simon cogan
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Can anyone help me with these conceptual ideas that I can’t get my head around!

1. Why do characters exhaust when they quest? What are they doing exactly? Why can they then not attack or defend, or indeed take any part in combat that the rest of the party? Are they foraging ahead, scouting for the way forward? If so, wouldn’t the monsters attack them rather than base camp?
2. How can you quest when you are being engaged by a monster that wasn’t killed last turn?
3. Why if you defend, you can then not attack? Are you that knackered!

And then some card issues:
4. Why does Eowyn have such a massive willpower of 4? That’s as much as Gandalf! Granted she resisted the Witch King, but still? It makes her a Character that will NEVER not quest during a Turn, thus will never enter combat!
5. Conversely, why does Legolas only have a willpower of 1 that makes him fairly mundane with questing? He’s an elf with attitude and proved himself more than capable of having good eyes and ears (!) who travels ‘light of foot’ and was a capable member of the Fellowship.
6. Why can’t Gleowine do anything with Song cards? He’s a minstrel, and the Lore one from HfG can? Granted Song cards never arrived in the Core Set but surely FFG knew they WERE coming…?
7. Why weren’t the keywords Ranged and Sentinel balanced for solo play?
8. Why does armour cards like Citadel Plate add to Hit Points (hate that term, why not use 'Health'?) rather than Defense?

I suggest some ‘house rules’ then (for me at least to test) to address the issues above. These might totally unbalance though and any opinions and feedback are welcomed:

(Also, I’m playing solo so am having a tough time of it and wanted to slightly – just slightly – tweak the game in my favour. The tweaks proposed might just hose enemies in a 2 player game. Although to balance it, you could start out with just 2 heroes each…)

1. When you commit a Character to a quest, they only exhaust if there is a card in the staging area or active location that has a greater Willpower than their own.
2. If an Enemy has left the staging area to engage you, skip the Quest and Travel phases of a Round, but add a card to the Staging area as normal. You do not add to your threat because of not commiting Characters to the quest (although threat increases by 1 as normal at the end of the Turn).
3. A Character does not exhaust to Defend.

To balance these, rather major changes, I also propose the following:

1. When an Enemy engages you, Defenders are chosen at random (shuffle your side, roll a die etc). This stops you throwing allies as sacrifices.
2. The total Willpower of Allies in your party can never be more than the total Willpower of Heroes and are sphere-linked. Neutral cards can come from any sphere. Discard any Allies at the end of a Turn that exceed your total. (This is a rule that is derived from MECCG actually).
3. Since Sentinel means ‘guardian’ or ‘protector’, a Character with Sentinel can exhaust to add their Defence to another Character.
4. A Character with Ranged can, if not a Defender, exhaust to attack deal 1 Damage to an engaged Enemy before the Enemy attacks (but reveal Shadow effect first)
5. To balance the underpowered Tactics sphere – Legolas become Willpower 2.
6. To balance the overpowered Spirit deck, Eowyn becomes Willpower 2
.

Anyone like to comment on the proposals?
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Jason
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dragoncymru wrote:
1. Why do characters exhaust when they quest? What are they doing exactly? Why can they then not attack or defend, or indeed take any part in combat that the rest of the party? Are they foraging ahead, scouting for the way forward? If so, wouldn’t the monsters attack them rather than base camp?


I find this odd as well. I think of a character's willpower as a measure of how well they can find a way forward, whether physically or mentally. It would make more sense to me if this attribute were "always on" and characters didn't have to exhaust to use it. A simple increase of the progress required for locations and quests should counterbalance it well enough.

Quote:
2. How can you quest when you are being engaged by a monster that wasn’t killed last turn?


This seems a bit more plausible to me, as I think of questing as finding a way forward, not necessarily going somewhere.

Quote:
3. Why if you defend, you can then not attack? Are you that knackered!


