zwischenzug (ZVI-shen-tsoog) — noun

A chess tactic in which a player, instead of playing the expected move, first interpolates another move, changing the situation to the player's advantage (such as gaining material or avoiding what would otherwise be a strong continuation for the opponent).

Showing posts with label awesomeness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label awesomeness. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

King of Fillers: A King of Tokyo Review



We normally don’t play many fillers in our gaming group.  For the most part, we know each other well enough that we spend time catching up before we start playing.  I have been trying to curtail that, since we have plenty of time while gaming to catch up, and we are trying to limit the session to four hours.  A couple of weeks ago we had a couple of people running late, so a filler was in order.  King of Tokyo was what made it to the table, since it met the player count and wasn’t too long.  Did we like it?  Well, we finished with it too…

Promotional Image
King of Tokyo is meant to be a light game where each player takes on the role of a giant monster attacking Tokyo.  There is light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek humor which is evident from the moment players start selecting their monsters from the pool consisting of Meka-Dragon, Cyber Bunny and Alienoid.  During the course of the game, each monster will gain special powers, helping them defeat the other monsters (by doing damage) or lay waste to Tokyo (by gaining victory points).  Players win by either gaining 20 victory points or by eliminating all other monsters.

Here’s the thumbnail version of the rules.  On their turn, each player picks up a handful of dice and rolls them Yahtzee-style.  Each die has six sides with the same faces: the numbers 1, 2 and 3 as well as a claw, a heart and a lightning bolt.  The dice are rolled up to three times, with the player selecting which dice to keep and which to re-roll each time.   Rolling three numbers of a kind awards that many victory points.  In other words, rolling three 1’s gives 1 victory point; rolling three 2’s gives 2 victory points.  Rolling a claw is an attack, rolling a heart heals, and rolling a lightning bolt awards the player with an energy cube.  Energy cubes are the currency of the game, and are used to buy cards that give the special abilities mentioned before.  Players outside of Tokyo damage the one player inside the city (two in a five or six player game), and vice versa.  I won’t go into details on how one gets to Tokyo.  Suffice it to say that being in the city is a higher risk / higher reward position, and there are ways to force people into Tokyo.

I won with Alienoid in the first game, but he let me down
in the second! (Image by Raiko Puust)
This is a GREAT game!  In the first game, I won by being the last monster standing.  I had the chance to move into Tokyo on a turn late in the game.  On my next turn, I played an “Air Strike” card which dealt everyone – including me – three points of damage.  I then rolled four claws, doing damage to everyone outside the city and eliminating them all!  Since it was a six player game, it was just between myself and the other player inside Tokyo.  A couple of turns later there was a showdown and I barely won.

The second game lasted a little longer, and resulted in a victory point win for one of the other members of the group.  On one hand, this was a little less climactic, since only two people were eliminated (including me).  On the other hand, a longer game allowed more special powers to be put in play, and there’s some drama and humor to be gained that way, so it was just as fun!  Cards with titles such as, “We’re Only Making It STRONGER!”, this game begs to be played in your best B-grade creature feature voice.  In fact, part of the fun (at least for me) is going over the top with this.

The cards add special powers to the monsters, not to mention some corny humor!  (Image by Raiko Puust)
  At a half hour play time, this game has that in-between playing time that is a little long for a filler, and a little short for a full experience.  It’s kind of like getting loaded baked potatoes for an appetizer; should I stop here or order more food?  I am also not sure how well this will do with kids.  The theme is perfect for them, and they will easily be taught the rules.  However, being forced into Tokyo and then having everyone whomp on you just might be a little traumatic for some younger children.  I’ll still call it a good kids’ game, because I believe a typical 8 – 10 year old will be past that point.

The only other issue with this game might be finding a copy!  You will either have to go online or find a local gaming store to purchase it.  Do yourself a favor and find a way to get it!  When I recommended this on my 2012 Gift Buying Guide, I hadn't played it.  I based the recommendation on the games reputation, and it has more than lived up to it!  This is a great game that will be fun for many gatherings.  It will play well in both casual groups and in family groups across generations.  I plan to make it available at all of our game group sessions for quite a while, since it was a big hit with nearly everyone. 


