micro mantis

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I've seen reviews and some gameplay of these games, are they similar mechanically?

To those who have experienced both which do you prefer and why? Sentinels seems to polarize reviewers quite a bit, the game looks fun but I'm afraid that in play I may be less enthusiastic, some seem to feel the continual damage dealing both sides (and its book keeping) becomes a bit tedious

I'm considering a purchase of either for solo play.

thankyou.

 
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Miguel
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I play both, and definitely prefer The Lord of the rings game for solo play. I like Sentinels as well, but prefer playing with others. partly, the problem is that it doesn't play well with less than 3 heroes, so if you are playing solo you have to manage the three characters. Not a huge deal, but it didn't do much for me.

that being said, to enjoy lotr, you need to enjoy deck-building. if you don't, you probably won't like the game. I do, and although there are many reasons I prefer LOTR, here are two of the biggest reasons.

1) LOTR has missions, with new missions released monthly. Each mission is a different challenge so the game stays fresh. Reconfiguring your deck to address the new missions, and integrating new cards along the way, is a lot of fun in this system. Even playing scenarios multiple times with different decks can completely change the feel of the game. Lots of replayability here.

2) there is more depth to the game. Sentinels has small pre constructed decks with multiple copies of the same cards to boot. If you have played Summoner Wars, this is very similar as far as that goes (please note that I also quite like summoner Wars). LOTR has so many cards that there are simply more ways it can play out, and more strategies to explore.

As I said before, I like sentinels as well. Depth-wise it's similar to summoner wars. I find it goes long for what it offers, though, and the book keeping can get annoying (the main reasons: every card that is played by the villains and environment cards can have a lasting effect, and so you have to read every card with frequency to make sure you remember everything. To make things worse, most effects are "start of turn" or "end of turn" and yet you have to read through every card to find these because incredibly they didn't think it was worth highlighting the terms or placing them in specific places on the cards to make these effects easier to find).

Good luck with your search!
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micro mantis

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Miguel.

Thanks for that input. Some of the negatives you mention are mirrored by others, especially the book keeping.

I do like the idea of the fixed deck as i'm not sure the lure of 'living cards' is something I want to explore. Admittedly either game can be had for $25 so quite well priced so its not too big a risk to get either.

Some suggest that sentinels is very difficult too but I wonder if this is a design 'flaw' or something fixed by careful play where possible, Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game gets called very difficult but it can seemingly be overcome with very careful play.



 
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Miguel
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A word of warning: the LOTR base set is not very good on its own. In fact, one of the included quests is so hard it's almost unbeatable with the included cards. I know I'm not doing my own recommendation any favors, but if you decide to go this route plan on buying a few of the expansion packs (or the Kazahd'um deluxe expansion) and try it. The included easy quest will give you a good idea of whether you like the game or not. The 2nd quest is a test to find out if you like deck-building, because it's extremely hard with the wrong deck, but extremely manageable with a deck built for it. The 3rd is almost impossible with only the cards included in the be set. I actually almost traded it away at that point, but then traded for a second base set and some expansions and have now played it more (far more) than any other game in my collection.

Comparatively, I played Sentinels once and found it kind of lacking. I enjoy playing it with the family though, but I do wish it was shorter.
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micromantis wrote:


Some suggest that sentinels is very difficult too but I wonder if this is a design 'flaw' or something fixed by careful play where possible


I'm pretty sure that mathematically it's not possible to do well with less than 3 heroes unless you use some of the tricks posted in the variants forums. There is an attempt to balance for the number of heroes, but its better at balancing between 3 and 4 rather than solo. In most solo games, the bad guy acts after every player turn which automatically scales the game difficulty more or less according to the number of players. In sentinels, the villain acts once after all players.

What I like about sentinels is the simplicity of grabbing a deck and just being that hero (again, summoner wars is a perfect analogy here). This is what puts it ahead of Marvel Legendary for me.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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agent easy wrote:
I like Sentinels as well, but prefer playing with others. partly, the problem is that it doesn't play well with less than 3 heroes, so if you are playing solo you have to manage the three characters. Not a huge deal, but it didn't do much for me.

I agree. I don't like playing multiple personalities in any game.

Quote:
that being said, to enjoy lotr, you need to enjoy deck-building. if you don't, you probably won't like the game.

