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Author Topic: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.  (Read 5867 times)

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January 04, 2020, 03:50:34 PM
Reply #15

menace64

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2020, 03:50:34 PM »
DH, would you like to colab on a small set of cards? I'm thinking 25 cards max. I see the expansion sets that Star Trek's Continuing Committee puts out and I'm itching to do something similar for LotR. What if we focused on a specific block, and a specific theme, either recycling "dead" cards or just coming up with new stuff as we've always done? I dunno; my vision here is hazy and transient, but there's certainly a creative opening if we want to fill it.

I've been thinking about it all month and I can't get [Sauron] Wolves out of my head as a subculture worth its own small expansion. Granted we might not want to start there but yeah, that's where my head is.

January 08, 2020, 07:04:53 PM
Reply #16

Durin's Heir

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2020, 07:04:53 PM »
(I did read your post the same night you posted it, but been writing a long proper answer and every day thought "today will be finished," LOL.)

It'd be an honour to work with you! You set the goals and limits as you wish, or change them anytime, I follow. But I believe 25 cards might be simply too scarce, Reflections was twice as large and was far from complete.

About "dead cards", I think it probably won't be as worthy most of the times as writing totally new cards... I mean, Goblin Spearman is useless, but instead of changing him I'd rather create a new minion that works by himself and gives the Spearman usefulness as a byproduct. Like this example:

[3] •Goblin Blademaster [Moria]
Minion • Orc
Strength 8  Vitality 3  Site 4
Lurker.
Each [Moria] Orc bearing a hand weapon is strength +2.


I've been thinking about it all month and I can't get [Sauron] Wolves out of my head as a subculture worth its own small expansion. Granted we might not want to start there but yeah, that's where my head is.
Do you mean the "Listen, Hound of Sauron!" wolves at Eregion? Well, 5 years ago I made a primitive effort with Azog's warg minions for the Hobbit Draft Game. It got rejected (we had more important things to do with the scarce Shadow card slots), but kept working the idea. During the last 4 days have been adapting them to fit the [Sauron] culture, and finally got it finished. It's a 5 or 6 cards independent subculture, but also meant to synergize with preexistent [Sauron] and [Isengard] subcultures if wanted to.

I see [Sauron] Wolves as cheap, fierce, tracker Warg minions. As an intelligent society of doggies, should divide their labors and act as a whole. So I separated them into "frontliners," "dense packs" and "tha Leadah." Being [Sauron] trackers, they have access to UTWE and Seeking It Always, which will become very interesting.

The frontliners are cheap scouts and fighters with some degree of independence. The packs are meant to support other Wargs and be supported by them, a "strength in numbers" approach. The Leader gathers them together and directs the assault. 3 minion cards, 1 for each. Plus 3 support cards (1 warg mount, 1 condition and 1 event).


[2] Mountain Wolf [Sauron]
Minion • Warg
Strength: 7  Vitality: 2  Site: 4
Tracker. Fierce.
When you play this minion, you may spot another [Sauron] card and X wounds on a companion to add [X].
Skirmish: Discard this minion to make a Warg (or a fierce Orc) strength +3.
"'How the wind howls! It is howling with wolf-voices."

A tired companion will slow down the whole Fellowship, so this scout exploits wounds on companions for twilight (UTWE will help a lot). The Skirmish skill makes it jump from one fight to another (even if didn't finish his own), portraying group support and a feral attack from all flanks (and takes the place of a pump card). By pumping "Wargs or fierce Orcs," can help [Isengard] Warg-riders aswell.


[3] Hunting Wolf Pack [Sauron]
Minion • Warg
Strength: 6  Vitality: 3  Site: 4
Tracker. Fierce.
Each Warg (or fierce Orc) is strength +2.
For each wound on a character skirmishing this minion, it is strength +1.
"In the dead of the night many shining eyes were seen peering over the brow of the hill. Some advanced almost to the ring of stones."

You get stronger by joining the Mob. The more copies, the stronger they'll be (like the previous, [Isengard] Warg-riders are included). For themselves only, they exploit wounds too but for strength, like a wolf smelling the blood on its prey.


[5] •Hound of Sauron, Captain of the Pack [Sauron]
Minion • Warg
Strength: 9  Vitality: 3  Site: 4
Tracker. Damage +1. Fierce.
Each fierce Orc or [Sauron] tracker is strength +2 and twilight cost -1.
Shadow: Discard a [Sauron] card from hand to play a tracker, mount or search card from your discard pile.
"Without warning a storm of howls broke out..."

The Pack Leader makes Wargs and fierce Orcs (and classic [Sauron] Orc trackers) cheaper and stronger, and helps to muster a host of them from discard pile. Can also recover discarded copies of UTWE or Seeking It Always, or mounts for [Isengard] warg-riders. Also, it's a strength 11 fierce, dmg+1 beast on its own.



Those are the main cards. Now, the support cards:

[3] Tracking Warg [Sauron]
Strength +3  Vitality +1
Possession • Mount
Tracker. Bearer must be an Orc with a twilight cost of 4 or less.
Bearer is fierce and a tracker.
When you play this mount, you may exert bearer twice to discard a stealth condition or a classless possession.
"Even magic rings are not much use against wolves..."

Can make "any Orc that costs less than 5" join the Wolf pack (from Goblin Runner to Tower Assassin). Also, can give fierce and vitality+1 to Orc Hunters, or to a Troll's Keyward wielding a Moria Axe. Being a tracker possession, Hound of Sauron makes it cost -1 (while bearer gets the strength +2).

The discard skill is meant to ditch Fearing the Worst (the nemesis of tracker decks). Also, can discard "classless possessions"... Athelas, Bill the Pony, pipeweed, Lembas, Thror's Map... you know, the kind of things you forget about when running from a Rottweiler. Can also get rid of ATfNBS, Escape, Horn of Boromir, Catapult, RBoW and Book of Mazarbul.


[2] The Hunt Is Up! [Sauron]
Condition • Support Area
Search. Shadow: Discard an Orc to play a Warg or a [Sauron] mount from your draw deck.
Response: If a mounted Orc is about to be discarded, discard its mount to play a Warg minion with a twilight cost equal or lower from your discard pile for free.
"'The Wargs have come west of the Mountains!'"

