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The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game» Forums » Sessions

Subject: An Affair to Forget -- My First Play rss

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Nim Chimpsky
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From the start I should mention that my experience with LCGs/CCGs/TCGs is limited only to being a casual Magic: The Gathering player during middle school, quite a few years ago. Having recently gotten into board games, I picked up a copy of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game from a recent online sale, and it arrived today. After reading through the rules (and watching some instructional videos on this site) I was ready to play.

In the interest of keeping my first game simple, I opted for the easiest quest (Passage Through Mirkwood), and chose to play just a single sphere (the Tactics deck, since I like Gimli) with 3 Gandalfs added in.

From the very get go, I felt like I couldn't do anything. I admit (and hope) I may just be playing the game wrong, in which case some guidance here is appreciated.

So here's what happened:

Setup: The Passage Through Mirkwood requires starting with a Forest Spider and an Old Forest Road card in the staging area. The three heroes for the Tactics deck combined for a starting position of 29 on the Threat Counter.

Phase 1: I took my 3 resource tokens, and drew a card.

Phase 2: I spent 1 resource token on a Blade of Godolin, figuring adding an attachment couldn't hurt.

Phase 3: I noted that there was currently a Threat of 3 in the Staging Area. If I committed all three of my heroes, I'd still only have a Willpower of 4, so I figured the best choice was to just exhaust two heroes, and keep one ready to either attack or defend later. I flipped over another card from the Encounter Deck, to reveal Great Forest Web. Total Threat was now 5, so I added 2 to my Threat Counter, now up to 31.

Phase 4: I chose to travel to Old Forest Road, so that I could ready a second character in preparation for the combat phase, and to also reduce the Threat I'd have to deal with next round. I readied Legolas, because of his better attack power.

Phase 5: Since the Forest Spider has an engagement cost of 25, I was now engaged with it.

Phase 6: I chose to defend with Gimli. The Shadow Effect forced me to discard my Blade of Godolin, but at least Gimli could defend the Forest Spider's attack. I attacked with Legolas, dealing 1 damage to the Forest Spider. Combat was over.

Phase 7: I readied my heroes, and moved my Threat Counter to 32.

So after one turn, I started to see how the game might not be easy. I looked forward to the challenge of managing my hand of cards, and deciding on a balance between committing heroes to the quests, vs saving them for combat.

Except every turn I took after that was a constricting nightmare. As cards piled up in the Staging Area, I never had anywhere near enough Willpower to tie it, let alone exceed it. How would I ever make any progress?

It seemed my choice was to either take a bunch of Threat damage now (by saving my heroes for the combat phase), or take a lot more Threat damage later (once my heroes started dying off, due to them always being exhausted before the combat phase, and therefore never being able to attack or defend against the growing number of monsters).

Throughout the few rounds I lasted, I managed to get out another attachment (also taken later in the same round, thanks to another Forest Spider as the Shadow Card), a couple of allies (including a sacrificial Horseback Archer that took one for the team), and a few event cards (Quick Strikes helped for fending off some monsters, but did nothing to solve my perpetual Willpower shortage during the Quest phase).

And yet despite this frustrating experience, as soon as I lost I was ready to reshuffle the deck and play again right away.

But before I do that, I figured I'd post my experience here, and look for some guidance from more experienced players.

Was I doing anything wrong?

Was it merely a bad luck of the draw?

Is the "Willpower shortage" a big problem when playing solo, with only one deck? Is it more of a problem with the Tactics deck (since the heroes only have a combined 4, and the Allies generally have 0)?



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Ray Greenley
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It doesn't seem to me like you did anything wrong rules-wise.

The tactics deck is tough to play solo because of the low willpower. I've won 'Passage Through Mirkwood' with it (2 Gandalfs), and the key was to be very aggressive in attacking and taking full advantage of Legolas' ability to add progress to the quest by killing things. The 'Blade of Gondolin' is definitely your key for that (bad luck you lost it). Every time he kills you'll get 3 progress tokens. Outside of that you'll just need to hold the line on threat during the quest phase (which hopefully you're able to keep low by killing off the creatures as they come). You can certainly still get overwhelmed, but that luck element is a part of card games, right?

For me, the first couple of plays seemed really tough, but as I got used to the cards and the system, it's been getting easier. Give it another try and see how it goes. :^)
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U Majuran
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The base tactics deck is a damage dealing deck. Not so good for questing. The way it moves forwards is using Legolas' ability normally equipped with blade of gondolin to add progress tokens.

Blue deck quests, green deck does the card drawing/gimicky stuff and purple supports other decks. They all play slightly differently- experiment. You'll probably end up with a 2 sphere deck (just ignore the 50 card requirement mentioned in the rules for a tourney deck- 30-40's realistic with no expansions).
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Nim Chimpsky
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RMGreen wrote:
It doesn't seem to me like you did anything wrong rules-wise.