King of Tokyo
                Ages:                    8 and up
                Time:                     30 minutes
                Players:                 2-6 (but I think it really needs at least three)






It’s Your Move






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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

Image by Chris Norwood
Well, the disappointment of Christmas gaming gave way to starting the New Year right.  I played exactly ONE game in December prior to December 31st, but a good friend of ours came over for New Year's Eve and we broke out Pandemic and it's expansion, Pandemic: On the Brink.  This expansion is really several expansions in one, so I will need to play all of the different variants before I review it.  We were able to play standard Pandemic with new roles, and got in one game with the Bio-terrorist role, played against the other players by my son. He won, but in a sense the good guys have to beat two opponents, the Bio-terrorist and,  as usual, the game.  We were beaten more by the game than by the bad guy.  In the end, we won one game out of four, which isn't bad for us.  That makes a total of 42 games of Pandemic for me; this is just one of my favorite games.

And the new petri dishes are awesome!

Happy New Year!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Grandma comes through!

I am glad I waited to buy Star Trek: Expeditions!   This past weekend was Christmas with my wife's family, and my son received it as a gift.  I received the expansion for Pandemic, entitled Pandemic: On the Brink.  I've broken the seal on mine; he hasn't...

The Pandemic expansion adds some neat gameplay, including more special abilities for players to choose from, but it really adds to the Awesomeness Factor.  The expansion includes little Petri dishes to store the disease cubes in.  Totally superfluous, and totally awesome!

Image by Tony Bosca

It's Your Move!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ahead Mr. Sulu! Fun Factor 10! - Recent Star Trek Games

I have played several computer and board game versions of the Star Trek universe over the years.  I am a huge fan of all things Star Trek: in particular the original cast.  Since this is a boardgaming blog, I won't talk about the best computer game (Birth of the Federation, in case you are wondering), just my current candidate for the best board game:  Star Trek: Fleet Captains.

Promotional image

In this game, two players each have a small fleet of starships: one Federation, one Klingon.  Each ship is an actual miniature model of the ship, taking the Awsomeness Factor nearly over the top.  (Unfortunately, they don't come painted, or it would be crazy good!)  Taking turns, players move around the Alpha Quadrant exploring planets and scientific phenomena, encountering aliens, completing missions and battling one another.  This is done with crew members of the various shows actually adding abilities to the ships in play.  As one owner of the game remarked, you end up playing a season of the Star Trek show.

But, if you really do paint them, WOW!  (Image by Paul Paella)
The story the game tells is fantastic, though it has what some will find to be a fatal flaw. There are ships from every show in the game, and this doesn't fit a good timeline, nor does it fit having the Klingon's as adversaries in the later years.  Hey, the movies can do a reboot; I have no problems suspending reality in a science fiction game.

Now, I am not going to do an in-depth review.  Having played this a couple of times now, I will say that it is not a casual game.  This game has a lot of moving parts, both literally and figuratively.  Keeping track of the actions going on, the special abilities of the crew members and ships, which things moving through space are cloaked ships and which are echos -- it's a lot!  There are still a few situations in the game that I am not sure we've played correctly.

Promotional Image
Having said that, you are still wondering what game the Trekker should have under the tree on Christmas, there is another possibility:  Star Trek: Expeditions.  This is a cooperative game where, from the website:

You take on the roles of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Uhura responding to an invitation from the Nibian government to open discussions about the planet joining the United Federation of Planets...  Lead your away teams made up of crew and resources from the Enterprise to solve the major story arcs plus key side missions before the Klingon Fleet arrives or the lone cloaked Klingon Battle cruiser in orbit destroys the Enterprise and her crew. Three difficulty levels, random side missions, player strategies and a unique branching mission tree ensure every game will be a unique memorable experience.

According to those who have played both, if Fleet Captains is like playing a season, Expeditions is like playing an episode.  Alas, I have not played both.  (Must..  resist... purchasing... until... after... Christmas...!)  While Expeditions doesn't receive the ratings and rave reviews of Fleet Captains, it still is a solid game, and seems to be more family friendly.  It's also designed by Reiner Knizia, one of the most respected board game designers ever.  I will get to play it one of these days, even if I don't end up with it on my shelves.

These are the latest in Star Trek games, and if your Trekker is anything like me, they will greatly appreciate the chance to live out the story.  If he or she is also a gamer, go for Fleet Captains, otherwise, Expedtions.  For me, these games would be a much better choice than say, giving me a uniform.  I don't look as good in tights as Seven of Nine...

