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Author Topic: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.  (Read 6122 times)

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January 24, 2020, 10:21:31 PM
Reply #30

Durin's Heir

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #30 on: January 24, 2020, 10:21:31 PM »
Added erratas to Cirdan and Glorfindel to my previous post.


The main problem of Aragorn, Hurried towards the Water Closet is that he lets no twilight at all most of the times... with NSttS he actually removes [3], add Sting, the Gaffer's Pipe, Bill the Pony and ATfNBS, and the NPE effect cannot be borne. If he said "spot [4] to remove [2]" it'd be much more acceptable. But that's too wordy for your standards, and I agree with them for that goal. In such case, besides R-listing NSttS, I'd choose option #1 (since cannot pile upon NSttS + Bill + ATfNBS + Gimli DotMR so easily).

(Also, most Pipes should need to "add [X]" or "add [2]", except the Gaffer's, Gimli's and perhaps Bilbo's. That way, you'd need pipeweed to remove burdens/wounds, and then again more pipeweed if you want that without adding twilight.)


About Lady Redeemed, if we're going to change only 1 thing, removing the free-at-starting part will make her too different. So I'd stick with my version of the discarding skill (making her vitality both a concern and a limit), and keep everything else as Decipher did.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2020, 10:29:30 PM by Durin's Heir »

January 25, 2020, 12:17:25 AM
Reply #31

Durin's Heir

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #31 on: January 25, 2020, 12:17:25 AM »
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.
Lots of potential here!

[4]Gandalf, Fire that Kindles [Gandalf]
Companion • Wizard
Strength 7  Vitality 4  Frodo Signet-
For each Ring artifact you may spot, Gandalf is strength +1 (limit +5).
While you can spot 3 Rings of different cultures, Gandalf is defender +1.
"...for he was the enemy of Sauron, opposing the fire that devours..."

Meant for Set 10 (if possible), a King block Frodo signet companion like Elessar Telcontar. Can be defender +1, but risking being hit by Grima CC. [Wraith] Rings boost him too (and Barahir's).


[4]Gil-galad, Keeper of Rings [Elven]
Companion • Elf
Strength 9  Vitality 4
Second Age. (Whatever it might mean.)
Gil-galad may bear up to 2 Rings (and you may play Narya or Vilya on him).
Regroup: Exert Gil-galad and transfer an artifact he bears to another eligible bearer to remove a burden or free a site.
"...but the Red Ring he kept, until he gave it to Círdan..."

"You may play Narya or Vilya on him" doesn't make him an eligible bearer, so Narya cannot be transferred back to him next turn to repeat the cycle (nor Vilya if is the Set 3 version).


----


[3]Thrór, Dwindled King [Dwarven]
Companion • Dwarf
Strength 7  Vitality 4
While bearing a [Dwarven] Ring, Thrór is vitality +1 and damage +1.
Regroup: Spot X wounds on Thrór and transfer a Ring he bears to play X [Dwarven] cards from your draw deck. Discard Thrór.
"...now old, poor, and desperate, gave to his son Thráin the one great treasure he still possessed..."

If used when exhausted, you'll pull 4+ cards from your deck, but Thror will die instead of just walking into the sunset.

[1]Nár, Thrór's Companion [Dwarven]
Companion • Dwarf
Strength 5  Vitality 3
While you can spot Thrór, each mountain or underground site is Shadow number -2.
While Thrór is in the dead pile, each Dwarf is strength +1 and damage +1.
"From Dunland, where he was then dwelling, he went north with Nár, and they crossed the Redhorn Pass and came down into Azanulbizar."

So you have a Thrór with 2 different profiles: he can be the protagonist sneaking his way towards underground and mountain sites, or pass his Ring and protagonism to his son Thráin to pull cards a la SFtF (and boost everyone if dead).

[3]Thráin, Son of Thrór [Dwarven]
Companion • Dwarf
Strength 8  Vitality 3
Damage +1.
While bearing a [Dwarven] Ring, Thráin is defender +1.
While Thrór is in the dead pile, each time you play a [Dwarven] card, you may draw a card or exert a minion.
"Then he stood up and said: 'This cannot be borne!'"

Thráin's full potential is unleashed only when having the urge to muster an army and avenge his father (1 Baruk Khazad = 2 wounds = goodbye Wormtongue). While wielding his father's Ring of Power.


----


[4]Saruman, Master of Ring-lore [Isengard]
Minion • Wizard
Strength 8  Vitality 4  Site Number 3
When you play Saruman, you may play an [Isengard] artifact from your draw deck.
While bearing an artifact, Saruman is fierce and ambush [1].
Each companion bearing an artifact is strength -1 (or -2 if is a Ring).
"'He wore a ring on his finger.'"


(0)Saruman's Ring, New Power [Isengard]
Artifact • Ring
Vitality +1
Bearer must be Saruman. He is enduring.
Skirmish: Remove [1] to exert Saruman.
Response: If Saruman is about to be discarded, return him to your hand and exert a companion.
"...for his pride believed that he could use them, or It, in defiance of any other will."
« Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 11:03:52 AM by Durin's Heir »

January 25, 2020, 11:43:48 PM
Reply #32

menace64

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #32 on: January 25, 2020, 11:43:48 PM »
Quote from: DH
[4]Gandalf, Fire that Kindles [Gandalf]
Companion • Wizard
Strength 7  Vitality 4  Frodo Signet-
For each Ring artifact you may spot, Gandalf is strength +1 (limit +5).
While you can spot 3 Rings of different cultures, Gandalf is defender +1.
"...for he was the enemy of Sauron, opposing the fire that devours..."