This will be the backbone of the new subculture. The Shadow skill ditches any Orc to get Warg minions or [Sauron] Warg mounts from deck. So you can discard an Orc Scout to start the ball rolling with Warg minions, or discard a Goblin Runner to enhance a Goblin Scavengers or Ancient Chieftain with a Tracking Warg mount. This Shadow skill brings Wargs from draw deck, while Hound of Sauron does if from discard.

The Response skill makes a mount keep the fight when the rider gets killed. Which will work wonders with [Isengard] riders: a dead [Isengard] Warg / [Isengard] War-warg / [Sauron] Tracking Warg rider will bring Mountain Wolf for twilight + a pump, or a Hunting Wolf Pack for a strength boost to the remaining riders. A dead Sharku's Warg rider can be turned into a Hound of Sauron.

Of course, the Shadow skill can discard a mounted Orc to also trigger the Response skill: playing a mount/minion Warg from deck AND a Warg minion from discard pile. Crazy, isn't?


[1] How The Wind Howls! [Sauron]
Event • Shadow or Skirmish
Search.
Play a Warg minion (or a mount on your Orc) from your draw deck or discard pile.
"'Even if we live to see the dawn, who now will wish to journey south by night with the wild wolves on his trail?'"

Resourcefulness, like Foul Things / Host of Thousands for [Sauron] Wargs. And for [Isengard] mounts. And during skirmish, if needed.


That's all. 5 or 6 cards (you can cut off the event if you wish) for a new subculture, which helps 2 old subcultures aswell.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2020, 04:47:16 AM by Durin's Heir »

January 09, 2020, 03:46:27 PM
Reply #17

menace64

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2020, 03:46:27 PM »
Quote from: Durin's Heir
It'd be an honour to work with you! You set the goals and limits as you wish, or change them anytime, I follow. But I believe 25 cards might be simply too scarce, Reflections was twice as large and was far from complete.

What if we dedicated ~25 cards to each site along the Fellowship-block adventure path as an experiment? That'd give us 200+ cards overall but "released" in small chunks. [Shire] / [Gandalf] focus for Site 1[F]; [Wraith] / Bree for Site 2[F]; [Elven] / Multicultural for 3[F]... etc. It might be easier for us to get our heads around refreshing the block if we narrowed our focus to one site's themes at a time.

Quote from: Durin's Heir
About "dead cards", I think it probably won't be as worthy most of the times as writing totally new cards... I mean, Goblin Spearman is useless, but instead of changing him I'd rather create a new minion that works by himself and gives the Spearman usefulness as a byproduct. Like this example:

[3] •Goblin Blademaster [Moria]
Minion • Orc
Strength 8  Vitality 3  Site 4
Lurker.
Each [Moria] Orc bearing a hand weapon is strength +2.

I'm all for this. What do you think if recycling old card images to help sell the concept of "virtualizing" old cards? I can't get TLHH's image-insertion to work anymore (too used to reddit's interface), but here's a quick image-flipping of Goblin Spearman: https://i.imgur.com/oK0UZdx.png. With proper tinkering text can be duped and rewritten to fit whatever new effects get slapped on old cards. I figure this would be easier than finding new pictures of goblins from a 19 year old movie. (Oh #$&*@! FotR is 19 years old.) This would enable us to "use" old cards without actually using them, while communicating that they're related somehow.

Quote from: Durin's Heir
[Sauron] wolves

That's precisely what I have in mind. I'm out of time for now (got play practice to get to!) but I'll return later tonight to properly dissect your Wargs.

January 15, 2020, 01:53:19 AM
Reply #18

Durin's Heir

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2020, 01:53:19 AM »
That's precisely what I have in mind. I'm out of time for now (got play practice to get to!) but I'll return later tonight to properly dissect your Wargs.
I want my Wargs dissected, cooked and seasoned, on my plate NOW!

What if we dedicated ~25 cards to each site along the Fellowship-block adventure path as an experiment? That'd give us 200+ cards overall but "released" in small chunks. [Shire] / [Gandalf] focus for Site 1[F]; [Wraith] / Bree for Site 2[F]; [Elven] / Multicultural for 3[F]... etc. It might be easier for us to get our heads around refreshing the block if we narrowed our focus to one site's themes at a time.
Nice idea. But 25 cards will probably be too many. Unless those include erratas. While Goblin Spearman can be enhanced by new cards, I see others as perfect candidates for erratas: Saruman's Ambition (pump any [Isengard] minion instead of just Uruks), Saruman's Staff (str +3 instead, skill at Shadow instead of Maneuver), NSttS (unique, "to play, exert bearer"), Let Them Come (stack minions killed by Dwarves, to discard them for benefits)...

Some sites will require far less cards than others: 7 and 8 are just minionless Anduin, while 4 is Eregion, Caradhras, Moria Lake, Western Gate and Stairs, Moria Halls AND Mazarbul! So we'll need some flexibility there. Site 5 might include a bit more of the Balrog and Gandalf's duel, taking cards/images from Towers block (and we might create a thing or two for Dwarves, like a [Dwarven] Endless Stair).

Also, some things didn't happen on Frodo's path, like Saruman's treason (chronologically in Site 1 and 2), the Library of Minas Tirith, and the Prologue (Making of Rings, Last Alliance, Gladden Fields, Gollum checking social media, and Bilbo's finding). Isildur's Failure corresponds there too. So there might be need of a 10th release of "Prologue and Loose Ends" if we don't manage to include them otherwise.

What do you think if recycling old card images to help sell the concept of "virtualizing" old cards? I can't get TLHH's image-insertion to work anymore (too used to reddit's interface), but here's a quick image-flipping of Goblin Spearman: https://i.imgur.com/oK0UZdx.png... I figure this would be easier than finding new pictures of goblins from a 19 year old movie. (Oh #$&*@! FotR is 19 years old.) This would enable us to "use" old cards without actually using them, while communicating that they're related somehow.
I think that's brilliant, flipped images will make them look different and equal at the same time (like another version from an alternate world). :up: (To insert images here, write [img ]image's url[/img ]; remove the space after each "img").

