Daniel Hill
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Aloha all!

I originally bought Lord of The Rings LCG way back when it first came out (even got a few of the expansions at the time of release.) However all those moons ago I was a lonely gamer and only played games solo. As such I sold this on after a couple of plays in favour of something else at the time.

But now, I’ve somehow managed to convince my lady friend to play games with me and we have a passion for Cooperative games (Pandemic, Ghost Stories etc.) I’m humming and ah-ing as to which game I should pick up next and remembered this one.

Would you recommend this as a GOOD co-operative game on par with Pandemic & Ghost Stories?

Theme is irrelevant to us but we do both have a soft spot for Middle Earth (not die hards…just a warm spot) is there enough familiarity with the core books and films (Hobbit, Fellowship, Two Towers & Return of the King.) in the cards is the flavour of them suitable for us? (ie not referring to all those darn elfs whose names begin with an F (I’m dyslexic and when attempting to read that it just seemed cruel.))

We tend to play games most nights to be fair and whilst not snobbish in what we play (guess who is on the shelf) we do prefer games with plenty of choices and descions and are euro gamers are heart (Agricola is a current favourite.) Does this game provide enough opportunities for discussions and planning (like Ghost Stories, which is hard but has been played something like 15 times in just over a month) or is it a case of excellent looking components with a built in ‘gotta have em all’ mentality for the expansions?

How meaningful are the decisions you make, Small World was a big flop basically because we felt we were simply going through the motions. Is this a game of I go here, you go there, I will fight him, you progress with the quest, ill brew the kettle, you travel there, pass me a biscuit, and increase the treat...

The only related card / deck building experience each of us have is Thunderstone (might not be deck building in traditional sense, but its all we have) How far into the expansions would you need to go in order to ensure the deck building aspect can be achieved at a semi decant level? (I was thinking all Shadows over Mirkwood, Hobbit Deluxe Expansions and the print on demand ones.) Although obviously I would start with the core set and see who we like it before committing some serious cash.

How difficult are the quests in these expansions? We are annoyingly in love with Ghost Stories because of its difficulty, we groan when we loose and often talk about what we should have done whilst cleaning up. It would seem that if the quests are difficult (and we loose) we could then alter our decks to better our chances of winning the quest (ie deck build.) But then if we only have 17 quests (I think from the expansion listed) We could soon remember what works best and easily fine tune our decks to win first time.

I don’t want this game to be a money sink and having to get the next expansion just to increase its life, I would like it to have enough replay value within the contents I stick with; does this seem achievable from the above list of expansions etc.

Also anyone know of a place to pick this and its expansions up on the cheap 

Apologise for the somewhat ramble, looking forward to your views and help with this.

Dan
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Dmitry Vensko
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LotR LCG is very strong as cooperative game. You'll have hard time to decide what to do together on very single step during its adventures.
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Dmitry Vensko
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And as to replayability - it's all up to you. Since it is very thematic game instead of just competitive you are free to try anything here. What would happen if Frodo with Bilbo will try that kind of adventure - is an example of what one could try.
 
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Tom Howard
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Marina del Rey
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Based on what you've written, I'd wager LOTR LCG would be a great fit for you two. While I'd be happy to play it with any number of players, I think 2-player is the sweet spot.

Actually, your fondness of Ghost Stories makes me think you guys could really get into this. As you mentioned, Ghost Stories can be very brutal at times, and you're not expected to win every time. LOTR shares some similarities in this regard. The encounter deck can be downright evil sometimes... but this game is all about risk management. There are a lot of choices to be made each and every round. Should I spend my resources now on cheap cards or save up for the more powerful ones? How many cards can I leave in the staging area without being bogged down in threat? I might be able to handle these two enemies, but what if they get dealt nasty shadow cards? etc. Just building a great deck will not "solve" a quest, hehe. You'll need to learn how best to play it. This gives quests lots of replay value.

I'll make another comparison to Ghost Stories. In that game, you're essentially trying to accomplish the same thing each game, but the layout of the village can be different (like your player deck in LOTR), and the order in which ghosts come off the deck can drastically change your strategies (same with the randomness of the encounter deck). Couple that with the fact that each quest in LOTR has you going up against a different encounter deck, and oftentimes you're trying to accomplish different goals. This makes it something I keep coming back to.

With the Core Set alone you get a handful of deck building options. Since there are 4 spheres of cards to work with, each of you could experiment with combining two spheres. At the beginning, it's probably worth building 30-card decks, and if you decide to get more expansions, you can then increase that to the standard 50-card decks as your card pool grows.

But I'd recommend picking up the Core Set, and sticking with that for a while. It has plenty of content for you guys to get an idea if this game is a proper fit for you.
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Thanee
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hildan wrote:
Would you recommend this as a GOOD co-operative game on par with Pandemic & Ghost Stories?