Meant for Set 10 (if possible), a King block Frodo signet companion like Elessar Telcontar. Can be defender +1, but risking being hit by Grima CC. [Wraith] Rings boost him too (and Barahir's).

This Gandalf is my jaaaaaaam. Feels like FotSF but cares about rings. And I like how you've written it to exclude The One Ring - I probably wouldn't have done that but I like your take so much more.

"Meant for Set 10" conjures a new thought in my brain - what do you think of our hypothetical sets releasing as "supplements" to existing sets? If Gandalf, Fire That Kindles were to become legal for play, his collector info might read "10V15", putting him in Mount Doom (and King Block) but only in formats allowing for Virtual cards. It's slick and gives any creative team the ability to insert new cards into any format without much additional headache.

Quote from: DH
[4]Gil-galad, Keeper of Rings [Elven]
Companion • Elf
Strength 9  Vitality 4
Second Age. (Whatever it might mean.)
Gil-galad may bear up to 2 Rings (and you may play Narya or Vilya on him).
Regroup: Exert Gil-galad and transfer an artifact he bears to another eligible bearer to remove a burden or free a site.
"...but the Red Ring he kept, until he gave it to Círdan..."

"You may play Narya or Vilya on him" doesn't make him an eligible bearer, so Narya cannot be transferred back to him next turn to repeat the cycle (nor Vilya if is the Set 3 version).

Decipher had such a good track record for differentiating characters of various eras among all of their card games that it physically hurts me how we never got the same treatment in LotR. I'm okay with mixing Ages, but I also want a way of divorcing Second from Third, or even Fourth, and adding a keyword or icon signifying a character's Age only gives card designers more room to play in.

Maybe: Gil-galad may bear Narya or Vilya, even if he already bears a Ring. Also, "free" should be "liberate".

I love this Gil-galad more than the two we got.

----

Quote from: DH
[3]Thrór, Dwindled King [Dwarven]
Companion • Dwarf
Strength 7  Vitality 4
While bearing a [Dwarven] Ring, Thrór is vitality +1 and damage +1.
Regroup: Spot X wounds on Thrór and transfer a Ring he bears to play X [Dwarven] cards from your draw deck. Discard Thrór.
"...now old, poor, and desperate, gave to his son Thráin the one great treasure he still possessed..."

If used when exhausted, you'll pull 4+ cards from your deck, but Thror will die instead of just walking into the sunset.

And we'd have access to images we could use, too! YES!

I think Thror, being dwindled, should have subpar stats. Maybe 7/2? Then he would emerge average once you slap a Ring on him, giving the Freeps player that much added incentive to do so. This would also limit his baseline utility (with a Ring) to 2 or 3 [Dwarven] cards, which is already a lot, especially since the ultimate cost is merely discarding him. If you feel his stats should stay at 7/4, I'd suggest changing the ability to "Kill Thror" to make it a true once-off.

Quote from: DH
[1]Nár, Thrór's Companion [Dwarven]
Companion • Dwarf
Strength 5  Vitality 3
While you can spot Thrór, each mountain or underground site is Shadow number -2.
While Thrór is in the dead pile, each Dwarf is strength +1 and damage +1.
"From Dunland, where he was then dwelling, he went north with Nár, and they crossed the Redhorn Pass and came down into Azanulbizar."

So you have a Thrór with 2 different profiles: he can be the protagonist sneaking his way towards underground and mountain sites, or pass his Ring and protagonism to his son Thráin to pull cards a la SFtF (and boost everyone if dead).

I think I might like Nar with only the second line, but that might be dependent on what formats you envision Nar to appear in. In expanded he's probably busted.

Quote from: DH
[3]Thráin, Son of Thrór [Dwarven]
Companion • Dwarf
Strength 8  Vitality 3
Damage +1.
While bearing a [Dwarven] Ring, Thráin is defender +1.
While Thrór is in the dead pile, each time you play a [Dwarven] card, you may draw a card or exert a minion.
"Then he stood up and said: 'This cannot be borne!'"

Thráin's full potential is unleashed only when having the urge to muster an army and avenge his father (1 Baruk Khazad = 2 wounds = goodbye Wormtongue). While wielding his father's Ring of Power.

Or was it Thrain we saw in The Hobbit? I honestly don't remember.
I think Thrain is too much for [3]. Something's gotta go. 8/3 is fun and Damage+1 is intuitive. While I really like the flavor of needing certain companions to get killed, it'd be too easy for a Freeps player to make it happen, and this might lead to NPE abuse - dead companions is supposed to be a bad thing :lol:
Perhaps a compromise: "While Thrain bears a [Dwarven] Ring, he is defender +1 for each Dwarf in the dead pile (limit +2)." or something.
In any case, I do recommend dropping the minion-exerting bit. Dwarves don't need help in that department.

Quote from: DH
[4]Saruman, Master of Ring-lore [Isengard]
Minion • Wizard
Strength 8  Vitality 4  Site Number 3
When you play Saruman, you may play an [Isengard] artifact from your draw deck.
While bearing an artifact, Saruman is fierce and ambush [1].
Each companion bearing an artifact is strength -1 (or -2 if is a Ring).
"'He wore a ring on his finger.'"

I'm all turned around on Saruman cards now. (Thanks :lol:) An [Isengard] artifact engine makes me happy but now you've converted me into the "Saruman as a condition" camp and I'm having trouble agreeing with turning him into any sort of skirmisher. It does feel wrong.

Quote from: DH
(0)Saruman's Ring, New Power [Isengard]
Artifact • Ring
Vitality +1
Bearer must be Saruman. He is enduring.
Skirmish: Remove [1] to exert Saruman.
Response: If Saruman is about to be discarded, return him to your hand and exert a companion.
"...for his pride believed that he could use them, or It, in defiance of any other will."