This is probably my biggest criticism of the game. To a degree, I understand why it was done. But it would have made more sense, in my opinion, to have combat be bi-directional and balance the game for that.

Quote:
4. Why does Eowyn have such a massive willpower of 4? That’s almost as much as Gandalf! Granted she resisted the Witch King, but still? It makes her a Character that will NEVER not quest during a Turn, thus will never enter combat!


Eowyn with 4 willpower doesn't bother me in itself, but compared to Frodo at 2, it doesn't seem consistent. Though, given the way questing and combat works, I think it's okay to have heroes specialized for one or the other.

Quote:
5. Conversely, why does Legolas only have a willpower of 1 that makes him fairly mundane with questing? He’s an elf with attitude and proved himself more than capable of having good eyes and ears (!) who travels ‘light of foot’ and was a capable member of the Fellowship.


There has to be some differentiation in attributes between spheres, or having separate spheres would be redundant. Legolas' willpower does seem low to me as well, but I don't recall him being a particularly willful character in the books.

Quote:
6. Why can’t Gleowine do anything with Song cards? He’s a minstrel, and the Lore one from HfG can? Granted Song cards never arrived in the Core Set but surely FFG knew they WERE coming…?


If all minstrels did something with song cards, that would get a bit tiring. Similar to above, there needs to be separation; too many similar cards is generally a bad thing (to an extent all the Dunedain cards bother me in this respect).

Quote:
7. Why weren’t the keywords Ranged and Sentinel balanced for solo play?


I completely agree, here. I really think ranged should allow characters to attack enemies in the staging area. It's a completely wasted ability in solo play, which is a shame given that elves with bows is pretty synonymous with LoTR.

Quote:
8. Why does being hurt cause you to lose Steward of Gondor?


Maybe I've been playing wrong, but I don't think it does.

Quote:
I suggest some ‘house rules’ then (for me) to address the issues above.
...
Anyone like to comment on the proposals?


Apologies for not commenting on the changes specifically. As you mentioned, these are major changes. The problem with such changes is that the cards are no longer really designed and balanced for the game you're playing. Obviously, you're free to house rule whatever you want, and the changes listed seem reasonable enough to try out.
 
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dragoncymru wrote:

Anyone like to comment on the proposals?


The thematic criticisms are perfectly reasonable, though I must say as a big Tolkien fan I have no trouble with the way the source material was stretched to provide a good game because, hey, it's a really good game!

To be honest most games deviate from their source quite a bit...

With regards to your changes, I think they are so dramatic that your 'compensation' changes don't counteract the way they would disrupt the intended AI built into the scenarios, or even the dynamics of deck construction. They're interesting, but kind of moot because I don't think you can possibly house rule enough to get the game back into any kind of balance with all of the expansions and quests.
 
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adorablerocket wrote:
dragoncymru wrote:

Anyone like to comment on the proposals?


With regards to your changes, I think they are so dramatic that your 'compensation' changes don't counteract the way they would disrupt the intended AI built into the scenarios, or even the dynamics of deck construction. They're interesting, but kind of moot because I don't think you can possibly house rule enough to get the game back into any kind of balance with all of the expansions and quests.


fair comment - although I'm going to have a great time playtesting them!

I just get so frustrated with the jarring fact that my heroes are always 'split' between questing' and 'combat'.

Already I'm thinking of tweaking the rules I proposed.
 
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If I had time, this is what I would have written, Great job!

jobes2007 wrote:
dragoncymru wrote:
Can anyone help me with these conceptual ideas that I can’t get my head around!

1. Why do characters exhaust when they quest? What are they doing exactly? Why can they then not attack or defend, or indeed take any part in combat that the rest of the party? Are they foraging ahead, scouting for the way forward? If so, wouldn’t the monsters attack them rather than base camp?
2. How can you quest when you are being engaged by a monster that wasn’t killed last turn?
3. Why if you defend, you can then not attack? Are you that knackered!

