A Brief Foray into Other Games

Though the purpose of this blog is to focus on our beloved game, it’s not the only game that occupies my leisure hours. I thought I’d highlight a few of my other gaming pursuits when I’m resting my LOTR:LCG cards. (You can check out my whole board game collection here.)

With a whole day ahead of me and some equally nerdy board game friends gathered aroundI’ll play Here I Stand, a deep, crunchy card-driven game of politics and religion for six players. Yeah, you’re right–I’ve out-nerded the nerds with this one. The attention to detail in this game is incredible, and the theme is something I’m intensely interested in: the Protestant Reformation.

With a few hours to space and just one nerdy board game friend around, I’ll usually default to one of three war games from GMT. The first is the flawless Twilight Struggle, still rated as one of the best board games of all time years after its release. The second is my favorite iteration of the Commands and Colors series, Napoleonics. The third is the somewhat more abstract Manoeuvre.

With a few hours to spare and my family gathered around, I default to more Euro style games because they avoid direct conflict. Lords of Waterdeep, Power Grid, and 7 Wonders are my top choices.

In short, I’m a card-driven wargamer at heart, one who loves direct competition in games. This runs counter to the personality streak, common in my neck of the woods, to avoid confrontation. However, if I’m not in the mood for direct competition, I’d rather play a co-op game like LOTR:LCG than a game of indirect competition, such as a classic Euro.

Next week I’ll return to the usual fare, but expect sometime in the future a look at my Steam library too. Until next time, dear readers: mára mesta: good journeys!

Sagas: Is Anyone Using Road Darkens or Land of Shadow Frodo?

three_frodos

After torrential downpours this week led to, among other things, a really slow commute today, I was able to listen to all of the Grey Company’s most recent episode. I always enjoy listening to their Book Club episodes, which are second only to their cycle review episodes. For a few moments they batted around the question of Fellowship Frodo and how to build with him. I have three (!) campaigns going at the moment: one with my wife, one with a college buddy, and one two-handed solo. In each case, I’ve used Black Riders Frodo to great success, since the ability to shuffle a bad card away and draw another one is incredibly powerful. This is especially important in Saga mode, when surging burdens can chain together and wreck your day pretty quickly.

I’ve not been so lucky with The Road Darkens Frodo or The Land of Shadow Frodo. Don’t get me wrong–I’ve tried them, but they just don’t work well for me. In the case of the first, the benefit is obvious: “This attack deals no damage.” But consider what must be paid to achieve that affect:

  • Frodo must exhaust
  • You must pay 1 Fellowship resource
  • Each player raises his threat by two
  • You must exhaust the One Ring (!)

Goodness. Stack that up against all the combat control cards on Hall of Beorn. Not a single one of that requires you to pay that must to, in essence, mimic of Feint.

Frodo Baggins from The Land of Shadow is a bit better–pay 1 Fellowship resource and exhaust the One Ring to give him +2 attack and +2 willpower. However, if you want to use both, you’ve got to get some kind of readying on him. Again, it seems a bit too steep a price, especially when you consider Halfling Determination exists.

So, why is Black Riders Frodo so good? It’s because there are so few cards that can outright cancel the effects of a card. Granted, he’s not as powerful as A Test of Will because his ability means you still must shuffle the card back into the encounter deck, but there’s always a chance it will be discarded in some other way, for instance, as a dud shadow effect.

So, readers, what are your feelings on the Fellowship sphere Frodos? Who is a stud, and who is a dud?

Deck Terminology

I played Hearthstone avidly for about one year. In that time, I learned the terminology, originally pulled from Magic: the Gathering, to describe certain types of decks.

Over on Reddit, a thread was started about deck types, and in response to the original poster, WingfootRanger wrote a short essay that adapted these M:tG deck terms to our beloved card game. However, the terms don’t really seem to translate properly in all cases. Decktypes like “handlock” don’t even exist in LOTR:LCG, which begs the question: should we be borrowing from another game’s slang to describe our own? Or should we be using our own sort of shorthand to describe LOTR decks?

What do you think? Are there universal terms that are applicable to all CCGs/LCGs? Or do the wise among us need to put their heads together and create some terminology for LOTR:LCG, and use it in such a way that it will stick?