Saruman's Ring should have a twilight cost > 0 to set it apart from all the others. His is imperfect, a trial, a copy.
Vitality +1 is cool, but enduring wouldn't fit into the format I see this card most-likely appearing in (Fellowship block). Here's an impulsive idea:
"Shadow: Replace the first sentence of Saruman's game text with the first sentence of another [Isengard] minion's game text until the regroup phase. End your shadow phase."
I have nooooo idea how/if that would break the game, but it's similar to Saruman's Staff and would certainly lead to some interesting Saruman-fighters.

Quote from: DH
The main problem of Aragorn, Hurried towards the Water Closet is that he lets no twilight at all most of the times... with NSttS he actually removes [3], add Sting, the Gaffer's Pipe, Bill the Pony and ATfNBS, and the NPE effect cannot be borne. If he said "spot [4] to remove [2]" it'd be much more acceptable. But that's too wordy for your standards, and I agree with them for that goal. In such case, besides R-listing NSttS, I'd choose option #1 (since cannot pile upon NSttS + Bill + ATfNBS + Gimli DotMR so easily).

Actually, I think "Spot [4] to remove [2]" might be a perfect solution. My "replace one word" concept is just a starting point in my brain. Decipher issued a few erratas just as you suggest doing with HttWC, and yours might be the simplest way to ensure the presence of twilight going into a Shadow phase without altering the card overmuch. I'd certainly like to see this tested!

Quote from: DH
(Also, most Pipes should need to "add [X]" or "add [2]", except the Gaffer's, Gimli's and perhaps Bilbo's. That way, you'd need pipeweed to remove burdens/wounds, and then again more pipeweed if you want that without adding twilight.)

Until pipeweed decks start wrecking formats I'd say leave them be.

Quote from: DH
About Lady Redeemed, if we're going to change only 1 thing, removing the free-at-starting part will make her too different. So I'd stick with my version of the discarding skill (making her vitality both a concern and a limit), and keep everything else as Decipher did.

Any version that brought her card into balance would be the best move. I'm down for any option.

January 26, 2020, 11:02:54 PM
Reply #33

menace64

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2020, 11:02:54 PM »
Here's where it gets tricky for me. Engage Rant Mode.

I Hate Hunter. As a keyword it served only to introduce further power creep into the game, as not a single Hunter keyword seemed influenced by twilight cost, merely being tacked on to artificially inflate a character's strength. Set 15 was when I functionally retired from the game for this reason alone. A lot of feedback I've been getting ultimately revolves around the creep from 15+, and honestly - seriously - I can't for the life of me think of a simple solution that doesn't involve A) issuing erratum to dozens of cards or B) rewriting the hunter keyword.

[2] Namárië [Elven]
Condition • Support Area
When you play this, add an [Elven] token here for each hunter you can spot.
Maneuver: Discard this or remove a token from here and spot an [Elven] hunter to discard a condition.
"We shall not meet again, Elessar."

That's the card, as-is. Namarie is pushed in any format allowing for hunter characters, further pedestaling hunters as the top of the power tier. My initial - and simplest - recommendation is to toss a unique dot onto it. And perhaps that's all that would be necessary to bring Namarie into balance.

But the card still bothers me. I can't do anything about the lack of Site6[F] allies in The Hunters block, which issues a Flavor Rating of F to Namarie since it should be targeting those allies instead of hunters. I dunno; this card is a mess of sloppy and undertested design.

I just hate Hunter. There's no way around it for me. Elven Guardian is a stupid card and so is Orophin, Silvan Elf. Every hunter is overpowered by design and that makes every card in 15-onward a serious problem in expanded formats. (It's why I won't play Expanded. I want to enjoy the entire card pool but the broken nature of the post-Bloodlines environment is woefully apparent.)

If every Hunter character is problematic, might we change the Hunter keyword?

Hunter. (While skirmishing a non-hunter character, this character wins tied skirmishes.)

That's a hot-take, and a bad one. Minions already win skirmish-ties, and there are (and should be!) plenty of Hunter Minions.

Hunter X. (If this character wins a skirmish against a non-hunter character, shuffle X [culture] cards from your discard pile into your draw deck.)

This feels a little better since we can keep the scalar element of the keyword... but it's totally different now, uncoupled from flat strength bonuses. I'm not keen on advocating radical changes but Hunter is just so mind-numbingly stupid that I can't figure any other solution here but to alter the keyword itself.

Argh. All of this barely scratches the surface of the most-problematic cards in the game. Followers are pretty awful too, guilty of their own unfair share of NPEs. But now I'm all frustrated from thinking about Hunter this long and I just want a hug.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2020, 11:04:31 PM by menace64 »

January 28, 2020, 09:48:33 AM
Reply #34

ket_the_jet

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2020, 09:48:33 AM »
Why do we need to play with Second Age characters anyways? Elendil has been long dead--there is no reason to have him traveling the path to Mount Doom with Frodo, Reluctant Adventurer and his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson, Aragorn, Ellesar Telcontar.
-wtk

January 28, 2020, 10:55:49 AM
Reply #35

Durin's Heir

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2020, 10:55:49 AM »
I think Second Age characters should be playable without penalty as long as there is no (unique) FP Third Age character also in play (or dead pile). Elendil and his sons, the Dwarven Lords, Gil-galad, agree that they shouldn't take the protagonism of the late Third Age. So as far as Isildur or Galadriel (or a new ARB Elrond) carries the Ring instead of Smeagol or Frodo, they should be playable.

