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Risk: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition» Forums » Variants

Subject: Ringless Variant rss

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Kill Slash
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I was pondering the idea of the ringless version, where all other rules are in play except the game only ends when one conquers the whole board.

Then I looked at the adventure cards, where most of the reinforcement ones favor the evil player(s) in terms of reinforcements. They do give more points to the good player, though.

But without the fellowship moving and the only way to win is through board domination, points do not matter and only reinforcements do.

So to balance this should a good variant be to simply award the higher reinforcements to both good and evil? (In addition to removing the fellowship cards of course)
 
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Chris
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Though here at journey's end I lie in darkness buried deep, beyond all towers strong and high, beyond all mountains steep, above all shadows rides the Sun, and Stars forever dwell: I will not say the Day is done, nor bid the Stars farewell.
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I tried this once, long ago. We only removed the ring cards from the deck. It turned out to be an endless deadlock. After an entire afternoon & evening, we had to just call it a draw.
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Kill Slash
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Yeah I know. When i play risk, we end it at a set time rather than some end that is randomly determined. I want to determine how long the game should go, not the ring
 
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ipharas kosari
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My family/friends and I have played many games like this, with traditional domination-style Risk gameplay. Here are our rules.

1. Good and evil
For the purposes of the game, there is no difference between these. Adventure cards are set to benefit each side equally, territories are distributed evenly at the start of each game, and good and evil pieces can control whichever regions the game may lead them to control. You could optionally bias starting territory cards along their good and evil markers. With the region reinforcement changes mentioned below, you would probably see no balance issues. Also, since you win by domination (or others surrendering), you won't be tracking or keeping score on points.
Analysis: This is purely a simplification thing, and additionally adds a little bit more variety to the game.

2. Mission cards
Missions can be considered completed without the use of a leader. When you complete a mission, you can choose whichever is the greater reward, good or evil. Again, if you're playing more along the lines of good and evil, you could keep their respective mission card rewards.
Analysis: I've seen other posts about using this rule, and I think it makes sense. Most times, leaders are needed on the front lines, and chasing down random sites of power is often not worth it if you have to get your leader there.

3. Adventure cards
Removed the ring cards from the deck. Also removed four good- and evil-based reinforcement event cards. These are "They've Brought a Cave Troll!" "The Entmoot", "The Black Gates Open", and "Aragorn Arrives". You could keep these reinforcement event cards in if you want. Each player gets an adventure card to start the game, as well as one automatically after their turn, regardless of their actions that turn (draw another if it's an event card).
Analysis: No ring, no ring cards. Pretty straightforward. The automatic adventure card per turn increases action and advances the speed of the game a bit.

4. Region reinforcements
These are changed to
Arnor 7
Rhovanion 8
Rohan 6
Mirkwood 5
Eriador 3
Rhun 3
Gondor 6
Mordor 2
Haradwaith 2
Analysis: I think these are necessary to create a more even playing field without the ring. Most regions see an adjustment of 0 or 1. Rohan and Rhovanion, however, see significant bumps because of their position in the middle of the board, which tends to make them battlegrounds between the north and south. Seems like these regions saw no change after the introduction of the 3 new southern regions in the Trilogy Edition. However, despite the introduction of new hostile borders (with enemy strongholds, no less) there was no increase in their reinforcement bonuses. This fixes that.

5. Leaders
Leaders can be bought at the beginning of your turn, for the price of half of your total reinforcements in a given turn. Maximum of 2 OR 3 leaders.
Analysis: This adds a more dynamic leader mechanic to the game, which I think is necessary for domination-style play. Conquering most/all of the board is a little more achievable with multiple leaders.

6. Territory cards
One of each type of card (archer, cavalry, and eagle) gives a reinforcement of 12 units. Three of any one type of card (archer, cavalry, or eagle) also gives a reinforcement of 12 units. Once a player has 5 cards, they must hand them in for additional troops.
Analysis: The board is quite large, and a steady, healthy flow of reinforcements is a good thing for shoring up the many borders of the various regions as well as setting out on new campaigns. You could try the approach of having each sequential card sets redeem a larger number of troops, but I personally never liked this, as cards just spiral out of control and dominate the end-game.

7. Game pieces
This is just an ease-of-play choice, but usually we go with 1/5/10 as representations of the armies, not the standard 1/3/5.
Analysis: It’s quite possible to run low on pieces when dealing with large numbers of troops and epic battles.

Overall Notes:
Several of these changes increase reinforcement bonuses. One of the problems with domination-style LOTR Risk is that there are often not enough armies and game pieces to cover the vast number of territories and regions. Several small changes, such as slightly higher region reinforcements, more frequent adventure cards, more amenable mission rewards, and slightly higher territory card bonuses, cater to this shortcoming.

Thanks for reading, and happy gaming. Please let me know of any thoughts!
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Devin Schwartz
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Darth Headbutt wrote:
I tried this once, long ago. We only removed the ring cards from the deck. It turned out to be an endless deadlock. After an entire afternoon & evening, we had to just call it a draw.

This was my experience as well. Games played in this fashion were never finished, although we ran one through the night and into the next morning, playing 8 hours total before declaring it a draw with no winner.

What I found is that as one player grows in power, the other players will unite against him, whether acting in concert or separately, merely out of self-preservation. One player expending resources on three fronts cannot hope to keep expanding, which inevitably resulted in a return of deadlock until another player began to rise in power, after which the same cycle would repeat itself.

I ended up burning out my family on the game because of the exhaustive play times. Now the mere mention of the game elicits unanimous groans amongst family members, a real shame because the game is one of my favorites. We've played once using the Ring of Power, and that game lasted about 2.5 hours, including setup. Much more manageable. Moral of the story - I don't recommend playing without the Ring unless you're playing with experienced gamers who won't mind ridiculously long games, often called with no winner.

killslash wrote:
When i play risk, we end it at a set time rather than some end that is randomly determined. I want to determine how long the game should go, not the ring

In regard to calculating the end of the game based on a set time, wouldn't this result in players "milking" their turn times based on their current standing within the game? Or do you play with a time limit for the decision-making aspects of each players' turn?
 
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