It's Your Move!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dracula meets Frankenstein


Almost.  As it turns out, I was hoping our monthly group would get to play both Fury of Dracula and Fearsome Floors this month, but it didn’t work out.  We only managed to get in the former, which is one of my all-time favorites.  Rather than give a full review, I am going to give two mini reviews of these games.

Image by Brian (ColtsFan76)
Fury of Dracula’s storyline has its roots in the original novel.  In this game, Dracula has come back from the grave (again) some years later, seeking once again to establish his vampire brood.  He also has sought revenge against those who brought him down in the novel, turning two of them into his minions (Jonathan Harker and Quincey Morris).  The remaining members of that group have reformed to bring down the Count again: Dr. Van Helsing, Dr. John Seward, Mina Harker and Lord Godalming (aka Arthur Holmwood).  The game sets one player as Dracula, moving in secret throughout Europe as the four other characters hunt  for him, attempting to attack and kill him.  Dracula is more powerful at night than during the day, loses life when travelling by sea, and card play provides information to the hunters as well as arming them against Dracula and his accomplices.  This game is one of the most thematic games I own, and like so many other thematic games, the card play adds much to the theme by interrupting the normal flow of the game.  It is worthy to note that all five characters are in the game regardless of how many players are playing, leaving a good game for anywhere from two to five players.  (This is accomplished by players playing more than one role if necessary.)  It also means that it is a good game for someone to show up late to, or leave early from, with his or her character is picked up by another player.

That said, this is NOT a casual game.  In fact, I believe it is more complex than many of my other games.  The hunter roles are somewhat complicated, particularly with the impact of the cards, but they have each other to rely on.  Dracula is on his own, and is doing things in secret, so the potential is there for a completely screwed up game.  As it takes two to three hours to play, this can lead to a very frustrating evening.  This game is published by Fantasy Flight, and is typical of their style: very high Awesomeness Factor, but very complex.

(For those of you have been reading along, I never did paint the figures for this game.  My artistic skills are at the “paint by numbers” level, so I am incredibly nervous about trying to paint them.)

Promotional Image from publisher
I haven’t played Fearsome Floors at all, but that’s not going to stop me from reviewing it.  I have read the rules, and I slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night.  In this game, the players have been imprisoned by an evil lord while trying to rescue a damsel in distress.  Now, they are poised for a massive breakout, but must avoid the monster that guards the exit.  Players have three or four disks each which represent their characters; the number of disks depends on the number of players.  The movement mechanics are simple, and the monster moves by its own rules.  As such, kids under ten could definitely play this, although they probably won’t play well.  The art is cartoon-ish, and isn’t really scary at all.  This is a good game for all players.  The one warning I have heard repeated  is that it can bog down in analysis paralysis, since the monster's movements can be figured out with enough thought.  The key is to play this as a light race game.  This game claims to take an hour to play, and can handle up to seven players, so it will fit most families and casual groups.

Below will be links to other reviews on this topic, including these games.  Personally, I am pretty selective about horror themed games, as well as movies, so Fearsome Floors is probably one of the very few “family horror games” I would play.  Other perspectives would be good.
The monster can be configured to look like the Frankenstein Monster -- or other horrors! (Image by Jesper Amstrup)

Okay, now that you have made it this far, I am going to add a few things about the Dracula and Frankenstein novels.  Dracula is in my top five novels of all time, and Frankenstein is also well worth reading.  They can be downloaded from Amazon or B&N to an e-reader for free, as they are in the public domain; they can also be downloaded as PDFs from the Gutenberg Project.  Similarly, LibriVox, a public domain audio book source, also has them.  I am currently listening to their dramatized version of Dracula as I drive around town, and it is excellent.  Do yourself a favor and read at least Dracula if not both novels.

 It's Your Move!


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Friday, October 14, 2011

Publisher Profile: Hasbro, Part I -- Mass Market Brands


My father used to tell a joke, “Where does the 800 lb. gorilla sit?  Anywhere he wants!”  This is Hasbro, who could have such a positive influence on the boardgaming hobby with all of their size and money.  We all know their games, since we grew up with them as kids: Monopoly, Clue, Risk, Ants in the Pants – the list goes on and on.  Some of these had, and may still have, Parker Brothers logos, but that label is owned by Hasbro.  So are Milton Bradley, Wizards of the Coast and Avalon Hill.  Wizards of the Coast and Avalon Hill have always had their niche, so I will specifically talk about the mass market divisions in this post.

