Nathaniel GOUSSET
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StormKnight wrote:
DrWhoWho wrote:
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From a difficulty perspective, this is one of the easiest co-ops I've played. In our first 30ish plays, we lost once."

I just can't trust that.


Um...why not and what don't you "trust" about it?


It is on par with my personnal experience. With people that are used to boardgaming and THINK and are coordonated this game is fairly easy right now.

The recipe to succeed is fairly easy to get and you can only lose if you get too greedy (trying to explore too much, hoarding your cards too much).
 
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Yup, it's a fairly easy game. I've played over 30 sessions, mostly solo, but also with a 4 player group, and I've won every scenario without any character deaths.
 
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WillFuqua wrote:
RollingSkull wrote:
thesleeper7 wrote:
Really nice review.

Just one minor nitpick regarding replay value: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game basically only had one playable scenario at launch, has the same simplistic choices, the game was 'designed' to have un-winnable scenarios without expansions, and look how high it ranked on BGGshake.

Compared to that piece of ____, PACG has great replay value. And there are no other games like that on the market(for the time being).




That's just flatly wrong in every way it could be. All three scenarios are totally playable and beatable with the core cards. You and your friend will be in for a tough time on the third quest but you can still do it with the right mind toward deck makeup.

LotR is not going to give you high win ratios unless you really work for it. I hardly think that makes it "un-winnable." It's a co-op, it is meant to be a challenge.


I have to agree with Joe Skull. Every quest in the core LOTR game was beatable with the core cards. I got to the point where I rarely lost 'Journey Down the Anduin' and won half the time in 'Escape From Dol Guldur'. Either you're exaggerating the difficulty of the game or you didn't play it well. If you want something easy where you'll usually win, then sure don't play LOTR. If you want something very co-op and highly tactical, then it might be for you. Also there’s the new Easy Mode which is much more laid back.

With all that said. I like Pathfinder. It's a good game to play when I don't want to think too much and just level up. I hope someone merges the best of Pathfinder and LOTR LCG. That I'll buy real fast.


Oh, we also almost never lost Anduin scenario after some deck-building. My gripe is with Dol Guldur. It is winnable with core only, but in order to win you NEED, absolutely NEED a great starting hand, and have the encounter deck set up in a 'nice' way. Restarting that scenario until you got a decent hand is not fun in my book, and make the scenario pretty much 'un-winnable'. Having most of the great cards 1-off doesn't help either.

The first scenarios is a push-over. Play it once and then forget about it. So you're only left with the Anduin scenario
 
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Kelvin Green
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JetBlackPanda wrote:
slashlizard wrote:
Finally a review that mirrors my thoughts exactly....

I keep bringing the game out to other's game tables to discover within myself why I find the game addicting.

Since I also love a good role-playing game, I can only imagine how much better this game would be if paizo would establish a core role-playing game around the deck-leveling aspect...



It would print money.


It's not quite the same but TSR's SAGA system died on its arse. I've always thought that it had potential and maybe something like the Pathfinder game is the right approach to make it work.
 
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I play this game solo with two characters and have so far won every scenario with ease. And by ease I mean each character camps at a location until it's been closed and then move onto the next.

Very few actual decisions to make. Only thing going for this game is the fact that you're slowly building up your character(s) and will get attached to them. Hoping to pick up some cool new weapon, armor, spell, item, etc. is its main draw. In that respect it's a bit like an mmorpg (along with the unfortunate grind of gameplay).

If they actual layered some decent strategic/tactical gameplay onto the character development it would be top, top notch.
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Talarius Dunedain
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Interesting thread. I've only played the game twice so far (just ordered my own copy), both with 4 players. We won both times but the second game was SUCH a nailbiter. We had characters right on the verge of death and the Blessings deck was nearly depleted. That was a great session. As others have mentioned it's much easier with 2 characters compared to 4, maybe we were right at that sweet spot for gameplay balance.

The whole, "30 plays in 30 days" sidebar is interesting too. I'd say the reviewer(s) got their money's worth out of PACG, even if they never play it again. If I reach 30 plays in the next 2 years, I'll be shocked. Thrilled, but shocked that I got so many opportunities to play. That's a major win from my perspective. I wonder if you had paced out your plays with PACG if you'd feel differently? How would that have changed your review? That's some intense gaming over a short period of time, so I can imagine burnout syndrome setting in.