Very true. I wish I had read this advice before obtaining LotR:LCG. My wife and I played a few times, and then we traded it away.

Quote:
As I said before, I like sentinels as well. Depth-wise it's similar to summoner wars. I find it goes long for what it offers, though, and the book keeping can get annoying (the main reasons: every card that is played by the villains and environment cards can have a lasting effect, and so you have to read every card with frequency to make sure you remember everything. To make things worse, most effects are "start of turn" or "end of turn" and yet you have to read through every card to find these because incredibly they didn't think it was worth highlighting the terms or placing them in specific places on the cards to make these effects easier to find).

Based on a couple plays (of a friend's copy), I think this is very accurate too. It seems like the combination of heroes+villain+environment can vary greatly in both complexity and difficulty (of winning). That's good if you can fine-tune it, but it means you can't just randomly pick your decks without thought.
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micro mantis

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thanks again for the inputs.

Of the two sentinels seems to be the one that is more accessible from the box, I don't really want to invest much past the base games initially and i'm not a fan of the deck building idea. I'm aiming to have a small but diverse set of solo-able games that have varied styles and/or complexity. So far Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game, Defenders of the Realm and Forbidden Islandwork for me but was wanting a card mechanic game and another 'spatial puzzler' (ghost stories likely in that case).

I'm currently following blackbeltgamings play through on youtube so hopefully that should help.

 
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Miguel
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Ghost stories is an excellent choice!

Based on your preferences, sentinels is likely the game for you. If you like something simple out of the box, have you looked into Friday?
It's pretty good too.
 
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Sentinels of the Multiverse is one of my favourite solo games. Playing three or four heroes really isn't that much of a hassle. I've tried Lord of the Rings LCG too but I got rid of it as I found it to be too athematic optimization excersize. In my opinion Sentinels is easier to play, has more thematic fun and a more charming art style.
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agent easy wrote:
A word of warning: the LOTR base set is not very good on its own. In fact, one of the included quests is so hard it's almost unbeatable with the included cards. I know I'm not doing my own recommendation any favors, but if you decide to go this route plan on buying a few of the expansion packs (or the Kazahd'um deluxe expansion) and try it. The included easy quest will give you a good idea of whether you like the game or not. The 2nd quest is a test to find out if you like deck-building, because it's extremely hard with the wrong deck, but extremely manageable with a deck built for it. The 3rd is almost impossible with only the cards included in the be set. I actually almost traded it away at that point, but then traded for a second base set and some expansions and have now played it more (far more) than any other game in my collection.

Comparatively, I played Sentinels once and found it kind of lacking. I enjoy playing it with the family though, but I do wish it was shorter.


Agreed re LOTR I found the game OK with one base set. Then a second base set made it a lot more interesting and less frustrating.

Highly recommend Death Angel too!
 
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Neil L

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I own and play both of these solo. Sentinels is a less satisfying solo experience for the reasons listed above-- playing 3 heroes solo can devolve into a bookkeeping exercise.

LOTR is a fantastic game but does require quite a bit of preparation (deck construction). Thematically I find it quite immersive.

I would second the above recommendation of Death Angel; a very tense, thematic solo experience.

I would also add that Friday is quite a good solo game (it is in fact only a solo game).

Both of these also have the advantage of coming in very compact boxes-- when I travel on business I throw one or both in my bag to play in the hotel.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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micromantis wrote:
So far Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game, Defenders of the Realm and Forbidden Islandwork for me but was wanting a card mechanic game and another 'spatial puzzler' (ghost stories likely in that case).

There are other cooperative card games:
Shadowrift
Rune Age (one scenario in base game; more w/ expansion)
Hanabi

Of those, I have only played Rune Age, and the co-op isn't good enough for me to keep the game just for that. If I also liked pvp competitive games, it would be a keeper.
 
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Andre Lucato
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LotR is a great a neat game.
Sentinels oTM, while it's not a bad game, for me it feels like it has lacked some major polish. The never ending bookkeeping made my experience with it rather frustrating.
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micro mantis

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replying to various posters.

I do feel that sentinels seems a bit unpolished, it's like the game needs tweaking in several areas but the guts of it seem fun, it reminds me of a Capcom marvel super heroes fighting videogame which are a lot of fun if seemingly full of unbalanced characters. The book keeping still makes me wonder if I will enjoy it overall though.