Third Age should be an implicit keyword in absence of Second Age, just like Unbound is in absence of Ring-bound. We know some characters were part of but trascended the Second Age: the Eldar (Galadriel, Elrond, Cirdan, Gildor Inglorion and all the [Elven] councilors; Glorfindel, who was sent back with the Istari), the Wizards (in Tolkien's latest revision, the Istari were sent in the middle Second Age), Bombadil and Goldberry, the Ents, the Ringwraiths, Mouth of Sauron, Watcher in the Water, the Balrog, Shelob, and Sauron himself. (And the Great Goblin, an Orc chieftain who survived the Fall of Gondolin just to die to Gondolin's king's sword many millennia later!) Those I would separate with an implicit new keyword: Ageless. All versions of those characters would implicitly have such keyword (just like all versions of Frodo and Sam are Ring-bound). You can have Ageless characters in play/dead pile without blocking/affecting Second Age ones. (Some benefits might even target only Ageless characters.)



But since Reflections itself is a big What-if, why should they be completely excluded instead of just punished? If we are going to become fussy, Movie Block decks should NOT be able to pack Boromir or The Balrog in first place ("wait... weren't you dead already?"). Between King book and Fellowship book there are just months of difference instead of three thousands years, I know, so it's no big deal. But we know that some mortals managed to survive many centuries longer (Smeagol, who wasn't even senile), or even millennia like the Mouth of Sauron (who was still a mortal Numenorean Man, that extended his life via black sorcery) or the Nazgul (who became immortal but lifeless). Elves weren't mortal (by age), so Gil-galad might have survived Sauron's first downfall, though scarred and diminished... (what if?)

All in all, I think (non-Ageless) Second Age characters should be always playable, but if a single unique FP Third Age character hits play, dead pile or discard pile, all Second Agers should be punished with -3 strength and -2 resistance. Or "strength -X, where X is that character's printed vitality" = Durin III and Gil-galad -4 str, Elendil -5 str, Isildur and Anarion -3 str. Isildur RB would still be playable with unique Knights, but crazed, weakened and, well, "lean and withered." Gollumized. Or completely sound with non-unique soldiers, along with his father and brother (and Ageless Elf allies).


That's to keep What-ifs rolling. Feels a bit like Star Wars, were too many characters fell into the abyss in one film/book, just to be cliff-hanging (or cloned) actually in a subsequent one. But in this case wouldn't be without a severe penalty.


EDIT: Added Watcher in the Water to the list of Ageless characters.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2020, 06:26:02 PM by Durin's Heir »

February 06, 2020, 06:06:17 PM
Reply #36

Durin's Heir

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #36 on: February 06, 2020, 06:06:17 PM »
I'm okay with mixing Ages, but I also want a way of divorcing Second from Third, or even Fourth, and adding a keyword or icon signifying a character's Age only gives card designers more room to play in.
What about this: if a player goes full Second Age, why not declare it by having The One Ring rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise (with the title and stat bonuses below the Ring-bearer)? It'd be simple and easy to recognize. If you do so, you can play no 3A FP unique character; otherwise you lose immediately (illegal deck). If you don't (One Ring attached normally), 2A companions are str -3 and resistance -2 (or any penalty the community finds proper for Gollumized 2A survivors). It'd be simple.

I also believe that playing Second Age should impact not only your FP side, but also a bit your opponent's Shadow one: in previous ages, Balrogs, Maiar and such Ageless things were more common, so each Ageless minion should cost -2 or so.


Actually, I think "Spot [4] to remove [2]" might be a perfect solution. My "replace one word" concept is just a starting point in my brain. Decipher issued a few erratas just as you suggest doing with HttWC, and yours might be the simplest way to ensure the presence of twilight going into a Shadow phase without altering the card overmuch. I'd certainly like to see this tested!
Hmmm, been rethinking this approach and I believe that spotting [4] won't happen too often in FOTR block (too much twilight remotion already). So players might then prefer to replace him with another Aragorn that can trigger at will, which is not what we're looking for. Therefore, a slightly more versatile version would be better: "each time the fellowship moves, spot [2] to remove [1] (or spot [4] to remove [2])." In any case wouldn't erase all the twilight, removing the NPE factor.


Until pipeweed decks start wrecking formats I'd say leave them be.
Pipeweed decks do too much for too little. They can pack a sanctuary or more + fresh Sam SoH to be used at any site... add vitality dependant OP skills (Greenleaf, Gandalf's Staff, Aragorn's Bow) and becomes really abusive. If they had a limit and/or an additional cost (like "spot X pipes and add [X]" for burden/wound remotion), there'd be a drawback. Burnt tobacco can be both smelt and seen, it's not as stealthy as Decipher depicted! 

Enola realized that basing FP strategies on too much staying power cards destroyed the fun of the game, and so we made the Hobbit Game with not a single FP condition at all (instead, events and followers-with-considerable-costs took their role).


On a related subject, Gimli's Pipe should do something by itself. I like the heavy smoker flavor of the skill, but having another skill like "Spot X pipes and discard a pipeweed possession to draw X cards" would put it in a similar level as the rest of the pipes (play Old Toby, spot 2 pipes and discard it to draw 3 cards, like Delving). Unlike the other pipes, would have a limit by the Rule of 4.


I Hate Hunter...
Hunter... ugh, enough said! >:( Awful keyword, maimed the previous sets beyond measure...

Here's my try to redefine the Hunter keyword: "At the start of the Assignment Phase, each player sums the total value of Hunter of his or her characters. The Free Peoples player compares his or her number with the one of the Shadow player with the highest value; of them, the player with the highest value may reveal X cards at random from an opponent's hand, or look at the top X cards of any player's draw deck, where X is the difference between those values."