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Quote:
The whole, "30 plays in 30 days" sidebar is interesting too. I'd say the reviewer(s) got their money's worth out of PACG, even if they never play it again. If I reach 30 plays in the next 2 years, I'll be shocked. Thrilled, but shocked that I got so many opportunities to play. That's a major win from my perspective. I wonder if you had paced out your plays with PACG if you'd feel differently? How would that have changed your review? That's some intense gaming over a short period of time, so I can imagine burnout syndrome setting in.


For the record, we play a lot of games; we average about 100 plays per month. Playing games is our watching TV; we buy a movie and it sits around for months before we managed to see it, but there's something seriously wrong if a game sits around for more than a week. 30 plays of a given game in a month is a lot, but it's not unique for us. Heck, we played 10 games of Space Alert the first DAY we took it to a game group.

And no, there wasn't any burnout; heck, we wanted to keep playing more! The problem was, we ran out of content. There base set only covers a few games worth of play with a given party, and there was a limit to how many parties we felt like having going at once.

As I said, the game is incredibly addictive. I have no complaints about that part of it.
 
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RDewsbery wrote:
StormKnight wrote:
Difficulty: Generally easy. I'd say about 1 in 3 plays really comes down to the wire on time, and we've only lost 1 out of around 30 plays.


Gosh. I'd say that we're losing (on time) games at least a third of the time, and even some of the ones we win are going right to the wire. This week we did Adventure 1, Scenario 4 - we lost at the first attempt, and won in the second attempt with only one blessing turn left and a 1-in-4 possibility of losing outright going into the final combat. That's with six players, though; I wonder if it's easier with just two or three.


Just played base thing, Brigandoom and lost on time. Really just wanted to play through and understand the mechanics, so it was fine for that. Used the default character decks. I think the main thing there is they don't stress just how much "extra" exploration you typically need to do to win. I think the base setup has 59 or 60 cards and you get 30 turns, so...explore.. A LOT.

I don't even understand how some of the examples talk about skipping explore. Since you have to advance the counter regardless and you need to explore like a freak, how could you possibly afford to skip?
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mecheng_analyst wrote:
I don't even understand how some of the examples talk about skipping explore. Since you have to advance the counter regardless and you need to explore like a freak, how could you possibly afford to skip?


This depends a lot on the number of players. If you play true solo, you have 3 locations, with 10 cards each. So if you succeed all checks, you can go at a rate of one explore per card. If it is speed up in some way (more explores during a previous turn, closing a location before all cards are gone, extra explores because of abilities, ...), you certainly have the time to take a break of exploring.

If you go to more and more players, it gets more important to use every possibility of exploration you get, and skipping a turn is more difficult.
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mecheng_analyst wrote:
Just played base thing, Brigandoom and lost on time. Really just wanted to play through and understand the mechanics, so it was fine for that. Used the default character decks. I think the main thing there is they don't stress just how much "extra" exploration you typically need to do to win. I think the base setup has 59 or 60 cards and you get 30 turns, so...explore.. A LOT.

I don't even understand how some of the examples talk about skipping explore. Since you have to advance the counter regardless and you need to explore like a freak, how could you possibly afford to skip?

Since you are mentioning 60 cards, I assume you are playing 4 player. And 60 cards is correct; 6 locations with 10 cards each (usually).

The first and very important thing to note (and possibly to make sure that you are playing correctly) is that you almost certainly don't need to actually explore all 60 cards. When you defeat a Henchman, you can attempt to close the location immediately. When you defeat the Villain, you can automatically close the location.

Since the henchmen and villains should, in theory, be evenly distributed, that means you'll only need to go through 5.5 cards per location on average - so you actually only need about 33 explores!

If all the henchmen happen to be shuffled to the bottom, that can make things very hard.

The second important thing is that you don't actually have to close all the locations permanently; remember that when you face the villain, other characters can temporarily close locations. It's entirely possible to win a 4 player game while only ever permanently closing 2 locations!

You'll also find more explore cards as you go through the locations; many allies let you explore, and blessings always do. Some barriers will even give you another explore if you defeat them.

