Tony Wilson
Scotland
Glasgow
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Quoting from the rules on Lady Galadrial; “... What might have happened if Galadriel more openly used her power to help the Free Peoples, thus revealing herself to the Eye? The following rules explore this possibility...”

It is perfectly reasonable (indeed some would say the point) to explore alternative strategies and outcomes through the game, however it does seem to me that this “possibility” is simply too attractive to the free player.
It gets the fifth action dice at no risk, and without waiting for a chancy WotW, plus it makes one vulnerable central stronghold (and likely stopping point for the Fellowship) much tougher. Note that I am not saying this is too powerful, but rather that it is too attractive.
It is difficult to see why a free player should not always go for this “active Galadriel” variation on the book, which tends to propel the game down an "a-historic" path and into heavily scripted play.

Combined with this, we have an extremely common Free opening being to immediately separate Strider and sprint for Gondor in an effort to acquire action dice number 6, which again, although certainly a possible event, is hardly thematic if it happens all the time and is perceived as the single best play.

I also have also had some personal reservations about a Sauron victory which is easily achievable without any aggression against Gondor - principle and most hated enemy, (indeed in book terms, the key opponent who actually needs to be beaten).

Where is all this leading? A proposed "character" card.

“Minas Tirith – Queen of Gondor” (or, Last Stronghold of the Edain) ; a variant.

First remove Galadriels action dice, and “valour of the elves” (building under siege) ability.
Galadriel remains in play and can be mustered under her normal conditions (Elves or Sauron at war).
She retains her Lady of light ability (destroying eye tiles), and remains as an Elvish leader, and a companion for card play.
This alone still strengthens Lorien considerably.

Add a new card “Minas Tirith.....”, which can be brought into play with a muster die, whenever Gondor or Sauron is at War, and provided Aragorn has not been in play.

This adds 1 action die while any Gondor leader, Gandalf or any Captain of the west is in a Free controlled Minas Tirith.

It ceases to add an action die if Aragon is crowned. (N.B. This shares Aragorns die, not Gandalfs).

In addition it allows “Valour of the Edain” , essentially permitting muster under siege in Minas Tirith the same way Galadriel did for Lorien.

The card is removed from play if Minas Tirith is ever occupied by Sauron forces. Any action dice is permanently lost unless Aragorn is already crowned and alive.
(To clarify my intent; if MT falls before the king is crowned the action dice is lost forever, once Aragorn is crowned the action dice live or dies with him)


This (hopefully) achieves a number of things:

First the focus is moved away from Lorien and to Gondor as a centre of power. Specifically, while Galadriel may well be worth mustering (or destroying), it becomes more important to activate (or conquer) Gondor
.
If Sauron declares war early the extra action die still comes in, and if he chooses to ignore Gondor and go DEW North, it is a safe die.

If he attacks Minas Tirith it is now the strongest fortress (vice Lorien), which is surely more thematic? He will really need Grond, and or a lot of siege engines to do the job, but the pay back is much better if it falls, and there is therefore more incentive for the Free player to try and hold it.

Strider can lead the fellowship, or go to be king (still many good reasons in the cards to make him Aragorn) but he does not need to do so immediately. Indeed, he can lead the fellowship then dash off to save the city and/or become king.

Boromir may have a good reason to leave on his own to activate Gondor, (surely a possibility).

The final point is perhaps the most contentious, (action die lost if MT falls), but I felt that the Fellowship player needs to face a penalty if Minas T falls before the king is crowned. This gives Sauron a concrete reason to attempt to take the place quickly, but also good reason for Strider to go to Gondor in a timely manner.It also has the highly thematic side effect of making the Denethors folly card more dangerous, which would be another reason to rush a companion in before any siege started.

Currently, the Free player is incentivised to get Galadriel quickly and separate Strider to be in position for Kingship at the earliest opportunity (1st Wotw), Gandalf leads the fellowship until something bad enough happens.
Under this proposal I see the Free being incentivised to get the Minas T card quickly, with Gandalf leading until he dies, or a WotW is rolled allowing him to separate and become White. Strider may then lead, but will possibly need to leave to save Gondor (and the action die) by becoming king.


Thoughts?
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"Desert Fox" R S
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I agree with Tony (again). Love the themed approach. However, I suggested a while ago, when asked for victory point ideas, that MT be made a 3 VP city. I felt it reflected the books' MT emphasis. Many objected because they felt it forced their play or restricted their choices. Players seem to like their freedom!

(I also added that the Free Peoples player given a -1 VP token to place on another city as they wish thus offering a counter to DEW North. Hardly anyone went for that.)

Does anyone feel Tony's offering forces/restricts in any way?
Or does it expand the game in a thematic way?
I certainly feel Galadriel creates a-thematic play.
 
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dave
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Hey, good stuff here. It certainly is infinitely better than attaching an extra die to galadriel (and I do like the way you treat her as well--bring her in with her abilities, just don't have the extra die attached to her or attached to her death).

I think I wouldn't require the permanent loss of the die if MT falls. There is plenty of reason to defend MT already, and, if MT is conquered, it will be quite difficult to crown Aragorn anyways as now he essentially has to do it in DA which is also now likely under assault. If I attack MT/gondor, I attack gonder and leave none alive. Therefore, effectively the extra die is most likely permanently lost anyways, but still gives the FP incentive to crown Aragorn if he is still able.

I also think this would help get the game back on theme abit. And you're quite right, WotR players do like their choices as that in large part makes the game so great and so replayable, but something like this would be fine and would work well in the base game as well.
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