Not strength anymore, but information! The player with more total Hunter will be able to discover cards in opponent's hand that might hinder his/her efforts, or learn if a desired character or trick is soon to arrive for an opponent, or even for oneself. Seeking, tracking and surprising your enemy is a better way of portraying intelligent skills than brute force, I believe.

Ring of Doom then would need to be errata'd to be put on during Maneuver (and probably, give +1 str and only hunter 2).


Still, Namarie won't be fixed by such change. That card, in my opinion, should require to remove 2 tokens per use like Traveler's Homestead or Gladden Homestead (and tokens only, not discarding itself, to thwart the cycle with Gil-galad HKotN). Besides being unique (again, like all Set 13 Homesteads).
« Last Edit: February 07, 2020, 11:07:55 AM by Durin's Heir »

February 07, 2020, 05:42:57 PM
Reply #37

Phallen Cassidy

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #37 on: February 07, 2020, 05:42:57 PM »
Pipeweed decks do too much for too little. They can pack a sanctuary or more + fresh Sam SoH to be used at any site... add vitality dependant OP skills (Greenleaf, Gandalf's Staff, Aragorn's Bow) and becomes really abusive. If they had a limit and/or an additional cost (like "spot X pipes and add [X]" for burden/wound remotion), there'd be a drawback. Burnt tobacco can be both smelt and seen, it's not as stealthy as Decipher depicted! 

You're looking at the benefit of Pipeweed decks, but not the cost. Even just looking at Fellowship Block, Pipeweed decks are slow to set up, subject to bad draws, and generally either don't skirmish well, don't choke, or don't handle swarm. They are capable of doing anything, but not of doing everything. I don't mind these types of decks at all: powerhouses that take a while to build up. Sort of the opposite of choke decks, which are strongest in the first 6 sites and struggle towards the end. After Fellowship Block the deck almost falls off completely, a testament to it's lack of power. I agree it loses some potency with Grima keeping tabs on the number of cards and cultures, but I'm somewhat surprised so few people play them in Towers/King Standard. Movie has plenty of possession hate, so that makes sense.

Here's my try to redefine the Hunter keyword: "At the start of the Assignment Phase, each player sums the total value of Hunter of his or her characters. The Free Peoples player compares his or her number with the one of the Shadow player with the highest value; of them, the player with the highest value may reveal X cards at random from an opponent's hand, or look at the top X cards of any player's draw deck, where X is the difference between those values."

Not strength anymore, but information! The player with more total Hunter will be able to discover cards in opponent's hand that might hinder his/her efforts, or learn if a desired character or trick is soon to arrive for an opponent, or even for oneself. Seeking, tracking and surprising your enemy is a better way of portraying intelligent skills than brute force, I believe.

Ring of Doom then would need to be errata'd to be put on during Maneuver (and probably, give +1 str and only hunter 2).

You'll also need to errata Run Until Found and For Death and Glory. I really like the direction, though it's hard to imagine the impact. It seems that this would favor companions since they don't need to skirmish and stay on the table, but there's a bit of a natural contradiction since you wouldn't want to invest heavily in the keyword and wouldn't get much benefit from having a Hunter total of just 1 or 2. Madril decks might benefit most?

April 17, 2020, 12:07:39 PM
Reply #38

menace64

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #38 on: April 17, 2020, 12:07:39 PM »
The reminder text for Hunter is longer than a text box allows. Too long.

-----

I was thinking about a small series of [Gondor] cards fleshing out Dol Amroth as a subculture with the ultimate aim of adding a solid strategy to the culture for combating corsairs. Already representative of what a Dol Amroth strategy might look like, we have two cards to analyze.

Quote from: Decipher
[3] Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth [Gondor]
Companion • Man
Strength: 7
Vitality: 3
Knight. To play, spot a knight.
Each time Imrahil wins a skirmish, you may exert 2 minions.
"...he was of high blood, and his folk also, tall men and proud with sea-grey eyes."
8R17

and

Quote from: Decipher
[2] Knight of Dol Amroth [Gondor]
Companion • Man
Strength: 6
Vitality: 3
Knight.
Each time this companion wins a skirmish, you may wound a minion he is skirmishing.
"'Amroth for Gondor!' they cried."
8C39

Things that jump out at me: neither character has a signet, they both depend on already having at least one knight in play, and they deal extra damage for winning skirmishes. I'm going to rebrand this last observation as "they reap rewards for winning skirmishes", but there's a perfect card slot for repeating the pre-established theme:

Quote from: menace64
[2] Grey Steed [Gondor]
Possession • Mount
Strength +1
Bearer must be a [Gondor] knight.
Each time bearer wins a skirmish, you may exert a minion.
"...for foremost on the field rode the swan-knights of Dol Amroth with their Prince and his blue banner at their head."
3V? (12U49)

Restricted to knights, and grants bearer the "Dol Amroth" effect of doing something productive for winning a skirmish. Feels right at home on a mount possession.

-----

But this doesn't get us to battling corsairs. Let's look at another soldier in the Dol Amroth ranks:

Quote from: menace64
[2] Dol Amroth Soldier [Gondor]
Companion • Man
Strength: 6
Vitality: 3
Knight.
Each time this companion wins a skirmish, you may remove a culture token from a Shadow card.
"... and behind them seven hundreds of men at arms, tall as lords, grey-eyed, dark-haired, singing as they came."
3V? (5U42)

No signet, needs a knight, and gets a reward just for winning a skirmish. Dol Amroth Soldier isn't useful every time, but when he's doing his job he's going to be doing it well.