On occasion, you want to skip closing a location to keep going through it and getting the good boons. You can afford to do this maybe once per game (yes, really, you can!) Just be careful when you do.

You usually don't want to skip an explore if you can help it, but if its important, you can miss a few. And Kyra's healing can be worth skipping an explore when it gives back a few blessings that make up for the lost explore.
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StormKnight wrote:
mecheng_analyst wrote:
Just played base thing, Brigandoom and lost on time. Really just wanted to play through and understand the mechanics, so it was fine for that. Used the default character decks. I think the main thing there is they don't stress just how much "extra" exploration you typically need to do to win. I think the base setup has 59 or 60 cards and you get 30 turns, so...explore.. A LOT.

I don't even understand how some of the examples talk about skipping explore. Since you have to advance the counter regardless and you need to explore like a freak, how could you possibly afford to skip?

Since you are mentioning 60 cards, I assume you are playing 4 player. And 60 cards is correct; 6 locations with 10 cards each (usually).

The first and very important thing to note (and possibly to make sure that you are playing correctly) is that you almost certainly don't need to actually explore all 60 cards. When you defeat a Henchman, you can attempt to close the location immediately. When you defeat the Villain, you can automatically close the location.

Since the henchmen and villains should, in theory, be evenly distributed, that means you'll only need to go through 5.5 cards per location on average - so you actually only need about 33 explores!

If all the henchmen happen to be shuffled to the bottom, that can make things very hard.

The second important thing is that you don't actually have to close all the locations permanently; remember that when you face the villain, other characters can temporarily close locations. It's entirely possible to win a 4 player game while only ever permanently closing 2 locations!

You'll also find more explore cards as you go through the locations; many allies let you explore, and blessings always do. Some barriers will even give you another explore if you defeat them.

On occasion, you want to skip closing a location to keep going through it and getting the good boons. You can afford to do this maybe once per game (yes, really, you can!) Just be careful when you do.

You usually don't want to skip an explore if you can help it, but if its important, you can miss a few. And Kyra's healing can be worth skipping an explore when it gives back a few blessings that make up for the lost explore.


Thanks for this note and I think I did most of this right. A few things that occurred though:
1. Defeated Henchmen but failed to Close
2. Defeated Villain, but he Escaped (adding more cards btw)
3. Other Henchman buried deep.
4. Used default char set ups, which were not optimal (yes, 4 player)
5. I actually got quite a few extra explores out of the magic user power, discarding cards, etc and I was still way off.
6. I was not close to death for any character so that was maybe not optimized.

Overall it seemed I got unlucky with the location decks burying the henchmen and a bad roll to close. But still, though I managed to perm close 3 locations, the other 3 had a ton of cards still in them. First time playing with some bad luck, mistakes, and suboptimal setup.

I have it set up to play again with my own character deck choices, so we'll see. Here I don't like the set up times and effort, but others noted that already.

Thanks for note, I'll see how second play goes.


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Brian M
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Quote:
1. Defeated Henchmen but failed to Close

That just plain hurts.
The first thing on your mind when a character decides where to go should be "can I reasonably close this location?"

Quote:
2. Defeated Villain, but he Escaped (adding more cards btw)

But you still close that location, and the extra cards you add are blessings, which you'll often be able to grab and immediately get an extra explore out of. And the deck he moves to now has two foes that let you close the location.

Quote:
3. Other Henchman buried deep.

That's the biggest potential threat of losing, following closely by rolling a bunch of 1's.

Quote:
4. Used default char set ups, which were not optimal (yes, 4 player)

Not optimal, but they should be fine. We just went with the default set-ups; you'll be swapping cards out like crazy in the first few games anyway.

Quote:
5. I actually got quite a few extra explores out of the magic user power, discarding cards, etc and I was still way off.

Ezren kind of sucks early on, and is one of the harder characters to get a handle on. Lacking blessings is a terrible disadvantage.

Quote:
6. I was not close to death for any character so that was maybe not optimized.

We've rarely been close to death.
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And now I can report the best/quickest game ever.
As I said, I went back and made up my own character decks and reset the basic scenario. And then luck took over.