But that won't work for things that weren't present at all in the FotR film, like [Sauron] Wargs. So we'll need to adapt pics from either the Two Towers or from The Hobbit films. Now, most Towers wargs will probably require some Soviet airbrush skill to make the rider disappear from the picture, so I suggest limiting ourselves to The Hobbit alone.

With proper tinkering text can be duped and rewritten to fit whatever new effects get slapped on old cards.
To make the Hobbit Draft Game, Enola got the font and size used by Decipher, you can ask him (his account is "-Enola-", not "Enola" which is older and he discarded).


Now, if we are going to fit the text into a Decipher format card, we'll need each card to have a maximum of 7 total gametext + loretext lines (and each line having a maximum length according to that specific font and size). Enola and I did so for the Hobbit, and it became my standard for DCs, but most cards posted here in Chamber of Mazarbul would need a big chainsaw to try and fit inside a Decipher card. Yours included, I fear (Gothmog, Siege-lieutenant needs 9 for gametext and 2 for lore!).

The method I use is very simple: take a gametext line by Decipher which saturates the room (Mighty Steed's first line), do the same for loretext (Saruman's Staff), and those will be the references in a text editor (I use MS Notepad!) for the maximum available. So a card with 5 gametext lines and 2 lore ones would have this maximum room:

If Gandalf is not assigned to a skirmish,
If Gandalf is not assigned to a skirmish,
If Gandalf is not assigned to a skirmish,
If Gandalf is not assigned to a skirmish,
If Gandalf is not assigned to a skirmish,
" His hand clutched his heavy black staff like a claw. "
" His hand clutched his heavy black staff like a claw. "

Bolded words use a bit more space, which is almost insignificant in "Shadow:" but not so in "Assignment:". That's all, it worked well when Enola turned my card ideas into graphic cards.

You can, of course, use a different font and smaller size than Decipher. But will feel equally different.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2020, 05:15:38 AM by Durin's Heir »

January 15, 2020, 03:31:12 PM
Reply #19

menace64

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2020, 03:31:12 PM »
Wargburgers, coming up!

Before I get into it though I'd like to raise the question: Warg, or Wolf? What precisely differentiates either creature is murky and uncertain, and perhaps it's more like Orc/Goblin in that there isn't actually a difference between Wolf and Warg.  :-k

Quote from: DH
I see [Sauron] Wolves as cheap, fierce, tracker Warg minions. As an intelligent society of doggies, should divide their labors and act as a whole. So I separated them into "frontliners," "dense packs" and "tha Leadah." Being [Sauron] trackers, they have access to UTWE and Seeking It Always, which will become very interesting.  The frontliners are cheap scouts and fighters with some degree of independence. The packs are meant to support other Wargs and be supported by them, a "strength in numbers" approach. The Leader gathers them together and directs the assault. 3 minion cards, 1 for each. Plus 3 support cards (1 warg mount, 1 condition and 1 event).

Adding a splash of [Sauron] trackers to fellowship block would indeed be very interesting and should be thoroughly pursued (...or tracked?).

Quote from: DH
[2] Mountain Wolf [Sauron]
Minion • Warg
Strength: 7  Vitality: 2  Site: 4
Tracker. Fierce.
When you play this minion, you may spot another [Sauron] card and X wounds on a companion to add [X].
Skirmish: Discard this minion to make a Warg (or a fierce Orc) strength +3.
"'How the wind howls! It is howling with wolf-voices."

A tired companion will slow down the whole Fellowship, so this scout exploits wounds on companions for twilight (UTWE will help a lot). The Skirmish skill makes it jump from one fight to another (even if didn't finish his own), portraying group support and a feral attack from all flanks (and takes the place of a pump card). By pumping "Wargs or fierce Orcs," can help [Isengard] Warg-riders aswell.

Are there any [Isengard] cards that specifically target or pull Warg possessions? I don't believe so, but if there are any I'd second my own motion (:suspect:) to make these [Sauron] trackers Wolves to help keep the subcultures separate. 2% issue though, in either case!

As for Mountain Wolf itself, I really like your initial brief on how these trackers "feel": cheap and fierce; I'd also like to add simple as a third descriptor, especially on the minions. I understand why the Skirmish ability is there but I think the play effect is likely sufficient, and ditching the skirmish bit could give you something like:

[2]Mountain Wolf [Sauron]
Minion • Warg/Wolf/Demon/Monster/Targeted Maiar Hallucination
Strength: 8  Vitality: 2  Site: 4
Tracker. Fierce.
When you play this minion, you may spot another [Sauron] card and X wounds on a companion to add [X].
"'How the wind howls! It is howling with wolf-voices."

I almost want to take a page out of [Dunland]'s textbook and drop these guys' vitality to 1 in favor of even greater strength curves. So a [2]/9/1/4 stat split on Mountain Wolf - easily mowed down by archery fire or other pre-skirmish wounding, but dangerous once you let it get into biting range. Removing the skirmish ability definitely makes the card worse, but since the idea here is to make the pack operate as a unit more than as individuals, I think we should favor "weaker" minions with synergy and one or two decent support cards.

Quote from: DH
[3] Hunting Wolf Pack [Sauron]
Minion • Warg
Strength: 6  Vitality: 3  Site: 4
Tracker. Fierce.
Each Warg (or fierce Orc) is strength +2.
For each wound on a character skirmishing this minion, it is strength +1.
"In the dead of the night many shining eyes were seen peering over the brow of the hill. Some advanced almost to the ring of stones."

You get stronger by joining the Mob. The more copies, the stronger they'll be (like the previous, [Isengard] Warg-riders are included). For themselves only, they exploit wounds too but for strength, like a wolf smelling the blood on its prey.

Drop the fierce Orc targeting. I think the incidental synergy with pre-existing [Sauron] trackers is sufficient. I love this card though - everything about it oozes wolfiness. I almost want to suggest making wound-spotting a core feature of these guys since it makes so much flippin' sense to push them in that direction.

(0) All Around Them [Sauron]
Condition
Search. To play, spot a [Sauron] Warg/Wolf/Whatever. Bearer must be a companion.
While skirmishing a [Sauron] tracker, add 1 to the number of wounds you can spot on bearer for each [Sauron] card he or she bears.
"The howling of the wolves was now all round them, sometimes nearer and sometimes further off."

