Middle Earth : The Rewrite

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Bandobras Took
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Middle Earth : The Rewrite

Post by Bandobras Took » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:38 pm

I included a brief introduction in the rules section, but I'll go a little more in-depth here:

While working on the Universal Rules Document, it occurred to me that the game is fundamentally flawed.

It is flawed in the sense that it requires 124 pages of clarifications, examples, rulings, and commentary in order play. It is further flawed in the sense that by the rules, more than a few cards don't actually work as intended.

Forget balance for a moment: new players have to learn a tome of rules. This is worse than 2nd edition AD&D.

After the URD, I decided to rewrite the game from the ground up. Instead of presenting people with a tome of rules, I moved many of the rules on to existing cards. I tightened up terminology. And since reducing the rulebook to 29 pages meant rewriting approximately every card in the game, I redid some cards that weren't working (either mechanically or in the sense of never being used, and, most often, both). My priorities were as follows:

1) Mechanical consistency. Terminology should stay the same across the entire product. No more of this "declare an effect" or "a series of declared actions is called a chain of effects." Timing rules should now mean that cards actually do what they're supposed to do (e.g. In the Heart of His Realm). More uniform iconography, and numbers in the same spot now mean the same thing, most notably corruption point values.
2) Thematic consistency. Any game in which Éowyn gets CvCC bonuses against the Balrog needs looking at.
3) Usability. A card that is pointless should not exist, nor should totally redundant cards exist.
4) Balance. Hero play, Fallen play, Ringwraith play, and Balrog play should all feel different and be mechanically different, but no form of play should outstrip the others.

The main point here, though, is that the rulebook is only 29 pages long and should cover everything.

If it doesn't, let me know.

I therefore present Middle Earth : The Rewrite.

Please comment on inconsistencies in terminology, loopholes in cards, overpowered cards, or missing rules.

Notable changes from the basic game:
* Avatar parity was created by buffing weak avatars rather than nerfing strong ones; Hoarmurath can still do his canceling thing, but the Witch-King will be much more of a RW-leading maniac.
* It's no longer a whistle and a stroll for hero companies to get to Mountain Doom. Mordor in general is much more dangerous for hero companies
* Generally increased the playability and viability of long-events while maintaining the long-event phase. Resource Long-Events should now all roughly be worth it, while hazard long-events tend not to be duplicable by a given player, meaning you run the risk of your opponent also playing one and hitting you with twice as much.
* Starter movement tends to be safer from hazard events than other forms of movement; special movement is clearly noted as such.
* Strengthened Balrog-specific characters in the event of Balrog-bouncing.
* Several forms of FW cheeze and imbalance cut, while at the same time opening up more resources/sites to FW play.
* More open map (companies may start at a declared avatar's home site).
* More uniform iconography (as an example, a faction's influence number is essentially used as mind, so that's where I put it).
* More efficient play of minor items.
* No more multiple copies of sites, but better haven functionality.
* On that note, a site in the Bay of Belfalas. I've always missed not being able to move to that region.
* More strengthened and varied hazard play. Hazard long-events have been buffed as noted above, while several creatures received body values to make them more appealing for use. The only real toning down was that of Nazgûl being utility hazards vs. Ringwraith players, which made no thematic sense and also tended to mean the same hazards were showing up in everybody's hazard portion.
* 10 creature minimum instead of 12, with creatures that can be played as events counting as whole creatures, and events that cannot be played as creatures not counting as such at all.
* More variety and usability of prisoner-taking cards.

Here is a link to the rules file (if I've accidentally allowed editing, please let me know and don't abuse the privilege in the meantime :) ):
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Nch ... s1aFA/edit

Here is a link to a document going over the changes in more depth and explaining the reasoning behind them; it should be helpful to get someone started if they're interested in playing/playtesting.

.xmls and graphics are done for GCCG use; you'll have to look further in the thread to find them, or simply download the latest from SVN. These do not overwrite anything in your installation; they merely point to the alternate files and are the alternate files used by the client. The .bat gets installed wherever your metw.bat file is (the .xmls are named to not overwrite anything); the graphics archive should be unzipped wherever your metw graphics happen to be.

Think of this as VCs on steroids. :)
Last edited by Bandobras Took on Wed Mar 30, 2016 2:26 am, edited 13 times in total.
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thorondor
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Re: Middle Earth : The Rewrite

Post by thorondor » Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:26 pm

i was hoping for something like this for a long time! if the game has been lacking something, it was consistency within the rules.
so lots of thanks for your efforts! i didnt have an in depth look into the rewritten rules yet, but i hope all of this can be established one day. it will help a lot to make the game even better and more attractive.