It went something like this (seriously)
Turn 1: Fighter - > explore -> failed roll to get boon (impossible roll like needed a 7 on a check with a d4)

Turn 2: magic user -> explore (Academy) -> get spell, explore again -> get boon, discard ally to explore again: henchmen. defeat, then close. bam!

Turn 3: Thief -> explore: henchmen. defeat, then close. bam!

Turn 4: Bard -> explore: henchmen. defeat, then close. bam!

Turn 5: fighter -> explore, failed something

Turn 6,7,8 they all move to the 2 unexplored locations and explore, nothing interesting (gained a boon, defeated a monster, something).

Turn 9: fighter -> explore: villain
other characters temp close both remaining locations, fighter crushes villain. Win!

I used helper cards when I could (blessing of the gods, plus allies that mattered) and I rolled amazing. This was simply retarded luck.

So now I've had the worst luck and the best luck. I will set up and play again and hope for something in between.


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mecheng_analyst wrote:
Turn 2: magic user -> explore (Academy) -> get spell, explore again -> get boon, discard ally to explore again: henchmen. defeat, then close. bam!


It would be a hefty discussion in our group, certainly so early, but I guess our magic user would choose not to close this location (she hungers for more powerful spells). Also, as this location has a good chance to generate extra explores by itself, so we usually don't spend ways to explore this location faster.

Also, you make it sound that since you acquired the spell, you could explore again (as you specifically mention the playing of an ally for the 3rd explore). Just to be sure, the extra explore you get is when you don't encounter a spell during your first explore.
 
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Quote:
Just to be sure, the extra explore you get is when you don't encounter a spell during your first explore.

But its Ezren, who gets an extra explore when he finds a magic card.
 
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StormKnight wrote:
But its Ezren, who gets an extra explore when he finds a magic card.


Right, that is also a possibility. We run Seoni as our aracane spellcaster, and since it just said magic user, was thinking about her.
 
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Quote:
Right, that is also a possibility. We run Seoni as our aracane spellcaster, and since it just said magic user, was thinking about her.

Could be. For me, Magic User = Wizard in a D&D context. Seoni is a Sorcerer.
 
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Karian wrote:
mecheng_analyst wrote:
Turn 2: magic user -> explore (Academy) -> get spell, explore again -> get boon, discard ally to explore again: henchmen. defeat, then close. bam!


It would be a hefty discussion in our group, certainly so early, but I guess our magic user would choose not to close this location (she hungers for more powerful spells). Also, as this location has a good chance to generate extra explores by itself, so we usually don't spend ways to explore this location faster.

Also, you make it sound that since you acquired the spell, you could explore again (as you specifically mention the playing of an ally for the 3rd explore). Just to be sure, the extra explore you get is when you don't encounter a spell during your first explore.


Clarification: It was Ezren

I don't see why I would want to generate extra explores the since I could close. The whole point (to me) seems to be to close.

As for more spells, maybe. First, it assumes they would be better and I'm not sure that's statistically true. Since it was Ezren, Divine is no good, so 50/50 there I think on wasted turn?

And since my first game I noticed I needed SO many explores, I wanted to close anything as fast as possible.

But clearly on my 2nd play I know nothing of strategy so I just did what felt right - succeed (even if sub-optimally) as easily as possible. I couldn't imagine why that wouldn't be a good choice.

 
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Sometimes you do want to get better cards and figure you've got the time to do it. Ezren and the Academy is a great example of this, since he can explore the Academy very quickly.

For the most part, we just focused on winning each scenario and still wound up with most of the best cards by the end of the adventure.
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Played 3rd game and was stupid. Closed 1 location then found Villain in another. Evaded so reshuffled. Later I peaked (using a power) and saw Villain was back on top of that location deck. Then I got stupid.

My thought was to close other locations then beat Villain. But I had been having crap rolls the whole game and wasting turns. I needed to close 1 location and then sit on the others hoping to temp close them for the win but instead I kept going for perm close and ran out of turns.

But even if the the temp close strategy would have been best, I don't like it. It goes back to luck - hey, find villain, do no work, get lucky on closing and win! Granted I still needed to perm close 2 locations first (or chase the Villain, thereby closing as you go).

The problem I have is I like a count down mechanic in general, but not this one. It needs something though, because otherwise you will win regardless I just think something is off here.