I'm not sure how effective this would be outside of a subculture where wound-spotting was pushed heavily, but I like the concept! (Also, yup, Tolkien refers to these creatures as Wargs in the text so I suppose that's a firm vote for Wargs, not Wolves.)

Quote from: DH
[5] •Hound of Sauron, Captain of the Pack [Sauron]
Minion • Warg
Strength: 9  Vitality: 3  Site: 4
Tracker. Damage +1. Fierce.
Each fierce Orc or [Sauron] tracker is strength +2 and twilight cost -1.
Shadow: Discard a [Sauron] card from hand to play a tracker, mount or search card from your discard pile.
"Without warning a storm of howls broke out..."

The Pack Leader makes Wargs and fierce Orcs (and classic [Sauron] Orc trackers) cheaper and stronger, and helps to muster a host of them from discard pile. Can also recover discarded copies of UTWE or Seeking It Always, or mounts for [Isengard] warg-riders. Also, it's a strength 11 fierce, dmg+1 beast on its own.

Hmm...

[5] •Hound of Sauron, Captain of the Pack [Sauron]
Minion • Warg
Strength: 11  Vitality: 2  Site: 4
Tracker. Fierce.
Each [Sauron] tracker is twilight cost -1.
Shadow: Discard a [Sauron] card from hand to play a [Sauron] tracker (or search card) from your discard pile.
"Without warning a storm of howls broke out..."

Losing the damage bonus and pip of vitality pushes the strength up to 11. Again, I've axed the fierce-orc component. I almost want to suggest making the shadow effect free ("Shadow: Play a [Sauron] tracker or search card from your discard pile.") in an effort to incentivize the unique minion over swarms, but maybe we could take a hint from Tol Brandir and go with something like "Shadow: Play up to 3 [Sauron] trackers and/or search cards from your discard pile; end your Shadow phase." So many options for this minion, but no matter what I agree that recursion is important - and flavorful - for this subculture to get feet under it.

Quote from: DH
[3] Tracking Warg [Sauron]
Strength +3  Vitality +1
Possession • Mount
Tracker. Bearer must be an Orc with a twilight cost of 4 or less.
Bearer is fierce and a tracker.
When you play this mount, you may exert bearer twice to discard a stealth condition or a classless possession.
"Even magic rings are not much use against wolves..."

Can make "any Orc that costs less than 5" join the Wolf pack (from Goblin Runner to Tower Assassin). Also, can give fierce and vitality+1 to Orc Hunters, or to a Troll's Keyward wielding a Moria Axe. Being a tracker possession, Hound of Sauron makes it cost -1 (while bearer gets the strength +2).

The discard skill is meant to ditch Fearing the Worst (the nemesis of tracker decks). Also, can discard "classless possessions"... Athelas, Bill the Pony, pipeweed, Lembas, Thror's Map... you know, the kind of things you forget about when running from a Rottweiler. Can also get rid of ATfNBS, Escape, Horn of Boromir, Catapult, RBoW and Book of Mazarbul.

At all costs I think we should avoid drawing mechanical comparisons between [Sauron] Warg trackers and [Isengard] Warg mounts. This card feels more like Rise of Saruman and less like Mines of Moria and that makes me feel skittish: enabling just about any Orc to bear it also introduces a host of balancing concerns, since you'd need to test the mount on every single Orc to see what breaks the game and what doesn't. It's messy, and the standout reason why I prefer [Isengard]'s Warg-rider keyword over anything the [Orc] culture ever attempted.

I'd say cut possessions from the subculture entirely. It's certainly a neat idea but it draws the focus away from what the subculture should be good at: cheapy minions with a strong preference for sniffing out bleeding companions.

Quote from: DH
[2] The Hunt Is Up! [Sauron]
Condition • Support Area
Search. Shadow: Discard an Orc to play a Warg or a [Sauron] mount from your draw deck.
Response: If a mounted Orc is about to be discarded, discard its mount to play a Warg minion with a twilight cost equal or lower from your discard pile for free.
"'The Wargs have come west of the Mountains!'"

This will be the backbone of the new subculture. The Shadow skill ditches any Orc to get Warg minions or [Sauron] Warg mounts from deck. So you can discard an Orc Scout to start the ball rolling with Warg minions, or discard a Goblin Runner to enhance a Goblin Scavengers or Ancient Chieftain with a Tracking Warg mount. This Shadow skill brings Wargs from draw deck, while Hound of Sauron does if from discard.

The Response skill makes a mount keep the fight when the rider gets killed. Which will work wonders with [Isengard] riders: a dead [Isengard] Warg / [Isengard] War-warg / [Sauron] Tracking Warg rider will bring Mountain Wolf for twilight + a pump, or a Hunting Wolf Pack for a strength boost to the remaining riders. A dead Sharku's Warg rider can be turned into a Hound of Sauron.

Of course, the Shadow skill can discard a mounted Orc to also trigger the Response skill: playing a mount/minion Warg from deck AND a Warg minion from discard pile. Crazy, isn't?

Unfortunately what I said ^ sets me against this version of the card. Moreover the game text here is just too complicated for what should be, in essence, a fairly straightforward subculture. I'm a huge fan of providing additional support to [Isengard] Warg-riders but these cards probably aren't the best place for such support.

Minimal deviation:
[2] The Hunt Is Up! [Sauron]
Condition • Support Area
Search.
Shadow:
Discard a [Sauron] Orc to play a tracker from your draw deck.
Response: If a tracker is about to be discarded, remove [1] to play a [Sauron] Warg with a twilight cost equal or lower from your discard pile for free.
"'The Wargs have come west of the Mountains!'"

I've shifted the cultural enforcement around a bit, forcing the Shadow player to already have a [Sauron] Orc in play but allowing them to pull any tracker with the discard. Now the Response ability includes a multicultural element (enabling it to splash into, say, an Ugluk deck) but its effect only pulls [Sauron] Wargs. I'm not sure if this kills the card's versatility or not; I'm just trying to skirt around the concept of [Sauron] mounts for now without completely rewriting the card. But...

