I had mentioned to Steve and Mark before Xmas, that I had the idea of digging out Middle Earth Quest, which we had played once before back in December 2009 but not since. There were a couple of reasons for this, being game length and table space. It was going to be very difficult to play the game to a finish and the game needs to occupy 2 tables due to the size of the board. If we had a situation where we wanted to run three games at a time, which was not unheard of even in those days, then the game could not be played. Now we have more time and more space so playing this is a possibility and I'm sure that there are a few other games that are probably viable now that weren't before.
The game is a one vs. the rest game where one player represents Sauron while the others are heroes of Middle Earth, not characters from any of the literature although I gather from Steve that at least some of them appear in others of FFG's Middle Earth related games. For those who are interested in such things the setting of the game is in the 17 year period between the birthday party at the beginning of The Lord of the Rings and the point where Frodo leaves the Shire with Sam, Merry & Pippin. During this period Sauron has become aware that the one ring has been found and is building his forces, while the heroes attempt to hamper his schemes.
The rules are laid out in phases in such a way that it seemed that a good way to proceed would be simply work through them, explaining as we went, and this is what we did, considering that the game would be a learing game which we anticipated may not be finished on a first run through, so that was what we did after a brief discussion about how the game was ended. I played Sauron and worked through my turn explaining each step, although many are not applicable on the first turn. Following on was Steve as Beravor the Ranger and Mark as Eometh the Rohirrim. We managed to go through combat on his turn as he completed his starting quest by figthing some Crebain.
The game actually went very smoothly with just a few hiccups along the way, mainly concerened with rules that had been skipped over, and we actually got to the finish of it. Neither side was able to accomplish their mission, so the game came down to a final battle where Beravor was unable to defeat the Ring Wraiths. Both Steve & Mark expressed the opinion that the game was somewhat balanced against them and I was inclined to agree, the problem seeming to be that they were swamped with corruption and spending too much favour to get rid of it. Looking back on the rules afterwards, neither Steve or I spotted anything obviously wrong by the end, but it did occur that 2 things that we discovered during the game may have made some difference if we'd picked them up from the start. I also wondered if playing with 3 heroes instead of 2 might help the heroes (although I've seen some comments that this actually in Sauron's favour). We plan another game next Wednesday.
Looking at what else was played, I see a couple of last year's usual suspects. That seemed to be a very long game of Tzolk'in, seeing as the average time was 121 minutes last year. First plays were for Legacy: Gears of Time and Among the Stars, which I think Chris S brought along, I see he also had Eldritch Horror with him, which I'd be interested in playing. I played it last weekend and judging by that play, it should fit OK into a Wednesday evening session.
All the games played are listed below.
|Middle Earth Quest - 190 Mins.|
|Suburbia - 105 Mins.|
|Dominion - 30 Mins.|
|Dominion - 30 Mins.|
|Legacy: Gears of Time - 120 Mins.|
|Among the Stars - 40 Mins.|
|Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar - 170 Mins.|