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Episode 60 - Critical Strike

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Short Cut to Remote Gaming Forum (29 Aug 2020)

Since remote gaming has now become a significant part of how we play board games, we have added a short cut to this forum in the menu on the left.

Play Matt: Journeys in Middle-Earth Review

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28 Apr 2019 13:49 #296201 by Matt Thrower
All through Tolkien's work, there are open ends. From the...

After sliding the oversized lid off the oversized box, I'm staring down into echoing expansion space. I can almost feel the hand reaching out to fawn and grasp at my wallet. Among the card and plastic figures, though, I'm looking for something: the baggie of character cards. When I pull it out and sort through the contents, my heart sinks.

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28 Apr 2019 13:49 #296202 by Jackwraith
This is the essential quandary of IP-based games, right? "How well does it emulate the property that it's based on?" The problem with LotR is that you don't really want it to do so in a lot of cases. As you say, lining Silmarillion-era heroes next to Aragorn kind of detracts from the majesty of whom the latter was: the last king BECAUSE all of those heroes had done their job.

Sounds like some solid mechanics, but I've had a hard time getting into anything LotR since War of the Ring. That game basically did it for me; next step not needed. If anyone wants to play in Middle-Earth, I can pull out War of the Ring. Beyond that, I'm not really interested since my vision of the IP is "as Tolkien wrote it." Once you start venturing afield, it becomes less enchanting. That's why Middle-Earth Quest may have been great for me, but I could never find anyone to play it.
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28 Apr 2019 14:10 - 29 Apr 2019 09:31 #296204 by ubarose
Sorry folks, but this article doesn’t go live until tomorrow. Jackwraith got a sneak peek at it, and it was so good he just had to comment. You all will have to wait until tomorrow to read it.

ETA: Article is live
Last edit: 29 Apr 2019 09:31 by ubarose.
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29 Apr 2019 04:30 #296223 by Matt Thrower

Jackwraith wrote: This is the essential quandary of IP-based games, right? "How well does it emulate the property that it's based on?" The problem with LotR is that you don't really want it to do so in a lot of cases. As you say, lining Silmarillion-era heroes next to Aragorn kind of detracts from the majesty of whom the latter was: the last king BECAUSE all of those heroes had done their job.


Well sure, but there are a ton better ways to do it than this. It's a particular failure given that FFG have kind of already solved it with Imperial Assault, where independent heroes told their own narrative that intersected with canon characters at certain points. I would have enjoyed this a whole lot more if the campaign was with a bunch of Gondor rangers serving under Faramir, leading up to the moment the remains of the Fellowship fell into his grasp, for instance.
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29 Apr 2019 13:11 #296237 by cdennett
Mechanically this game looks pretty darn good, thematically it looks terrible. Either lean hard into the main characters and set the situations up to be at least canon-adjacent, or go with all no-names or "historical" characters and have free reign. I'm cool with rewriting the stories, but it should start at a known point where branching makes sense.

This feels like a Dwarf-Elf love affair in the middle of The Hobbit.
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29 Apr 2019 13:37 #296239 by Joebot
Honest question -- would the game have been better or worse if it was set in Terrinoth instead of Middle-Earth?
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29 Apr 2019 13:53 #296242 by hotseatgames
I assume that's rhetorical. Everything is better in Terrinoth.
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29 Apr 2019 14:06 #296246 by charlest
Agree with you mostly Matt, although I think it bothers me less. I wrote my review awhile ago (although it's taking forever to be published), but my criticisms were similar to yours.

Overall though, I dig this game a hell of a lot more than Outer Rim.
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29 Apr 2019 17:13 #296258 by ubarose
Oh, well. I was hoping they would make the best loved characters NPCs. I think that would have been cool. Your on you adventure and you happen to run into Aragorn or Bilbo, and maybe they help you out for a bit.
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30 Apr 2019 01:26 #296267 by mc
I'm far from a LOTR fanboy, but that Faramir's Rangers idea is a great one.
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02 May 2019 11:04 #296404 by Matt Thrower

Joebot wrote: Honest question -- would the game have been better or worse if it was set in Terrinoth instead of Middle-Earth?


Personally, I think it would have been better to run with Terrinoth. More scope for creative storytelling, less chance of trampling on people's precious memories.
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