Maximum deviation:
[1] The Hunt Is Up! [Sauron]
Condition • Support Area
Search.
Assignment:
Spot a companion (except the Ring-bearer) with X wounds to play X [Sauron] trackers from your draw deck. Discard this condition.
"'The Wargs have come west of the Mountains!'"

Leaning into the blood-sniffing theme established earlier. I haven't thought out how balanced this is... I just really like the concept of [Sauron] Wargs spotting wounds :lol:. Of course, this version of the card is open to all [Sauron] trackers and not exclusively Wargs.

Quote from: DH
[1] How The Wind Howls! [Sauron]
Event • Shadow or Skirmish
Search.
Play a Warg minion (or a mount on your Orc) from your draw deck or discard pile.
"'Even if we live to see the dawn, who now will wish to journey south by night with the wild wolves on his trail?'"

Resourcefulness, like Foul Things / Host of Thousands for [Sauron] Wargs. And for [Isengard] mounts. And during skirmish, if needed.

That's all. 5 or 6 cards (you can cut off the event if you wish) for a new subculture, which helps 2 old subcultures aswell.

As is - and removing the mount/Orc parenthetical - I'd say this card should be (0). Not sure how useful it would be with those changes though. I do appreciate your adherence to [Sauron] lacking pumps, so perhaps something like...

(0) How The Wind Howls! [Sauron]
Event • Shadow or Skirmish
Search.
Play a [Sauron] Warg from your draw deck or discard pile; its twilight cost is -1.
"'Even if we live to see the dawn, who now will wish to journey south by night with the wild wolves on his trail?'"

Always useful, always free, probably too easy to abuse :mrgreen:

But then this popped into my head:

[1] Snarled and Sprang [Sauron]
Event • Skirmish
Reveal your hand. Make a [Sauron] Warg strength +1 for each Shadow card revealed.
"'Fling fuel on the fire!' cried Gandalf to the hobbits. 'Draw your blades, and stand back to back!' In the leaping light, as the fresh wood blazed up, Frodo saw many grey shapes spring over the ring of stones."

Yes, it's a bit sacrilegious within [Sauron], but it comes at a cost of efficiency as most Shadow players will try to dump all their cards into play well before a skirmish phase.

---

If I accidentally skipped over anything or said something dumb, my apologies! Tonight is opening night so I won't be intellectually-available until Monday when the show is finished. In the meantime I'll be stuck thinking about wound-sniffing as a [Sauron] Warg mechanic and maybe by next week I'll have a card or two percolating along those lines. Sorry for the delay in responding - this seems to be a unifying trait among us stalwarts of TLHH lol - but time stands still here, or seems to, as it should! May the Valar watch over you.

January 16, 2020, 03:59:57 PM
Reply #20

ket_the_jet

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2020, 03:59:57 PM »
Diving back in here with a few [Raider] cards. Who doesn't love those?

[4] Variag of Khand [Raider]
Minion • Man
Strength: 9
Vitality: 3
Site: 4
Variag. Besieger.
Shadow: Exert this minion twice to make a [Raider] minion gain besieger until the start of the regroup phase.
"Gothmog the lieutenant of Morgul had flung them into the fray; Easterlings with axes and Variags of Khand..."



[2] Mercenary of Khand [Raider]
Minion • Man
Strength: 6
Vitality: 2
Site: 5
Variag. Besieger.
Maneuver: Discard a [Raider] condition and exert this minion to wound a companion. If you can spot a [Sauron] besieger, you may add a threat.[/b]
"The inland Sea of Rhun strengthened by men of their kinsfolk...and from their new allies in Khand."

[6]Chieftain of Khand, Leader of Mercenaries [Raider]
Minion • Man
Strength: 12
Vitality: 3
Site: 5
Variag. Besieger.
Skirmish: Exert this minion to stack another besieger on a site you control.

[2] Great Assault [Raider]
Event • Maneuver
Spot a [Raider] besieger and a [Sauron] besieger to reveal a card at random from your opponent's hand. You may make a minion strength +x, where x is the twilight cost of the revealed card.
"In this great assault from north and south Gondor came to near destruction..."

[4] Untamed Alliance [Raider]
Condition • Support Area
Skirmish: Discard this condition to make a minion strength +1 (or strength +2 if you have initiative) for each of the following you can spot: Corsair, Easterling, Southron, Variag.

[3] Wainrider Chariot [Raider]
Possession • Mount
Strength: +3
Bearer must be a Variag.
Skirmish: Discard this possession to discard a mount borne by a companion in this skirmish.

What do you think about some random cards for one of the most curious races?
-wtk

January 17, 2020, 02:24:17 AM
Reply #21

Durin's Heir

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2020, 02:24:17 AM »
Ket, your Variags are cool. I'd change a thing here and there, but feels like a good start to a subculture that merits further developing.

Variag of Khand should exert himself once only. Mercenary of Khand is a [Raider] Orkish Lackey, so should specify either "unbound companion" or "(except the Ring-bearer)." I like a lot Chieftain of Khand's synergy with Gorgoroth Pillager, feels like something to keep developing with stacked Variags (or Variags that spot/play other stacked besiegers for benefits). :up:

Great Assault feels too risky and expensive for such reward; I'd change it to "make X minions strength +X" (limit, say 5) until regroup, so if you hit the jackpot it won't be to just overwhelm Thrarin, but to bring real havok.

Untamed Alliance is too expensive, should cost [2] considering the difficulty of maxing it out (can give +8, but most of the times will be +2 like [1] Wrath of Harad).

Wainrider Chariot feels underpowered, Iron Axe gives the same stats for - [2] (and Mumak gives fierce for - [1]). I like the [Rohan] / [Gondor] mount counter, I think should be able to counter any possession, this way:


[3] Wainrider Chariot [Raider]
Possession • Mount
Strength: +3
Bearer must be a Variag.
Each time bearer is assigned to skirmish a character, you may spot a possession borne by that character to make it lose it's game text (except card type and class) during that skirmish.

That way, if you fear losing the skirmish you can blank an offensive tool (a [Rohan] horse, Gondor Bow or Elven Sword) to make the defeat less likely (or less costly), or blank instead a defensive one (Armor, Dwarven Bracers, Heavy Chain or Boromir's Gauntlets) if you feel like winning (or to pave the road to Red Wrath). To me, the increase in maneuverability justifies completely a cost of [3].


