an interesting mechanism - the twilight pool - but I really prefer Magic. You'll just have to play them both to see which you prefer. Magic cards should be very easy to obtain (got any games you want to trade ?), and as long as you and your friend are sharing the same pool of cards it won't matter a bit which set(s) your cards are from.
 
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Douglas Buel
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Re:Would you recommend this game for a newbie?
EndersGame (#479496),

I would definitely recommend Magic over the other CCGs you mentioned. Magic is the most enduring, has a large community and has the greatest liklihood of remaining relevant.

One way to play Magic without having to go out and buy a bunch of single cards is to play sealed deck. Each player needs one Tournament Pack and two boosters from the same set. For example, each of you could have one Tournament Pack and two boosters from Champions of Kamigawa. Then, each of you must build a deck with a minimum of 40 cards from your own pack and boosters.

This levels the playing field for new players so that guy who spent the most money isn't simply the winner.

Also, the Tournament Packs come with lands.
 
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Ender Wiggins
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Re:Would you recommend this game for a newbie?
Thank you for all the replies. I'll share some of my conclusions, in case it helps other newbies like me getting into this game.

WHERE TO START WITH MAGIC THE GATHERING

The base game consists of a “core set”, to which expansions can be added.

1. Software

a) Computer Tutorial
The easiest place to learn the game is to download the tutorial from wizards.com. Choose “Download Paper Demo” from here: http://www.wizards.com/magic/playbig.asp
This includes a walkthrough game, and also allows you to play against the computer. A great introduction.

b) Online Play
The next step is to play against other players, by downloading the Magic Online software, and doing a free trial which allows you to play as a guest with a fixed deck: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=magic/magiconline/downl...

2. Cards

a) Starter Set.
The “Core Set” of the game offers a starter set, which consists of a rulebook, a CD-ROM, a play-thru guide, two decks of 34 cards each, and a 15 card booster. Each deck has two colours, and has 15 land cards. (By buying a theme deck of the fifth colour later, you could theoretically start building two-coloured decks of any colour?).

b) Theme Decks.
Theme decks are a single colour, and have 40 cards (15 lands + 25 non-lands). They are pre-arranged decks and ready for play – perfect for beginners. 60 card theme decks seem to be available for expansions (not core set?), but perhaps they isn’t suitable for newbies?

c) Tournament Decks + Boosters
Tournament decks have 75 cards (30 land + 45 non-lands) of mixed colours. When combined with two or three boosters (15 cards each), this is perfect for building your own 40 card deck. However it requires deck-building ability & experience. Alternatively, you could buy a box of 1000+ commons cheaply, and build your own deck.

As a newbie, the place to start would be by running the computer tutorial. From there, either buy the starter set, or a couple of theme decks. When you have a basic grip on the game, you are ready to build your own decks. So to start off, it seems to be best to buy a couple of theme decks, or is there a better way to begin?

I’m not sure I’m understanding everything about the game correctly, so I welcome any other corrections to the above, or any further advice!

Thanks,
 
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Michael Jordal
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I think out of those Lord of the Rings is the first choice.

Redemption would be second.

Magic third.
 
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Philip Thomas
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Well, if you are willing to spend the money magic certainly has the larger number of cards and the greater fan base.

The account seems about right from back when I played it.

Expansion based decks should be ok for a new player, any new concepts will be explained.

Enjoy!
 
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Josh Luub
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Magic: always a good choice. You can get a lot of cards cheap if you're not picky (ebay). It's the most popular, so it's easiest to find opponents. The only disadvantage really is that if you get addicted you can spend a lot of money. Also there is a good official on-line version which has exactly the same advantages and disadvantages.

LOTR TCG: I like it. A lot of people don't. You can get cards cheap (as little as $18/box from potomacdist.com!). It has the problem of having incompatible 'formats'. In other words, if you have a deck built for the 'Fellowship' block, you can't play against someone who built a deck for the 'Two Towers' block. (In Magic you can pretty much play any two decks against each other... it may not be fair, but they can at least play).

ME CCG: I don't like it. Some do. I have no idea how much cards cost, but I know I didn't get very much for mine, so I guess they're cheap. Just buy someone's collection if you must, buying boosters is dumb because they're stuffed with the ultra-useless 'region' cards.

Don't know anything about Redemption. Shadowfist is good, too, especially for multi-player.
 
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