And then some card issues:
4. Why does Eowyn have such a massive willpower of 4? That’s almost as much as Gandalf! Granted she resisted the Witch King, but still? It makes her a Character that will NEVER not quest during a Turn, thus will never enter combat!
5. Conversely, why does Legolas only have a willpower of 1 that makes him fairly mundane with questing? He’s an elf with attitude and proved himself more than capable of having good eyes and ears (!) who travels ‘light of foot’ and was a capable member of the Fellowship.
6. Why can’t Gleowine do anything with Song cards? He’s a minstrel, and the Lore one from HfG can? Granted Song cards never arrived in the Core Set but surely FFG knew they WERE coming…?
7. Why weren’t the keywords Ranged and Sentinel balanced for solo play?
8. Why does being hurt cause you to lose Steward of Gondor?


I suggest some ‘house rules’ then (for me) to address the issues above. These might totally unbalance though and any opinions and feedback are welcomed:

(Also, I’m playing solo so am having a tough time of it and wanted to slightly – just slightly – tweak the game in my favour. The tweaks proposed might just hose enemies in a 2 player game. Although to balance it, you could start out with just 2 heroes each…)

1. When you commit a Character to a quest, they only exhaust if there is a card in the staging area or active location that has a greater Willpower than their own.
2. If an Enemy has left the staging area to engage you, skip the Quest phase of the Turn, including Travel. You do not add to your threat because of not commiting Characters to the quest (although threat increases by 1 as normal at the end of the Turn).
3. A Character does not exhaust to Defend.

To balance these, rather major changes, I also propose the following:

1. When an Enemy engages you, Defenders are chosen at random (shuffle your side, roll a die etc). This stops you throwing allies as sacrifices.
2. The total Willpower of Allies in your party can never be more than twice your total Willpower of Heroes and are sphere-linked. Neutral cards can come from any sphere. Discard any Allies at the end of a Turn that exceed your total. (This is a rule that is derived from MECCG actually).
3. Since Sentinel means ‘guardian’ or ‘protector’, a Character with Sentinel can exhaust to add their Defence to another Character.
4. A Character with Ranged can, if not a Defender, exhaust to attack an engaged Enemy before the Enemy attacks (but reveal Shadow effect first
5. To balance the underpowered Tactics sphere – Legolas become Willpower 2.
6. To balance the overpowered Spirit deck, Eowyn becomes Willpower 2
7. Steward of Gondor is not lost when the Character takes Damage but can only exhaust if there are 3 Characters with Gondor (including the Character to which Steward is attached).

Anyone like to comment on the proposals?


Well, let's see if I can tackle all these:

1.) I have always thought of it as them going to work on progress while the other characters are watching their backs. Like, maybe Eowyn is following a passage and Gimli and Legolas are at her side to defend her because she is weak. Since they are focused on watching the area around them, they cannot track or find a trail, or whatever the goal of the quest is.
2.) Running? If you think about it in the movies most of the action doesn't take place in just one single area, they are constantly moving around. When fighting someone Aragorn isn't going to simply stand there in front of him and trade blows till one dies. For example, in the second part of Journey Down the Anduin they are on a raft. They're not stopping the raft in order to fight, but rather monsters are getting on the raft, and the fight continues. Eowyn is steering (exhausting to commit to the quest) while Aragorn and Thalin are engaging the enemies.
3.) I have viewed this as all the attacks happening simultaneously. The Dul Guldor Orcs are swinging their axe towards Aragorn, and he raises a shield to block it. After the attack hits, but while Aragorn is still readying into an offensive stance, rather than a defensive one, Legolas unloads an arrow into the Orcs side.

