Sky Zero
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I've been enjoying LoTR: Fellowship for a few days now and have devised a solo experience that I'm finding quite enjoyable. The condition is to simply (or not so simply) defeat the evil that plagues Middle Earth with your battle worn team. The game uses a timer based on the stack of corruption cards plus the "Impossible Mode" cards. Defeat the Archenemies before corruption and Lurtz overtake Middle Earth!

Game Setup
1. Create the row of available cards for purchase. Any enemies drawn at game start get put on the bottom of the draw deck.

2. Setup the Archenemy deck as follows: Nazgul + two level 2 + two level 3 + Lurtz. Place this to the left of the row of cards.

3. Create a stack of cards using all Corruption + all Impossible Mode cards. Be sure the Corruption cards are put ON TOP of the Impossible Mode archenemy cards. Place the entire stack above the row of cards available for purchase (see below for setup).

4. Lastly, create your starting deck as normal and deal yourself 5 cards.




Gameplay
Play the game as normal drawing and playing 5 cards each round. Also be sure to follow the rules for row refill.

At the end of each round do the following:
1. Deal yourself 5 new cards face down

2. Flip over the next corruption card off the stack (see pic below). Thematically, the longer you take to defeat the Archenemies the stronger the corruption grows across Middle Earth!

3. Discard the TWO leftmost cards from the purchase row and slide the remaining cards to the left. Next replenish the row back up to 5 new cards. If an enemy card is not defeated and gets discarded, add a Corruption card to your discard pile from the stack. You just lost 1 turn. Thematically, the enemies survived your attacks and made it to the Archenemy to aid in support! This is a similar mechanic to "Legendary" for those familiar with that game.

4. Play your 5 cards, rinse and repeat. If you defeat an Archenemy on your turn DO NOT flip over a corruption card or add one to your discard if an enemy escapes. You've held off corruption for that turn!


Keep playing this way until all 6 archenemies are defeated OR you have to flip over the last card in the Corruption stack (which will be "Impossible Mode" Lurtz). If you have to turnover Lurtz....YOU LOSE!

Please Note: Corruption cards obtained through ambushes are pulled from the corruption card stack and reduce the amount of time you have to defeat the 6 Archenemies.



Summary
After a few turns I think you'll see this plays both quickly AND offers quite a challenge. My win percentage on Medium is around 20%. I've never won on Impossible mode. Here's a breakdown for difficulty:

Archenemy Deck & Difficulty
Medium = 6 Archenemies in the stack (Nazgul + 2Lvl2 + 2Lvl3 + Lurtz)
Hard = 7 Archenemies in the stack (Nazgul + 3Lvl2 + 2Lvl3 + Lurtz)
Impossible = 8 Archenemies in the stack (Nazgul + 3Lvl2 + 3Lvl3 + Lurtz)

Rules Errata
1. If an enemy makes it through the row without being defeated and only impossible mode cards remain in the corruption stack then simply flip over another card. The Archenemies have grown stronger and you still lost 1 turn.

2. Assume the draw deck is "Other Player" for all cards requiring you to do a random comparison of your card's power total against your opponent's card power total. Simply draw the top card of the draw deck and compare it's total against the card you've previously selected.

3. If a card says to have your opponent "discard" a random card, then simply discard the top card of the draw deck.
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Tomas Daniel
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I played your variants 5 times but i think it needs some improvements.. But nice idea.. thx
 
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Sky Zero
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Calmien wrote:
I played your variants 5 times but i think it needs some improvements.. But nice idea.. thx


Any improvements are welcome. Please share!
 
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Simon Wilcock
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Sounds interesting - I'm going to give it a go...

A quick question: The "Impossible archenemies" are not there to be attacked? Just to make the corruption stack (ie 'timer') bigger?

A quick suggestion: how about if an enemy is discarded by coming to the end of the row then his attack takes effect?
(so he ambushes coming in and attacks when he gets to the end of the line)

Just a thought, because I've not tried it yet, but it sounds like a fun idea.....
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Steerpike.Instance wrote:
Sounds interesting - I'm going to give it a go...

A quick question: The "Impossible archenemies" are not there to be attacked? Just to make the corruption stack (ie 'timer') bigger?

A quick suggestion: how about if an enemy is discarded by coming to the end of the row then his attack takes effect?
(so he ambushes coming in and attacks when he gets to the end of the line)

Just a thought, because I've not tried it yet, but it sounds like a fun idea.....


Interesting idea, the enemies attack when revealed and then attack if they escape. I'm assuming attack means ambush, correct? It could make the game easier since you wouldn't gain a corruption to your discard pile, but thematically it fits. I'll give the tweak a go tonight and report back!


Also, the impossible archenemies are there to extend the corruption deck. You are correct!

Anyone who tries the variant let me know your thoughts. Been having fun playing this one solo. It's a nice change of pace from playing Legendary solo.
 
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Simon Wilcock
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The Variant Review
No, I am using Ambush and Attack in their standard rulebook definitions. So the Ambush happens when an Enemy appears in the path, but an Attack takes effect when the card is played (or in this case drops off the end of the path; the discarding of the enemy effectively triggers an attack as if played by another player),

Of course not all enemies come with 'Attack' text (or Ambush for that matter)
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Steerpike.Instance wrote:
No, I am using Ambush and Attack in their standard rulebook definitions. So the Ambush happens when an Enemy appears in the path, but an Attack takes effect when the card is played (or in this case drops off the end of the path; the discarding of the enemy effectively triggers an attack as if played by another player),

Of course not all enemies come with 'Attack' text (or Ambush for that matter)


Yep, realized that when I played it last night. I did try with the ambush and attack and it certainly had make re-thinking card play throughout the game. I actually won a nail-biter on the very last turn before I would have been defeated hitting Lurtz with 14 power! I had taken a card drawing strategy the entire game and it paid off on my last turn because I literally drew 7 additional cards ramping my power up to 14! I'm going to give it a few more plays with the tweak to ensure it's as balanced as with the Corruption additions and will update the variant crediting your change. A few more plays should confirm its balance. Stay tuned!
 