-----

And now we're at the point where my thoughts began on this subject: the ships of Dol Amroth. I couldn't in good conscience attempt a pass at this subculture without putting the means of their thwarting the Corsairs into a card frame.

Quote from: menace64
[2] Ship of the Silver Swan [Gondor]
Possession • Support Area
To play, spot 3 [Gondor] knights. When you play this possession, you may add a [Gondor] token here.
Each time any number of culture tokens are removed from a Shadow card, you may add a [Gondor] token here.
Regroup: Remove [1] for each [Gondor] token here. Discard this possession.
3V? (10R8 [there's not a good picture for this])

I've kept the description in the title to "Ship" because I don't know nothin' bout no ships. If you've got a more colorful word you feel should go there, have at it.
I upped the requirement to 3 knights for this ship (1 for Gondor, 1 for Dol Amroth, and 1 for the ship itself) and when it comes down it gets itself a shiny [Gondor] token. This ship's "each time" effect triggers whenever a Shadow possession spends a culture token or loses a culture token, providing a self-inflating counterweight to the core of the corsair strategy (not to mention picking up a potent response to besiegers and berserkers).

-----

But it gets worse! I needed to write a card representing their home. For the region I went with a condition written in the same vein as Citadel of Minas Tirith:

Quote from: menace64
[2] Great Fief of Belfalas [Gondor]
Condition • Support Area
While you can spot 3 [Gondor] knights, you may remove a culture token from a Shadow card at the end of each turn during which no companion or ally lost a skirmish.
‘Where in Middle-earth are we?' said Gimli; and Elladan answered: ‘We have descended from the uprising of the Morthond, the long chill river that flows at last to the sea that washes the walls of Dol Amroth.'"
3V? (15U69)

-----

And for the city I went with a site:

Quote from: menace64
Site 4[K] Dol Amroth [5]
Dwelling. River. If you can spot a [Gondor] knight, the Free Peoples player's cards may not be discarded from play by Shadow players.
------->
3V? (18U136)

Obviously nothing yet actually addresses Corsair Marauder's ability to eat possessions, so the site itself seems a logical place to start.

-----

But that isn't quite enough of a knightly net to make Dol Amroth work...

Quote from: menace64
[2] Shining Mail [Gondor]
Possession • Armor
Vitality +1
Bearer must be a [Gondor] knight without a signet.
While you can spot 2 or fewer threats, your cards may not be discarded from play by the actions of minions.
"For he and his knights still held themselves like lords in whom the race of Númenor ran true."
3V? (18R47)

"without a signet" was added at the last minute, the goal being to further restrict which companions have access to the vitality boost, and for one last little flavor push. As for the card-protection effect, I think I've worded it correctly, and if I did then it outright prevents corsairs from using your own cards as a fuel source... as long as you keep your threat count under tight control.

-----

Closing it out, a strength pump.

Quote from: menace64
[1] Gilded Banners [Gondor]
Event • Skirmish
Make a [Gondor] knight strength +1 for each [Gondor] card with a [Gondor] token on it (limit +4).
"...bearing his token of the Ship and the Silver Swan..."
3V? (13U61)

----------

So yeah. There are card images available to make virtual cards work, in the hypothetical instance where a batch of cards were set to rotate into some sort of test format...
« Last Edit: April 17, 2020, 01:51:18 PM by menace64 »

April 17, 2020, 01:41:45 PM
Reply #39

Durin's Heir

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #39 on: April 17, 2020, 01:41:45 PM »
The reminder text for Hunter is longer than a text box allows. Too long.
Hmm, nope, it'd actually be like this: "Hunter 3. (Add 3 to the minion Hunter total.)" That's like Goblin Marksman, whose reminder text doesn't explain the whole archery procedure.

-----

In regards to your Dol Amroth knights, I like a lot the new token-centric [Gondor] subculture. Bravo!

Still, I'd change a couple of things:

1. Dol Amroth Soldier, and all non-unique Swan-knights, shouldn't need to "spot a knight" to enter the game. They should be a separate subculture than Alcarin's fortification knights, and forcing to spot a non-Amroth knight dilutes the focus. Only unique Amroth knights should need so, like Imrahil or a Dol Amroth Cavalry.

2. "Shadow possession" should be "Shadow card." That'd make the new token knights counter -and grow against- any token Shadow deck, but moderately since still won't be too easy for a Dol Amroth Soldier to defeat Uruks and deplete Down to the Last Child or [Isengard] machines. Bound By Rage, Arrow From the South, Rank and File, Grond HotU, Larder, all should find a greater opposition in fearless Numenoreans than in, say, grim rangers.

-----

I got a couple of cards for the theme:

[1] The Lay of Nimrodel [Gondor]
Condition • Support Area
Tale. To play, spot 2 [Gondor] knights.
Each time a knight wins a skirmish, you may remove a threat (limit once per site).
"Men that saw them whispered saying: 'Belike the old tales speak well; there is Elvish blood in the veins of that folk, for the people of Nimrodel dwelt in that land once long ago.'"

Shadowplay trigger/limit approach. Amroth knights keeping the morale up. And...


[3]Imrahil, Captain of the Swan-knights [Gondor]
Companion • Man
Strength 7  Vitality 3
Knight. To play, spot a [Gondor] knight.
While you have initiative, each mounted [Gondor] Man is strength +1 and damage +1.
Fellowship: Exert a knight to play a [Gondor] mount from your draw deck.
"...all the mounted men that were left in the City... with their Prince and his blue banner at their head."

Chaaaarge! The Dol Amroth knights should be a mount oriented subculture, I think.

That's all.