4.) If we're putting this in terms of theme, constantly throughout the story she is denied the opportunity to fight. I believe the quests are supposed to take place in between the time of The Hobbit and Fellowship, so during this time I don't believe Eowyn was in any combat. Rather, she was trying desperately to help in different ways, which she was constantly denied. This strengthened her resolve and she was determined to prove herself, hence the strong willpower.
5.) While I would agree with you I think this is more than made up for by his ability. Legolas is involved in almost every conflict that he's near, and is constantly someone that pushes the group into the win. That's how he contributes so much. Or, because he is amazing with a bow and arrow, he is shooting enemies to slow their progress so that others can focus on the different skills needed the progress of the Fellowship.
6.) Uh, I got nothing. Honestly, at this point, I would say that his ability, thematically, is that he's telling stories or using his charisma which inspires people, makes them learn more, or convinces allies to join (represented by the card draw). But that's kind of a stretch.
7.) They are, in my opinion. Aragorn doesn't need to defend anyone else when you're playing solo, because there is no one else to defend. So, he can focus purely on the task at hand. When you're playing 2P, assuming you have 1 core set, normally one of the players is a little more squishy, so Aragorn has to dedicate his time to blocking his fellow heroes, and the heroes of the other player. Also, the Ranged keyword is used in certain scenarios as a prerequisite to engage (attack or defend against) certain enemies, and I would use the same logic regarding Legolas as I did with Aragorn.
8.) I don't think that happens? Could you point to the rule in the text which has lead you to this interpretation, as I could be mistaken.

Whew! That was a doozy. I hope at least some of those answers work for you, however I would also say that instead of focusing on very small peculiarities with the theme of the game, it's good to look at how much it got right. The game is great for even a casual Tolkien fan, such as myself, so I think that's something to remember.
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Unfortunately (or fortunately) the way this game works is the basis for all future cards and expansions. I feel that as you slowly add more cards and options grow, you start to shift focus from the basic set feeling (concerns you have brought up) to more enjoyment on custom deck building to solve problems.

At first, I hated the fact that I could not have "one deck to rule them all" but soon realized that especially as a solo game, it is actually BETTER and more bang for your buck to have to learn to deck construct.

I have never liked deck construction, but because I can play solo and not have to wait in-between sessions with friends who to play against, you can play-fail-re tune the deck. over and over until you find your solution that works most of the time.

It doesn't bother me that characters cannot attack and defend at the same time because it was obviously balanced against the evil deck and had to be so with the cards they wanted to use in the future. (There are many cards that make characters ready to be able to do both Boromir, Prince Imrahil, Unexpected courage etc.)

The only problem I have is that sometimes the game can punish you very heavily because just the right cards came up to completely destroy your chances of winning.

Just my .02
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No, I understand what everyone is saying here and i think now having played through some playtesting, i'm going to crank back on the changes I proposed as they're not necessary.

Certainly the random defender idea was clumsy and i'm going to live with an defender exhausting (if I retain the right to choose that defender)

Sure, one or two cards bug me thematically (Legolas, Eowyn, Citadel Plate) but that's small potatoes considering the rest of the game is so rich.

I think I will keep the questing tweak of not exhausting unless a card in the staging or active location has greater Will (not that much actually - lots of encounter cards have Will of 3 or greater - Brown Lands on 5 Will is a hoser!)and the Ally restriction to counter this.

i'm also keeping the 'no Quest if you are engaged' tweak

Both these help my thematic (and simple) brain.

I will also factor in my considerations of Ranged and Sentinel for solo play until FFG release cards that factor them for me.

In addition, I think I'll tweak the cards individually in my games - Legolas gets 2 Will (and increases threat naturally), Eowyn becomes 3 Will (and reduces threat), Citadel Plate will add +2 Defence rather than hit points (why didn't they use 'Health' - much more elegant!)

I sure am enjoying this game and to see all the fan made quests is fantastic!
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I usually play solo. My house rule IS that Ranged cards CAN attack the staging area. Period.
 
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cooldadofgirlz wrote:
I usually play solo. My house rule IS that Ranged cards CAN attack the staging area. Period.


I thought of that one but was worried that 'big enemies' that don't attack until high threat, will get picked off like pin cushions!