Definitely, yes!

Quote:
Theme is irrelevant to us but we do both have a soft spot for Middle Earth (not die hards…just a warm spot) is there enough familiarity with the core books and films (Hobbit, Fellowship, Two Towers & Return of the King.) in the cards is the flavour of them suitable for us?


Yeah, obviously, all of the "big names" are there.

Quote:
We tend to play games most nights to be fair and whilst not snobbish in what we play (guess who is on the shelf) we do prefer games with plenty of choices and descions and are euro gamers are heart (Agricola is a current favourite.) Does this game provide enough opportunities for discussions and planning (like Ghost Stories, which is hard but has been played something like 15 times in just over a month) or is it a case of excellent looking components with a built in ‘gotta have em all’ mentality for the expansions?


I don't understand the "or" here... aren't those two entirely different questions?

Anyways... there is lots of room for discussion, as you will have to decide on which heroes to send questing, which enemies to engage, which heroes to use in attack/defense, which events to use, which location to travel to, etc. And once you know the specific encounter deck, you can also start thinking about what could happen if you do this, or what could screw you up majorly, if you do that, and then see what you could potentially do to prevent it.

And while there is a strong incentive to get more and more expansions, they are not absolutely necessary.

Quote:
How meaningful are the decisions you make, Small World was a big flop basically because we felt we were simply going through the motions. Is this a game of I go here, you go there, I will fight him, you progress with the quest, ill brew the kettle, you travel there, pass me a biscuit, and increase the treat...


I think it will be best to try it out for yourselves to see how you like it as a cooperative game.

The thing is, there are a lot of decisions to be made even before you start the game (i.e. when building the decks). You can build decks that work hand-in-hand very well.

Quote:
The only related card / deck building experience each of us have is Thunderstone (might not be deck building in traditional sense, but its all we have) How far into the expansions would you need to go in order to ensure the deck building aspect can be achieved at a semi decant level? (I was thinking all Shadows over Mirkwood, Hobbit Deluxe Expansions and the print on demand ones.) Although obviously I would start with the core set and see who we like it before committing some serious cash.


A few expansions are certainly needed to get more options.

I would generally just go through them in order (i.e. Mirkwood, then Khazad-dum, then Dwarrowdelf, then Hobbit).

Dwarrowdelf has a lot of nice player cards.

Quote:
How difficult are the quests in these expansions? We are annoyingly in love with Ghost Stories because of its difficulty, we groan when we loose and often talk about what we should have done whilst cleaning up.


There is a wide range of difficulty. Some quests are fairly easy, some are really hard.

Quote:
It would seem that if the quests are difficult (and we loose) we could then alter our decks to better our chances of winning the quest (ie deck build.) But then if we only have 17 quests (I think from the expansion listed) We could soon remember what works best and easily fine tune our decks to win first time.


The quests are VERY different. What works in one, might not work in the other.

Quote:
I don’t want this game to be a money sink and having to get the next expansion just to increase its life, I would like it to have enough replay value within the contents I stick with; does this seem achievable from the above list of expansions etc.


There is a lot available currently. If you like the game well enough after getting the Core Set and some expansions, you will probably get the rest, too.

But you can buy them whenever you feel like it, so it isn't really that bad.

Quote:
Also anyone know of a place to pick this and its expansions up on the cheap


CSI is good.

Bye
Thanee
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Pauli Vinni
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It very fine co-operative game!

Other good alternatives are IMHO
- Arkham Horror
- BattleStar Galactica

But they both takes much longer time to play than LOTR lcg.

These three are among my top Co-operative games so for my opinion you can not go very wrong with this ;-)

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Mark Campo
United Kingdom
Manchester
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currently about 21 offical adventures with all expanison packs ( 2 cycles + mini 4 mini expansions).. +6 more still due current cycle
+ some fan made ones,, i think by Caleb and ninja dog probably others

+ its very hard to beat, though some people have a nack and have posted there wining decks online

recently played multi-players its good very diffrent and more interaction then solo,

talk like can you take that monster so it carn't get me, can you heal me, can you lower my threat.. do have enough to quest and defend,
then there making decks, mixing spheres,
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Dundy O
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Milwaukee
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As a solo player, this game is so difficult that I have long discussions with myself. There are times where three-quarters of the game is spent looking at the current board and attempting to decide what to do to mitigate impending doom.

It's what I love about this game. As you stated, if you are going to play this with someone else, the two of you may build decks that complement each other, but that still doesn't make it a boring affair. Those encounter decks can be brutal.

Sometimes monsters will overwhelm your quest, other times locations. You always fear when the treachery cards pop up, also.