The other recommendations I will look at, I own death angel and really like it, I find its deliberate scaling and difficulty welcome, I get a bit further each game and always want to have another go to win, plus I enjoy the way it plays, I can lose dramatically but its still satisfying because I know with planning and luck I can win at some point. SHDA seems very tight, the system is simple but the execution of just those 3 tactics per team make for a lot of variation and forward planning, like forbidden island it lacks fluff and is good for it (I don't mind a bit of fluff, I find defenders of the realm a bit fluffier if more epic but I like it when that itch comes)

I am not playing it (SHDA)again though 'til I get some sleeves, the cards get beat up easily!

 
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Jose Negron
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I have sentinels and I don't like playing multiple characters and bookkeeping at all. That being said, playing multiple heroes in sentinels is very easy as you only play one card a turn and the hand limit is very small. The bookkeeping does stink IF you have the basic version which doesnt have counters. You can get the enhanced edition or the ios app which helps ALOT.

The variant about using the unusued heroes incapacitated side is the best veriant IMO that makes playing 2 heroes very balanced.

I never played LotR but that's because it was a LCG and at the time I knew the base set is virtually unplayable for one of the missions in it, which forces an additional purchase I didn't want.
 
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Craig McRoberts
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Quote:

Based on a couple plays (of a friend's copy), I think this is very accurate too. It seems like the combination of heroes+villain+environment can vary greatly in both complexity and difficulty (of winning). That's good if you can fine-tune it, but it means you can't just randomly pick your decks without thought.

I've not given thought to matching up the right team with the right villain and environment much in a while. Once you become familiar with how the cards work, it seems possible to win (though more difficultly, in some situations) regardless of who's in the game. That being said, familiarity definitely plays a part in that.

Regarding solo play, I've not tried it, so I have nothing useful to add.
 
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This is a really tough decision for me. I like the gameplay in Lord of the Rings more, but Sentinels is so much easier to just grab off the shelf and play. My biggest problem with Sentinels is that, as Robert from BlackBeltGaming put it, "I feel like a cashier." You're always swapping out those health tokens and making change. I think a more elegant solution, maybe like the threat tracker in LotR would be nice.
 
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Jeff McCarroll
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I too own both and enjoy both for different reasons. If you have an idevice, there is a wonderful app for Sentinels called "Sentinels Sidekick" that not only deals with all the bookeeping (all the tokens stay in the box) but also can randomly generate heroes, villian and environment.

The app to me is a must have for solo play. I think it cost $1.99. I havent touched LotR in a very long time where as I play SotMV at least once a week.
 
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LotR is a much worse game out of the box and a much better game when several expansions are added. I would say if you're curious about it, you can get a taste of what it's like with one base set, but plan on picking up a second base set and a number of small expansions to really flesh out the game. A single base set by itself probably wouldn't provide more than 12 hours of gameplay before it felt too limited.

SotM is very similar in style, but not as brutal, "built" toward 4 players/characters, and lacks any official deckbuilding. That said it's a VERY easy game to play and teach, and is still a challenge in the 3-4 hero range.
 
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micromantis wrote:
I don't really want to invest much past the base games initially and i'm not a fan of the deck building idea.


In that case, I would stay away from the LotR LCG. Deck construction is a huge part of this game, and if you are not interested in it, you won't really enjoy it.

Some solo(able) games, which are very much worth a look:

Mage Knight Board Game
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island

Bye
Thanee
 
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micro mantis

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thanks all for further input!

Mageknight sure looks interesting but as I find even the relatively simple Defenders of the Realm quite long (2 hours typically) that might be for another time!

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Jose Negron
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micromantis wrote:
thanks all for further input!

Mageknight sure looks interesting but as I find even the relatively simple Defenders of the Realm quite long (2 hours typically) that might be for another time!



Totally different games. Mage Knight is very, very fun but requires a bit of planning. If you like minimal deck building while you play(it's a mechanic in the game but not the entire game) and love adventure, exploring, fighting, and solo, you will LOVE this game.

Defenders is a great game as well. A little less going on and it's not an exploring game. That being said, this game can spin out of control if not planning efficiently.

I love them both and love SotM as well. I own all 3 and play them for different reasons. It all depends on the itch I wanna scratch. I own all the expansions to each and dont regret buying any of them.
 
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