Your ideas are cool, but you're giving them too little power. Keep them coming!
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 06:54:26 AM by Durin's Heir »

January 19, 2020, 04:08:51 PM
Reply #22

menace64

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2020, 04:08:51 PM »
Quote from: ket
Diving back in here with a few [Raider] cards. Who doesn't love those?

[Raider] is always welcome.

Quote from: ket
[4] Variag of Khand [Raider]
Minion • Man
Strength: 9
Vitality: 3
Site: 4
Variag. Besieger.
Shadow: Exert this minion twice to make a [Raider] minion gain besieger until the start of the regroup phase.
"Gothmog the lieutenant of Morgul had flung them into the fray; Easterlings with axes and Variags of Khand..."

Besieger on [Raider] minions is a gorgeous combination. I really like the Shadow ability here - it extends besieger deeper into older minions which probably opens the ability to some abuse, but at the cost of 2 exertions that abuse feels earned.  :up:

Quote from: ket
[2] Mercenary of Khand [Raider]
Minion • Man
Strength: 6
Vitality: 2
Site: 5
Variag. Besieger.
Maneuver: Discard a [Raider] condition and exert this minion to wound a companion. If you can spot a [Sauron] besieger, you may add a threat.[/b]
"The inland Sea of Rhun strengthened by men of their kinsfolk...and from their new allies in Khand."

Yes! Sticking cross-cultural bonuses onto [Raider] besiegers is a match made in Valinor. I would recommend limiting the companion-wounding to unbound companions though (actually I'd love to see it say "...and exert this minion to wound a War-bound companion." but that's a keyword that doesn't actually exist... yet.

Quote from: ket
[6]Chieftain of Khand, Leader of Mercenaries [Raider]
Minion • Man
Strength: 12
Vitality: 3
Site: 5
Variag. Besieger.
Skirmish: Exert this minion to stack another besieger on a site you control.

"Exert Chieftain of Khand..." since he's unique.
Another quietly multi-cultural minion. I don't actually know how [Sauron] besiegers hold up in various formats, but I can't imagine the subculture would suffer for splashing this minion, since getting those minions stacked on sites is one of the trickier aspects of any strategy.

Quote from: ket
[2] Great Assault [Raider]
Event • Maneuver
Spot a [Raider] besieger and a [Sauron] besieger to reveal a card at random from your opponent's hand. You may make a minion strength +x, where x is the twilight cost of the revealed card.
"In this great assault from north and south Gondor came to near destruction..."

Yup!

Quote from: ket
[4] Untamed Alliance [Raider]
Condition • Support Area
Skirmish: Discard this condition to make a minion strength +1 (or strength +2 if you have initiative) for each of the following you can spot: Corsair, Easterling, Southron, Variag.

I might just be a softie for [Raider] subcultures but I adore this card. It's versatile like a MF while supporting an impressive variety of Shadow builds, while simultaneously feeling like a RotK-block condition. Favorite card in your bunch.  :gp:

Quote from: ket
[3] Wainrider Chariot [Raider]
Possession • Mount
Strength: +3
Bearer must be a Variag.
Skirmish: Discard this possession to discard a mount borne by a companion in this skirmish.

Do you think this could confer fierce or damage +1? Either one feels appropriate for a chariot.

Quote from: ket
What do you think about some random cards for one of the most curious races?
-wtk

Well I enjoyed your cards so much I went digging into old posts to see if I had written anything that might be complementary to your bunch. What do you think?

[3] Wainrider Scout [Raider]
Minion • Man
Strength 8
Vitality 2
Site Number 5
Variag. Besieger.
Each mount played on this minion is twilight cost -2.

[2] Chariot Shielder [Raider]
Minion • Man
Strength 7
Vitality 3
Site Number 5
Variag. Besieger.
Skirmish:
Remove [1] to transfer a possession borne by this minion to another eligible bearer.
Riding at the front of each chariot was a pair of dark-hearted shield-bearers. Their strength and courage brought other riders safely into battle.

And a monster:

[7] •Chieftain of Rhûn, Lord of the Tribes [Raider]
Minion • Man
Strength 13
Vitality 4
Site Number 5
Variag. Besieger. Ambush [3].
Each time you play a [Raider] mount, draw a card.
Response: If another [Raider] Man wins a skirmish, exert Chieftain of Rhûn to play a [Raider] possession from your discard pile; it is twilight cost -2.
This lord of Men is a cunning leader, able to bend both mind and man.

(0) •From Lands of the White Sun [Raider]
Condition • Support Area
Each time your [Raider] mount is discarded, you may exert a Variag to stack that mount here.
While there are 3 cards stacked here, each Variag gains ambush [1].
Shadow:
Discard a card from hand to play a card stacked here.
"'Out of some savage land in the wide East they come...'"

[2] Tempest of Hooves [Raider]
Event • Skirmish
Make a mounted [Raider] minion strength +2 for each mounted minion you spot.
"‘…countless companies of Men of a new sort that we have not met before.'"

Another strength pump likely isn't necessary but I like how this event subtly encourages cross-cultural shenanigans. It's a real shame [Sauron] never got easy-access to mounts. (Wait... idea!)

(0) Beast of Burden [Sauron]
Possession • Mount
Vitality +1
To play, play an engine. Bearer must be a [Sauron] besieger.
Maneuver: Discard an engine to discard a fortification, then exert bearer or discard this possession.

I kinda flubbed the maneuver ability - my imagination extended only to the idea of the card itself: a beefy [Sauron] mount for besiegers. Totally open to text-rewrites.

Gosh I love [Raider] as a culture so much. Mixing them into besiegers is a whole bunch of fun - this whole concept would really make King-block Shadow strategies pop!

January 21, 2020, 08:55:27 AM
Reply #23

ket_the_jet

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2020, 08:55:27 AM »
Well I enjoyed your cards so much I went digging into old posts to see if I had written anything that might be complementary to your bunch. What do you think?

[3] Wainrider Scout [Raider]
Minion • Man
Strength 8
Vitality 2
Site Number 5
Variag. Besieger.
Each mount played on this minion is twilight cost -2.
Seems more than reasonable.