I also think of the staging area as 'in the distance' as it were - horses migt charge there (hence Dunhere's ability) but it's too far for bows etc.
 
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jobes2007 wrote:
dragoncymru wrote:
No, I understand what everyone is saying here and i think now having played through some playtesting, i'm going to crank back on the changes I proposed as they're not necessary.

Certainly the random defender idea was clumsy and i'm going to live with an defender exhausting (if I retain the right to choose that defender)

Sure, one or two cards bug me thematically (Legolas, Eowyn, Citadel Plate) but that's small potatoes considering the rest of the game is so rich.

I think I will keep the questing tweak of not exhausting unless a card in the staging or active location has greater Will (not that much actually - lots of encounter cards have Will of 3 or greater - Brown Lands on 5 Will is a hoser!)and the Ally restriction to counter this.

i'm also keeping the 'no Quest if you are engaged' tweak

Both these help my thematic (and simple) brain.

I will also factor in my considerations of Ranged and Sentinel for solo play until FFG release cards that factor them for me.

In addition, I think I'll tweak the cards individually in my games - Legolas gets 2 Will (and increases threat naturally), Eowyn becomes 3 Will (and reduces threat), Citadel Plate will add +2 Defence rather than hit points (why didn't they use 'Health' - much more elegant!)

I sure am enjoying this game and to see all the fan made quests is fantastic!


I'm not going to stop you from doing anything you want, play the game however you like it. But, personally, I feel like +2 Defense off of Citadel Plate is huge. With that and a Dunedain I could push Denethor to 6 blocking, add on 2 more dunedains and another citadel plate, 10 defense. That's just unstoppable.

But, again, as long as it's not too overpowered for you, go for it. I'd like to know how all your changes work, if you wouldn't mind updating us.


Well all tweaks have to go against playtesting and what seems like perfectly fine rules in your head break down when you get to the table.

With citadel plate for example, it bugs me (thematically) that Gimli can wear 2 sets and get 12 HP and thus +11 Attack if he gets wounded. plus of course if he takes the armour off, he's dead!

I would have much rather had 'weapon' and 'armour' than 'restricted' as keywords

I'll keep you updated...
 
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Quote:
I thought of that one but was worried that 'big enemies' that don't attack until high threat, will get picked off like pin cushions!

A way to counter that would be a rule that says: Once an enemy in the staging area is dealt damage by a ranged attacker, it immediately engages the player controlling that attacker.

Quote:
I also think of the staging area as 'in the distance' as it were - horses migt charge there (hence Dunhere's ability) but it's too far for bows etc.

The snipers' bows seem to be able to cover the distance nicely.
 
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simon cogan
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True about the bows - but they deal 1 Damage rather than Attack.

Could be the same wth Ranged I suppose
 
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Boghog
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Yep. And for enemies with a lot of defense 1 damage per round is nice to get while making sure it stays in the staging zone and doesn't hurt you back.
 
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Dan Marler
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Resolution to picking off enemies resting in the staging area...
If the ranged character is exhausted to do damage to an enemy in the staging area, the enemy immediately engages the player. also if a ranged character has an attack strength of 2, I treat this as 2 separate arrows for upto 2 separate enemies, but not to inflict 2 damage to one enemy. In other words, i treat the attack strength as if it were the quantity of enemies by which I can inflict a single damage to in the staging area & force an engagement from the target(s). I don't see the need in this taking the place of your one choice engagement as in most cases I find myself being quite cautious with it.

I also consider an enemy already engaging me to be to close for a ranged attack. I wouldn't want to accidentally inflict damage to one of my heros!

i also treat a sentinel character in solo play as if it can block 2 attackers. This has yet to play out in my favor but thematically seems more realistic than rubbing off said characters defensive attributes onto another. Usually the full brute force of 2 enemies, shadow included, ends up killing off the sentinel. However it saves me from an occasional ambush brought on by a surge.
 
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