Hall or Nothing Productions Ltd: August 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fantasy Quest Session - slow and steady wins the race!

Our latest session was a Cooperative game followed by a Competitive game, and I note that we’ve played more competitive games than cooperative games in play-testing so far.

I didn’t take detailed notes for this particular Cooperative game, but we sneaked a win with just one turn to go and an average of 57 Victory Points.  As for the Competitive game...

MZ randomly selected a Half Elf Wizard (male) and took the Astral Traveller skill.  This Skill had to be downgraded from its original inception to a still useful but not game breaking once per turn ability: moving diagonally.  That might not sound terrific at first, but when you’re surrounded on all orthogonal sides by tough Enemies or backed into a corner of the Map by Gloom whilst low on HP, well it can be a life-saver.  And it proved to be many times for MZ as the game progressed.

I was dealt the Dwarf Knight and decided to go the Berserker Skill route, which gave me a neat fighting ability (6s count as two hits).

Concentrating on improving my fighting abilities and taking out enemies I sauntered through the lands rarely Hiding and relying mostly on my trusty Dwarfish strength to take on all comers.  Enemies started falling by the wayside as my Saga unfolded and I began accumulating my required keywords.

Meanwhile MZ’s Astral Wizard searched out his more difficult objectives first – a strategy which would prove crucial in the later game.  Whilst I laughed at his poor, floundering Half Elf as he narrowly avoided the occasional KO, he was secretly gathering his resources and keeping his eye on his Totem the whole time.

The Gloom continued to envelop the land and as I continued killing Enemies I realised I was behind on my Saga quite substantially.  As the endgame approached I switched focus and went after the rarer spells and quests that are trickier for a Dwarven Knight to resolve.  But I hadn’t left myself enough time.

The Half Elf Wizard was on a mission and his goal was none less than the assassination of a leading political figure in the realm.  Sure enough MZ inexorably put together his Saga and told it with glee whilst my Dwarf got lost in a Deep Cave searching desperately for lost treasures.

Completing his Saga the Astral Wizard put the killing blow to his nemesis and caused an Uprising (his Totem).  The ensuing chaos that engulfed the land enabled his Wizard to slip away unnoticed and level up his Sneak to a ridiculous level.

The Ancient immediately revealed itself to be the Dragon King.  As the Wizard began to glide through the Veil in the direction of its Keep my Dwarf staggered out, blinking into the sunlight after 3 ill-advised turns wasted in the deep, deep Deep Cave.  Lesson: play to your strengths and don’t waste turns on unachievable objectives!

With only 7 Keywords and just 4 Nights left to go before the end I was flailing behind looking for that one last Keyword.  But it was too late...

The Half Elf turned back and smiled before entering the Dragon’s Keep and proceeded to take out the Dragon’s traps and guards.  With MZ’s Totem-elevated Sneak the mighty Dragon King didn’t stand a chance.

Final scores

ND      male dwarf knight berserk: 31VP + 7 out of 8 keywords completed.
MZ      male half elf wizard: 55VP including 20 for his Totem (Assassinated Leader and caused Uprising) and 10 for killing the Ancient Dragon King

Once again the scores proved out that I would have won on points but MZ was able to come from a losing position and steal the win in the late game.  Happy times, even if I was defeated!

Conflict at the Carrock - disappointing solo single deck experience

'Conflict at the Carrock' arrived from Maelstrom Games last night.  Anyone who has ordered this from them along with at least one other item will want to split their order as it is their policy to send out everything at once.  For me this meant I’d apparently have to wait FIVE months before they sent me any of the LOTR expansion packs.  Good job I phoned them.

Or was it?

All in all this one makes for a very disappointing solo experience.  That’s solo with a single deck by the way.  I will probably only play this solo with two decks from now on.

First of all, as discussed elsewhere there are apparently only two stages in the scenario, the second stage just forgets to tell you that it’s over when you’ve won.  Those of us who wanted a narrative resolution to the scenarios will be even more disappointed with this sense of “Was that it?  Did I win?”

Secondly, some of the hero cards are perplexingly rubbish.  “Great, this attachment gives me the ‘Rohan’ trait.  Now what?”  What’s next – an attachment with the ‘Boring’ trait?

“Cool ‘Born Aloft’ – now I can, um, give one of my enemies an...  undefended attack...”  Okay I'm being facetious here, and there are a couple of decent cards too to be fair.  The Songs and Dunedain cards continue to provide their uses and Burning Brand makes Denethor redonculously tough.

As a huge fan of the art in this game so far I have to say I'm slightly less impressed with some of this set.  The Bee locations are a bit garish and the trolls themselves look a bit lame, sort of cartoonish and unthreatening.