Ringbearer
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Re: Middle Earth : The Rewrite

Post by Ringbearer » Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:08 am

1th scan: Where is it mentioned that you cannot tap a nazgul to sideboard when playing vs minion? It is stated in the rulebook for LE that that is posisble, and I cant find a CRF indicator either.


Other subject:
I once started a wiki project, to see if there was interest. It might be possible to plcae the text in a wiki as well for easy searching.
"I used to roll the dice, feel the fear in my enemies eyes."
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Gaming is life, the rest is just dice rolls.
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Beornd
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Re: Middle Earth : The Rewrite

Post by Beornd » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:20 am

Other subject:
I once started a wiki project, to see if there was interest. It might be possible to plcae the text in a wiki as well for easy searching.
In the past i heart about this project and it´s a pity that nobody push it. In other games especially cardgames this work very well and i think it would be a advandage for beginners and
also for the rule guide. Grounded on gccg server it will work very nice and sensefull. I would be support immideatly any actions to realize that project in any way.

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Bandobras Took
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Re: Middle Earth : The Rewrite

Post by Bandobras Took » Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:27 pm

I changed some things in view of variety/balance/theme -- one of those was to tone down Nazgûl from being the utility hazards vs. everybody, including Sauron himself. As another example, if you take a look at hero sites, it's no longer a whistle and stroll to go to Mount Doom. :)
Remember, NetRep rulings are official. This does not necessarily mean they are correct.

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Aranarth
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Re: Middle Earth : The Rewrite

Post by Aranarth » Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:35 am

This is worthy effort and long overdue. Would that some us had been in on the creation of the game in the first place, much carnage could have been avoided - like region cards. :P

When the game was released, my disappointments concerned sites and characters. Chief amongst these is Halbarad and I noted your adjustments to his p/b stats which seem about right (the equivalent of Beretar), but he was a Ranger of the North and is still missing Ranger skill, and IMHO all high prowess characters should have Warrior skill as well.

When I recreated him back in the day [in Photoshop and glued the new version to a common], I made him a Warrior/Ranger/ Diplomat with a 7 mind and 5/9 p/b. I gave him +1 influence for the Northern Rangers and kept his bonus against the Hillmen because racially they are a blend of the former Dunedain of Rhudaur and the evil men that conquered them. Perhaps Halbarad's mother was a Hillgirl who ran off with a Ranger?

Mablung, a Ranger of Ithilien, is another character who needs to be corrected because as it is now, any hobbit -even Fatty- is tougher! I'd make him a 3/8 Ranger/Diplomat or Scout or Warrior -but certainly a Ranger!

Now I realize that Halbarad and Mablung offered players a super-cheap scout or a super-cheap sage, but really, non-Tolkien characters (like the anti-Nazgul girls) should have filled these roles if mind/strength balance in the total character pool was the issue. When the likes of Bergil, Ioreth, and Butterbur overpower Rangers, then someone at ICE was smoking too much "leaf"! Some characters clearly need to be lowered while others raised.

The immortal Elves should have the highest bodies in the game at a minimum of 8, av. 9, and Galdriel, Elrond, Cirdan at 10, or even G girl at 11. Dunedain and perhaps certain Hobbits would be the next most resilient category at 7-9, then dwarves, then men and unexceptional hobbits last.

As far as sites went, I was annoyed that Lond Daer (Vinyalonde) was not properly named, and that this most ancient of all Numenorean ports is just a "Ruined Signal Tower". The White Towers are erroneously a Ruins and Lair for wolves! Tolkien explicitly stated that Elostirion and the Towers on Emyn Beraid were "protected and maintained by Cirdan and the Elves of Lindon." They never fell into ruin, they are adjacent to the Grey Havens and the main E-W road so they should therefore be a Freehold with no automatic attacks.

The exclusion of Osgiliath, Annuminas, and Fornost/Norbury/Deadman's Dike was also disturbing. While these sites realistically have nothing more to offer than information and minor items, (ok Fornost miiight have major items) they are historically-significant, interesting, on Tolkien's and Pauline Bayne's map and should therefore have priority over non-Tolkien fabrications from ICE. They should have been in the basic set and I kept waiting, expansion after expansion, for them to appear.... The same should go for characters in LOTR: Lindir, Erestor, Theodred, etc. I'd much rather play with characters and sites (depicted accurately) from Tolkien's writings over ICEy inventions any day!