First, I have to say that Hasbro has singlehandedly given boardgaming the reputation in the United States as a children’s activity.  In that way, the company has caused a lot of harm: maybe more than can be undone in my lifetime.  This is primarily due to the large number of sub-par kid’s games they have produced.  There have also been a lot of cheesy movie tie-ins, which tend to bring down the reputation of boardgaming.

Image by Bruce LeCompte
Prior to 1998, Hasbro had a few truly great games, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer (based on the TV show), Survive! and the immortal game Scrabble.  They were lost in a sea of drivel, however.  In 1998, Hasbro purchased the Avalon Hill brand, and bought the company Wizards of the Coast a year later.  This seems to mark the beginning of Hasbro taking a more serious approach to games.  Several of the Star Wars games are excellent (just try to find a copy of Star Wars: Queen’s Gambit for under $150.00 USD).  Furthermore, Hasbro has taken Risk and turned into several very successful, first-rate games (including Star Wars editions and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition), some of which were published under the Avalon Hill brand.  The revised version of Risk is an excellent game.  Plus, while I haven’t played it, I have heard great things about Sorry! Sliders.

Much of this is due to two specific designers, Rob Daviau and Craig Van Ness.  Many of these better titles are due to the efforts of one of these two gentlemen, sometimes working in concert.  A list of currently in-print, superb games which carries one or both of their names would include:
  • Heroscape – arguably their all-time biggest hit.  There are four different master sets, and lots of expansions.  Each set or expansion can be played interchangeably with the others.  (Okay, technically this is now out-of-print, but you can still find sets in stores, so I am counting it!)
  • Battleship Galaxies – This game has an extremely high Awesomeness Factor index.  Awesomeness just oozes out of the box.  Seriously, I might have to buy this game just because of how cool it is.  I don’t need to know how it plays (which reputedly is equally awesomely).  I just want the miniature space ships!
  • Sorry! Sliders – Again, I don’t know much about this one, since my son would probably look down on it, and so we haven’t played it. 
  • Risk (Revised Edition) – This is a must-own game for me.  Risk with all of the fun in less than half the time.
  • Clue: Discover the Secrets – I have never played it, and only know that it has a good reputation.

Promotional Image from Amazon
From a practical perspective, knowing how good a mass-market Hasbro game is (including Parker Brothers or Milton Bradley) will not be easy to determine.  I still get teased by my wife for passing up on Star Wars: Queen’s Gambit and Star Wars: Epic Duels back in the day.  These are both Daviau/Van Ness designs also.  However, since Hasbro doesn’t list designers on their games, it will take a little research to determine who worked on the design of any given game.  In the end, that’s going to be the answer for any Hasbro game: research.  That is, unless it has a movie tie in and isn’t too expensive.  If that’s the case, buy one to try – odds are good you will eventually be able to sell it on eBay for $150.00 if nothing else.

It’s Your Move

  




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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Three Years of Gaming!


I think the schedule is back to normal – at least for the moment.  No, that’s not it either.  In reality, I have adjusted to a new “normal”, which will last until the end of October.   At that point, football will end and “normal” will be redefined again!

This past weekend saw the three year anniversary of our gaming groups formation.  When we started in September 2008, it was just three of us:  Geo (my wife’s brother who I am close to) and Spud (one of our neighbors).  Others were invited, but didn’t come but once or twice.  Tom, our next door neighbor, started coming shortly thereafter, though he tends to come only during certain parts of the year.  As time went on, the group has expanded and contracted, but Geo and your truly have made every session.  There was even a session where it was just the two of us.  Now there are four regulars, and a few that come when they can.  The time we had twelve was a little crazy, but my wife, Kay, played so that she could help teach.  She’s better at that than I am anyway!

So it was fitting that Geo spent the night after my son’s football game Saturday.  (They won and are 4-0!)  The rest of the family was out of town, so it was just the two of us.  After watching Notre Dame dismantle Michigan State’s running game, we had dinner, finally breaking out a few games when we probably should have been thinking about going to bed.

First, we played The Kingdoms of the Crusaders, which I received a review copy of, and which will get a full review shortly.