A bit too much luck overall as well. Though I like that this is solo and has a decent AI, I think for the setup effort (all the damn shuffling) I'd rather play Wrath of Ashardalon, though I wish that had campaign and leveling.

I'll try it a time or two more and see if things change.
 
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A few more plays.
3rd time on Brigandoon.
Average rolls, smarter play, won with 5 cards left. Seemed to go how they planned – just the right mix of luck an tension. Was fun.
Still a bit fiddly on setup and limited card options made it feel forced (in my beginner mind anyway, plus it's supposed to as you start basic).
Key things is I find Ezren great for Academy to cycle quickly but in reading FAQ found out previously I was using one spell (fire based attack – scorched ray I think) as Basic (because it says Basic) but apparently it wasn't supposed to be Basic.

Another thing I was apparently doing wrong is when Ezren acquired a Divine spell, it said Banish, so I did. Apparently you can play it once, then banish. Yes it's weirdly in the rulebook if you think about it, but I don't pour over generic statements in a rulebook like a lawyer, so I missed it. Examples are great and don't cost that much to include. Anyway, I fixed both for 3rd try.

Then I hit the “wait, now what?” part that others struggled with. There is nothing that discusses what scenarios to play, if it matters if you jump in. Ie, if I win Brigandoon and get rewards (and maybe better cards) and then start an Adventure Path from Scenario 1 will I have a big advantage?

The boards seem to think it's ok, but irritating that this is no discussed in the rule book or really pointed out on website. In thinking about it though, the rewards obtained were small. But I'm more of a purist so I just started the new one from scratch.

This was interesting because I had average rolls again but bad luck puling monsters and barriers – they were huge! And henchmen were buried. So I wasted a lot of turns failing/evading but finally won with 1 card left. Again, the tension was good.

Then the fun part, rewards and moving to next part. This is the part many referred to and what attracted me in the first place. Now I didn't get hardly any card worth much from the adventure (1 interesting blessing is all - out of all 4 characters! Granted a few non-basic items/weapons but they just didn't fit). And then the skill check reward.

I like this because it wasn't a huge gain. I prefer the gradual increase. Mind you, I found old school D&D Dark Sun awesome, and that's just plain brutal. The sorting out to find out new stuff and elect feats was fun.

Then the tedious part of resetting for the next adventure. But that adventure was quick – the ally one. Interesting way to do it actually. Won with 8 cards left and enjoyed it. Would have actually won much faster as I had found an Ally in 1 location real early, but failed to close.
 
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Shingdc wrote:
With each adventure deck having 6 more scenarios, you'll have almost 40 unique experiences with PACG.
Except there's nothing 'unique' about them. All scenarios play the same way.

If there's one good thing to be said about the LotR LCG it's that the different quests really offer a lot of variety. You often have to modify your hero decks to beat them and it's a real challenge to come up with a deck to beat them all. They also had something like a story (different quest stages) and a coherent theme.

In PACG there's nothing like that. New adventure decks just add more (very similar) cards to a bunch of random decks to be used to create (almost identical) 10-card location decks.
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jhaelen wrote:
Shingdc wrote:
With each adventure deck having 6 more scenarios, you'll have almost 40 unique experiences with PACG.
Except there's nothing 'unique' about them. All scenarios play the same way.

If there's one good thing to be said about the LotR LCG it's that the different quests really offer a lot of variety. You often have to modify your hero decks to beat them and it's a real challenge to come up with a deck to beat them all. They also had something like a story (different quest stages) and a coherent theme.

In PACG there's nothing like that. New adventure decks just add more (very similar) cards to a bunch of random decks to be used to create (almost identical) 10-card location decks.


Not trying to argue, but wanted to point out a few things that may have been missed with your comments.

I’m not seeing it, because all games play the same way actually. I mean, you play Magic the exact same way (physically) each time. I play Puerto Rico the same way – ie, it doesn’t change from being a role selection game to a deck builder between games somehow. Now, variety is good in terms of what I may try during the game, but mechanically the game will play the same way.

So here when I read your comments, it seems like you are saying you find LotR more interesting because there is a variety in your strategy each time you play, and you believe there is no real variety in PACG. I believe you may be missing some of the variety aspects in PACG.