The tactics deck is tough to play solo because of the low willpower. I've won 'Passage Through Mirkwood' with it (2 Gandalfs), and the key was to be very aggressive in attacking and taking full advantage of Legolas' ability to add progress to the quest by killing things. The 'Blade of Gondolin' is definitely your key for that (bad luck you lost it). Every time he kills you'll get 3 progress tokens. Outside of that you'll just need to hold the line on threat during the quest phase (which hopefully you're able to keep low by killing off the creatures as they come). You can certainly still get overwhelmed, but that luck element is a part of card games, right?

For me, the first couple of plays seemed really tough, but as I got used to the cards and the system, it's been getting easier. Give it another try and see how it goes. :^)


Thanks for the tips. I thought maybe that getting Allies out into the game were part of the strategy, but when skimming through the cards I realized that almost all of the Ally cards have 0 willpower.

I don't mind losing, and expected to lose my first game, I just didn't expect it to feel as helpless as it did.

hydra66 wrote:
The base tactics deck is a damage dealing deck. Not so good for questing. The way it moves forwards is using Legolas' ability normally equipped with blade of gondolin to add progress tokens.

Blue deck quests, green deck does the card drawing/gimicky stuff and purple supports other decks. They all play slightly differently- experiment. You'll probably end up with a 2 sphere deck (just ignore the 50 card requirement mentioned in the rules for a tourney deck- 30-40's realistic with no expansions).


I've since played through a second game, using just the purple deck, and lasted a little bit longer. Once a single hero dies, it seems like the end of the game comes quickly.

I'll probably try two more games (ones s blue, and one as green) and then probably end up following your advice of making a mixed 2-sphere deck.

I imagine using two separate decks is probably easier (playing with twice as many heroes certainly seems a lot easier, even if it means adding an extra Encounter card each turn) but I'm hoping to stick to a single-deck solo experience, to keep it a bit different from when I play a 2-4 player game.

~~~~

Sidenote: I also picked up the first adventure pack during the sale. Would it be recommended to implement the additional player cards, or should I save them for a later time?
 
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Nim Chimpsky
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One thing I realized I'd been doing wrong is that I didn't realize you could play Event cards during any phase.

Reading through some of them started to hint at that (since boosting your attack power seemed kind of pointless if the event can only be played in the Planning phase, and it only lasts through the end of that phase), but I couldn't find anything in the rules about when they are played (their only reference is on page 9, which isn't helpful).

This could make a huge difference next time I play.
 
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LSU LSU
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You picked the worst deck to start with in solo play. All of the 4 decks can beat Mirkwood, but tactics is by far the hardest. Play around with the other decks and then think about deck building. I do think it is more fun (but challenging) to stick with one deck, rather than using two separate hands.
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Nim Chimpsky
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LSUtigers wrote:
You picked the worst deck to start with in solo play. All of the 4 decks can beat Mirkwood, but tactics is by far the hardest. Play around with the other decks and then think about deck building. I do think it is more fun (but challenging) to stick with one deck, rather than using two separate hands.


Yeah, I like the idea of keeping it simple and playing with just a single pre-constructed, single-sphere deck. If the Tactics deck is the hardest to win with, then it will be nice to keep that sort of difficulty for a later time.

At some point I'll break down and make a mixed deck, but since I have almost no experience with constructing decks (other than my crappy Red/White deck I made in middle school for M:TG) I want to at least become familiar enough with the different spheres and their strengths/weaknesses before deciding on which ways to combine them.
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LSU LSU
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I think that's the way to go. I had never played any game like this before LOTR. I still am just figuring out how to create good decks - but it is a lot of fun, win or lose. Just don't think that because of the issues with tactics that the game is impossible to win.
 
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Tom Howard
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Perhaps you've already seen this, but I wanted to link you to Rodney Smith's excellent "Watch It Played" series, where he plays through a game of LOTR: LCG using the Tactics deck against the Passage Through Mirkwood scenario (quite successfully I might add!).

http://www.youtube.com/user/WatchItPlayed#p/c/7691E24FD76133...

This series should help solidify rules questions, etc. Just note that the link above skips ahead to the 1st Turn video, since the videos before it just go over how to play and how to set up the game.

Good luck!
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Nim Chimpsky
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GeckoTH wrote:
Perhaps you've already seen this, but I wanted to link you to Rodney Smith's excellent "Watch It Played" series, where he plays through a game of LOTR: LCG using the Tactics deck against the Passage Through Mirkwood scenario (quite successfully I might add!).

http://www.youtube.com/user/WatchItPlayed#p/c/7691E24FD76133...

This series should help solidify rules questions, etc. Just note that the link above skips ahead to the 1st Turn video, since the videos before it just go over how to play and how to set up the game.

Good luck!


Thanks for the link. I skimmed through what I now imagine was the first video earlier this week, and didn't realize there were more. These should be helpful.
 
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J Valnor
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Hey you did better than my first play vs mirk, I think I died on turn 2, maybe 3. After that I whipped it twice.
 
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Colin Houghton
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Really? Tactics hardest to win solo? I can't seem to win with Lore... not enough allies, too many events.
 
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