Posts tagged ‘lotr’

Online Boardgaming

lotr_octgn_02Blaugust 2015 Day 22

Last night I played Lord of the Rings: The Card Game by Fantasy Flight online with Wininoid using OCTGN. OCTGN is a platform for playing card games online, and LotR support is provided by another developer here.

We attempted to complete the second quest in the game which is Journey Along the Anduin. Winin used a full Tactics (red) deck which is very damage oriented, while I used a Spirit/Lore deck which was focused on questing and healing. In the quest, you start out facing a Hill Troll and have to defeat it to move onto the second of three stages. We got good cards and managed to complete quest progress on the first stage and defeat the Hill Troll pretty quickly. The second stage started out well but some bad cards both on our part and from the encounter deck, cost us one of Winin’s heroes (each player has three) and really hamstrung what we could do.

Eventually we lost the game. I’d like to say it was a close thing, and we might have been able to clear the second stage had we had another round or so, but there’s no way we’d have been able to complete the whole quest. This was the first time either of us had used OCTGN, so it was a little rough getting started. The UI for the application relies heavily on pop-up menus and shortcuts, which took a while to get used to, but by the end of the game we had a pretty good handle on it. But UI issues aside, the program worked well. I’m sure we’ll be using it for more games of LotR as well, definitely a rematch against Anduin after we tweak our decks, as other games like Android: Netrunner.

Difficulty

I like to avoid frustration in my gaming hobby. Fighting games especially are something I avoid now, as once upon a time I broke a couch kicking it after a bout against the CPU opponent. The surest way for me to end up putting down a game and never coming back is to suddenly ramp up the difficulty level without warning or preparation. Having said all that, I’ve been spending the last few nights attempting to win the third quest in the Lord of the Rings card game, Escape from Dol Guldur. I’m at about eight attempts now with zero successes, which is well past when I would have give up on a computer game and moved on. Board and card games like this are more like puzzles than tests of reflexes, which apparently causes me less frustration. I’m planning to keep at it until I win.

D20s and Cards

Adventure Co.

Last night was supposed to be the initial session of Adventure Co. 2.0, but Scopique had a water heater emergency and had to cancel. Totally understandable, and I hope he gets it fixed quickly and cheaply, but I’m a homeowner myself and those two things rarely go together. Even without our Dungeon Master, the rest of us (Adventure Co veteran Tipa from West Karana and new comers GrilledCheese28, Oakstout, and Girl Grey) hung out for about half an hour and talked over what kinds of characters we were thinking of playing as well as played around with the tools in Roll20.net. My initial impulse to play another Wizard changed a bit after reading through the Player’s Handbook (PHB), and I’m now thinking of going with a Druid. I’m not totally committed to it yet but I also like the idea of playing a Forest Gnome. I expect to change my mind a few more times before next Thursday.

The 5th edition rules remind me quite a bit of 3.5 and earlier, but there’s also some Fate influence in the rules (or similar narrative driven system). There’s a chapter on personality and backgrounds which helps fill in character details beyond the normal height, weight, and alignment. You now decide on an Ideal that drives your character, a Bond that ties your character to a person or place or event, and a Flaw to make you character interesting. They’ve also added the mechanic of Inspiration, which is given out by the DM as a reward for playing into your character’s personality traits and can be used to gain advantage on rolls. It’s not quite the same but it immediately made me think of Aspects, Compels, and Fate Points.

Reading up on 5th edition and getting on Roll20 last night with the group had me excited to work towards running a Fate Core game. At least once I get my Adventure Co character figured out and we’re a few sessions in.

Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

Among the many board games in my backlog, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, has been on there the longest. I actually bought it a few years ago before I really got back into board games because I saw it on the shelf of my Friendly Local Game Shop while browsing Warhammer 40K minis (which I like to look at but never buy) and role-playing game books and saw that it was designed for 1-2 players.

So now years later, I’ve attempted to get started with the game a few times, but the game is very difficult and I’ve found that I’m pretty awful at constructing decks. So in March I started reading through and playing decks based on Beorn’s Path. The Hall of Beorn is one of a half dozen blogs dedicated to the game and Beorn’s Path is a nice series of articles that introduces players to building decks that can be used to complete the quests in the base game as well as the first six adventure packs, The Shadows of Mirkwood Cycle. Like most things I ended up distracted and didn’t pick the series up with Part 5 until this evening when I finally managed to beat the second quest in the base game, Journey Along the Anduin, on my third try.

I’m not ready to review the game yet. I haven’t played it nearly enough and I’m still at the novice stages of being able to build decks and learning all of the available cards even out of the relatively small core set. My initial impressions though are that the game is very tough and unforgiving. Luck feels like a big factor to me, but I have the feeling from what I’ve read that feeling is more because of my beginner skill level and because of the game itself.

Happy Birthday Professor

Happy birthday, Professor Tolkien!

I’ve been a Tolkien fan since I read the Hobbit at 8 years old. He’s shaped my reading life more than any other author I’ve read. This year should be especially good with the first Hobbit movie coming out on December.

Cheers!

To the Professor!

Happy Birthday to Professor Tolkien!

The man who shaped my reading life from childhood on.

Happy Birthday J.R.R.T.

I had no idea it was Professor Tolkien’s birthday today (thanks Goldenstar), but I’m definitely going to offer a couple of toasts in his honor. If you want a bit more biographical information on the Professor, go see Once Upon a Hobbit.

Tolkien's Shelf

The Hobbit and the Order Slip Tolkien has been the largest influence on my reading habits every since I was 8 years old. I bought the Hobbit when I was in elementary school via a class book fair. The teacher passed out a small pamphlet that had all of the books being offered with a small summary and a picture of the cover. I don’t remember why I picked that one, but I can remember counting out dimes and quarters to pay for it and I’m sure the librarian was thrilled when I came in with my bag of coins. I still have the book and the slip which I used as a bookmark.

If I remember right, it was that summer that I checked out the Lord of the Rings trilogy from the public library. It took me the entire school break to finish them and I don’t know how much I really understood (certainly not as much as when I read them now), but from then on fantasy was about the only genre I would read (until I found Heinlein and got into sci-fi).

Since then, I’ve reread the books multiple times (including the Silmarillion), enjoyed Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation, and now I spend a little bit of time almost daily in Turbine’s interpretation.

Happy birthday, Professor!