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Simon Wilcock
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Pleased to be of some assistance

I've not had a chance to try this yet, but it's on my to do list.
Another question - do you still have the Valour cards available for purchase, as per the standard game?

I haven't yet broken open my 'Impossible cards', and am saving that treat for between 10-15 plays, so I want to preserve them in shrink wrap for now. With that in mind I was thinking of using Valour cards as additional counters, maybe at the top of the 'timing' stack. The fellowship starts with good intentions sauron

[Another option might be to choose say 10 valour and all the corruption and shuffle them up. Then when valour is the top of the countdown deck it can be bought but that speeds the clock up]
 
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Steerpike.Instance wrote:
Pleased to be of some assistance

I've not had a chance to try this yet, but it's on my to do list.
Another question - do you still have the Valour cards available for purchase, as per the standard game?

I haven't yet broken open my 'Impossible cards', and am saving that treat for between 10-15 plays, so I want to preserve them in shrink wrap for now. With that in mind I was thinking of using Valour cards as additional counters, maybe at the top of the 'timing' stack. The fellowship starts with good intentions sauron

[Another option might be to choose say 10 valour and all the corruption and shuffle them up. Then when valour is the top of the countdown deck it can be bought but that speeds the clock up]


More excellent ideas! And yep, feel free to use the valour cards instead of the "impossible mode" cards for the extra timer. Also, I do have the Valor cards available for purchase, i just don't find myself purchasing them but maybe once a game due to the continuous cycle of cards in the main row coming through.
 
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Reporting back and after a few more plays, I can say I prefer the variant as originally written for the enemies. Too easy to ignore them since some have no attack. Rules will stay as written.
 
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fair point but I think it is a shame to ignore the 'attack' text on a card - it is all part and parcel of the overall experience.

What about a tweak:
If an enemy has no attack text then a corruption is gained, when it is discarded, else play out the attack
 
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Steerpike.Instance wrote:
fair point but I think it is a shame to ignore the 'attack' text on a card - it is all part and parcel of the overall experience.

What about a tweak:
If an enemy has no attack text then a corruption is gained, when it is discarded, else play out the attack


That would increase the complexity a bit since a decision tree would be introduced for enemies, but I'll give it a play and see how the rhythm of the game plays out.
 
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Sam Leung
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Thanks for your awesome solo variant. I played it almost exactly but tried two things different to make it easier... Added a valor card. And also, when corruption cards are destroyed, they go back into the corruption timer pile. It might buy u some time. I do that when I play with ALL enemies int the basic deck. The impossible deck seemed to have effects that might work some cards have better dynamics in group play... So in solo it does seem easier to manage the impossible mode deck.

Had very interesting outcomes.

Am gonna try this cooperative and see how it works.

Thanks
Sam
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Skinnyspartan wrote:
Thanks for your awesome solo variant. I played it almost exactly but tried two things different to make it easier... Added a valor card. And also, when corruption cards are destroyed, they go back into the corruption timer pile. It might buy u some time. I do that when I play with ALL enemies int the basic deck. The impossible deck seemed to have effects that might work some cards have better dynamics in group play... So in solo it does seem easier to manage the impossible mode deck.

Had very interesting outcomes.

Am gonna try this cooperative and see how it works.

Thanks
Sam


Glad you enjoyed it. Never thought about returning corruption to the stack. Will keep that in mind if I find myself losing a few in a row!
 
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Dale Buonocore
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Thanks for this elegant little solitaire variant. Played it tonight for the first time at the "medium" difficulty level with Legolas, and won on the turn just before Impossible Mode Lurtz would have been revealed -- very cool! It played quite smoothly once I got a feel for the flow of it, and was very enjoyable.

Good job. Thanks again for sharing it.
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Hey sky zero, was wondering if u had a chance to play the new two towers deckbuilder?

Any thoughts on integrating it with this solo variant of yours? Might seem like it needs a lot more thought than what I was ready for yet, with a new wall mechanic, this could be potentially so much fun!


Sam
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Elad wrote:
Thanks for this elegant little solitaire variant. Played it tonight for the first time at the "medium" difficulty level with Legolas, and won on the turn just before Impossible Mode Lurtz would have been revealed -- very cool! It played quite smoothly once I got a feel for the flow of it, and was very enjoyable.

Good job. Thanks again for sharing it.


Glad you enjoyed it! It's a great little lunchtime solo variant for me.
 
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Skinnyspartan wrote:
Hey sky zero, was wondering if u had a chance to play the new two towers deckbuilder?

Any thoughts on integrating it with this solo variant of yours? Might seem like it needs a lot more thought than what I was ready for yet, with a new wall mechanic, this could be potentially so much fun!


Sam


I did not purchase the Two Towers set, but in reading through the rules, I've got an idea for an interesting solo experience. If I ever pick it up I'll do the full playtesting and write the rules to share. I'm currently in the middle of a really great Myrmes and Eclipse solo experience I'm hammering through. I'm really excited to share the Myrmes after a few more play-tests. It's really, really good.
 
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