EDIT: typos. (Like Barliman Butterbut.)
« Last Edit: April 17, 2020, 01:57:31 PM by Durin's Heir »

April 17, 2020, 02:28:49 PM
Reply #40

menace64

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2020, 02:28:49 PM »
Quote from: Durin's Heir
Hmm, nope, it'd actually be like this: "Hunter 3. (Add 3 to the minion Hunter total.)" That's like Goblin Marksman, whose reminder text doesn't explain the whole archery procedure.

I'm down with the idea (scanning hands/decks is an open and ready design space) but what about:

Hunter 3 (At the start of the assignment phase, look at X cards at random in an opponent's hand.)

This version loses the draw deck scouting but might be a more streamlined version of its intent: to see what you're up against before you have to fight it.

-----

Quote from: Durin's Heir
1. Dol Amroth Soldier, and all non-unique Swan-knights, shouldn't need to "spot a knight" to enter the game. They should be a separate subculture than Alcarin's fortification knights, and forcing to spot a non-Amroth knight dilutes the focus. Only unique Amroth knights should need so, like Imrahil or a Dol Amroth Cavalry.

Done.

Quote from: Durin's Heir
2. "Shadow possession" should be "Shadow card." That'd make the new token knights counter -and grow against- any token Shadow deck, but moderately since still won't be too easy for a Dol Amroth Soldier to defeat Uruks and replete Down to the Last Child or [Isengard] machines. Bound By Rage, Arrow From the South, Rank and File, Grond HotU, Larder, all should find a greater opposition from in fearless Numenoreans than in, say, grim rangers.

Oh heck yeah! Like I said, my only goal was to give corsairs something to think about - but if changing one word across the seven cards gives them access as counters to a number of powerful decks, then yes, yes, it should be done.

-----
Quote from: Durin's Heir
[1] The Lay of Nimrodel [Gondor]
Condition • Support Area
Tale. To play, spot 2 [Gondor] knights.
Each time a knight wins a skirmish, you may remove a threat (limit once per site).
"Men that saw them whispered saying: 'Belike the old tales speak well; there is Elvish blood in the veins of that folk, for the people of Nimrodel dwelt in that land once long ago.'"

(17U8) or (2U120) for an easy picture? Unfortunately we still haven't got the extended-extended cut of RotK and thus lack all the footage they shot of the Grey Company rallying the coastal armies.

Solid addition to the theme!

Quote from: Durin's Heir
[3]Imrahil, Captain of the Swan-knights [Gondor]
Companion • Man
Strength 7  Vitality 3
Knight. To play, spot a [Gondor] knight.
While you have initiative, each mounted [Gondor] Man is strength +1 and damage +1.
Fellowship: Exert a knight to play a [Gondor] mount from your draw deck.
"...all the mounted men that were left in the City... with their Prince and his blue banner at their head."

Well this just leads us right into the rest of the Gondorian Lords during the build-up to the Siege, doesn't it?  \:D/
« Last Edit: April 17, 2020, 04:36:36 PM by menace64 »

April 17, 2020, 10:32:21 PM
Reply #41

Durin's Heir

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #41 on: April 17, 2020, 10:32:21 PM »
I'm down with the idea (scanning hands/decks is an open and ready design space) but what about:

Hunter 3 (At the start of the assignment phase, look at X cards at random in an opponent's hand.)

This version loses the draw deck scouting but might be a more streamlined version of its intent: to see what you're up against before you have to fight it.
I believe there should be in the end only a Hunter side and a Hunted one. Investing in FP hunters would result in either a scouting on your opponent's resources, or a (partial or complete) protection from being scouted.

With this Hunter rule reform, [Gandalf] players might prefer to use Erland AtB instead of Dale Counselor (and NBOO would increase its value too). Those protect only the hand content, which gives more reasons to keep the draw deck scouting.

-----

(17U8) or (2U120) for an easy picture?
No, I actually meant (17U34). It's meant to keep threats low enough to keep Shining Mail working, and Knight's Spear powerful.

Well this just leads us right into the rest of the Gondorian Lords during the build-up to the Siege, doesn't it?  \:D/
I'll start with the Lord of Lossarnach, and his footmen:

[2]Forlong, Lord of Lossarnach [Gondor]
Companion • Man
Strength 5  Vitality 4  Denethor signet
Knight. To play, spot a [Gondor] Man.
Forlong is damage +1 for each mount, weapon or armor in his skirmish.
Skirmish: If Forlong is damage +X, exert him make him strength +X.
"...a man of wide shoulders and huge girth, but old and grey-bearded, yet mail-clad and black-helmed..."

A Dwarf-like kamikaze Gondorian. The greater the peril, the more lethal he becomes!

[2] Axeman of Lossarnach [Gondor]
Companion • Man
Strength 5  Vitality 3
This companion is damage +1 for each mount, weapon or armor in his skirmish.
Skirmish: If this companion is damage +X, play a [Gondor] event to make him strength +X.
"Behind him marched proudly a dusty line of men... grim-faced they were, and shorter and somewhat swarthier than any men that Pippin had yet seen in Gondor."

Not knights unlike their lord, to not allow them to bear mounts (footmen only) or use fortifications. More disciplined and less suicidal (won't exert) than their master, but a Dwarvish kind of fighters still: the tougher the brawl, the harder their axe strikes.

So with an Armor, a Gondor Bow and a Gondorian Sword, will be str 7 dmg+3 (while Alcarin would be str 10 with the same baggage). Play a basic str+2 pump (Sentinels of Numenor) and will rise to str 12 (just as Alcarin would, but with damage +3 to consider)!

