Nathaniel Rounds
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Hi all.

I just received the 2nd edition of War of the Ring as a Christmas present -- my wife knew it had been on my wish-list for a long time -- and I've been reading up on these boards to try and understand the game. (I haven't played a game yet, of this edition or any other.)

From what I gather, the second edition changes the rules in several ways with the specific intent to nerf the dominant SP "DEW north" strategy. If I understand things correctly, the relevant changes are:

1) SP must now always put at least 1 die in the hunt pool if the fellowship moved last turn. So I guess in practice the SP will have to put at least 1 die in the pool every turn but the first.

2) The Witch-King can't enter play until at least one FP nation is at war.

3) The FSP doesn't have to be hidden in order to go to the Mordor track.

Changes (1) and (2) seems designed to slow down DEW north, and (3) seems to completely nerf turn-stalling. (I guess you could reveal the SFP and then Cruel Weather it? But that would only work once and be hard to do?)

What I'd like to know is: has a consensus emerged among the experts as to the effect of these changes? What is the Shadow's win rate playing the base game with 2nd edition rules? How badly do 1-3 above hinder DEW north?
 
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Einmal ist keinmal
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There is also the extra dwarven elite unit that starts in Erebor.

Quote:
So I guess in practice the SP will have to put at least 1 die in the pool every turn but the first.

Not necessarily. Events that are used to move the FSP do not place a FSP die in the Hunt Box. Also, it is very possible for the FP player to not roll any Character or WotW dice in a turn. Therefore, the following turn would give the Shadow player the option of not putting any dice in the Hunt Box.

In fact, other than the extra dwarf unit in setup, I wouldn't conclude that either of the three rules you mentioned were implemented specifically for the DEW strategy.
 
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Nathaniel Rounds
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Quote:
In fact, other than the extra dwarf unit in setup, I wouldn't conclude that either of the three rules you mentioned were implemented specifically for the DEW strategy.


I see. Well, I guess I am asking the more general question: do the rules changes make the base second edition more balanced, or can the SP still win 80% of the time with DEW north or something else?
 
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I'm pretty sure that the changes were implemented based on playtesting, for balance purposes. In fact, one of the reasons that the Twilight expansion is not playable with the 2nd edition (as of now, at least) is that it would skew the balance in favor of the FP. So, the changes in the 2nd edition help the FP so much that the expansion is no longer balanced.
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Raf B
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I recommend you read Veldrin's interview with the designer regarding motives and changes that went into the 2nd edition.

http://www.warofthering.eu/interview3.htm

DEW north involved ignoring the Fellowship and rushing the Witch-king into play to cycle cards through combat. In 2nd edition this course of action is no longer as easily exploited, and the tweak to the WK's card-cycling ability and eliminating turn-stall make it harder for the Shadow to buy time for a lightning Shadow military victory.

If you haven't read the designers notes articles at Ares Games, those also give insight into the comparative balance between editions.
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Dave J McWeasely
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And If I may offer an unsolicited opinion, your ratio of strategy articles to playing is way too high. There is some fun to flailing around wildly, not knowing what you're doing. It leads to wildly see-sawing games and general fun-ness.

I mean, if you don't get Sauruman pearl-harbored by the Ent character cards on your first try out, you're just not giving the game a fair shot.
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Mont A.
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My only concern about the 2nd Edition is that it may lead to greater scripting of the game. Since the Shadow can't summon the Witch-King until at least one FP nation is at war, it makes it exceedingly difficult to summon him early. Thus the Shadow's only effective route to an early 8th die is to bring out Saruman. Once that's done, it makes sense to build up Isengard, and go after Rohan first, in the process bringing it to war, thereby allowing the Witch-King to be brought out.

The 2nd Edition thus encourages much the same early strategy as the Twilight expansion did for the 1st Edition. There you were encouraged to bring Saruman out first because once the Ents hit the table, his ability was wasted; and you didn't need the Witch-King early, because the Balrog provided his die. The 2nd Edition provides different reasons; but the same result.

Admittedly, I'm no expert in the game. So perhaps there are many nuances I'm missing. But from my first few plays of the 2nd Edition, I'm saddened by the sense of greater scripting.
 
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Kristofer Bengtsson
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Typhon wrote:
My only concern about the 2nd Edition is that it may lead to greater scripting of the game. Since the Shadow can't summon the Witch-King until at least one FP nation is at war, it makes it exceedingly difficult to summon him early. Thus the Shadow's only effective route to an early 8th die is to bring out Saruman. Once that's done, it makes sense to build up Isengard, and go after Rohan first, in the process bringing it to war, thereby allowing the Witch-King to be brought out.

The 2nd Edition thus encourages much the same early strategy as the Twilight expansion did for the 1st Edition. There you were encouraged to bring Saruman out first because once the Ents hit the table, his ability was wasted; and you didn't need the Witch-King early, because the Balrog provided his die. The 2nd Edition provides different reasons; but the same result.