In LotR you can change your hero deck to solve a specific problem, but in PACG you are building a team that needs to be flexible enough to beat things with no real changes to their decks.

And while in PACG all the scenarios play the same way (mechanically), it is not true that they *are* the same, nor is each location identical. First, each scenario has some effect on the overall play that time, and while not earth shattering, it is different. Second, each location is different in 3 ways – card makeup, location attribute, close requirement. May sound minor, but generally drives the strategy of how you will beat the scenario. Much like you have to modify your decks in LotR a bit each time, you have to adjust your strategy (who will go to which location, how will you try and go through the locations – fast/slow, how characters will help each other at locations – or not, etc).

Now all that said, is PACG a bit “samey” after awhile? Yes. Is that bad? Depends on your personality really. Did you ever play Tetris or Pac-Man more than once? Some people like the known, and like accomplishing things.

Next, you mention LotR has a story and theme but PACG doesn’t – and here that is just an incorrect statement. Every single quest is related to another in an overall story, as well as rewards. Also, the character building is a nice feature which is not available in other games. You may have glossed over these items a bit too quickly.

Still, some people will certainly think, “yeah, that was nice the first couple times, but I’d rather play X now instead.” And good for them too.

So perhaps a fair point for readers trying to find out about PACG is to say they may also want to learn about LotR LCG as well to compare to.
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mecheng_analyst wrote:

In LotR you can change your hero deck to solve a specific problem, but in PACG you are building a team that needs to be flexible enough to beat things with no real changes to their decks.
Well, the important thing here is that in LotR you _can_ change your decks to solve a specific problem but you don't have to. In fact most of the long-term replayability in LotR stems from trying to beat every scenario with the same deck(s).

mecheng_analyst wrote:
And while in PACG all the scenarios play the same way (mechanically), it is not true that they *are* the same, nor is each location identical. First, each scenario has some effect on the overall play that time, and while not earth shattering, it is different.
Well, yeah. Rolling an eight-sided die is also different from rolling a six-sided die. So, while objectively correct, it's still not something I'd call 'variety' when I'm describing a 'gaming experience'.

I'll give you that the differences in the locations have an influence on my decision where to start exploring, but apart from that and after making that initial decision, you're just going through the same motions for the rest of the game.

And the differences between the scenarios? At least in the first campaign, there's only one which is actually different in a way affecting how I'm trying to tackle it: Unfortunately, not having a villain and setting the goal as gaining one ally from each location, results in a game that is even more boring than the default.
 
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jhaelen wrote:
mecheng_analyst wrote:

In LotR you can change your hero deck to solve a specific problem, but in PACG you are building a team that needs to be flexible enough to beat things with no real changes to their decks.
Well, the important thing here is that in LotR you _can_ change your decks to solve a specific problem but you don't have to. In fact most of the long-term replayability in LotR stems from trying to beat every scenario with the same deck(s).

mecheng_analyst wrote:
And while in PACG all the scenarios play the same way (mechanically), it is not true that they *are* the same, nor is each location identical. First, each scenario has some effect on the overall play that time, and while not earth shattering, it is different.
Well, yeah. Rolling an eight-sided die is also different from rolling a six-sided die. So, while objectively correct, it's still not something I'd call 'variety' when I'm describing a 'gaming experience'.

I'll give you that the differences in the locations have an influence on my decision where to start exploring, but apart from that and after making that initial decision, you're just going through the same motions for the rest of the game.

And the differences between the scenarios? At least in the first campaign, there's only one which is actually different in a way affecting how I'm trying to tackle it: Unfortunately, not having a villain and setting the goal as gaining one ally from each location, results in a game that is even more boring than the default.


Ok, but then above you say in LotR you use 1 deck to beat them all - how is that not the same, and thus equally variety-less (is that a word? ha)?

So in the end, both are really the same - you make a card deck to beat a given immediate challenge, and hope to beat all future challenges. There are different scenarios, but they really don't change gameplay or decisions, and there is a "story". Sounds like the games are exactly the same. You seem to like LotR and hate PACG but have not really shown a difference. I'm all for personal preference, and if that's what it is, fine, but then just say that.
 
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