Next we played Risk: Star Wars; The Clone Wars Edition.  This game is out of print, but can easily be found on eBay for a reasonable price.  (I would love to have the Original Trilogy Edition, covering Episodes IV-VI, but those are going for over $75 USD).  This is game that I really enjoy, and certainly does feel like the movies.  With Risk being the core game, the rules are familiar to many, which allows everybody to start playing quickly.

Image by Amazon.com
Next, we played Triumvirate, a two player trick taking game.  We walked away from that figuring it needed more play.  However, since it was 2:00am, we decided we were too foggy to really grasp any strategy.

Our gaming session started at the normal 2:00pm on Sunday, with two games of 7 Wonders, then a game of Ticket to Ride.  We had new players at each game, so things took longer than usual.  Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun.  These fall sessions are just about the only gaming I get right now, so having the extra time before was great!

Over the next couple of weeks I will also be talking about a new adventure in gaming.  I am going to start painting my figurines for some games.  Specifically, we are coming up on that time of year that calls out for Fury of Dracula, and I need to paint my miniatures to add to the Awesomeness Factor.  I am one of those rare people that can paint as well with my feet as with my hands – which is to say I can’t paint at all!  Hopefully, when I am done they look as good as these:

Image by Jacob Stormo
 
I will post pictures of mine when I get that far, with tales of how I am doing.  For now,

It’s Your Move!




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Educational Games


Image by Jesse Elliot
My wife hates it when I do this.  And she is right, I should not disparage games like Following Directions, or any number of games that just sound boring!  Following Directions might be an incredibly fun game, despite is rating of 2.0/10.0 on BoardGameGeek.  Who am I to judge?  The simple fact is that the title of the game was written to appeal to teachers and parents, and not to students.  That’s the problem I want to address as our thoughts turn to the upcoming school year (at least in my little piece of the cosmos).

 We have a tendency to divide the world of games into two camps: games that educate vs. games that entertain.  The first are almost universally seen as worthwhile (though I might be the lone exception to that rule), and the second are seen by many as an indulgence (particularly when played by adults).  Very few games, maybe just chess, are seen as both, though most people I know have only a passing knowledge of chess.   However, that division is a false one that is largely brought about by the laser focus our culture has on academics.  Not only do our kids have more homework at a young age, but heaven forbid they play a game that is just for entertainment!  We even turn sports into hard work!  How do we know that a game is educational?  One glance at Following Directions makes it pretty clear that it’s not fun, so it must be educational.

Unfortunately, the kids have exactly the same impression.  Whether or not Following Directions is fun (and I really have no idea), the simple fact is that it doesn’t pass the cover check, and that’s all the kids need.  Children tend to be incredibly influenced by cover art and other (missing) glimpses of the Awesomeness Factor, including the title.  What results is a game time that requires effort just to get the kids to play!   There are ways around this problem.

Promotional Image from Jolly Rogers Games
The first is to find games that have at least a fairly cool name and a nice look.  At the very least, it can’t be boring.  This is less important if the class is all involved in the same game and cannot really see artwork; my wife has had the after school program playing exciting games of 20 Questions for Kids and was asked to bring it back.  Bananagrams makes a great, short word game.  I would love to see a game of Founding Fathers used to teach about the writing of the United States Constitution.  Art Shark is a solid game that shows off classic works of art and their artists, reinforcing the history of art.

Another approach is to re-theme a game so that it has more relevance to the classroom.  Play Risk, but with a map of the United States, teaching geography.  Play memory, but make it so that you pick three cards, and must make a math sentence out of them.  (Hey! I just thought that one up!)  One of the easiest games to do this with is Trivial Pursuit, by making up your own set of cards.  Break the classroom into four or five teams and you are set!

Lastly, expand your idea of educational.  Personally, I think that most game teach some very important life lessons that are key to success.  Most games teach kids, “be patient, and wait your turn”.  (How many video games teach that?)  From games, kids learn that sometimes you have to make due.  My dad would say you must “play the hand your dealt”, and he wasn’t just talking about cards.   Games teach that sometimes you don’t get to “have it all”, you must make tough choices.

And if you must play Following Directions, for heaven’s sake please disguise it.  Lose the box and call it “Traffic”.  (“Oh no kids, the words ‘following directions’ on the backs of the cards is just what you do with the cards…”)  The game board actually is pretty well done.  And who knows, maybe with a teacher that shows a little enthusiasm, the game is actually fun!