The game is actually less scripted as there now are other valid approaches than simply using your first four Musters for Saruman (Isengard at war) and the Witch-king (Sauron at war) as it is more difficult to achieve than before.

In First Edition those moves were no-brainers but now you can make better use of your early muster dice. During the testing foregoing the Sauron nation in favour of mustering the S&E and using them as your main hitters instead proved a very good strategy.

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Dave J McWeasely
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I typically invade Rohan late or not-at-all. Saruman's Voice powers are not all that special anyway. A New Power is Rising is the real power in those lands.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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The witch king not being usable until a FP nation is at war opens up a lot of options. Previously you just got Saruman and the Witch king in your first 4 actions (along with goign to war with those nations).

Now you have to attack SOMETHING to get the witch king.

I love the change, its great for the game and also thematic.
This change doesnt effect DEW specifically, it effects overall balance, and prevents an early Witch King. (Early witch king is very strong).



The dwarf in Erebor is to weaken DEW north, because it was too easy to get points that way.




The Fellowship not needing to be hidden to enter Mordor nerfs turn stall stratgies, which were very high variance/random and not fun. They gave the shadow too many turns to win militarily.

Collectively these changes greatly improve game balance.
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Raf B
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Typhon wrote:
Thus the Shadow's only effective route to an early 8th die is to bring out Saruman. Once that's done, it makes sense to build up Isengard, and go after Rohan first, in the process bringing it to war, thereby allowing the Witch-King to be brought out.


It will take three attacks to push Rohan to war, and a muster or two before that to bring sufficient forces to the fight.

Depending on what actions you roll and the cards you draw, there are routes to an early Witch-king that may be quicker or easier than hitting Rohan, especially if the FP has managed to reinforce the Fords of Isen in anticipation:

* Mordor forces plow into Osgiliath and besiege Minas Tirith

* Easterlings besiege Erebor after stomping Iron Hills

* Southrons take Pelargir

* Event card-enhanced early assault on Rivendell

I'm sure others have suggestions I've overlooked.
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Guillaume Chaput
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I have a french first edition, so I can't get the second edition update :S
Would you recommend me to use those new rules, even though I don't have the new cards? Or would it totally screw the balance over?
 
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Kristofer Bengtsson
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Sure you can get a Second Edition.

Download the rules and buy the English upgrade kit!
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nico34fr nico34fr
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where can we buy an upgrade kit ? (shipping to france)
 
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Kristofer Bengtsson
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nico34fr wrote:
where can we buy an upgrade kit ? (shipping to france)


I can't help you with that. Perhaps ask some European BoardGameStores for it (http://www.aresgames.eu/games/war-of-the-ring-line/war-of-th...).
 
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Guillaume Chaput
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Well, I kind of appreciate to have my cards in french, as not all my friends speak perect english.
But that's another problem
So would it be wise to use second edition rules with first edition cards?
 
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Kristofer Bengtsson
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chaps357 wrote:
Well, I kind of appreciate to have my cards in french, as not all my friends speak perect english.
But that's another problem
So would it be wise to use second edition rules with first edition cards?


It would work but some are a bit different. Check out the designer notes on www.aresgames.eu for a complete list.
 
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Raf B
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Veldrin wrote:
chaps357 wrote:
Well, I kind of appreciate to have my cards in french, as not all my friends speak perect english.
But that's another problem
So would it be wise to use second edition rules with first edition cards?


It would work but some are a bit different. Check out the desiner notes on www.aresgames.eu for a complete list.

I don't have the Upgrade kit yet, but what I do to play 2 ed. with my 1 ed. set is to compile images of the modified event cards (the illustrations from the designer notes Veldrin mentioned) and have a print out for the FP player's reference. I marked a small dot on my 1 ed. version Ent cards, Path of the Woses, and Last Battle to remind the FP player to check the print out for the new text. In your case you will need to include a translation of the new card text on the print out as well. The changes to Gandalf the Grey and the Witch-king and the hobbits are minor so I would update your opponents verbally at the start and ensure they understand those and the other rule changes, like not having to be hidden to enter the Mordor track.
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Guillaume Chaput
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Ok thanks
 
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I would also be curious if the 2nd edition games end up taking longer when people start playing them? As the current editions take 6-9 turns and 3-4 hours to play. With the new action dice restriction rules and added dwarf in Erebor, will that make the 2nd edition games run 8-11+ turns and 4-5 hours?
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Craig Rose
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kwojtasz wrote:
I would also be curious if the 2nd edition games end up taking longer when people start playing them? As the current editions take 6-9 turns and 3-4 hours to play. With the new action dice restriction rules and added dwarf in Erebor, will that make the 2nd edition games run 8-11+ turns and 4-5 hours?

My first edition games without the expansion ran about 1.5-2 hours. Those with the expansion ran 2-3 hours.

When playing with the 2nd edition rules, the games ran about 2 hours.
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