Quote from: [card=18034
menace[/card]]
[2] Chariot Shielder [Raider]
Minion • Man
Strength 7
Vitality 3
Site Number 5
Variag. Besieger.
Skirmish:
Remove [1] to transfer a possession borne by this minion to another eligible bearer.
Riding at the front of each chariot was a pair of dark-hearted shield-bearers. Their strength and courage brought other riders safely into battle.
Is there any reason this guy is three vitality? I know there is precedent for larger minions (usually troops) having three vitality, but this guy is effectively equal to Boromir or Faramir. I feel like that's where the 2-vitality standard for [Raider] Men came into play, but I could be wrong.

Quote from: [card=18034
menace[/card]]
[7] •Chieftain of Rhûn, Lord of the Tribes [Raider]
Minion • Man
Strength 13
Vitality 4
Site Number 5
Variag. Besieger. Ambush [3].
Each time you play a [Raider] mount, draw a card.
Response: If another [Raider] Man wins a skirmish, exert Chieftain of Rhûn to play a [Raider] possession from your discard pile; it is twilight cost -2.
This lord of Men is a cunning leader, able to bend both mind and man.
This guy is definitely a monster. Culturally, I would point out a Variag would specifically be from Khand per the two or three references in Tolkien's writings, whereas an Easterling would be from Rhûn.

Quote from: [card=18034
menace[/card]]
(0) •From Lands of the White Sun [Raider]
Condition • Support Area
Each time your [Raider] mount is discarded, you may exert a Variag to stack that mount here.
While there are 3 cards stacked here, each Variag gains ambush [1].
Shadow:
Discard a card from hand to play a card stacked here.
"'Out of some savage land in the wide East they come...'"
This card is great with Variag-Southron cross-pollination, and perhaps explains the 3-vitality Variag minion I asked about above.

Quote from: [card=18034
menace[/card]]
[2] Tempest of Hooves [Raider]
Event • Skirmish
Make a mounted [Raider] minion strength +2 for each mounted minion you spot.
"‘…countless companies of Men of a new sort that we have not met before.'"
Interesting pump, perhaps. I haven't gotten to the end, so I am wondering where this kind of maxes out? I can't see more than two mounts in a given phase, let alone then needing the two extra twilight.

Quote
(0) Beast of Burden [Sauron]
Possession • Mount
Vitality +1
To play, play an engine. Bearer must be a [Sauron] besieger.
Maneuver: Discard an engine to discard a fortification, then exert bearer or discard this possession.
I don't have a strong feeling on this one, probably because it feels mechanically clunky. Maybe "to play, spot two engines." I also kind of always create my cards with King Standard in mind, replacing sets 8 and beyond. I am wondering if this becomes too powerful with besieging trolls?

I had the idea for something when I started this post, but it largely evaporated. Either way, thanks for the kind words and would love to see more from Tolkien's least-talked about subculture!
-wtk

January 24, 2020, 12:39:36 PM
Reply #24

menace64

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2020, 12:39:36 PM »
I had an idea for a proposed-errata of a particularly troublesome card:

[3]Galadriel, Lady Redeemed [Elven]
Companion • Elf
Strength: 3
Vitality: 3
Galadriel may not be played in your starting fellowship.
Regroup: Discard an [Elven] event from hand to discard a Shadow condition or Shadow possession.
"'I pass the test,' she said. 'I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.'"

I reckon everybody here is extremely aware of GLR's game text, but I'll describe the two changes I'm now proposing: first, denying Galadriel from inclusion in your starting fellowship. I see part of her problem as creating an NPE for Shadow decks too quickly, and played for free on top of that. Preventing her from starting the game in your fellowship also makes sense thematically. I've also taken the Fellowship phase away from her ability, limiting her still-potent ability to the Regroup phase, further pushing her usefulness later into the game - now if you want to use her effect, you've gotta draw her, play her for [3], and then keep her alive for at least one site.

I presume those who enjoy playing with busted-GLR won't like these changes at all while just about everybody else will be cool with the nerf. I do think some sort of major nerf is looooooong overdue here.

January 24, 2020, 05:37:09 PM
Reply #25

Inspire

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2020, 05:37:09 PM »
I had an idea for a proposed-errata of a particularly troublesome card:

[3]Galadriel, Lady Redeemed [Elven]
Companion • Elf
Strength: 3
Vitality: 3
Galadriel may not be played in your starting fellowship.
Regroup: Discard an [Elven] event from hand to discard a Shadow condition or Shadow possession.
"'I pass the test,' she said. 'I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.'"

Nice idea, although I think preventing her from being played in the starting fellowship is unnecessary if you remove the twilight cost reduction. I don't foresee many players paying [3] to start her (and if they do, it would probably be a sub-optimal decision). In fact, I think removing the twilight cost reduction alone probably would have removed most complaints about her. 

January 24, 2020, 07:18:52 PM
Reply #26

menace64

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2020, 07:18:52 PM »
You're probably right on the money - but what about this?

(0)Galadriel, Lady Redeemed [Elven]
Companion • Elf
Strength: 3
Vitality: 3
Galadriel may not be played in your starting fellowship.
Regroup: Discard an [Elven] event from hand to discard a Shadow condition or Shadow possession.
"'I pass the test,' she said. 'I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.'"

Same thing as before, except now she's always free. I'm a little attached to the idea of preventing her from starting in your fellowship for the aforementioned reasons of flavor.

A minimally-altered version would go:

[3]Galadriel, Lady Redeemed [Elven]
Companion • Elf
Strength: 3
Vitality: 3
Fellowship or Regroup: Discard an [Elven] event from hand to discard a Shadow condition or Shadow possession.
"'I pass the test,' she said. 'I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.'"

January 24, 2020, 08:37:08 PM
Reply #27

Durin's Heir

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #27 on: January 24, 2020, 08:37:08 PM »
Besides the absurdity of being played for free, I think she discards Shadow things too effortlessly. Ditching an [Elven] event is simply too easy a task, so I'd make her exert along with the event. I know healing is not hard for Elves, but at least players would need to focus Elrond HtGG and Shadow Between on her instead of recharging Greenleaf over and over, and her vitality would put a natural limit per turn to the Shadow cards butchering.