Then there’s Frodo.  Well, to be honest I’m ambivalent about him.  He’s not exactly rubbish, but he doesn’t seem to fill a role well because his damage absorption ability is only useful if you have major threat reduction on tap.

And finally, there’s the solo experience of the scenario itself...

I purposefully didn't look at any of the encounter cards to keep the "surprise" element going, which may or may not have been a mistake.  So I set up the game, prepped my deck (Leadership/Lore/Spirit - Aragorn, Denethor, Eowyn) and started out.  I built up my forces fairly slowly in stage 1, and even get Old Grimbeorn on my side, which was quite exciting in itself - like bagging one of the Rangers in Massing at Osgiliath only even more awesomer.  Once I had a good force going I went into stage 2 with 38 Threat...


In stage 2, four trolls are placed in the staging area and they engage with you at Threat level 34 or higher.  One of the troll's card effects is "Raise your threat by 3 for each Troll you are engaged with."


So instant death for me and game over in a flash.  Boo hoo, whatever, I set up again and learnt from my mistake – I should have read the cards.

Next game I stayed on stage 1 building my forces up.  And then the semi- ridiculous 'Banks of Anduin' Location came in (goes to top of encounter deck “when it leaves play”).  And with Denthor and Henemarth in play, since I knew what was coming every turn I'd just commit Eowyn to quest and build and build and build.  Got my entire deck into play, with 3 Galadrim Greetings, 3 Sneak Attacks on Gandalf, 3 Stand and Fights on Gandalf, and 3 actual Gandalfs for massive threat reduction, and a threat level of about 14 when I finally moved on to stage 2....  The docile trolls didn’t stand a chance as I chopped them all to bits one by one.

Some might call that a perfect storm of cards or just good luck, I have to say it was really quite boring and it took a long time to play out, which I was determined to do even with the foregone conclusion that the game could not stop me from the moment the ‘Banks’ turned up.

Banks of Anduin is a suspicious card in solo play.

I already had to remove Will of the West from my games due to it being hugely over-powered.  Now do I have to remove Gandalfs, Greetings, S&F, and Sneak Attacks too?  Then would it swing the other way and become unwinnable??

Now, this was only a solo single deck play through, and the game already falters in catering for just one deck (see Dol Guldur) so hopefully I’ll get to see the scenario really shine with two or more players - particularly since the Banks card serves its purpose more readily in multiplayer games.

The idea of a ruck with 4 trolls seems like great fun and [i]I really want to enjoy this scenario[/i], particularly in light of how easy Hunt for Gollum turned out to be.  Luckily I have a multiplayer session lined up soon so fingers crossed I can report back later with better news...


Monday, August 22, 2011

FFG News - A Journey to Rhosgobel latest preview

Fantasy Flight Games [News] - Guides, Grievances, and Strong Leadership
A preview of the third Adventure Pack for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

When Frodo came at last up on to the flet he found Legolas seated with three other Elves. They were clad in shadowy-grey, and could not be seen among the tree-stems, unless they moved suddenly.
–The Fellowship of the Ring

In The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, each sphere of influence has its own distinctive advantages. Lore excels at card draw and healing, two aspects of the game that make the sphere a natural fit for players inclined to focus on helping others.
With Beravor (Core Set, 12) and Bilbo (The Hunt for Gollum, 1), Lore players can grant other players the additional card draw they need to find cards critical to their strategies or to build timely combinations. Does the Leadership player need to find a Steward of Gondor (Core Set, 26) early? Would the tactics player keep one of his heroes alive if he could just find a copy of Feint (Core Set, 34)? Lore players are often asked to use their heroes to provide others with the vital advantage of extra card draw. For this reason, Beravor is often driven to call upon Unexpected Courage (Core Set, 57) during the game’s quests.

Fantasy Quest Beta test version complete!

Finally it's here!

Copies (for PnP or Artscow) will be made available to all Fans of Fantasy Quest hopefully sometime this week.  I just need to format all the cards to A4-sized print versions.

In the meantime here are some of the latest card examples:

Ninjadorg's LOTR: LCG scenarios in German

Thanks to Bernhard Naegele for the translations:

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Journey to Rhosgobel, FFG News - The Hands of a Healer

Fantasy Flight Games [News] - The Hands of a Healer: "A Journey to Rhosgobel f"

Alas! if he should die. Would that there were kings in Gondor, as there were once upon a time, they say! For it is said in old lore: The hands of the king are the hands of a healer.
Ioreth, The Return of the King
After the ferocious battles of Conflict at the Carrock, the heroes of Middle-earth resume their journeys down the Anduin Valley in search of Gollum when they come upon an ally in need of aid. The third Adventure Pack for The Lord of the Rings: The Card GameA Journey to Rhosgobel finds the great eagle Wilyador lying grievously wounded, struck by a goblin hunter’s poisoned arrow, and injured beyond the heroes’ ability to heal him.
A Journey to Rhosgobel is a race against death as the great eagle’s condition continues to worsen, and the heroes of Middle-earth must seek the assistance ofRadagast at his home in Rhosgobel.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Fantasy Quest - Rules are up!