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Bandobras Took
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Re: Middle Earth : The Rewrite

Post by Bandobras Took » Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:37 pm

Implicit in the rewrite, though, was a closed set of cards, so I did not introduce new card names. Vastor would be more than happy to do such, though. ;)

From strictly the gameplay consideration, skills have to be limited. Making every Dunadan a Ranger, or even those of the North, means fewer Rangers among the other races or a glut of Rangers.

What I did instead was to make Rangers less necessary. Rangers are your friends for Region Movement and many forms of special movement, but starter movement is safe for anybody.
Remember, NetRep rulings are official. This does not necessarily mean they are correct.

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Aranarth
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Re: Middle Earth : The Rewrite

Post by Aranarth » Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:45 am

Bandobras Took wrote:Implicit in the rewrite, though, was a closed set of cards, so I did not introduce new card names. Vastor would be more than happy to do such, though. ;)
Understood, so even renaming Ruined Signal Tower to Lond Daer is too much?
From strictly the gameplay consideration, skills have to be limited. Making every Dunadan a Ranger, or even those of the North, means fewer Rangers among the other races or a glut of Rangers.

What I did instead was to make Rangers less necessary. Rangers are your friends for Region Movement and many forms of special movement, but starter movement is safe for anybody.
There weren't very many Dunedain in the North, and the ones who were named by Tolkien were indeed Rangers -including Halbarad, so he should definitely be one (it's even in his LOTR quote flavor text ) and Mablung was a Ranger of Ithilien. Ioreth, Denethor, Forlong, Beregond, Bergil, Boromir, etc. can remain non-Ranger Dunedain, and Ranger skills can be removed from characters who didn't exist in Tolkien's world in the first place if balancing the quantity of Rangers in the character pool is important.

We probably have different priorities, Bandobras. Game mechanics is #1 for you, while close accordance with Tolkien's work is top priority for me. The only reason I play this game in the first place is to immerse myself in Tolkien's fantasy world. Some of these details I've mentioned may seem minor, or inconsequential (like perhaps changing the White Towers' site type to Freehold), but as a Tolkien afficionado, they make all the difference in the world to my enjoyment of the game!

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Nerdmeetsyou
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Re: Middle Earth : The Rewrite

Post by Nerdmeetsyou » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:57 pm

I was just wondering... did you remove the rule that minions have +5 general influence that cannot be used for characters!
(I would agree with that, but was just wondering if I only missed it in the rules, or this was one of those simplifying acts?)

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Bandobras Took
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Re: Middle Earth : The Rewrite

Post by Bandobras Took » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:10 am

Simplifying act. With active RWs in general having an easier time, I saw no need to keep that one.
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Nerdmeetsyou
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Re: Middle Earth : The Rewrite

Post by Nerdmeetsyou » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:03 am

I never liked that rule anyways... great job!

But is it possible to use this rules without all these new gametexts?
Haveing an errata for nearly every card makes it difficult to play.
Wouldn't it be easier just to simplify the rules instead of writing all these new gametexts?

I really like the simplicity of the rules und would love to use them. But without all these changed cards... because it becomes drag to remember things like that aragorn can use palantirs and other stuff... were these kind of changes really necessary?

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Bandobras Took
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Re: Middle Earth : The Rewrite

Post by Bandobras Took » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:50 pm

That's the problem. The rules won't work without the cards being rewritten. Every one of the complicated rules and exceptions in this game ultimately rises from the cards not being good enough on their own. You could try using just the rules, but I can't guarantee the results, especially with questions of actions and timing.
Remember, NetRep rulings are official. This does not necessarily mean they are correct.

You probably aren't playing Fallen Wizards correctly.

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Nerdmeetsyou
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Re: Middle Earth : The Rewrite

Post by Nerdmeetsyou » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:04 pm

Are you at the Lure this weekend Bandobras? I would love to have a little chat about this "Rewrite" with you.

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Bandobras Took
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Re: Middle Earth : The Rewrite

Post by Bandobras Took » Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:40 am

Are you kidding? I can't even afford the gas to drive to Salt Lake City! :lol:
Remember, NetRep rulings are official. This does not necessarily mean they are correct.

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Nerdmeetsyou
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Re: Middle Earth : The Rewrite

Post by Nerdmeetsyou » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:53 am

sorry didn't know that you are in fact from america... not from europe.

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