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drice6900
07-20-2014, 09:35 AM
Picked up the game when it came out Wednesday (finally), and played with our gaming group Friday night. Some thoughts after about 4 or 5 games:

1. We really liked the game play with 3-4 people, but a 5th player thins card selection out too much, leading to 1 or 2 players totally dominating the game. With no potential reset like the LOTR DBG (Saruman and Lurtz), it can turn into a negative gameplay experience for those who fall way behind and have to slog through a hour until someone wins or we deck out.

2. We really like the loot system and how it plays. It felt thematic, and you really felt like you accomplished something rather than just beating on bad guys all the time (even though in a way it is the same thing).

3. Characters seem to be nicely balanced, with some having stronger abilities early and some later. The only one that seemed to get out of hand at times was Thorin with tons of allies.

4. We played the first game in regular mode and the rest in impossible mode.

All in all, a nice job by Cryptozoic! Can't wait for Desolation of Smaug...

Bomb
07-21-2014, 06:57 AM
Can you compare it to the DC DB games? Just curious on any of the differences that may stand out.

drice6900
07-21-2014, 09:09 AM
Can you compare it to the DC DB games? Just curious on any of the differences that may stand out.

I have only played DC DBG a few times, so I am probably not the best source for a comparison, but I will try :)

They do play very closely since it is the same DBG engine, so the learning curve if you played one or the other is very short. The characters have their abilities on their cards are like the DC characters (but unlike LOTR), and there are some cards that use similar mechanics (like Radagast and Shazam letting you spend 4 power on the top card of the play deck). There are location, artifacts (equipment), enemies (villains), allies (hero) and maneuver (power) cards just like DC, and you start with 10 basic cards (7 with power, 3 without).

The biggest difference will probably be in the archenemy kill/loot mechanics, and the use of the One Ring card. Both are thematic and nicely done, and I don't think a DC player would have any problems picking it up.

There are 3 main villains (Trolls, Goblin King, Azog). The first two villains must be defeated 4 times each. When defeated each time, they give up a random loot card to add to your deck, then trigger the group ambush. The first 2 bosses give no VP. The last boss (Azog) has a nasty ongoing effect, cost the most to defeat, and gives VP to the person who defeats him.

The One Ring card only appears after the Trolls are defeated, and is an item a player may obtain through cards they have bought from the main deck. It stays out at all times while a player controls it and gives +1 power to the player. It can also be used as a defense card, but then you give up its control.

Hope that helps!

Tamahome
07-21-2014, 11:33 AM
I've bought every cerebus engine game so far. I like hobbit a lot. Locations are more balanced/ not too many game warping cards. Some well designed cards. Some poorly designed cards. They did a good job IMO.

Bomb
07-22-2014, 07:35 AM
Awesome to hear. Thanks for the detailed description drice6900! You did help a lot.

I think my brothers and I will pick up a copy of this. We LOVE the DC and Heroes Unite deck building games and having something similar, yet different, is something we'd like to try.

drice6900
08-22-2014, 10:33 AM
So we picked up the Desolation of Smaug expansion at Gencon and have been playing it a bit. The group seems to like the Smaug mechanics (new Smaug archvillain cards, stashing cards, etc). The game comes only with new cards and no reprints of Corruption cards, etc, which makes it nice and $20 cheaper :)

The power really ramps up once you switch from the AUP to DoS decks, and we found the regular mode to be quite challenging, but the impossible mode was superhard. We did defeat Smaug in impossible mode, but only by the skin of our teeth.

The only negative is the sorting when mixing the two decks - thanks to Crypto for at least printing DoS on the DoS cards ;)

Not sure when this is coming out in general release. Talking with the Cryptozoic people, it appears there was quite a hangup in Customs with some games. Hopefully soon!