Here are the rules for Fantasy Quest.  Any feedback is greatly welcomed, including typos, formatting quibbles, etc.  Huge thanks to boom04, calebskye and jayjonbeach for proof-reading and general support.  Sorry about the boring doc format, colour pdf version to be uploaded later (probably after I've finished the cards themselves now).

The Rules Version 2.0  are finally here!  Nearly missed my own deadline too...

Please check for errors, grammar, and any other uncertainties and ask away here if you have any questions.  I've incorporated feedback from everyone who got back to me about the beta testing and have tried to cover everything that came up in the Living FAQ thread on this very site.

So thanks for all your help in getting the game this far and here’s to moving on to the next stage, with a sneak preview of the new Saga layouts below:

Once it's all confirmed and checked over I'll transfer it to the full colour pdf and get that uploaded too.

Embeditin seems to have messed with the Word layout somewhat but hopefully it's all still legible...

Friday, August 05, 2011

Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition announced by FFG

Fantasy Flight Games [Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition] - Leading publisher of board, card, and roleplaying games.

Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition

Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition is a board game in which one player takes on the role of the treacherous overlord, and up to four other players take on the roles of courageous heroes. Featuring double-sided modular board pieces, countless hero and skill combinations, and an immersive story-driven campaign, Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition transports heroes to a vibrant fantasy realm where they must stand together against an ancient evil.
This updated version of the classic board game of dungeon-delving adventure features a host of enhancements, including new heroes and monsters, streamlined rules, a class-based hero system, campaign play, and much more.
Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition includes –
  • A rulebook and quest guide
  • Eight hero figures and 38 monster figures
  • Nine custom dice
  • Nearly 250 cards
  • 48 Map tiles
  • Over 150 tokens

Legend Of Drizzt Board Game Peter Lee interview

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Fantasy Quest Card Break-down

For everyone who is still following Fantasy Quest: thank you for your continuing support and apologies for not keeping up with my Friday updates.  I've been labouring under the assumption that you'd rather have something concrete than my frequently inane streams of consciousness.  In any case I thought I'd better post something up to show you that between play-testing the hell out of Fantasy Quest, I have actually been continuing serious work on its development.  The rules will hopefully be completed for public viewing soon (with the game itself to follow hopefully), but below is a quick taster of how the cards break down.  And it might not look like much but I can't tell you how fricking long it has taken me to put just this page together!  As always, comments, abuse, bewilderment and general vexation are all welcome...

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

FFG Star Wars: The Card Game

Star Wars: The Card Game 

What now, FFG - am I to re-mortgage my house??

Daring Rebel spies have uncovered a weak point in the Galactic Empire's defenses. Tensions run high as the Rebels assemble a strike team with one chance to set back the Empire's quest for total galactic domination, but with zero margin for error! Coordinating hit-and-run attacks to distract the Imperials, the Rebel Alliance relies upon a handful of heroes to undertake a vital mission…
Star Wars: The Card Game is a cooperative LCG that puts 1-4 players* in command of the Rebel strike force and mission team. Players will launch fleets of starships and direct some of the most famous heroes in the Star Wars galaxy as they confront the might of the Empire. By working together, players can fend off Imperial assaults and complete their mission, winning the game! In Star Wars: The Card Game, players take the roles of such notable heroes as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia as an Imperial deck opposes their mission attempts with a devious artificial intelligence. With a wealth of characters, starships, missions, and enemies, Star Wars: The Card Game immerses players in galactic conflict.

Looks like they're learning from their mistakes with the LOTR: LCG too...

" Players can create two standard tournament decks with the contents of a single core set"

And here are a couple of Ship cards taken from a still of the FFG promo video:

Monday, August 01, 2011

Legend of Drizzt Promo Photo

A cooperative game for 1–5 players based on the New York Times best-selling adventures of Drizzt Do'Urden.
The adventures of Drizzt Do'Urden, as told in the New York Times best-selling Forgotten Realms novels by R.A. Salvatore, come to life in this thrilling board game. Take on the role of the legendary drow ranger or one of his famous adventuring companions, battle fearsome foes, and win treasure and glory.
Designed for 1–5 players, this board game features multiple scenarios, challenging quests, and cooperative game play. The contents of this game can also be combined with other D&D Adventure System Cooperative Play board games, including Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon, to create an even more exciting experience.