[2] Battle-axe of Lossarnach [Gondor]
Possession • Hand Weapon
Strength +2
Bearer must be a [Gondor] Man.
While bearer has a damage bonus, he or she is strength +1
While bearer is skirmishing, Shadow cards cannot limit or negate wounds.
"...a dusty line of men, well-armed and bearing great battle-axes..."

Expensive, but worthy: the first text makes it strength +3 in the hands of a Lossarnach fighter or a Ranger of Minas Tirith (or anyone's hands after Dagger Strike, Still Sharp or Noble Leaders), while the second renders the protection texts of Easterling Polearm, Uruk Assault Band, Harmless and Deceived Wizards useless (but wounds can still be prevented by, say, All Blades Perish or Hides).

[2] Barded Horse [Gondor]
Possession • Mount
Strength +1
Bearer must be a [Gondor] knight.
Bearer is damage +1.
While bearer is unexhausted (or bears an armor), you need one less card in hand to have initiative (to a minimum of 2).
"Leading the line there came walking a big thick-limbed horse, and on it sat a man of wide shoulders..."

Initiative protection (the inverse of Streaming to the Field), which helps cards like Imrahil Captain, I Will Go, Stand to Arms and even Gondorian Sword; but hinders abominations like Hardy Garrison and Glimpse of Fate. And gives damage, for Forlong's benefit.


The overall mechanics are pretty obvious: they thrive in possessions, damage, events and risks. And kill!

---

Returning to Dol Amroth, here's another mechanic unused in [Gondor] cards:

[1] Amroth For Gondor! [Gondor]
Condition • Support Area
Skirmish: If a mounted [Gondor] knight is not assigned to a skirmish, remove a [Gondor] token to have him replace an unbound companion in a skirmish. Remove another [Gondor] token or discard this condition.
"Now they sprang forward, formed, quickened to a gallop, and charged with a great shout."

Twice the fun!

--------

This has very little to do here, but jumped to my mind and better post it:

[2] Spectral Mount [Gondor]
Possession • Mount
Strength +1
Bearer must be a [Gondor] Wraith.
Bearer is damage +1.
Response: If you lose initiative, exert bearer or add threat to draw a card.
"'...The Dead awaken; / for the hour is come for the oathbreakers; / at the Stone of Erech they shall stand again / and hear there a horn in the hills ringing.'"

Once [Gondor] Wraiths lose initiative, they become vulnerable. So this gives them extra mileage when facing that peril (or even a drawing engine during Fellowship).
« Last Edit: May 09, 2020, 11:41:15 PM by Durin's Heir »

April 23, 2020, 06:47:54 PM
Reply #42

Durin's Heir

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Re: Let's write some cards to perhaps balance the meta.
« Reply #42 on: April 23, 2020, 06:47:54 PM »
Well this just leads us right into the rest of the Gondorian Lords during the build-up to the Siege, doesn't it?  \:D/
This one was not a Lord, but I believe this micro sub-culture is still worth posting:

[2]Hirgon, Errand-rider of Denethor [Gondor]
Companion • Man
Strength 6  Vitality 3  Denethor signet
Ranger.
Assignment: Exert Hirgon to play The Red Arrow from your draw deck. You may discard 2 cards from hand to take a [Rohan] card from your draw deck into hand.
"He sank on one knee and presented the arrow to Théoden. 'Hail Lord of the Rohirrim, friend of Gondor!'"

Self-explaining, but anyway it goes this way: pack 4x Red Arrow and this companion in a [Rohan] deck, and start with Hirgon and at least one other [Gondor] Man to play 2 [Rohan] companions per turn... during assignment! You can discard 2 from hand to get the Rohirrim you want to play into hand, but if you already have one, you can fetch a possession to play with the Red Arrow, or a [Rohan] event.


[2] Errand-rider of Minas Tirith [Gondor]
Companion • Man
Strength 6  Vitality 3  Denethor signet
Ranger.
Fellowship: Exert this companion to play a [Gondor] mount on a ranger.
"...and presently the thudding of hoofs was heard, and three riders swept up and passed like flying ghosts in the moon and vanished into the West."

Perfect starting companion for Hirgon. Hirgon plays the Arrows, and this one plays the mounts to make them work better, see below...


(0) Errand Mount [Gondor]
Possession • Mount
Strength +1
Bearer must be an unbound ranger.
Each time a roaming minion is played, you may add [1] to heal bearer.
Skirmish: Play a [Gondor] event to make a roaming minion strength -1.
"...fair stables where a few swift horses were kept, hard by the lodgings of the errand-riders of the Lord..."

Recovers vitality whenever a minion is played before its site number. That means you can exhaust Errand Rider safely in your first turn at least even against Dunland, since everyone but Nelya and Bill Ferny SSF will be healing those rangers by then. Then you'll have 2 mounted rangers recovering that key Vitality to play [Rohan] Men twice per turn. And all that fetching of Arrows, [Gondor] mounts and [Rohan] Men / possessions / events will filter your deck for a better Shadow to FP ratio, while playing strong Rohirrim during the best possible phase.

Also, the skirmish skill makes [Gondor] pumps more effective with Roaming mechanics (Man the Walls, Ancient Roads, Second and Third Level), even for Frodo or a Rohirrim in the desperate case of needing 1 strength only (like sentinels attracting the enemy). And finally, it allows unbound rangers to join Imrahil's cavalry rally, and makes Errand Rider and Hirgon eligible targets for Leod's pumping and Weland's healing (which can too be played by the Arrow).

Add HIDAN and Dear Friends (and Well Stored), and stain the fields with Orc blood!
« Last Edit: April 23, 2020, 07:05:32 PM by Durin's Heir »