Eric Bridge
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We are still playing with only Block 1 Starter Decks, so I took the Aragorn deck. My wife took the Legolas Deck.

The rulebook states that I start with only Aragorn and Frodo, and my wife starts with Legolas, Gimli and Frodo.

I get all the way to site 4 with ONLY Aragorn and Frodo, not by choice, but because I have not drawn ANY other companions or allies. I have no choice but to move to the next site, right?

On my next turn Aragorn and Frodo move to site 5 with zero wounds. Frodo has a hobbit sword, so he is strength 6. Aragorn is strength 8.

Site 5 is (I think) the Bridge of Kazad-Dum. The site adds 6 to the Twilight Pool, plus 2 for my 2 person fellowship. However I know that site 5 is also the site that my wife's Uruk-Hai no longer have any roaming penalties. I can see that I am going to die even before she has a Shadow Phase, but I MUST move, right?

I move there, and my wife puts out 3 Uruk-Hai minions, strength 7-6-6. And I concede the game. Of course I can have Aragorn defeat the minion I would assign him to, but that would leave 12 strength against Frodo's 6, overwhelming him and killing him, because I have NOTHING in my hand to boost his numbers.

What is a player to do in these Starter Deck games if they never draw companions, but the game forces you to keep moving forward?

The only other thing I could have done that MIGHT have helped would have been to blow through evil cards against my wife even if I knew they'd do no good, just so I could draw more cards?

Please advise how you overcome this frustrating possibility, when your starting fellowship size is only 2. I also think the Gandalf decks start with only Gandalf and Frodo.

Thanks.
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Chris Long
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That mostly just sounds like a bad draw. I know it doesn't seem like it now, but you can have a very successful deck with only two companions. I had a couple Aragorn and Frodo only decks, and they did just fine.

ebridge wrote:
The only other thing I could have done that MIGHT have helped would have been to blow through evil cards against my wife even if I knew they'd do no good, just so I could draw more cards?


Yeah, definitely should have done that. At least as long as you were ahead on the site path. I also would have been discarding a card every refresh phase just to see more cards each turn.

Oftentimes in this game, you have to decide whether you're going to win with the Fellowship or kill your opponent with the Shadow. And once you've decided, you need to do everything you can to support that. It's actually one of the most interesting balances of the game. If your Fellowship doesn't match up well against their Shadow, then concentrate on your Shadow, and vice versa.

In this case though, especially just playing with the starters, it sounds to me like a combination of you getting a bad draw and not playing/discarding enough cards out of your hand.

I don't know what Fellowship cards you were drawing, but 5 turns into the game, you should have seen plenty to help that situation.
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Eric Bridge
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I had battle cards to help Aragorn and Boromir (who also never came out), but the Hobbit Sword was the only card that helped Frodo. Also never saw a Good condition card. All the good cards were on the bottom half of the deck.

Most of the game I had 7 Shadow cards in my hand to 1 Free Peoples card. Very lopsided drawing
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Eric Bridge
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Also, does anyone in the first block of cards have the Defender + 1 ability? I haven't seen one yet.
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Chris Long
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I think one of the versions of Boromir can exert to get Defender +1.
 
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Zach S
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ebridge wrote:


The only other thing I could have done that MIGHT have helped would have been to blow through evil cards against my wife even if I knew they'd do no good, just so I could draw more cards?



Bingo. One of the things you'll learn with this game is that some of the best cards are the ones that allow you to discard some cards, even if it's for no beneficial effect. For example: Gwemegil (Arwen's sword, a rare card) allows you to discard two cards from hand to make her strength +1. Two cards for only +1 strength may seem like a crappy deal, but a lot of times it's useful even if Arwen's not the one fighting.

For example, let's say you're at site 7 and your opponent is back at 4. You know they almost certainly won't catch up to you, right? Meaning your shadow cards are useless (unless you think you can kill their Ring-bearer when they single-move). So, on your skirmish phase, even if Arwen isn't the one fighting, you use Gwemegil to discard every shadow card in your hand. That way, in the regroup phase, you have a chance to draw into a bunch of Free Peoples cards.

Now, I know you probably don't have Gwemegil at this point, but the same idea stands for any other cards that say "Discard X to do Y." And, also, like you said, you should be playing every Shadow card you possibly can to try and dig for companions.

And don't forget to discard during the regroup phase! I know it may sometimes seem like a bad idea to discard a really good minion, but you can always draw more minions. You've gotta think of your priorities--if you aren't getting any Free Peoples cards, start chuckin' those Shadow cards, ASAP.

All that being said, it is a little tough to start with only two companions, but it is possible to work around.
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Russell InGA
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One thing that I suggest is searching through the Links that are available and finding graphics of the two Balrog cards.

Print these out oversized.

Both of these are automatically part of both people's deck and so can be played at Block 1 Site 5.