Another thing that annoys me about her is her Hobbit-like strength status. It's just too low for an Eldar, one whose power was only below Sauron's in Middle-Earth (everyone knows I'm no Elf fanboy, it's just what Tolkien wrote: "Three times Lórien had been assailed from Dol Guldur, but... the power that dwelt there was too great for any to overcome, unless Sauron had come there himself."). I'd make her gain some strength boosts so she can rival Glorfindel or Gil-galad under certain circumstances:


[3]Galadriel, Lady Redeemed [Elven]
Companion • Elf
Strength: 3  Vitality: 3
For each [Elven] or [Gandalf] Ring (or Phial of Galadriel) you may spot, Galadriel is strength +2.
Fellowship or Regroup: Discard an [Elven] event from hand and exert Galadriel to discard a Shadow condition or Shadow possession.
"They took Dol Guldur, and Galadriel threw down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed."

You can start her with strength 3 along with the mighty Ordulus (not a good idea), but after 3 Elf Rings and a Phial she rises to strength 11. The discarding is now costlier but broader too (any condition/possession, FP too), to erase Held or Dwarven Heart before the drawback (but discarding extra [Elven] events for the sake of unclogging hand will backfire to your Swords or Bows).

Gave her a different lore text, always felt that Decipher were trying to portray that part of the Appendices with her skill.



Glorfindel and Cirdan also need erratas:

[4]Glorfindel, Revealed in Wrath [Elven]
Strength: 9  Vitality: 4
Ranger.
While you can spot Aragorn or 2 Hobbits, Glorfindel's twilight cost is -2.
Skirmish: Play or discard an [Elven] event with a twilight cost of X to make Glorfindel strength +X (and you may exert a Nazgul or Balrog skirmishing him).

His cost can only be lowered when traveling along with Hobbits or Strider, which weakens pure Elf decks in the early game. The anti-Nazgul Forearmed horseshit was removed, and replaced with a more versatile pump enhancing skill (Still Needed makes him +4 instead of +2; Alliance Reforged and Secret Sentinels can be used in dire need as pumps too), as well as a wink to his predilection to clash with Ringwraiths and Balrogs. And he's a Ranger, by the way.


[4]Cirdan, The Shipwright [Elven]
Strength: 7  Vitality: 4
Skirmish: Spot Cirdan with X vitality or more and exert him to reveal X [Elven] events from your discard pile. Make a minion he is skirmishing strength -X.

The skirmish skill remains, but now has a limit which is his current vitality (which encourages playing Narya and Aiglos on him). Also, reveals events from discard pile, so he doesn't break Decipher's own rules of not allowing your opponent to look into your discard pile's content.

Decipher lost their way when they forgot about putting limits to effects.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2020, 06:45:17 PM by Durin's Heir »

January 24, 2020, 09:19:07 PM
Reply #28

menace64

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #28 on: January 24, 2020, 09:19:07 PM »
Your version appeals to me mightily but it's more than a few steps-removed from the unaltered version. Each errata we impose on a card would have percussive impacts upon not only the card but the environment. I recommend small steps towards balance over radical changes, at least until the small steps have been tested. The community polls I've run over the last year or two seem to signify a desire for minor changes over sweeping changes: if tweaking a word here or a phase there brings a card into proper balance, we should strive for that over all other aims.

If we can put together a proposed-list of erratas for problematic cards while maintaining the 'spirit' of each card, we stand a greater success of being taken seriously by the entrenched orthodoxy of resistance.

That all being said, I think we're looooong overdue for some Ring-centric Freeps characters. It would be awesome to get your version of GLR into the game (along with a similarly-themed Elrond and Gandalf [and Cirdan?]). I could see an effect like "For each Free Peoples character bearing a Ring, this character is strength +1" or something making its way onto characters.

---

Another companion desperately in need of realignment is Aragorn, Heir to the White City. In his case, I recommend a one-word change:

[4]Aragorn, Heir to the White City [Gondor]
Companion • Man
Strength: 8
Vitality: 4
Signet: Frodo
Ranger.
Each time the fellowship moves during the regroup phase, remove [2].
"'...his hood was cast back, and his dark hair was blowing in the wind, a light was in his eyes: a king returning from exile in his own land.'"

It never felt right that he removed twilight during the fellowship-move: as a ranger, his strength should lie in the double-move, and in that case I think removing [2] is fair, or fair enough to warrant the errata. The NPE of playing against HttWC stems from his ability to prevent a Shadow player from emptying his or her hand after the first move - this slight revision removes the NPE but maintains the net-twilight-removal of the card. He'd be different - and one could argue too different - so perhaps this slight change would be preferable:

[4]Aragorn, Heir to the White City [Gondor]
Companion • Man
Strength: 8
Vitality: 4
Signet: Frodo
Ranger.
Each time the fellowship moves, remove [1].
"'...his hood was cast back, and his dark hair was blowing in the wind, a light was in his eyes: a king returning from exile in his own land.'"

Now he would work with every move but only ever removing [1] per site. In either errata our footprint as fixers would be small, and barely noticed by the casual player.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2020, 09:21:00 PM by menace64 »

January 24, 2020, 09:57:03 PM
Reply #29

Inspire

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2020, 09:57:03 PM »
I largely agree with menace64's thoughts above - in general, less is more when it comes to making changes. And within the context of the substantial power creep that was sets 8 - 10, I don't think overly significant changes are needed to bring GLR into line with the (inflated) meta that she operates in.

[4]Aragorn, Heir to the White City [Gondor]
Companion • Man
Strength: 8
Vitality: 4
Signet: Frodo
Ranger.
Each time the fellowship moves during the regroup phase, remove [2].
"'...his hood was cast back, and his dark hair was blowing in the wind, a light was in his eyes: a king returning from exile in his own land.'"

This feels perfect. I dislike twilight denial as a design concept (I think most players would generally agree that playing more cards equals more fun), but given what we're starting with I really like the balance of this one. Plus, I always felt that the designers didn't do enough to encourage the Free Peoples' player to double (or even triple) move, so making his gametext contingent upon multiple moves is a great choice.