It’s Your Move!



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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Powerful Magic of the Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

I might as well follow up last week’s post about Fantasy Flight games with a review of one of their new offerings, entitled Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.  As I mentioned before, I had to read the rules a few times to understand how this would work.  My son and I finally managed to play it this weekend, and it is not only a lot of fun but tells a good story.  The components are modular, so the story can change and the game should provide a lot of variety.  A quick rereading of the rules showed that we had done only a few minor things wrong, which would have actually made the game easier, so I can’t wait to play it again.

Image by Surya Van Lierde
Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a “living card game” (LCG), a concept that has been pioneered by Fantasy Flight recently.  If you have played Magic: The Gathering, or even watched your kids play Yu-Gi-Oh!, you have seen a similar concept that has been around for a while – the collectable card game (CCG).  The difference between the two is in the expansions.  A CCG has expansions, aka “booster packs”, which have a randomized set of cards in them, so the player buying the booster pack has no idea what they will be getting.  Those cards are then used to build a customized deck of a certain number of cards to play with.  Very powerful cards are more rare, so one might have to buy quite a few booster packs to assemble a good deck to play with, particularly if the goal is to play competitively.  Add to this the fact that new cards come out every year, and you will understand while your child has a ton of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and empty pockets!

In contrast, the booster packs for an LCG have titles, and every deck with the same title will have the exact same cards in it.  The player knows what they are buying beforehand.  This makes it easier to keep away from the arms race a CCG can turn into.  The market is that group of gamers, many of them ex-CCG players, that want the same game play experience but no longer have the means or desire to spend a lot of money.

This particular game has one more unique element to it; it is a cooperative game.  The players all play together to complete quests.  The events happen in Middle Earth, the world of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.  For you Tolkien fans, I will add that the timeframe of the game is those years between the defeat of Smaug and Bilbo’s eleventy-first (111th) birthday.  This allows the game broader artistic license for storytelling.

Lord of the Rings: The Card Game comes in a very oversized large box for what’s inside: 228 cards, two accessories for tracking a player’s “threat level”, some counters and a set of rules.  At first I wasn’t thrilled with this, since my shelf space is at a premium.  Then I realized the boosters will fit in the box too, so in the end it will probably be a good thing.  A breakdown of the cards shows that there are two broad categories: player cards, further broken down into heroes, attachments (weapons and such), events (special actions) and allies; and non-player cards which are quests and encounters.  Quests make up the objective of the game, while encounters are the creatures, places and events that work against the players.  Heroes are placed in front of the players, and each player has a hand of cards that will strengthen the abilities of the heroes to complete the quest.  This is done in a sequence of actions, which include flipping over encounter cards, to see what befalls the heroes in fulfilling the quest.
Gandalf is a major ally, though he doesn't really change up the rules as some other cards do.  Image by Chris Norwood

While this sounds pretty straightforward, it’s not.  First, the game play sequence has seven stages to it, and so is a little involved.  Secondly, one of the characteristics of this type of game is a lot of text on the cards.  This text actually modifies or suspends game rules during the course of the game, so the game play is always in flux.  Lastly, the cards are designed to work in various combinations with each other, so that understand the optimum sequence of card plays takes some experience.  Sorting out the results of conflicting cards takes some getting used to, and actually is benefitted by prior experience with other games.  Anyone can learn it, that is certain, but the amount of time required to be proficient is more than casual.

From the storytelling perspective, the cards were excellently designed.  In a game where you are travelling through the mysterious Mirkwood Forest, there three smaller decks of enemies and locations  that are combined to form the encounter deck.  A few similar small decks stay in the box.  For a different quest, the encounter deck will be created from a different combination of these small decks, and this keep the enemies and locations appropriate to the quest.  The result is excellent, and combined with very good artwork the story really comes through.

All of this combines to make Lord of the Rings: The Card Game a really great game, but one that is not suitable to a casual evening with some friends or a game night with the family.  (If you are thinking, “Maybe, but I bet I would have fun with so-and-so”, I submit that you may be transmogrifying into that creature known as a gamer, and are beginning to fade from the world of casual gaming.)  As a result, while I am really looking forward to exploring this game further, I can already give it a thumbs down for the purposes of this blog.




It's Your Move!
 




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