There won't be regret if you buy this.
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Bobby Griggs
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I agree with all of the previous replies. I think you will find LOTR a fun and challenging game. 2-player LOTR is an engaging experience with tons of table talk and interesting decisions. It is also a very engaging solo experience. I find LOTR one of the stronger games in terms of immersion and I'm not a big Tolkien fan.

The beauty of the 2-player experience is that you can just grab two mono-decks in the core set and run and you will have a good time. Solo is a different story and requires more work in terms of deck building for later scenarios.

Another title to consider that provides a deeply immersive, cooperative experience is Space Hulk: Death Angel. SHDA provides that same feeling of accomplishment when you win that GS provides, but the theme might not hit the spot depending on your tastes.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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hildan wrote:
Would you recommend this as a GOOD co-operative game on par with Pandemic & Ghost Stories?

I would say it's a lot better than both of those games. Those games suffer a lot from the Alpha Gamer syndrome, the one player who knows the game better than everyone else, and so all players defer to him on what to do, and it ends up being a solo game. LotR doesn't have that aspect. There's a lot of discussion of what to do, but it's still up to the individual player to make decisions, etc. It's a really, really good co-op game.

And I'd say it's a great Lord of the Rings game. The only problem it suffers from thematically is if the players choose to break theme and create decks that are unthematic. If they stick with a thematic deck, then not only does it play more challenging, it also *feels* more like LotR and comes off as a great game

-shnar
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Rob Rob
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shnar wrote:
hildan wrote:
Would you recommend this as a GOOD co-operative game on par with Pandemic & Ghost Stories?

I would say it's a lot better than both of those games. Those games suffer a lot from the Alpha Gamer syndrome, the one player who knows the game better than everyone else, and so all players defer to him on what to do, and it ends up being a solo game. LotR doesn't have that aspect. There's a lot of discussion of what to do, but it's still up to the individual player to make decisions, etc. It's a really, really good co-op game.

And I'd say it's a great Lord of the Rings game. The only problem it suffers from thematically is if the players choose to break theme and create decks that are unthematic. If they stick with a thematic deck, then not only does it play more challenging, it also *feels* more like LotR and comes off as a great game

-shnar

I concur, the Alpha Player issue is minimized (as well as the "Two Player Solitaire" issue) and unless you intentionally try to "game it" there's tons of theme.
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Jim Jackson

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My wife is not a gamer, the majority of my close friends are not gamers. Therefore, I look for games that play well solo.

I own Pandemic, I own Ghost Stories, I own LotR LCG. Of the three LotR is the best by far for solo play. I have never seen a LotR movie, I did read the Hobbit. So theme is not an issue. It is an excellent game, that plays well solo (use two decks, and play as a two player game).

However, if your wife plays and each of you enjoy the theme, I think that it would be an excellent co-op that you both will enjoy. The mechanics are solid and the game is difficult, not as difficult as Ghost Stories, but close.

I would recommend that you buy at least the core game, and give it a try. It will be worth your investment. Far better than pandemic or ghost stories, especially if you and your wife are into LotR. As I stated above, I have never watched a LotR movie, but after playing this game, I intend to do so. It really is that good.
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Dundy O
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Falcon2 wrote:
My wife is not a gamer, the majority of my close friends are not gamers. Therefore, I look for games that play well solo.

I own Pandemic, I own Ghost Stories, I own LotR LCG. Of the three LotR is the best by far for solo play. I have never seen a LotR movie, I did read the Hobbit. So theme is not an issue. It is an excellent game, that plays well solo (use two decks, and play as a two player game).

However, if your wife plays and each of you enjoy the theme, I think that it would be an excellent co-op that you both will enjoy. The mechanics are solid and the game is difficult, not as difficult as Ghost Stories, but close.

I would recommend that you buy at least the core game, and give it a try. It will be worth your investment. Far better than pandemic or ghost stories, especially if you and your wife are into LotR. As I stated above, I have never watched a LotR movie, but after playing this game, I intend to do so. It really is that good.


What Falcon2 said. He's a smart man.
 
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This is a GREAT couples game.

You do not need to be a die hard fan of lord of the rings to enjoy this game. Basic familiarity with the concept is sufficient.

The scenarios can be quite challenging and reward players who tailor decks to fit each scenario.

We add even more challenge by doing the first play through of a scenario blind, meaning we don't know the winning conditions before we start. This often means we lose the first time around but it also adds more tension and drama to our plays.

The deck building is a real joy. We spend a lot of time discussing card combinations and deck strategies. This all leads up to playing a scenario, and, depending on how our decks perform, we then discuss again and see if we can't improve our decks.

All in all, we love this game. I definitely recommend it.
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