This way when you're working on Block 1, you KNOW you are going to face the Balrog!
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Zach S
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rules_heretic wrote:
One thing that I suggest is searching through the Links that are available and finding graphics of the two Balrog cards.

Print these out oversized.

Both of these are automatically part of both people's deck and so can be played at Block 1 Site 5.

This way when you're working on Block 1, you KNOW you are going to face the Balrog!


I'm not sure how that helps with his problem of "my fellowship died at site 5." =P

And anyway, the Balrog should be a card you have to put into your deck, just like anything else; having it sit on the side and functioning as a card in everyone's deck seems kinda weird to me . . .
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Eric Bridge
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In this game though, even though I was at the Bridge, it seems like playing the Balrog would have been a dumb move. Aragorn would have blocked the Balrog, and Frodo would have survived (maybe Aragorn too). Like I said, all my wife had to do was have 3 Minions in hand who were strength 6 or higher since you need 12 STR to go against Frodo and his Hobbit Sword), and be able to get them in play for no more than 8 twilight. That's not very hard to do, and thus it was an easy victory for her.
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Russell InGA
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ebridge wrote:
In this game though, even though I was at the Bridge, it seems like playing the Balrog would have been a dumb move. Aragorn would have blocked the Balrog, and Frodo would have survived (maybe Aragorn too). Like I said, all my wife had to do was have 3 Minions in hand who were strength 6 or higher since you need 12 STR to go against Frodo and his Hobbit Sword), and be able to get them in play for no more than 8 twilight. That's not very hard to do, and thus it was an easy victory for her.


You are right. She had the perfect cards to overwhelm you.

The reason for printing the card (and yes it's weird if you're a purist) is that to me Block 1 is about facing the Balrog, and planning for it. *

* One additional comment: I play a non-deck building version of LOTRTCG and so what makes the game more interesting for me may not be desired by people that are doing deck building.

goo

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Zach S
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Also, Eric, if it helps any, this is far from the shortest game ever--there have definitely been games that ended at site 2 (granted, it's not all that common), and I took a deck to a tournament in Vegas once that was designed to kill the opponent consistently at site 4 (though occasionally it took until site 5). With that deck, if I didn't kill my opponent by site 6, I probably wasn't going to kill him at all.
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Enrique Carro
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I just won a game at site 5. I was using the Gimli starter of Mines of Moria and my sister-in-law the Aragorn deck from The Fellowship (both decks heavily pimped). At site 5 I played the Balrog, with The Balrog's Sword (total strenght 20), so it was damage +2 and fierce. The Fellowship consisted on Frodo, Sam and Aragorn. Aragorn had a wound from a previous encounter, and wore an armour that required to triple his strenght to overwhelm him.
So, first skirmish is Aragorn against the Balrog. Aragorn takes three wounds and dies (damage +2). Next skirmish (The Balrog is fierce) his strenght of 20 overwhelms Sam and Frodo combined (strenght 6, 7 with the One Ring). Game over.

These things happen, even with pimped decks, and after several games already under the belt. It's very difficult to stopp the Balrog, but it can be done with 4 or 5 companions. If the Balrog has his sword, there's little you can do...
 
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Eric Bridge
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Sam and Frodo combined? How was that done? Why did Frodo have to fight at all? Why not just have Sam fight the Balrog himself and get overwhelmed, leaving Frodo alive?

Have I missed a rule somewhere?
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Chris Long
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Yeah, you actually can't do that. Two companions are never going to fight one minion. In his scenario, either Frodo or Sam should have been overwhelmed and then the other one carries on by himself.
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Enrique Carro
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I deserve a bang on the head. The Spanish rules are bad translated (the first Starters I bought were in Spanish, I never bothered to check the English rules), and they imply that if one faction's strength is at least double of the other faction, this one is overwhelmed EVEN BEFORE ASSIGNING DEFENDERS, unless you play events that raise your strength.
So, if in the second skirmish the Balrog and the sword (strenght 20) face Sam and Frodo (7 at least), I won even before deciding if Sam or Frodo is the defender...

After almost ten years playing this game, I discover I've been making huge mistakes with it. It's not the first time this happens. Shame on me. blush
 
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Chris Long
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kikerl wrote:
After almost ten years playing this game, I discover I've been making huge mistakes with it. It's not the first time this happens. Shame on me. blush


Often it takes other people to point it out once you believe you understand the rules. I myself used to think that minions never got removed. They just stayed in play waiting until you moved again. Needless to say a lot of people got overwhelmed.
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Enrique Carro
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Absolutely right, Mr. Long. That's only one of the reasons why this website is so great.
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Eric Bridge
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OK. I just bought a complete 1st block. Fellowship, Mines of Moria and Elf-Lords. I also bought a collection of about 900 Block 1 cards. Can't wait for them to arrive. That should give us everything we need for at least 4 solid decks.
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Zach S
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When you're done building your decks, you should post them here on BGG if you want some feedback on the designs! I'm sure everyone here would love to help.
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